How do Children Cope when a loved one is hospitalized?

Last week my dad, known as “grandfather” to the little Els, returned home after 6 days in the hospital recovering from open-heart surgery. He did amazingly well and is still getting stronger every day.
One of the most surprising and interesting parts of this process was the reaction of the little Els. Bakri, our four year old, in particular, was deeply troubled and concerned the entire time my father was in the hospital. He constantly asked about him and acted out in school and at home. I was suspicious that his ill behavior was related to grandfather’s heart surgery, but I couldn’t be sure…until….we finally were able to visit Grandfather the day after he returned home. Yes, grandfather was weaker than usual. We had to be careful around him and not hug him too tight. But, that little visit made all the difference in the world to our Bakri. The next day he returned to school and had an amazing day and every day since has been wonderful.
I think it is pretty spectacular that our children are so close with their grandparents and love them so much. I don’t know how we can do a better job of keeping the grandchildren in the loop when these things happen. I don’t want them to know too much, but they are so clued in to what is going on. It’s definitely a challenge. Thankfully, my dad wasn’t in the hospital very long. Perhaps we can try skype next time we are desperate for a visit! 🙂
As an added bonus, we had amazing support from some of our favorite family members from Louisiana- Uncle Dale and Aunt Reba. Here are some pictures of their visit at our house.

Health Update for Rebekah-May 2009

First of all, I am sorry for not sharing this sooner. I really should have asked for more prayers while we were waiting this out. You’d think that since I have a blog, I’m not all that private of a person. But, when it comes to stuff that is just about me and not the Els, job, husband, house, etc., it is harder for me to share.

Sometime in January, I started having heart palpitations (sometimes called fluttering) a few times a day. Initially, I thought I was probably just experiencing some anxiety and I moved on. But, this persisted over the next few weeks and seemed to worsen as the symptoms came more often. I also experienced chest pain during these episodes. We decided I would see my regular doctor.

During this appointment I had an EKG which appeared normal except for a heartrate of 42. (this is a little bit low) I also had some other tests run and was referred to a cardiologist. We met with him and he placed me on a heart monitor for 30 days. This monitor can store 3 EKGs at a time and all I had to do was call them in. What this did, was validate everything I was experiencing and gave the doctor a clearer picture of what has been happening and how we can move forward. Basically, it comes down to this.

The first thing I have is sinus arrythmia- which is fairly common and just causes benign extra heartbeats. This is no big deal. The second thing that was detected is PVCs (premature ventricular contractions) which is a rarer condition. My cardiologist does not believe there is any damage to the heart. I’ll check in with him again next month. Currently, my treatment is going to include exercise and that’s it. He could treat me with a beta-blocker, but that wouldn’t be good for Trinity. It would also slow my heartrate- and that could be dangerous since my heartrate already gets into the below normal range on a regular basis.

So, basically, he described this as more of a nuisance than a serious life-threatening cardiac condition. I am thankful for his insight and diagnosis and pray that my symptoms will decrease soon.

Please keep me and my family in your thoughts and prayers.

lots of love,
Rebekah