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Southwest Orange Wednesday, May 1, 2019 6 months ago

Windermere anesthesiologist pens first children’s book

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Dr. Jennifer Maziad wrote her first children’s book, “A Sleepy Tale: My First Surgery,” to help ease the minds of kids going into surgery.
by: Eric Gutierrez Staff Writer

Going under anesthesia for surgery can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially for a child.

“A Sleepy Tale: My First Surgery” is meant to help children prepare for their first surgery experiences.

When Dr. Jennifer Maziad’s twins needed to have surgery done, she did something for them a few nights before it that she always does for her children: she read them a bedtime story. Only this story was a little different: it was one that she wrote herself about something she experiences through her work as an anesthesiologist.

“I do see a lot of different kids that will come through and they’re really not wanting to separate from their mom or their dad — they’re really scared about why they’re there,” Maziad said. “The whole experience just seems to be a little bit scary and anxiety-provoking for them — and we obviously have medication that can help with that — but I think part of helping a child get ready for this, even before (their surgery), I think it starts at home. Getting them to read something or see some pictures so they kind of know what to expect … will be helpful for them.”

To address that, Maziad released her first children’s book, “A Sleepy Tale: My First Surgery” in mid April. She didn’t always consider herself a writer, but she knows all about how anxious a child could get when they’re about to go in for their surgery. Helping ease the minds of children who are about to go into surgery is one of the things that inspired her to write the book.

“It’s a book about a little boy who breaks his arm and he has to have his first surgery and his experience with anesthesia,” Maziad said. “I wrote it to try to help kids with the anxiety that they may feel when they’re about to have surgery for the first time.”

Originally from the Clearwater area, Maziad has lived in Windermere for about three years. She’s been an anesthesiologist since 2013, and currently works at AdventHealth. Between working long hours and spending time with her husband and three young sons, it took Maziad about two years to write the book. She didn’t have it published into a physical book when she read it to her twins before their surgery in December, but she did decide to self-publish it after seeing how the story helped her own children.

“What inspired me to write it was, actually, my own children,” Maziad said. “We read stories every night before bed, and I was reading to them (one night), we really didn’t have any books that touched on this topic, and if they ever needed to have surgery themselves — which actually … my twins did in December — I didn’t have a great book to share with them to kind of prepare them for that. I actually did read this book to them before they went in for their surgery, and I feel like it helped them quite a bit.”

Maziad said the book illustrates what a child could expect when they go in for surgery. In the book, Maziad comes up with ways to make some aspects of a surgical experience seem less frightening to children.

“One of the things the kids fear a lot is the mask they use to go to sleep,” Maziad said.

“In the story, as the little boy is breathing through this mask, he starts to imagine what dreams he might have and what he could pretend to be. With his mask, he becomes an astronaut, and he launches into space in one of his dreams. In his next dream sequence, he uses the mask to become a diver.”

Those interested in purchasing  “A Sleepy Tale: My First Surgery” can find hard copies on Amazon.com or the eBook on Kobo.com.

Eric Gutierrez is a staff writer with the West Orange Times & Observer and the West Orange Observer. He graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2015 with a double major in Journalism and Political Science. Contact Eric at...

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