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Hello !
Maybe as you know it my daddy is at the hospital because he has pneumonia.
Since he has been there (3-4 days) his condition has evolved in a good way. He regained some weight and even if Dad stays on a drip and with a breathing mask he should be able to take them off in two short weeks, which is still pretty positive.


Now it is true that he is still very weak, his face is very tired, he has a really pale complexion. And he gets tired very quickly, he told me several times of his desire to see the children, who I recall are 2 and 4 years old. Also the older one has asked to see him too and the small one often ask where his grandfather is and say he misses him.


It seems obvious to me that all three have a great desire to see each other. The hospital allows visits from the children as long as they are calm (which they are), but what I fear is their reaction to the sight of my daddy's physical condition and especially with all the machines. Even when explaining to them, I don't really know what I could say to them to prepare for this terrible shock which would hurt all three of them, especially my dad. I need your opinion.


Do you already think that it is wise to bring the children to him, who so want to see him and who would bring him so much joy and innocence ? And then how to explain to the children his condition who might be a little shocked ?

🪴 U P D A T E 🪴

So this Sunday I took the children to see their grandfather.

Beforehand I had taken pictures of him in his bed with all the equipment and made a drawing to explain the functions of the machines to them. I had them run around the house so that they could feel the sensation of shortness of breath and understand better.

Friday they called him by FaceTime for 10 short minutes. They reacted well and were very very smiling, they asked all their questions. My dad was very moved to see them.

Sunday we arrived a little early so that I could show them around the hospital, the different parts and the garden.
When they got to the room my dad was asleep and I preferred to wait for him to wake up. 30 minutes later he woke up and the children sat on his bed, they hugged each other, my dad read them a story, they gave him pictures they had made and after talking a little of their week at school, of the future vacation, they left to let him rest. They stayed 45 minutes in total, with the 30 minutes my daddy slept.

On the way home they asked me more questions and we talked about what might happen after discharge from the hospital and the happy memories the three of them have.

So everything was fine and this is because of you. I wouldn’t had all those wonderful ideas without you so I really wanted to thank you !

XXX
Mary 🪴
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funkygrandma59 Jun 28, 2021
That's wonderful!!! I'm so glad they all got to see each other, and did so well. I know that made your dads heart very happy to be able to spend time with them. And you handled it like a pro. Good for you.
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I think as long as you explain to them grandpas condition, and any equipment he may have attached to him, they should be fine.
Perhaps next time you go for a visit, take a picture of your dad in his bed with whatever he has on him, and then you can show it to your children ahead of time to gage their reaction. That should give you an idea on whether to proceed with the kids visit or not, and will prepare them for what grandpa looks like now.
I think it will do them all good(especially your dad in his healing process)to be able to see each other. And you may have to show them the picture(s) more than once so they are not shocked. Best wishes.
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MaryBX Jun 20, 2021
That’s a good idea 😉 and indeed it could show if they are ready or not.
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No, not until he's better than this anyway. You can explain all you like, the children are far too young to make anything of your explanation until they see their beloved grandpa looking like death warmed up and with a frightening mask clamped over his face. I'll put money on it that the younger one will scream his poor little head off. Give it a few days yet.
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MaryBX Jun 20, 2021
That’s really interesting to me and helpful to have all your different opinions and point of views. It could be better too, I’ll think about it.
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If you decide to take the 4 y/o to visit, it might be helpful to explain what the "machines" are. In particular, if there is a display showing pulse and BP, it could be mentioned that it is sort of like a speedometer, except for the heart. Turning it into a "learning opportunity" might be helpful in taking the edge off fear or shock. I assume a 2 year old is not capable of understanding such things.
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disgustedtoo Jun 24, 2021
You might be surprised what young minds are capable of....
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Could you set up a video chat first for them to see him where his face is the only thing visible? Then maybe a second video chat with a pan of the various equipment to prep them? This might give them an idea in 2 dimension before the reality. Just a thought.

My mom was at home to die and had oxygen on. She was still responsive. I went to help my dad care for her for those final days. My son who was 6 at the time came for a couple of days. He went to her bedside and said goodnight but wouldn't hug her. I could see the hurt in her eyes. As I put him to bed I told him I noticed he hadn't and I'd never make him hug anyone if he didn't want to, but wondered why he hadn't. "I didn't like that green thing in Grandma's nose". It was the oxygen tubing. Shame on me, (nurse) not having explained it to him ahead of time. After I did, he spontaneously jumped out of bed, ran down to her room, up on her bed to give her a big hug goodnight.

My son was part of the whole process. I took him to the cemetery where she was to be buried next to my older brother and told him what the service and burial would be like and that yes, even 8 year olds die. He grew up to become a funeral director. The head of the program said that kids who did not grow up in the family business but chose to become a funeral director, did so due to a good experience around death and dying.

Kids learn to handle life by watching how we experience the good and challenging. When we shield them from everything, they don't have the skills to deal with emotional challenges themselves later in life. With your support and understanding, use that to decide.

Trust your instincts. With good explanations, many kiddos can handle situations many adults cannot.
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disgustedtoo Jun 24, 2021
With good explanations, many kiddos can handle situations many adults cannot.

Gear the "explanations" to their age level - keep it simple. They don't need to understand HOW the mask or tubing works, just that it is to help grandpa, so that he can get better and come home!

I do think a video with him "talking" to the kids, greeting them, telling them how much he misses them and wishes to see them could help. A video chat might be even better, where they can actually see and hear each other, and they can be encouraged to ask questions. Observing their reactions will be the deciding factor.
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My mother died when I was 8 years old in the racially segregated wards of a pennyslvania hospital. They let me and siblings (7, 3) visit once. We all talk about how important that visit was to us and wish we had been allowed to visit more
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cwillie Jun 24, 2021
My bother died when his children were 5 & 7 and they were there with their mother right up until the end. As far as I know they weren't traumatized by this experience.
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I grew up in the era of children not being allowed in hospitals. I remember my parents taking me for window visits with sick relatives, with mom and dad taking turns going in. All this did was heighten my curiosity and concern about what was inside. In contrast, my children grew up going to both hospitals and the nursing home, they’ll all say that they’re glad to have had the experiences. Hard things are part of life, children learn empathy and care for others by seeing people in a hard place. They aren’t traumatized, they’re learning and growing as people. Likewise, while in high school, my classmates and I had a friend die. Many of my classmates were terrified of attending a funeral, having been shielded from them theIr whole lives. I’d gone to funerals my whole life and didn’t have the same dread and apprehension. I’d encourage visits, good for both patient and children
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I think since your Dad wants to see them, the children should come for a short visit.
You could explain before hand about all the machines.
If you make light of it the children will be just fine.
They'll be curious and just tell them they can ask any question they want.
You might even take a picture of him in the Hospital bed with all the machines and let the kids see the pic beforehand.
The kids will follow your lead, if you act all anxious. sad, ect then they will too, they'll take their que from you.
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MaryBX Jun 25, 2021
I will try to be as calm and happy as I can… but that’s not easy.
Thanks for your answer.
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I would not bring young children to see their grandparent in the hospital when they are seriously ill & hooked up to tubes & machines. Not in a million years. It's a traumatic event for them, no matter how 'mature' you think they are, they are probably unable to handle the scene.

When I was 17, I went to see my mother in the hospital who was recovering from a hysterectomy (unnecessary) and lying in the bed with no tubes, no machines, no nothing. Just looking pale & playing up the drama big time. I am 64 now and still remember feeling traumatized by seeing her like that. If that helps you determine the 'right thing to do' in this case, great.

It may be a better idea to have a Zoom call or Facetime with grandpa and the older children for a few minutes to see how they react to him over a screen. Immediately shut it down if they get upset and tell them something went wrong with the connection.

I just don't believe in traumatizing our youth unnecessarily. Call me silly. There's a whole lifetime ahead of them to deal with reality, but for the very young, it's better to deal with Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny while they still can. There's plenty of time for the reality of death and suffering to deal with in their future.
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MaryBX Jun 25, 2021
Yes I know… they are probably too young…
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I was very close with my Grandma on my dad's side when I was really young. When she went into the hospital, I was not allowed to go in to visit, I could only wait in the lobby while my parents visited. She passed away a short time later but I wasn't allowed to go into the funeral home for visitation or allowed to go to the funeral, as my parents were afraid of me seeing my grandma in the casket.

It's had as an adult to see someone you love and really care about hooked up to machines and barely hanging onto life. Years ago, here at least, you had to be 14 years of age to visit someone in the hospital, they told me 13 was too young and I couldn't go in. Experts now agree, everyone was wrong back then, I hear the news my grandma was taken by ambulance then my parents show me where she's buried in the cemetery with a big gap between here and there and no closure.

I don't feel children should be forced to do what they are not ready for, but if you explain their grandfather's condition, that he's really sick and needs rest, It can be very good for your father to see his grandkids and it will help them understand whats going on if they are allowed to see him.

Visits by children should be case by case. It depends on how well the know the person, their level of maturity and understanding, but you can always end the visit if you see it's not going well. We only have so many days to be on this earth and we never know when our time might unexpectedly come, so it would be good for the kids to see him while he's still around.
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MaryBX Jun 25, 2021
I am deeply sorry for your Granny…
But yes it should be case by case… and we don’t know exactly what could happen… but the doctors are positive so I try to think that way too.
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