View Full Version : Visitors - how soon, how many, am I just paranoid?

02-23-2009, 08:07 AM
Based on conversation in a different thread.

I'm just being overly paranoid that DD is going to get swamped with a bunch of teens who probably don't grasp how serious this surgery is.

I keep hearing of all these plans these kids have to come visit her. I don't think they realize just exactly how hard this will be. The biggest catch is Carolyn's birthday is March 10, she has heard some girls saying they are planning on visiting because it's her birthday. I'm 99% sure she won't be up to visitors on her birthday. I don't know how much is just talk and how much is real plans.

The only thing in my favor is the hospital is about an hour away, so I don't even know if there would be all that much time for them to drive an hour after school (and their after-school activities) to make it there before visiting hours end and then the hour drive back home. I do know one of the moms said that maybe they could get a group of them together to come visit but at least she would call first before making the trek up there and is thinking on Thursday or Friday if she's still in the hospital (surgery on Monday).

I'm just thinking they are going to overwhelm her or something. I just know that most of the time when we don't feel good, we are more or less "just leave us alone" types.

I know her brothers won't really have a chance to come visit her but I will be calling them after-school each day more than likely. I'm not so sure about my parents coming to visit. We are still in the midst of working those details out (the double-edged sword for the hour away and a dad who doesn't like driving in a lot of traffic...there is *always* traffic near Chicago!)

So, just how up were your kids for visits from their friends. I'm sure it will be nice to see them but was it "I really wish they would just go away right now" for them?

02-23-2009, 08:33 AM
W.R.T. large groups of friends, it is impossible to say ahead of time how your daughter will feel and whether she will want to do that. There is no need to either make plans about this or avoid it ahead of time. Just play it as it lays.

My daughter only had immediate family visit when in the hospital... me around the clock except for a few hours I would go home and shower while my husband brought my other daughter into the hospital each day after school. These visits were essential for all involved so there was no aspect of being up to it w.r.t. my husband and other daughter visiting.

It's a tougher call for friends. I don't think my daughter would have wanted friends to visit on all but the last one or two days but that's just my guess. She was very glad to look at the poster that over a hundred kids signed that her sister brought into the hospital. We hung that she enjoyed looking at it.

Good luck.

02-23-2009, 08:34 AM
I commented on the other thread also. But to emphasize, my daughter was okkay with a few short visits around the third day but she still would fall asleep on and off. She was never ready for a "group" of people especially those who wouln't understand the seriousness. I would think your daughter would be ever so thankful later if you would shield her from that.;) Katelyn was so scared of hurting feelings, she didn't want to say I don't feel like visiting, but I could tell when it was stressing her out. She is glad that I did that now. After being home and not allowed to leave that house for a while, she has a serious case of cabin fever. That's the perfect time for a group of friends in my opinion. Her brothers, age 7 and 4 came to visit on the third day and they were okay with the tubes and all once I explained it all to them. One other thing, some people, even if you ask them, don't understand the importance of hand washing. This drove me nuts:eek::) Hope this helps.


02-23-2009, 09:22 AM
Sharon -- That's my thinking.

Carolyn does NOT like people to feel sorry for her & I'm already thinking...this will not go well. I'm thinking the only time that might be good would be say the last day before she is getting ready to go home.

If she is up for it, then I'll be fine. I know I've seen pictures of other kids that have had a group of friends visit them, etc...

I could be wrong but I'm *really* hoping the hour drive toward Chicago is going to be the biggest deterrent (sp?) I have for it. I'm thinking most parents won't want to drive to find the hospital -- it's not really an easy place to find unless you have a map & know where you are going. OK..maybe that's just me. It's not really hard to find either but it is confusing once you get there as it is not like a normal hospital. Since none of her friends can drive, this can work to my favor. On the flip side, I'm just envisioning a van full of her friends showing up because it is a long drive, they would all come together vs. just a few here or there spread out. At least that is what it sounds like through the grapevine. EEK!!! I guess my fear is they are just going to show up unannounced. At least if the parent calls me ahead of time, I can tell them that it would not be a good thing or that yes, she would be up it that day.

I'm still not even 100% where we are supposed to go when we got for pre-op on Friday. All I know is the out-patient area and where the cafeteria is. We did take a tour once but I knew more than the person giving the tour, so it was almost comical. He was a nice guy but I'm 100% convinced he had never given the tour ever before as he had the bracing room, he thought was outpatient surgery (they don't even DO outpatient surgery there from what I can tell). We were only in the bracing room ever once & I remembered it. He just kept referring to a map to find his way...we went in lots of circles. I can't even imagine visitors who have never been there trying to figure it out.

They won't allow anyone under 6 in the patient's room, so her youngest brother won't be able to visit no matter what. As for the older boys, I really don't think they are planning on coming (the same issues with friends works for siblings too...they wouldn't be able to get there until pretty late on a school night, factor in homework and well...not good as they have to follow the same visiting hours too!).

I have pre-warned Carolyn that she probably won't get any visitors just so she's not expecting it. She seems fine with it. My hunch is that the kids are just all talk in regards to the visiting but I want to be prepared in case.

02-23-2009, 11:09 AM
Becky - IMHO, tell the friends to wait til she's home to visit. Hospital visits are very hard on the patient and the tubes/puffy-ness, etc. can frighten friends who aren't expecting it (this is a HUGE surgery). Once she's home, they can come by to cheer her up (if she's feeling well) and often, this helps boost her recovery (she wants to get better so she can be more interactive with the friends). Same goes with small siblings. Hospital visits can be very stressful. If they saw her when she is not doing well, they will think the worst (kids have vivid imaginations!). It may be best to bring her home and let them see her then. The only drawback to that is they may not understand the huge-ness of this surgery. Hopefully they understand to not trip her, push her, bump into her, wrestle with her, etc.

Good luck with this part. If you know the friends' parents at all, I'd make a few phone calls to let them know she won't be up to visits until she's home. I've even had nurses ask me if I want them to enforce the "no visitors" rule (lying a little, but for the patient's best interest).

02-23-2009, 11:55 AM
W.R.T. large groups of friends. . .
Good luck.

What is W. R. T.?


02-23-2009, 11:58 AM
Paula will be having surgery 2-2 1/2 hrs. away from home, so I don't think anyone will be making the trip.

It looks like it will be her dad and me.

Once we get home, it's hard to say. We are pretty private and don't expect to tell people in her 4-H activities that she's going in for surgery til close to the date mainly b/c she will be missing out on the meetings and such.

I hope that some of the kids call and such once she gets home, but they get so involved in their own lives, I don't expect much from them.


02-23-2009, 12:34 PM
What is W. R. T.?


With Respect To...

sorry. :)


02-23-2009, 04:49 PM
Sidney wasn't ready for visitors until he got home. He had several individuals visit right after that--he was happy about it, but he would tire easily. About 4weeks post-op 5 of his friends came over for card games one afternoon and evening. He loved that, and was well enough to participate and have a good time.

We, too, found that support from his classmates was important to him in the hospital. We set up a care page blog (another mom suggested it to me--a great idea) and I updated it daily. His biggest thrill was when his class responded from school one day when they were all in computer lab. I read their notes to him and he dictated responses for the blog. Kids so enjoy knowing their friends care, but there are other ways to express that besides a personal visit. We were far from home so there was no way any of Sidney's friends could be there in any case.

I bet your daughter would enjoy a late birthday celebration at home when surgery and the hospital are behind her and she feels good enough to really enjoy it.

Mary Ellen

02-23-2009, 06:39 PM
We are all different but our experience was like this. I stayed with Patrick 24/7. Aside from teenage siblings coming on day of surgery and Dad coming everyday, the only visitor that came (distance was a factor) was my brother and sister in law. Patrick more or less slept the whole time and I felt exhausted after they left. I just wanted to sit and be mindless, didn't feel like making small talk and was so happy when my other brother and family decided to visit us at home instead.

02-23-2009, 07:25 PM
Becky, it's hard to predict how your daughter will feel from one day to the next. Our dr. said its best not to have too much commotion going on. Our dr. and nurse also said we could use them as an excuse, saying, "dr. doesn't want many visitors right now." That way, no ones feelings are hurt. I think family and friends really mean well and want to show their support, but like mentioned prev., they do not understand the magnitude of the surgery. We had a lot of ups and downs. We only had my parents visit. Kaitlyn was doing pretty good, then my father-in-law came the next day, and she ended up having a bad morning. She scared him to death, and it was just a down time for her. I felt sooooo bad for him to see her like that. He never went back to see her while she was in the hospital. My parents would come in the afternoon, so I could go get something to eat, take a walk, or get fresh air. On the 3rd day, Kaitlyn had two visits from aunts. She doesn't even remember them coming.
What hospital in chicago are you having the surgery at? We were at childrens memorial. They also offer the opportunity to set up a free webpage. It's called carepages. It is really nice because we could update news, to everyone at one time. Then they could send messages to Kaitlyn. It helps to relieve you from making 20 phone calls to all family & friends all the time. Tracy

02-23-2009, 07:45 PM
Like Ramona said, I stayed 24/7 also. 1 week in the hospital, and I was probably running on 28 hrs sleep. Kaitlyn wasn't in the talkative mood, neither was I. You both will be exhausted.
We had a rough day on our 3rd day home. What turned out to be only a niece coming over to watch movies turned into 10 family members coming over. My sisterinlaw brought dinner which was nice, but everyone stayed longer than I preferred. I went to the back to go lay down, but couldn't sleep. I was not in the mood to entertain, and they didn't get the hint. That was a tiring(sp)day. Tracy

02-23-2009, 08:23 PM
I do have a Carepage set up.

She also has a private Facebook group for her friends. We tried to get them to sign up for Carepages but that didn't seem to work too well...this way...she has invited the friends she wants to the group & I can do an update that way. Unfortunately, 1/2 my family is in the dark ages...even my aunts that have e-mail, said they would just prefer my mom call them with updates.

Providing I can somehow manage to get on the internet. We will be at Shriner's...I've heard through the grapevine that they do have a few laptops you can borrow but their internet connection is spotty. I'll do what I can but I'm not going to stress about it.

Between the Carepages & Facebook...I can at least update most people that way.

02-23-2009, 08:42 PM
Sounds like you got it under control!! Like you said , don't stress over it! :)

02-24-2009, 06:15 AM
Trust your instincts. Be prepared for some grief from some people about your visiting rules. My mother-in-law came to the hospital once and overstayed her visit. Jamie ended up going to sleep while she was there and MIL got bent out of shape that Jamie didn't stay awake for the entire two or three hour visit! Then again MIL is the same person who didn't understand why I wouldn't take Jamie to her house where there would have been 20-30 people for Christmas when she was about 2-3 weeks post-op.

You know your child best. Speak up and know that what you are doing is what is best for your child's well-being. There will be plenty of time for visits when she is several weeks post-op, feeling better, bored and driving you crazy!

Mary Lou

02-24-2009, 06:42 AM
With Respect To...

sorry. :)


Thanks, I'm still learning the internet lingo! :)


02-24-2009, 07:38 AM
That's not internet lingo as far as I know. I've been using that long before newsgroups, forums, etc.

02-28-2009, 05:19 PM
My experience in the hospital was very different from what I've read here. I was almost 16 when I had my 1st surgery, and didn't really want my parents around all the time.

Since the hospital was about 25 minutes from home, My parents were able to work half days the whole time, and come visit me before and after work, and I think it worked out best that way. I was able to just relax and sleep a lot, and wasn't worn out by having them around and feeling like I needed to be awake and social. They were also able to keep a somewhat normal life while still being close enough to come to the hospital immediately of something happened.

I also had other visitors, but since it was so close to home it was easy for people to stop by for 10-15 minutes at a time. I remember several aunts and uncles coming, My ski coach and his daughter (who was also on my team) brought a poster the whole team had signed, my horseback riding instructor/ 4-h leader and the barn owner came a couple times, and a friend of mine who lived down the street from me and was close with the whole family. I didn't have any school friends visit in the hospital.

02-28-2009, 06:06 PM
... I'm thinking the only time that might be good would be say the last day before she is getting ready to go home.


If they're going to drive a distance to see her on the last day, why not just wait until she gets home? The last day, they'll have pulled her off the PCA ... and that may or may not be unpleasant.

You can't anticipate how she'll feel in the days after surgery, but I can guess she'll feel she's lost a LOT of her privacy. Doesn't put you in the greatest frame of mind for visitors, you know? (especially at that age)

I had a few visitors ...

PNUTTRO came twice, and she can attest I was a horrid host on her 2nd visit: My IV had infiltrated (i.e., no PCA), I was arguing with the nursing staff to get someone up there who could replace it using buffered lidocaine (they tend to blow right through my veins, and I'd rather be numb if they have to stick me 10 times!), and I was in a rotten mood. Meanwhile, I was limping along with oral pain meds and limping BADLY.

Play it by ear, but set up some way beforehand of communicating with her friends whether they should come or not. That should cover it either way.

Best regards,

02-28-2009, 07:22 PM
I know every kid is different. I was horrified when Jesse told me before his surgery about all the friends that would be visiting. The pre op staff reminded us Jesse was there to heal and shouldn't be worrying about "entertaining" . (and how he looked, etc)
His surgery was done on a Monday. His only visitors the first 3 days were his parents and grandparents. On wednesday he was just staring to walk across his room and had the PCA removed.
Not all the kids that said they were going to visit did.(Thank goodness) His girlfriend did visit twice and two girls from school came together one early evening. I know after his gf was there he was exhausted from staying awake so long. (he was still napping often)
I think Jesse enjoyed the visits he got at home more because he was napping less and boredom was stating to kick in.
Honestly, I would wait til she got home.

03-01-2009, 11:03 AM
Alexander was so totally out of it in the hospital, he only remembers who visited on the last day or two. But he wasn't up for any real conversation and wasn't capable of much interaction at all. I stayed the whole time, my husband came on and off throughout the day and my in-laws were visiting during the surgery to help with my younger son- so they visited too. Although it was nice to see people/friends/visitors, it was also stressful.

As far as friends go, my opinion, for what it's worth, is to wait until she's home. Although maybe she's such a social girl that, despite tubes and bandages, puffiness and a foggy brain, her friends still might (if they can handle all of it) help her feel better. I found that when most kids/teens showed up to visit with their parents, they really couldn't wait to leave.

Good luck with everything.

03-01-2009, 03:01 PM
I'm thinking it definitely is better for her to wait.

I was just thinking of all the "talk" I've been hearing from the kids. I'm actually assuming most of it is just talk and none of them are going to make the effort to come visit. At least that was my assumption until the one mom said maybe she would drive some of the kids up to see her. At least she did say she would call first to see if Carolyn would be up to it.

We will just have to play it by ear. We really won't be in the hospital that long and now I've heard PICU about 2 days vs. the 1 day I had heard earlier...so Monday/Tuesday PICU and I've heard anywhere from Thursday to Saturday for going home.

Definitely will just have to wait and see how things pan out.