My good friend, Melissa Hogan, has published a new book. Although it is titled ‘Medical Events with Cognitively Impaired Children’, as she comments herself in the book, I think her insights are relevant for any child who has repeat medical experiences, not just those who are cognitively impaired.
A few of the things she speak about are:
1. The difference between how many adults approach medical events and how those approaches may differ from the approach that our kids need
2. Medical trauma and how to prevent it
3. Parental emotion and how we set the tone for how our kids respond
4. Play therapy: playing with (or being given the opportunity to examine or touch) the anxiety causing equipment or doing the procedures on family members or dolls (all needles removed of course :-))
5. How to normalize stressful medical events
6. How to give kids as much knowledge and choice over timing of medical tests or procedures (even if they just get to count to three before the needle goes in), location etc., so they feel more in control.
Even though I’ve been doing this medical routine for over six years now, Melissa’s book still gave me food for thought. And leaned on my heartstrings. I got permission from Melissa to copy a small excerpt below, which hit especially close to home since right now Trey is getting monthly general anesthetics with a mask:
‘But it is then that I have to do the thing that I hate the most. I and others have to hold that mask on his face while his eyes scream, his arms try to flail, and his mouth seems to gasp for air. All of my insides feel as if I am suffocating my child by continuing to hold this mask on his face.
But then I start to sing.
I don’t pretend to be a glamorous rock star or opera master, I am but a simple mom. And as I hold the mask over his thrashing face, I sing, “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy, when skies are gray. You’ll never know dear, how much I love you. Please don’t take my sunshine away.” I almost choke up at the end every single time at the irony of the fact that in a moment, they will take him away as I walk that dreaded walk to the waiting room.’
Thank you Melissa, for your continued insight.
For more information on her book, please click the link below: