Category Archives: Apps

The Surprising Secret To Surviving Your Child’s Surgery

The unexpected calming benefits of Angry Birds (image via Rovio)


Guess what I needed the most when my nine year old had surgery last week?  A phone charger.

The surgery wasn’t  life threatening, but it involved general anesthetic and that always ups the scary stakes for parents.

We opted for an 8.30 am surgery slot so that the mandated fasting beforehand would be conducted mainly while he was asleep.

The day before, we got the news that they were pushing him back to 12.30 pm as another patient had a more serious condition and needed surgery sooner.

As requested, we turned up around 10 am the next day and checked in.  Next stop:  the coffee shop to get me a much-needed cup of tea.  This fell into the category of “if you don’t look after yourself, you won’t be in a fit state to look after your kids.”  Also known as the old airline rule of “parents should put the oxygen mask on themselves before looking after their children.”

T was still fasting so wasn’t allowed anything.  In solidarity, I figured I could make the two slices of toast I’d had early in the morning last until he went into surgery so I didn’t eat anything.

And then we settled into wait. And wait.  Unfortunately, the surgery before us got really complicated, but thankfully eventually ended well.  What it meant for us was a six hour wait instead of the expected two hours.

T had finished his 466-page book (the last one in the Charlie Bone series) by the three hour mark. I handed over my iPhone and he happily dove into Angry Birds.

We started running out of battery but luckily the hospital staff pulled out a Wii and T made friends with another boy playing Wii Sports for a while.  Meanwhile, another person waiting to hear news of their loved one in surgery came to my rescue and let me borrow her iPhone charger.

We were finally called and went up to the Pediatric Surgical Unit.  T immediately got scared as he could hear other children crying in the recovery area. Back to the charged-up iPhone and Angry Birds which was the best calming/distraction therapy ever.

At 4 pm, the operating theater was finally ready and off T went.  My battery was back on red, but this time the hospital receptionist took on the Good Samaritan role and charged my iPhone for me while I refueled with food and drink.

A tense hour later, the refreshed iPhone and mommy were back upstairs. I took my first relaxed breath since waking up when Tom opened his eyes, gave me a huge sleepy grin and said “Hi Mom. Is the surgery over yet?”

iAllowance for iPhone and iPad

Allowances are a great way to teach kids about personal finance. (Unless you believe Lewis Mandell, a professor of finance at the University of Washington, who looked at more than 50 years’ of research into the effectiveness of allowances and concluded that that they can backfire.  Especially if you dole them out unconditionally, in whichContinue Reading