Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Helping Your Child Prepare for Surgery

This week is the one year anniversary of my daughter, Gracie, having ureter re implantation surgery. You can read all about it here in Gracie's Surgery Story. Reflecting back on that time of my life there are some things I wish I had known. Here are some tips I found helpful or wish I had known when preparing my own child for surgery day.

1. Be honest. I found it important to explain what would be happening during surgery in a simple and honest way. We discussed the surgery a few days before so it wasn't a surprise when we went to the hospital. Side note: DON'T make the same mistake I did and say the doctor will "cut you open" - seriously what was I thinking? Gracie was completely freaked out the doctor would take scissors to her belly.
2. Learning through play. I made a point to have Gracie play with her doctor kit in the days leading up to the surgery. Exposure to medical equipment during play made stethoscopes and blood pressure cuffs less intimidating at the hospital. 
3. Address your own fears. Kids can pick up on their parents fears and feelings. Confront your own fears before trying to tackle your children's. 
4. Ask a lot of questions. No matter how small or big the question - ASK IT! Keep a running list of questions you have for doctors so you don't forget. Also don't spend too much time researching on the internet - sometimes the horror stories can really get to you!
5. Get rest. Before the surgery you and your child should get plenty of zzz's in. Between the stress, the nurses and doctors asking questions and tending to your child - sleep is low on the priority list for parents when they are with their little ones after surgery. 

After surgery Gracie's emotions and behavior was all over the place. Sometimes she was tired, sometimes she was whiny, and she didn't always seem like her self. Always expect the unexpected because you can't prepare for everything. We had new toys, books, stuffed animals, movies and more for her when she woke up - distraction can be very helpful when dealing with little ones after surgery. I found it helpful to have another adult to talk about my own feelings and concerns. Have you guys gone through this with your little ones? How did you cope with your feelings? How did you help your kids before and after surgery? I would love to here from each and every one of you. 

Helpful Online Resources
#1 Medline
A straight forward look at what to expect and a good place to start.

#2 - Seattle Children's
 I found the free printable coloring book all about surgery day and what to expect especially helpful.
#3 Kids Health
This website is a personal favorite that I look to all the time. This page helps prepare parents for what to expect when your child goes under anesthesia.

#4 - Books
Stories can give kids great insight to the surgical process in a way that is understandable to them. There are several children's books about this topic. I wish I had known about these before my little ones surgery!

What sorts of things have your littles overcome? How did they handle it? How did YOU as a parent handle it? I would love to hear from you!

1 comment:

  1. Wow. You covered a lot of topics, things to think about and remember. I'm sure many in similar situations will find the content of your blog more than helpful. Nice job!