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A Mom's Thoughts While Anticipating My Child's Surgery

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It’s that time. T minus one week to surgery. Let the packing and list-making begin.

My son Ben has been in the hospital a couple dozen times (I’ve lost track of the actual number). I know what we’ll need during our stay, and I’m busy preparing for comfort and distractions for both of us. Plenty of small wrapped toys for him and a stash of excellent chocolate for me are topping the list. It helps to keep busy; busyness staves off the dread.

The dread.

It has been over a month since we scheduled the surgery, and  When I let it creep into the forefront it nauseates me, so I often keep it tucked away. I can run away from it sometimes, but a body can only run so far. Other times I let it out and charge it down like the bulls of Pamplona, denying dread of the future the power to steal the joy of the present.

And then there’s Ben. He doesn’t appear to understand or dread the surgery. I never know if this is a good or bad thing. If he is from the angst of anticipation, will he be totally blindsided by the pain and suffering? He loves going to the doctor and hospital, heaven only knows why.

This is a “quality of life” surgery. That means we have chosen to pursue it because the benefit is worth the risk. It’s not essential to sustain life or health. This brings a whole other set of feelings with it. Questioning the timing, wondering if we could just find other ways around it and skip the surgery. At the end of each day the answers are always the same, yet I continue to rehash the questions.

So I am making my lists and getting prepared, if there is such a thing. The one thing I know is this too shall pass. Come hell or high water (and with Ben’s medical history there’s a significant chance of both), we will get through this and that soon enough normalcy (whatever that is) will return.

By the way, is it too much to ask that hospitals provide good coffee?

What advice would you offer this mom? Let us know in the comments below.

The Mighty is asking the following: What’s one thing people might not know about your experience with disability, disease or mental illness, and what would you say to teach them? Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Originally published: May 18, 2016
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