My 5 year old will be having an operation tomorrow. It’s a minor procedure (ear tubes, commonly known as grommets) and, all going well, he should be home in the evening. Nevertheless, I’m in a tizzy. Anaesthesia! Pain! Complications! A strange hospital! Roommates! Disruption! All this is going through my mind, and more. It’s a day procedure, but I’m going to pack a bag and I’m pre-preparing meals for the end of the week, like ANYTHING could happen. I also made sure to discuss the operation with my boy, dispel misconceptions and answer questions. I went through what would happen that day and what was to be expected. It’s been a running conversation, and we’ve had it a few times. I’m glad I did this, because some of the things he thought were going to happen were very funny, and he had some good questions.
Following are highlights from our Operation Preparation chats. This script is a composite of discussions:
Me: Zach, I want to discuss something with you.
Zach: (Playing with a Transformer in the back of the car): What?
Me: You know how you’ve been having trouble with your ears? And your nose was running a lot for ages?
Zach: (Not taking eyes of Transformer) Yeah.
Me: Well, The doctor is going to take care of it. You’re going to have a little operation to put tubes in your ears, and it’ll make your ears feel better and you’ll hear better and everything.
Zach: (Eyes wide, head cocked sideways, brows knitted) Tubes?!?
Me: Little tubes
Zach: How small? Like, the garden hose?
Me: Eh, no, smaller than that. Really tiny, like, you know, to fit in your ear.
Zach: How the heck are they going to get them in?
Me: Don’t say heck.
Zach produces impish smile.
Me: They’ll just go into the hole in your ear and put them in that way.
Zach: What hole in my ear?
Me: The ear canal-that opening in your ear.
Zach: I have an opening in my ear?
Me: Eh, yeah. Take your finger and put it in your ear.
He does so.
Me: That’s your ear canal. It’s an opening into your ear. They just go in there and put the tubes in.
Zach: But how will the tubes get out?
Me: Good question – they will fall out naturally in six months or so...when you’re six years old, they’ll come out around then.
Zach: But I won’t be six for YEARS!
Me: You’ll be six at the end of this year.
We get home: Toilets, wash hands, change clothes, beg for sweets, mommy denies sweets and tries to push fruit, boy refuses fruit and finally, after much haggling, a compromise is reached whereby toast and a banana are agreed upon. Ear tube conversation resumes.
Me: So, Zach, on Wednesday, we’ll wake up very early and go to the hospital.
Zach: What?! You mean they’re not coming here?
Me: Here? No – it’s more convenient to have operations in a hospital.
Me: Well, that way they have all the nurses and doctors and beds they need in one place.
Zach: Beds? What are the beds for?
Me: To lie down...eh..you’ll see. When we wake up on Wednesday, I have to shower you. I may or may not put pyjamas on you at home.
Me: They go well with the beds...look, we’ll keep going with this later – finish eating, then homework time.
EXTRA NOTE - COMING ON 28TH MARCH - I’ll be featured on mamapedia.com Voices again on 28th of March with my post, Human Breast Milk Ice Cream. Keep your eyes open for that.