September 20, 2008

My Questions for You

We've got less than two weeks until surgery day. I'm making lists. They aren't productive lists though. They are stupid lists. I'm at the point of being overwhelmed beyond productivity. It isn't because I have so much to do. It's because I really don't know what I should be doing. So I've got some questions for you folks. Don't balk. Any opinion would be fine, I won't hold it against you if it isn't even a good, honest one. How's that for encouragement?

#1 I'm looking at one week, maybe two weeks, but possibly even a month or more in the hospital with Sally. I have my mother, my in laws, and my husband for help with our four non-hospitalized kids. That means they need meals. It could possibly be just 7 dinners (fending for breakfast and lunch is easy) but could be around a month of meals. Anyone have easy ideas for meals that I can freeze? Kid-friendly, but really easy for me to prep (remember, I've only got 11 days left) and just pop it in the oven and go? I'm willing to experiment with all kinds of crazy food, but I'm not about to leave my mom trying to convince Eli that he should eat the spinach stuffed shells.

#2 I haven't had a child in the hospital (excluding emergency room visits) so I don't know what to expect for a long term stay. Anyone have any advice on what to bring/do for Sally? How about advice on explaining surgery and hospitalization to a child who doesn't have a firm grasp of English? We've already read "Maisy goes to the hospital" about 1,568 times. Any other suggestions?

#3 What about the kids who have to stay at home? What kinds of things can I do now to prepare them? And (this is just merely because I'm curious) should I make them do school?

I'm making myself crazy. I feel like I'm getting ready to leave the country, but the hospital is only a scant 5 minutes away. I'll be coming home. Our kids will be coming to the hospital. My family can call if they can't find the casserole dishes. Though I'm planning on contributing to a landfill by supplying paper products for the time that others are responsible for maintaining sanity around here. Loving on the kids will be enough, I don't need to ask them to run the dishwasher...or cook...or wash clothes...or clean the bathrooms...

I appreciate all of you--your emails and comments have been so encouraging! I'm actually writing this post because so many of you were so helpful with the "stinky urine soaked cast" issue. I figured a bunch of genius' like you could help me a little more! Looking forward to hearing from you again!

Just to give you an idea of my mental state: I bought 15 jars of peanut butter today because they were on sale and (here's the kicker) "I don't want anyone to run out of peanut butter while I'm at the hospital." We do eat a lot of peanut butter, but I don't think we will be running out until 2015 much less in the next month.


Molly said...

Well... I'm not a mom. I'm not a wife. I'm just a 16 year old. So I can't offer any advice! BUT, just wanted to let you know I've been praying for and thinking about your family. May a peace beyond understanding encompass all of you.
God bless,

E said...

I was just coming up with freezer meals for our family today. I haven't tried many of I can't guarantee kid-friendliness or tastiness...or anything. They're from this book called "Don't Panic Dinner's In the Freezer" something or other & it has all kinds of freezer recipes - including's SO wrong that I have an easy time picking those, but am struggling for main course decisions. :)

I have a few I know are good. One has spinach, but my kids do like it. I thought it would be gross when I heard about it, but it's a favorite around here (one of my all-time faves). It's super easy. Let me know if you want me to email them along. I can also email you a few promising ones from the book, if you want (no promises on yumminess though). :)

Lenka seems to know a lot about freezing "stuff." You may want to email her. I'm just learning, but I'm hoping to start being more organized about meals and have loads in the freezer!

If it's too stressful, I wouldn't do school. That's part of the beauty of is supposed to work for your family. I do notice that it does give us a lot more structure...and that might be helpful for the kids at home. It'll also give your "helpers" guidance in what to do with the kids all day - if you can hand it over. The way I do school, it might be more work to hand it over. Ugh. Anywho...just do what works & don't feel guilty.

So...there's my two cents...for the whole two cents it's worth. :)

I'll be praying for you as you prepare and hope everything goes exceptionally well.


Oh, I've always loved Madeline. Not very informative, but a cute, little story about a girl who goes into the hospital. :)

waitingarms said...


Praying for you as you prepare for your daughter's surgery.

I don't have any ideas for meals, but a mom to 13 kids shares ideas and recipes for easy to make freezer meals on her blog. You can visit her blog at:


Rob & Candy said...

oh Apryl, I wish I lived closer, I would bring over a meal!
have you checked out the Cincinnati Children's Hospital list of books for children?

I hope this helps

The Gillman Family said...

Hey April

I can't answer some of your questions as I haven't ever had our little one in the hospital either but I can answer the "how to keep Sally busy at the hosptial question" b/c of my work background. Ask for a "child life specialist". Not all hospitals have one but most do if they are somewhat large at all. Some have a whole group of them. This is a child development specialist who is there just for the kids and families. They will help direct you to a playroom if the hospital has one, and will bring things to your room if you can't get to the playroom. They are also trained in "diversion techniques" so if sally is frightened by IV's or other proceedures they can either give you some special tools to divert her attention or help divert you both when needed. They are trained in how to explain proceedures to children and have the cabability to bring in things Sally will see during the sergery, etc to prepare her. You may want to call the hospital and ask ahead of time if they have a child life specialist. A lot of times they will hold "pre-op" party where you get to go to the hospital and see things before you are admited to help ease them into the surgery. They are huge advocates for the child so if you feel something isn't going right they will be on your side and Sally's side! We will be praying for you all!!!

Kim (YG)

Apryl said...

I KNEW you guys would be great!! Checking websites right now...

Jori said...

Apryl, I am so praying for you all!
A pre-visit to the hospital w/ Sally would be a great idea I think; Only have someone do school if it works for your family; I don't know much for freezing but you can check w/ Van Wettens probly as well. I second with Candy , I wish I lived closer and I would bring you a meal!
Keep us updated.
love, jori

ethiHOPEia said...

This may not help, but have you asked a friend from church to organize meals for a few weeks? I know I would jump on it if I were close to you!

Thanks for your wonderful humor during this trial. May you and your family come forth as gold!


the Steiger's said...

I freeze everything. I was just thinking I am running low on soup. My kids love pea soup and I make two big pots of it freeze it. I do that with chilly and other type of soups. I also make main dishes like chicken, any way we like it, and then freeze it. Then I just make side dish to go with it. I do not know if it helps or not. I would write down all the food your kids like and go from there. If they are big mc and cheese then go get MANY boxes for them :) We like tacos a lot so I make a big pan of taco meat and again I freeze it so I do not need to worry about it when I need it fast. Call me or write me email if you want to talk.
Get DVDs I am sure you will have a dvd player in your room at the hospital. Books and easy games but I am sure the nurses will help you to keep your girl busy.
When it comes to your kids at home I am sure your parents will come up with tons of stuff to do.
And when it comes to school well I would say do a little bit, but that is just me. You can always keep stuff at the hospital for them to do when they are there and bored. But if it is too much I would just leave it alone.
love, Lenka
We are all praying for you and your family.

Anonymous said...

It's so great. It really doesn't take that long to type in a list of things you have in the house once, it'll be there next time you go back. I just keep a list of staples we almost always have. You can click on one food item, or many and they will give you recipes that you have everything for! I have run to my computer many nights 20 mins before dinner and ended up with something fab! It may be worth looking at.

Both times I gave birth we received dozens of white chicken lasagna's for our freezer... must be a popular thing to freeze, at least in Michigan!

Sounds like you have a lot of support, I'm sure they don't expect you to take on the whole world at one time. Let them cook a little!