It's not Just Growing Pains: A Guide to Childhood Muscle, Bone, and Joint Pain, Rheumatic Diseases, and the Latest Treatments

By Thomas J. A. Lehman | Go to book overview

26
Family Issues

Most of the parents reading this book will not have a child with a serious chronic condition. They can skip this section. However, if your child does have a significant disability, or you think your child’s medical care is starting to take over your life, please read on.

In one of my families there were three children; the oldest was a twelve-
year-old with severe arthritis. The decision was made that he would
have a hip replacement after the end of the school year. Both parents
were very concerned and everyone knew that Johnny was expected to
be in the hospital for five days after the surgery. All of us would have
the same initial response: Ask a sitter or a relative to care for Sally and
Timmy (8 and 10 years old) so Mom and Dad can be at Johnny’s bed-
side for the five days. Summer travel plans are off, because Johnny
will need a lot of physical therapy to recover and will not be able to
travel. This all sounds reasonable, but it’s the wrong answer.

Instead, Grandma came to take care of Sally and Timmy for the first
two days. After it was clear that Johnny was recovering as expected,
Dad took off with Sally and Timmy on a trip to one of their favorite
places. Mom and Grandma relieved each other in the hospital. At the
end of a week everyone was back at home feeling they had gotten lots
of attention. Further, it was agreed that if Johnny made good progress
in physical therapy, the whole family would go off to an amusement
park at the end of the summer. Otherwise, Sally, Timmy, and Mom
would go, and Dad would stay home with Johnny. Everyone got atten-
tion. Everyone had a shared goal. No one felt deprived or held back.

-367-

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