Ever since Namine’s cardiology appointment in which we decided to go ahead with the Fontan – the third surgery in a three-stage heart repair – she has been angry. Not angry all the time, but quicker to anger; more prone to temper tantrums.
Namine is not used to the strength of emotion she now finds herself experiencing. Consequently, she has resorted to hitting, yelling, and popping wheelies in quick succession. At its core, this is a physical outlet for her emotional turmoil. Namine was hurting, and we didn’t know how to help her.
We have bought a few children’s books that speak to the matter of anger and frustration, and checked some more out of the library, as well. We’ve since been trying to get her to talk about her anger instead of just lashing out. As Namine’s anger stems from the frequency of doctor’s appointments; of pokes, prods, and blood draws; and the prospect of having surgery again – the latter of which I’m sure is the primary reason – we also got some books on the topic of going to the hospital.
Observation: it seems that while “going to the hospital” is a fairly common theme in children’s help books, “you’re having major surgery” or even plain ol’ “you’re having surgery” is not so common. The topics are, more often than not, along the lines of being sick and having to stay for a couple days at most. We did find one, though, that was helpful. It was on the topic of ear surgery, something with which Namine already has experience.
I have a quick temper. It has taken me my whole life to get it under control; you can ask my brother and sister just how rage-y I was when I was younger. And Namine has real reason to be angry; but knowing, as she does, that Jessica and I are here for her to talk to – well, that seems to make it a little bit easier.