After surgery you want to see your child’s gaze, but they are sedated. You want to hold your child, feed them, give them love and comfort…but they are attached to many machines that are breathing for them, feeding them, and giving them medicine. So you hold their hand or their foot as a way to let them know you’re there.
Unfamiliar beeps and alarms may cause you to worry. You might hear about another child who is doing poorly, or even hear a sudden rush of a medical team to another child’s bedside.
The ICU can be a difficult and painful experience for parents. One natural way to cope with your feelings is to watch for signs of progress towards recovery in your child, or in your conversations with their care team. Each step towards recovery is a major accomplishment in healing that your child fought very hard for and your family should celebrate.
But unexpected things can happen in the ICU. Your child’s progress can reverse for a day. Maybe they develop an infection or a problem with another part of their body. You suddenly find yourself facing an added problem that your child now needs to recover from.
Even something small can feel momentous in the ICU – like expecting that your child’s IV will be taken out only to find out that the team wants it to stay in a few more days.
Any event, new development, or setback – big or small – can be overwhelming for parents and result in you feeling anxious, depressed, or possibly enraged.