learning to navigate the world, j-bear style

Gettin’ Real

It is one week til surgery for J and crissakes you would think I was sending him in to get bilateral hand transplants or something else intensive and crazy.

I’m not saying a tonsillectomy is nothing but we’re not talking open heart surgery here.

So why the hell is this such a subject of near panic for me right now?

This is my second entry about it. That should raise red flags, right? Mental state instable, get brain relaxer, stat … or something to that effect.

The way I grew up you always had to think two, three, twelve steps ahead in terms of trying to predict how things were going to go. This was a pure survival mechanism. If you couldn’t anticipate disasters before they happened the world turned into a very violent place for you so I became all about acting preventatively to stave off ill effects. It’s a trait that I still carry and a trait that while it makes me a very good customer service agent it makes me a horrible person to live with sometimes. I get so focused on crisis management that I fail to realize that I am planning for a crisis that is likely not about to come to pass.

This is what I am doing right now with J. 

I saw the weather forecast for the week and saw that it was going to be very, very hot going into the weekend and panicked. As New Englanders, our homes, particularly the older ones, are not prepared for hot weather. Now I am all “I have to make sure the portable AC works”, “All the fans have to be in the windows”, “The beds need extra sheets and maybe there should be extra sheets for the couch for if he’s sweaty”, “Maybe I should try to get him to drink a different liquid that’s not milk”… 

And on and on crazy brain went, running off the deep end.

I think talking to the nurse during the pre-op interview on Friday will help because I can ask all the questions I may want or need to. I can take out my crazy brain on this poor, unsuspecting soul and get a better understanding of what’s going to happen and more importantly what I can do for J that I am not already planning on doing. We can discuss the likelihood of him staying overnight, which his ENT said was a possibility, and I can ask that a particular anesthesiologist not be allowed near my son after the hell he caused during J’s birth. 

I think at some point before Sunday night I need time to just sit and breathe or I might be a total disaster come Monday and J needs me too much for that to be okay.


  1. Erin

    Ice cream for him…Wine and chocolate for you, my friend. Deep breaths. This will be okay. Hugs.

  2. Ann Kilter

    Soon it will be past. It’s going to be hard for you and hard for him, but you will get through. He’ll probably do better than you. When my daughter was three, she had hernia surgery. We were surprised at how quickly she recovered. I do not handle these kinds of situations particularly well, so my husband went into the pre-operation room with my daughter. He is very calming. I wonder if you have someone like that to go with you. I remember having surgery for a hernia when I was five years old. I was crying as they put the mask on me (in those days, they used a face mask. But the doctor said to me, “Can you show me hoe you count backwards from 100?” I could, so by the time I got to 95, I was out.

    • nicole

      I have support coming with me to the hospital – J has lots of family, both by blood and by heart, who adore him and all want to be there to help him through and me through. I am thinking this kid is going to get through this surgery and be more ticked about the IVs and indignity of being in the hospital for any amount of time than anything else. He always surprises me and has such a weird relationship with pain – mainly barely feeling it when we think he should be quite gone with it – so we’ll see what happens. I am very good in the moment of situations like this – I am terrible before and after. My brain is wired brokenly?

      My tonsils came out when I was 4. My memories are disjointed of that time but I remember ice cream, I remember a picture on the wall outside my hospital room (at Floating Hospital, where most of J’s care is actually coordinated now), and that the medical students x-rayed my stuffed animals and put the x-rays in my chart. I don’t know how that worked out for them but I remember seeing Miss Piggy and Kermit’s “insides”.

  3. Shakti Ghosal

    You clearly hold great awareness about what makes you think and act the way you do. That is a great place to start from. But as you observe your concern about a successful surgery welling up, how do you see it supporting you? And if it is no longer supporting, what else could you do?


    • nicole

      I think it’s helping me prepare for every eventuality but a brain so engaged in that is quickly very, very tired! I should work for NASA, I am great at coming up with lots of worst case scenarios 😉 As we get closer and closer to his surgery date it’s becoming more of a “what can I control” versus “what can I -not- control” debate, so I have to figure out what I need to let go of and what to focus on. It’s like sorting out a mental shopping cart and right now, mine’s just kind of a mess. It’ll get more tidy as days go forward I hope!

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