Friday, November 11, 2011

The Right Way

Spike has never been a complainer about anything. That's usually a wonderful thing but it can complicate issues in recovery. If he doesn't complain about pain or discomfort, how can you know?

Since coming out of surgery, he has been very, very quiet. He will go hours without a single word which is just not like him. We did get him to communicate somewhat with hand signals and squeezes but for the most part he was just quiet and looked uncomfortable. When asked if he was in pain, he either did not respond or signaled that he was not.

The docs said that speech can take awhile to come back but Spike seemed able to talk when absolutely necessary but not otherwise. If he had to use the bathroom, he would say so but if you asked if he wanted to do something or have a particular food, he was silent for the most part.

After everyone else left and the room was dark tonight, I did the things only a Dad can do - I offered up all of the forbidden treats. I let him choose a cartoon or YouTube or video game or book - whatever he wanted because it did not look like he would go to sleep easily and simply insisting on sleep seldom works with even a healthy kid.

He did not show any interest in the usual activities. I then asked him if he wanted a banana.

"Yes please," he croaked.

He spoke! He actually responded without me pushing. I grabbed the banana and he tried to nibble away at it. He soon seemed to lose interest but then took a deep breath and said, "Can you cut it into small pieces please?"

That's the most he has said in 48 hours so ginzu knives flew and he immediately had little banana chunks - and he ate them, boy did he eat them.

He also sat upright which looks so much more comfortable than reclining with his head hanging forward, chin on chest. When he was done eating, I started to lay him back but he kept his head off the pillow and his chin on his chest.

"Does something hurt Spike?"

"No, nothing hurts."

"Why won't you put your head back?"

"Because I am afraid that if I put it back it WILL hurt."

That was not only a full sentence but a sentence FULL of information. I immediately ordered up codeine as he has been on almost no painkillers throughout this ordeal.

"Are you worried about anything else?"

"Yes. My one leg and arm do not move right. That makes me worry."

I explained that we knew that would happen but in a few days he would be back to normal and able to do what he wants. He was very relieved to hear that.

"Why didn't you tell us about your head and your worries before?"

"You did not ask the right way. My head did not hurt but I was scared it would. You asked if I could move my hand and I could a little bit but I was worried about it. I could not use lots of words either."

Equal measures of relief and guilt flooded me. The poor little guy, keeping all of that bottled up when we could have helped him lessen the pain and deal with his concerns.

I then asked why he did not eat much. He told me he was not very hungry most of the time but also did not like the food. Tomorrow, I will lay out a proper buffet for him and have food ready at all times.

Spike is now sleeping more comfortably than anytime since the surgery. The codeine should help but the communication helps even more. Nonetheless, I will err on the side of over-medicating for pain and try and figure out the source of any discomfort.

I think I can get him to talk now and, if I can't, I'll keep asking questions until I ask them "the right way."


  1. What ever it takes. Spike is one tough little guy. And, you are one fine Daddy. Keep asking 'till you get it right. ;-) You are in our thoughts.
    Jim & Joan

  2. Wow, amazing discourse/discovery. May God give you wisdom and many more insightful moments like these.