There are many types of family decisions but over the past few weeks I’ve experienced a type of family decision that is rare, stressful, and yet one of the most important type of family decisions you can make. This past week my daughter had a very serious operation. It’s called an SDR (Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy). Since this article isn’t about educating you on an SDR you can learn more about the procedure at MySpellingSucks.com. The procedure required my daughter to be in the hospital for 5 days and ends in her not being able to walk for the time being. It also requires intense therapy for the next year. When you encounter this type of family decision it requires strong foundations, lots of planning, commitment, sacrifice and patience.
I think strong foundations are important to all relationships and they are relied on and deepened in times of crises. There is so much stress that comes in family crises times and you need to know you can rely on the people who are closes to you. Another thing I’ve learned about strong foundations is that the relationships you build outside of your family, the network of friends are just as important in the times of crises. That community comes together to help you, whether it’s TechyDad offering to write a post last week or TessasDad writing a guest post at TheDADvocateProject.com, it’s your friends that help you keep going and they are the foundations that make you strong enough to face the challenges and fears. They help you overcome the “Lizzard Brain” that says this is scary stop. In my personal relationship with my wife we were able to help each other stay on course knowing we were making the best decision for our daughter even though she would be experiencing temporary pain and weakness. In the end we both knew were able to keep each other focused on the long term good we are doing for our daughter.
Lots of Planning:
The effort to pull off this surgery was no small task. We had to coordinate with Insurance which is a nightmare in and of itself. On top of that my insurance changed right after we got approval from the first company and we had to start all over. We had numerous doctor appointments to coordinate, the travel plans, time off work, care for the two kids who were staying home, timing with school, follow up with therapists, and so much more. I am so grateful for my wife who made this all possible and I hope I pitched in enough so that it was not totally overbearing on her. The one thing I did was research. I spent a lot of time looking at previous patients and contacting their families and looking at before and after videos to ensure we were making the right decision.
I mention the planning and strong foundations above. I talk about sacrifice and patients below. It takes a lot of commitment to build the foundations, make the plans, agree to the sacrifice and dedicate to have the patience. It takes commitment to follow through. It takes commitment to not chicken out. I often lack commitment in my personal life, I think we all do at times but when it comes to decisions like this you need to make and be committed to make it happen. These things don’t happen by themselves and it truly helps to have a partner who is just as committed to make it happen.
We are all choosing to sacrifice. My daughter is too young to make the choice to sacrifice on her own so it wasn’t given to her, BUT with the proper explanations, and an incredible desire of her own she has committed to the sacrifice we have asked of her. She is giving up her summer to re-learn how to walk and she is the most determined little girl I have ever met. They told us one to four months to return to her abilities before the surgery. I think she is determined to make it happen in under a month. We too are sacrificing. I used all my vacation for the year to be there and to be at the house now. I made arrangements at work to go in late so I can be here to help with therapy. My wife spent months doing all the planning and preparation. She is also committing to managing all the kids at home over the summer while my daughter has limited ability to take care of herself. Now as I mentioned above my daughter seems to be committed to returning to her full abilities in under a month so it may not be as big a sacrifice as it first appeared but she commiteted to it non the less.
Why patience? Well if you have ever been cooped up in a hospital for five to six days you will understand why patience is necessary. You are kept together under stressful circumstances and it can be easy to get to the boiling point. We did very well at the hospital and only had a few incidents of snappiness towards each other. Overall our patients held out. Oh yeah you also need patience to cover waiting in doctor’s offices, waiting for surgeries to be over, waiting for you child to stop hurting, waiting for your child to walk again. But you know what because of the strong foundation, the commitment, the planning and the sacrifice the patience comes much more easily.
I know this article was about a surgery that we went through but it seems to me that all major family decisions in life need to have these same elements. What do you think?