After every surgery that Josh has had we have noticed three things.
1) He comes home and the first night, sometimes two nights he is elated, smiling A LOT, thrilled to be out, energetic to the point of dangerous (wanting to jump off beds 5 days post op).
2) Day 2 or 3 he becomes moody and depressed, realizing I guess that the pain wasn’t left behind at the hospital.
3) after a month or so, when everything seems to be over, when the pain meds are no longer needed, when the energy has returned, when the dark cloud has lifted… the nightmares begin.
After surgery number 3 those nightmares lasted for over 7 months, it seemed endless, we were exhausted, we had tried all the tricks in our arsenal, nothing worked. The fear had a name we discovered… it was a red dragon. In the end we got a sword and slayed that dragon. It took some time, and we slayed a lot of those pesky dragons but eventually the night terrors ceased.
Josh, now almost two months post op has begun to have the nightmares again. 2 or 3 a night. I have tried all the tricks used before but so far with little to no success. We pray nightly for ‘no bad dreams’ but it doesn’t work. He has even taken to making a bed for God beside him so that God will be with him all night, but still the dreams persist. He wakes up night after night, running into the hall screaming and inconsolable, and I won’t lie it breaks your heart.
I am not sure what else to do for him, they say that a lot of patients that have been on bypass have nightmares post op, but they don’t tell you how to help them. He won’t talk about it during the day, and this time he won’t tell me what it is that he’s dreaming about. I can’t help him and that’s the hardest part of all this CHD mess. Looking at a child that you love so much it hurts and seeing terror in their eyes… there are no words to describe how gutted it leaves you. Long after he’s gone back to sleep you are still lying awake waiting for the next round to begin.
I have come to know many of my readers, and I know that many of you are praying people. Please, pray for Josh to find peace, rest, pray his nights are filled with good dreams and that this post-op horror ends quickly.