My 4 Tips for Surviving a Special Needs Train Wreck
My 4 tips for surviving a special needs train wreck became part of my life decades ago. Our son, who’d had major corrective surgery at birth, was thriving.
Or so we thought.
Then he pulled away one night while I nursed him. His eyes rolled back in his head, and he quit breathing. I screamed for my husband, who improvised his own version of baby CPR.
I ran for the phone to call for an ambulance. Minutes later we were on our way to Rapid City Regional Hospital where the problem was diagnosed. The next day a medical transport plane flew my son and me to the University of Nebraska Hospital in Omaha for more corrective surgery. The surgery was a success, his recovery slow, steady, his long term prognosis good.
Even so, I struggled.
Our son’s health setback gobsmacked me. My husband, my parents and siblings, my friends were hundreds of miles away. I was alone on my birthday. From my perspective, the situation felt unsurvivable.
Yet we survived.
Our young family (including our son who is now 40) endured several more complications that required unexpected hospital stays. Over time I developed these 4 ways to cope with the train wrecks that are part of raising a child with disabilities and special needs.
Tip #1: Note the Ways God Prepared You
Sending our baby off to surgery again was hard. Even so, I was a better prepared parent the second time around. During the stay at Rapid City Regional, my husband went home and packed my suitcase with clothes and items we knew made hospital stays easier. Also, the hospital was a familiar place.
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Jolene Philo is the author of the Different Dream series for parents of kids with special needs. She speaks at parenting and special needs conferences around the country. She’s also the creator and host of the Different Dream website. Sharing Love Abundantly with Special Needs Families: The 5 Love Languages® for Parents Raising Children with Disabilities, which she co-authored with Dr. Gary Chapman, was released in August of 2019 and is available at local bookstores, their bookstore website, and at Amazon. The first book in her cozy mystery series, See Jane Run!, features people with disabilities.
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