* Always keep a working list of questions. Any time you think of a question related to your surgery, no matter how trivial you may think it is, add it to the list.
Take the list of questions with you to your appointments and write down the answers. We bombarded my surgeon with questions
every time we saw him, and he was always willing to answer us, and the answers always proved useful. This will reduce
the stress of trying to remember all of the questions during the appointment.
SAMPLE QUESTIONS: ~ What will be the length of hospitalization? ~ Will a ventilator / breathing tube be necessary after surgery? If so, how long? ~ How long after hospitalization will turning screws begin? ~ How fast are you going to turn (mm/day)? ~ For how many days will the screws be turned? ~ Will any
hair need to be shaved? ~
* Make arrangements at school and at work and make sure everyone understands at
least a little bit about the procedure. Don't allow your teachers to even think that make-up work is something
they can expect before the entire process is over. I ended up missing the entire last quarter of 7th
grade. Consider talking to school counselors about the different options that exist for missing prolonged
periods of school.
* Brief your trusted friends on what's going on. They will support you and
will appreciate your opening up to them about this. Before I left, apparently someone thought I was going to have
plastic surgery! As long as some of your friends know the truth about where your going, wacky rumors like that
shouldn't get too far. Also give your friends the contact information on where you will be staying after hospitalization.
My friends were constantly sending me cards to the Ronald McDonald House while I recovered, the cards offered
encouragement during that time.
* Make housing arrangements far in advance (if you don't live near the medical center
you will be using). We stayed at the Ronald McDonald House. Check online or through a social worker
about staying at a Ronald McDonald House or one of the many other shelters for young hospital patients
and their families. In most all cases, you will need the referral of a social worker to be admitted into one of
* Make arrangements for siblings. Please, please, please, do not bring
young siblings into the hospital on the day of the operation. It is a bother not only to your patient (who will
probably be nervous and stressed enough) but to other patients in the hospital as well. See if the younger ones can
stay with other family or friends.
* Relax and do something fun the day
before the surgery to take off the stress. Worrying won't help anything (though that is 100 times more easily said than done). Just pray, and leave the rest up
* Eat as much chewy food as you want before
the surgery. After the surgery, you won't be allowed
to use those choppers much, so use them out now!