On Monday, May 16, my little man will be undergoing his second cranial vault. At 4 years old, this is much different than at 17 months old (see here for details of John's June 2008 surgery). In many ways, as a baby, this was much easier. No prior preparation for John was needed. My biggest worry as far as how to get that sweet baby through the biggest day of his life, was how to provide enough distraction so he wouldn't realize he was missing breakfast and lunch before his 1:00 surgery. At that age a paci and lovey were absolutely magical soothers, and as long as John was being held by his mom or dad, he was A-OK.
When we discovered in January that John would need this surgery in a few short months, the first thought that came to mind was "this is the end of his innocence." John LOVES going to the doctor; we have some amazing ones. He loves staying in the hospital and loves the adventure of sleep studies, loves the attention, the popsicles, the playroom. So far his only hesitation comes with goofy juice, or Versed, not because he's afraid, but because it just tastes so awful. But with all he has on his plate this year, I just knew he was old enough to understand more, and anticipate more and, like his mom, worry more.
A few weeks after the big news, John had minor surgery on his eyelid, a tarsorrhaphy. And the kid was a stinkin' pro. Since, we have talked a lot about what to expect with his vault, or more specifically fronto-orbital advancement. He doesn't remember his, but he looks at pics from 3 years ago and understands. Since he's visited other children after they have undergone similar surgeries, he knows there is swelling and bruising and a big incision across the top of the head. John knows that his surgeon is making room for his brain, removing his "horn" (a bump in his skull on top of his head), and making it so that his "eye won't pop out again." He gets it. He is ready.
Every day John asks me, "How many days until I get to go to the hospital?" He can't wait to drive to the hospital in the dark. He is so looking forward to Popsicles. More than excited that Daddy will be taking the day off from work. He knows he might not be able to see for a couple days with the swelling, but he knows that his mom or dad will always be there with him and he knows it will get better soon. He is looking forward to listening to his books on tape. He is not really looking forward to the goofy juice, but we have a plan. I really can't ask more of this little guy.
Who knows, he may not handle it as well as he has everything else. But I think he is as ready as he can be, and I know he is making this easier on his parents than it should be. John is amazing, my little super hero.
Now, as for preparing myself, that is a different story.
Click here to read more info about April and her family.