As some of you may know, I recently underwent neurosurgery. During a yearly MRI that I have to have for a pre-existing condition, a tumor was discovered fairly deep inside my brain. But, no worries!! Luckily, I only live about 40 minutes from one of THE. BEST. hospitals in the world!!! Barnes Jewish/Washington University Medical Center in St. Louis. Some of the top doctors and surgeons are there and amazing research and breakthroughs are happening everyday.
I had some of the BEST surgeons that I could have asked for!!! Experts!! Pioneers!!! Innovators! Researchers! THE. BEST.
I had a BRAND NEW procedure done!!!! None of my skull had to be removed and my brain did not even have to be cut!!! It was an MRI guided laser procedure!!! I know, right?!?! AMAZING!!! I feel so, so blessed to have gotten this procedure! It has been 5 weeks and I have made a full recovery! I’m quite certain that if I had to have a procedure done 5 years ago, and they would have had to cut through all of the healthy brain to get to the tumor, that the outcome most likely would have been much different.
A biopsy was taken and it turned out to be a very slow growing, benign tumor. So, this will, most likely, be the only procedure I will have to have. Yaaaay!!!!!
Here’s essentially what I had done. But, they are constantly making new discoveries and breakthroughs so, my procedure was slightly different. Did I mention that MY doctors are the ones who pioneered this procedure????
Ironically, this article was published the same day as my surgery!!!!!! My doctors are sooooo smart!!! Smart isn’t even the right word…more like brilliant. Does that even cover it????
So, on another note….how do you tell 5-year-olds that you’re going to have surgery and that you will be gone for 4-6 weeks??
I talked to them, my principal talked to them. But, it’s hard for a 5-year-old to understand. It’s scary! And, there just aren’t too many resources out there! So, I decided to make my own!!! 🙂 Here is a little book I put together to tell young children about surgery and what it is. You can grab it for FREE in my TPT store!!!! Just click on the image below!
I also wanted to leave my kiddos a little treat on that day that they came to school and realized that I was really gone. So, when they came in that morning, on the day of my surgery, these were at their seats:
I just attached these little poems to some goody bags. Inside the goody bags, I put Hershey Hugs and Kisses and a heart shaped Little Debbie cake. This is also included in the FREE DOWNLOAD along with the book!
So, even though I did all of this, I still wanted my kids to feel more at ease. I knew some of them were still scared and worried about me. I wanted to find a way to make them part of the process and less unsure of the whole thing.
So, the day before my surgery was February 24th, I had BIG plans!!! HUGE plans!!! I couldn’t wait to share this experience with my kinders!! I had everything ready and planned out! All my volunteers were ready with their cameras! Then, that morning, I got the call….SNOW DAY!!!!! Are you kidding me?!?! I usually do the happy dance when their is a snow day! It usually makes me feel like a kid again. BUT, NOT this day! I was sooooo bummed!!
But, then my volunteers stepped up. They said they could handle it. They read Elizabeth’s post. They said they could pull this off. They said “Then, your Kinders will be in surgery at the SAME exact time that you will be!!” How cool is that?!? Talk about making them feel like they are part of the process!
So, first, my volunteers set the stage!!!! First you have to have props. Blood bags??? check!
Don’t worry!! That’s just water with red food coloring hanging on a pocket chart stand! 🙂
You can grab the bags HERE. Just fill with water, add 4-5 drops of red food coloring, zip closed and add some tape to the top just in case 🙂
Heart Rate Monitor??? Check! This was playing in the background during the surgery!
Costumes?? Check!!! These are just Men’s white T-Shirts cut up the middle. My volunteer cut out red crosses on her Silhouette and stuck them on. She even made them Official Dr. Name tags!!!!
I had contacted a former parent of mine that I knew was a nurse and used to volunteer in my class to get some hats and masks for us!!! Soooo perfect!!!
So, to set up the room, I had bought white table clothes from Dollar General to cover the tables with. I also got some cheap silver platters from Dollar General to put in the middle of the table to make it look a little more surgical…did I mention I can’t take credit for these brilliant ideas. Go read Elizabeth’s post too!!! I stole it from her!!! 🙂 And, there was also a blood bag at every table.
We also use our surgical tools, JUMBO TWEEZERS to pick up our vowels. (Yay for fine motor skills!) Did you know that you can get these Jumbo Tweezers at Dollar Tree RIGHT NOW?!?! They are over by the school supplies!!! Yes, they are JUST like the ones from Lakeshore….but, they are $1!!!! Whaaaaaat?!?! Ummmm…yeah, I bought a whole class set, plus some extras 😉
On each table was a picture of a sick patient that matched the patient charts. There are five different “patients” and under each patient was a set of six CVC words that were missing their vowels. In the tray in the middle were all of the vowels. They had to use their tweezers to pick up the vowels and place it in the CVC word.
So, now it was time to get down to business!!! Everyone got their Doctor Chart!!! In each folder there were five charts. Five patients, so five charts. They had to rotate to every patient and fix the words before they were finished. They had a few minutes to look at their patients’ charts to examine them and find the problems before they started.
So, here is my PARENT VOLUNTEER explaining what is going to happen and what everyone’s job is. Did I mention that her child is NOT even in my class this year???? LOL!!! I had her last year! She is just soooo nice and helpful!!! I feel like she would do ANYTHING to help out!!! Sooooo awesome! Just LOVE her!
Be sure to be very dramatic in telling them what the problem is!! This will hook them! Again, this is from Elizabeth….tell them that there is a BIG problem. There are words in our room that are very sick and need our help! It is up to them to get the words back to normal and that they have to perform vowel surgery.
This is another AMAZING person that I just LOVE!!! Another selfless person that would do ANYTHING to help out! She volunteers her time twice a week at our school ALL day and does just about anything and everything! She also helped out with the surgery and took a bazillion pictures for me because she knows how important pictures are to me 🙂
And then, the surgery began!!!
Since this was so last minute for my poor volunteer, I’m not exactly sure how smoothly this procedure went. (I heard it went pretty well!) But, I don’t even care!! To me, it was about people coming together to pull this off FOR ME!!! It was about my students getting to be a part of my surgery WITH ME! I know that this made the day FUN instead of worrisome and scary for them! I KNOW that they had a MUCH better feeling about “surgery” when the day was over and they were smiling and happy instead of scared and upset. This just meant so, so much to me and I know it’s a Kindergarten memory that MANY of them will never forget!!
After the surgery was done, they made these cute little doctor kit snacks from Elizabeth’s unit! But, instead of using plastic knives to put our icing on, we used syringes to squirt it on! LOL!!! Soooo fun and hey, a little more fine motor never hurt anyone 🙂
You can get syringes HERE!
After that, I thought there would be a little more time before pack up. So, I brought in some play doctor kits AND some real stethoscopes that I had (and borrowed) so the kids could explore some different tools and what they are used for. (Can you see the amazement on her face?!?!)
I also brought in (and borrowed) some operation games. LOL! So, for the rest of the day, until pack-up time, they played operation together.
If you’d like to grab Elizabeth’s Vowel Surgery Pack, you can find it by clicking on the picture below!! It’s a MUST. HAVE. I’m pretty sure I’ll be using it every year….but, just to review vowels. I’m hoping I never have to go through the surgery part again! Ha!!!