We’ve less than a week to go before Younger Brother’s head surgery, and people keep asking how I’m doing. I never know how to answer questions like that. I’m confident that my baby is going to be OK in the long run, but I’m increasingly stressed about the hows and whats of it all.
In any big event, my worry gets focused on logistics. Getting everyone to the right place at the right time, with the right paperwork signed and the right preliminaries completed: these are the things that cause me stress. I also like to know as much as possible in advance about what’s expected of me, lest I fail to live up to those expectations.
Right now, I’m worried about the pre-op testing. We might have to take Younger Brother in for a blood test or something, to make sure he’s healthy enough for anesthesia. Or maybe it’ll just be a phone screen. I don’t know, because folks from the hospital are supposed to call about it and they haven’t yet. I can’t just trust that what needs to get done will get done, because we’ve had multiple referrals get lost in the ether at earlier steps in this process. I’m worried that something important will be forgotten and we’ll show up on the day of surgery and be told to reschedule.
(I’ve called the pre-op testing people. The receptionist said I should hear back today. We shall see.)
I’m worried about Younger Brother getting sick. His brother has caught yet another preschool cold and we’re trying hard to keep the germs contained. The surgeons tell me that a bit of sniffles is fine, but a phlegmy cough is a no-go with anesthesia. We’d have to postpone the surgery. I’m worried that my mother will drive 1000 miles to be with us, only to have the surgery rescheduled for illness.
I’m not worried about the surgery itself. In a way, it will be a relief to know that at that point, all we have to do is wait. I trust the doctors and the nurses and the anesthesiologist to do their best for my baby. He’ll be asleep; he won’t know what’s going on.
I’m worried about after. When will we get to see him? When will he be able to eat? Will I be able to hold him and nurse him? Will we be able to stay with him? Will we be expected to be with him 24/7? That last one seems horribly selfish to ask, but… I’m worried about my own sleep. I’m worried that the nurses will judge me if I need to leave him for a while and take a nap. My only experience with babies and hospitals has been giving birth, where they expect the parents to provide basically all of the infant care.
I’m worried about when he comes home. Will it be like the newborn days again? Will we be waking every hour to tend to a poor sad baby who doesn’t understand why he hurts? Do we have the right clothes for him, things that can go on over his healing head? Do we need more baby hats? I’ve been reading every craniosynostosis blog I can find, trying to get a feel what this part is like and how long it takes to return to “normal.”
I gave up practicing Christianity a long time ago, but I have been thinking about Matthew 6:34 lately. This is the “sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” verse, but I prefer the New International Version:
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
If ever I needed to stick a Bible verse in big bold letters on my wall, it would be this one.