Journey Into The Unknown — 5 Minutes for Special Needs

Journey Into The Unknown

by Deborah


My new son, Ronnie, is having surgery in two weeks – significant, scary surgery. I’ve been through many significant surgeries with my daughter, Ashley, including brain surgery twice, but since Ronnie just joined my family three months ago, I have no idea how THIS surgery will go.


With Ashley, I can predict exactly how she will respond to having an IV inserted. I know that while she does pretty well for X-rays, she absolutely despises being held down for any procedure. I know how different anesthesia will affect her, even knowing about how long it will take her to wake up in recovery. I know that she needs to be distracted prior to any hospital procedure but once things get serious, she becomes a human sponge for communication.

I don’t know any of these things about Ronnie.

Will he want me to hold his hand during scary times? Would he prefer that I be out of the room when the doctor is doing a full exam of his body? Will the anesthesia make him wake up grumpy in the recovery room? How will he respond to the pain after surgery? Is giving him lots of pain medication a good or a bad thing? Will he hate me if I can’t spend the night with him while he is in the hospital?

I’ve learned so many hospital survival tactics for Ashley over the years but have no idea if they will work for Ronnie.

What would you suggest? Ronnie is 15 years old, has spina bifida, uses a wheelchair for mobility, is profoundly deaf and communicates via ASL. He loves video games and watching TV if the show is closed captioned.

He’s going to be in the hospital for 10 days so I need LOTS of suggestions!

Deborah can be found writing here at 5MFSN every Wednesday, and can also be found at Pipecleaner Dreams.

Email Author    |    Website About Deborah

In addition to her job as a computer engineer and her single parent responsibilities, Deborah is president of a state-wide family support group for families whose lives are touched by deafblindness, and is a tireless advocate for all people with disabilities. She writes at Pipe Cleaner Dreams and her writing has also been featured in local magazines and newspapers. Ashley’s story has also been chronicled in a book by Jonathan Mooney titled Short Bus Stories.

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