1.07.2013

Post-Op Creative Ideas! Help!!

Ok friends-

I need some creative, resourceful brains to help me out!  Here's what life will look like for us in the next 3 months:
January:  2 surgeries (1 per kid) with two hospital stays
February:  2 kids in casts (Ellie in bilateral full leg casts to her hips and bilateral arm casts & Will in a full arm cast totally covering hand)
Also - the new kitten will have his claws removed so he will be in casts too!
March:  1 surgery (Ellie) & new casts for her on her legs, arm casts off, Will's casts off
April:  Ellie finally gets casts off & we are casts free & I can breathe a sigh of relief!!

Here's the deal:  I need help!  I'm trying to stockpile some ideas for "activities to do with kids who are recovering from surgery and stuck in casts."  I'm working on the assumption that they are going to be mostly stripped of their independence while in casts.  I mean, Ellie will have all four limbs in casts.  Yikes.  Though Will will only have one limb in a cast, he basically uses both of his arms/hands to pretty much do everything... with his right arm/hand totally encased in a cast, I'm assuming mosts tasks will be difficult or impossible for him for awhile.
(As a sidenote, thanks to this journey we are on, we've met several friends who don't have hands or arms at all... and therefore my perspective is so different now than it was several years ago!  I do know that it is completely possible for someone to have independence and function well without hands or arms.  It just takes determination and perseverance and creativity and time to figure it out.  I do believe that by the end of his recovery period, Will will have figured out how to do things using his left elbow or somehow using his cast & left arm.  Hopefully, by the end, he will have figured out some basic tasks like toileting or feeding himself.  But, I think those adaptations take time.  So, really, it's the first 2-3 weeks that I think will be the most difficult for him as many of the things he has adapted to do independently with two arms (like going to the bathroom by himself, getting dressed, feeding himself, taking a drink, playing, writing, etc) will be very difficult and will require assistance.)

So- I'm trying to gear up my own brain to really assist my kids a lot while they are in casts.  I'm realizing that likely they will need assistance to eat, go to the bathroom, hold a color, get dressed, play with their toys, etc.  And I'm trying to build up my patience reserves :)  & wrap my brain around the sudden lack of independence... combined with soreness and crankiness post-op.

I know.  Sounds like winter 2013 is going to be fun here, doesn't it?  I'm sure you are all going to be lining up to just come hang out with us. :)

The silver lining so far has been that I've worked hard at organizing several areas of my house that needed some attention.  My pantry has never looked better.  My laundry room looked great.  Last week.  Now it needs work again.  It's like I'm nesting for a newborn that will be time consuming except that instead of a new baby, I'm bringing home a 2 year old and a 5 year old from the hospital that will need extra attention.

I've stockpiled movies (they each got a new one for Christmas and I promptly took them and hid them.)  But.  I don't want them watching movies all the time nor do I want to use that as a crutch for myself.

I need help to come up with ideas for games or toys they could potentially play with independently.  Also, ideas of where we could go to entertain them would be great.  I've thought of the zoo when it gets warmer - they can ride in the stroller and watch animals.  I've even thought of escaping to some fun big city for a few days and wandering museums but I'm not sure that's going to happen.

Ideas of easy recipes I can make too that they might possibly be able to eat independently or with little assistance.  (Seriously - I think I'm going to end of feeding Will.  He just doesn't have as much strength in his left hand - it doesn't have bones or a way to grip without his right.)

If you've been through surgeries with older kiddos before and can offer any tips I would so appreciate it!  Mine have always been babies or toddlers so this is a new phase for us.  Any games or toys or food ideas would also be helpful!    Just leave your ideas in the comments.  Please oh please oh please help this mama out!

I'm hoping to complete my stockpile this week!  Thank you!!

10 thoughts:

Dee Dee said...

I am not sure if Will is still doing martial arts, but they will probably still let him participate even with a cast; our school let my son with a cast from fingers up past his elbow. Bathing was most difficult for us. I believe you live close to Dallas - the arboretum is great (especially in March) and lego discovery center would appeal to both kids. Does your town have a dollar movie theater or a regular movie theater has does dollr kid movies on a weekday morning?

Claire said...

I'm not sure if you have an ipad, but there are a few apps that create pictures or sounds by tracking movements from the camera, I bet they'd enjoy these. I can't remember their names at the moment,but I will look them up at work. This blog has great ideas for activities for kids with limited movement http://adaptions4kidz.blogspot.co.uk/

Please reconsider de clawing your cat, it is similar to having the tips of your fingers amputated and can cause permanent pain from walking or temperament change in your cat. Try soft paws as an alternative http://www.softpaws.com

JJC said...

Hey Katie:). I've thought about this post throughout the day and came to throw my 2 cents;).

* consider doing some freezer cooking or freezer prepping for crock pot so you can have easy dinners.
* consider letting friends bring meals and even leave a cooler on the front porch so you won't have to fuss over timing the hand off with casting care, sleep schedules, etc
*.when a friend offers to help/bring a meal, maybe suggest a snack basket of everyone's fav treats either for hospital stay or home.
* for will, maybe soups or smoothies so he can independently "feed" himself via straw. I've seen kids bowls with the straw attached to the bowl. Might decrease frustration with dependent care if he can feed himself. You could freezer prep smoothies. Ellie could prob drink too if you need to feed will at times.
*. If will can feed himself, picnic lunch type food is typically finger foods. Maybe living room picnic? Spread out a blanket, use lunch sacks, lunchboxes. Just thinking that changing an element or two of a meal may distract from what the kids expect in daily meal routines and may diffuse frustration.

* "I spy" trips in the car, or give will a list of things to look for while you take a scenic drive
* soccer! Thinking of games that use your feet only;).
* between now and surgery, write a social story of sorts about a super hero who will need an operation but will have a super power/new power or skill/etc to look forward to. Maybe even let him add chapters to the story during recovery. He could prob set up some scenes with action figures during recovery. I don't know his left hand abilities, so apologies if this isn't realistic.
* dance parties will work for will, and I'm sure Ellie can charm someone into carrying her;). Maybe new songs as little surprises.
* I've heard of lots of books on iPad but haven't looked into this. Monkey math on iPad is also supposed to be good. Again, assuming left hand abilities.

For you....
* allow yourself lots of grace. YOU are such an amazing, gifted, patient, loving mom who is choosing short term inconvenience and discomfort for long term gains.
* it helps me to have an "end" date in mind during challenges (like going thru law school with Jeff as a 3rd career;)). Count down the days mentally, cross them off in a calendar the kids can't see.


* maybe story time at the library?

I don't know about you, but it's hard for me to accept help. But, when drew was hospitalized last year for a week when he was just a month old, I was forced to learn to ask for help. Friends and family were incredibly generous with time, meals, and acts of service. I think god was showing me how his people love him by serving one another.

I'm praying for you all. I love reading about your family and hope that our kids could meet one day. I think Emory (almost 5) would have a blast playing with will. And she would LOVE Ellie.

CYNTHIA ABRAHAMS said...

Your local library's website may have Tumblebooks, children can read or be read to.Books on CD or ebooks.
You might do a version of elf on the shelf, let your children pick a new stuffed animal and see what kind of mischief the animal can get into.Tape recorder for Will to create a story about his animals daily adventure.
Scavenger hunts in the house or around the block or town. Find 6 purple things today, find 3 american flags. Visual not actual collecting.

CYNTHIA ABRAHAMS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kelly said...

Hey katie - i dont know if these will help, but i have a few thoughts. Dont know if you guys have been to the new BU childrens museum, but its AWEsOME!!!! Maybe for later in the recovery so Will could be better able to play? Also the zoo here is really, really nice. & maybe a BU basketball game + popcorn/candy?? My kids almost liked the game food as well as the game :). We could meet up with you guys!
Sonic might be a good day to day outting for a special drink?
We have some fun apps on the Ipad that just require minimal touching (not sure if the touch of a cast would work - maybe? Use a toe or elbow?). Word Bingo, Math Bingo, Stack the States, Wheres Waldo, & Brain Pop. Those are prob mostly for W, but E could maybe help. Holland is often entertained by some of them even if she cant do them correctly.
I'll keep thinking...

kelly said...

Hey katie - i dont know if these will help, but i have a few thoughts. Dont know if you guys have been to the new BU childrens museum, but its AWEsOME!!!! Maybe for later in the recovery so Will could be better able to play? Also the zoo here is really, really nice. & maybe a BU basketball game + popcorn/candy?? My kids almost liked the game food as well as the game :). We could meet up with you guys!
Sonic might be a good day to day outting for a special drink?
We have some fun apps on the Ipad that just require minimal touching (not sure if the touch of a cast would work - maybe? Use a toe or elbow?). Word Bingo, Math Bingo, Stack the States, Wheres Waldo, & Brain Pop. Those are prob mostly for W, but E could maybe help. Holland is often entertained by some of them even if she cant do them correctly.
I'll keep thinking...

JJC said...

I spy books

Where's Waldo books

We don't have a video game system, but I think several of them have dancing/movement type games or games where you use a hand to guide an animal or person thru the game. Maybe you could borrow one from a friend for a couple of months? Maybe invite a friend over to play a specifically chosen game, too.

Pat said...

Place plain paper inside of a cake pan, one for Will and one for Ellie. Put drops of different colored paint at spots on the paper, and give the kids each a straw. They can make designs by blowing the paint drops around. We do this with the kids in our kindergarten class and they love it.

ywilbur said...

What about a Mobigo? My sis got JK Nabi 2 and now Mobigo is 'obsolete'. Let me know if you want it. It's touch screen with learning type game cartridges based on disney or such character: some might be too hard for Will? I think Scooby doo has spelling and addition. Hmm...let's see if I can remember others have: Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar Penguins, Cars, Toy Story,...and maybe a couple of others.

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