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Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you have any serious medical concerns, we would urge you to consult your GP.

4 year old having minor surgery, should I tell whats happening?

(22 Posts)
RichardInBermuda Wed 01-Jul-15 16:39:56

My 4 years old daughter has a blocked pour on her eye lid. She needs surgery to have it drained. Surgery is booked for next Thursday. (if I was in the UK this would be a 6 months wait.)
The plan as it stands is a full anesthetic, they reverse the eye lid, do a small cut and then a blob of antibiotic. We did talk about giving her camfetamine and a local anesthetic.
I think I have two options.
1. Treat her like an adult. Tell her whats going to happen. She'll freak and be worried all week.
2. Don't tell her. Take to hospital and tell her that she's having a check up. Say the injection is an immunisation that may make her tired. Basically blag the whole thing. I'm confident I can get away with this.

Basically I'm torn between being honest and being protective. Which option should I do?

Floralnomad Wed 01-Jul-15 16:43:26

I would tell her but not until the day before / morning of the op . Why you felt the need to say it would be a 6 month wait in the UK is beyond me as it's a complete irrelevance other than a dig at the NHS .

IssyStark Wed 01-Jul-15 16:44:11

Definitely not 2!

Does the pour cause her pain or irritation? If so, you can really sell it as a positive about getting it sorted. Any chance of getting to a library/getting hold of any books to make it less scary? There are a couple we've used which my boys liked, I'll dig out links.

I don't think you need to go it lots of detail, just go to hospital, give you an inject to make you feel sleepy so you don't have to try and stay still and when you wake up, the doctors will have made it better.

gymboywalton Wed 01-Jul-15 16:45:13


Madamecastafiore Wed 01-Jul-15 16:46:42

You tell her the truth. She'll never trust you again otherwise.

DS had his tonsils out and was circumcised at 4 and he understood the implications. We explained everything to him in simple terms and answered all his questions honestly.

Writtenbyme Wed 01-Jul-15 16:46:46

She already knows there is a problem because she has been taken to a doctor for it. So being told she is having surgery might help her make sense of the consultation.

Without a doubt you must tell her.

Vijac Wed 01-Jul-15 16:46:49

I think that I would tell the truth but try
not to make a big deal out of it. Eg. We're going to see the doctor. She'll give you an injection to make you sleepy. It may prickle for a second. Then they'll make your eye better and when you wake up mummy will be there with a lolly (or other small gift). etc

sharonthewaspandthewineywall Wed 01-Jul-15 16:47:39

What's wrong with 3) telling her in a child appropriate way, reassuring her it's a minor procedure and allowing her to ask any questions she may have?

TakesTwoToTango Wed 01-Jul-15 16:47:52

Be honest as lying may damage her trust in you afterwards (she'll not stress beforehand but afterwards she'll know you lied to her and that may undermine her confidence in other things you tell her).

To minimize her stress in advance of the procedure I wouldn't tell her a whole week in advance. Maybe the day before or even morning if the procedure. Then be honest but no need for details unless she asks and then use language design to minimize the 'scare factor'. Eg I don't think you need to go into details about flipping the eye lid etc. just tell her she's going to see a dr to make her eye better, the dr will give her medicine to make her sleep and then give her medicine to make her eye better and when she wakes up it will all be done and then you will all go home again (if this is the case).

IssyStark Wed 01-Jul-15 16:47:54

As to how soon you tell her, it's up to you as you best know your daughter. My eldest likes to know what's happening in advance but has to be repeatedly told as he never remembers things!

There's a Peppa Pig book, Peppa Goes to Hospital and also How do Dinosaurs Get Well soon

And homophone corner, pore of course not pour - it's the weather here, making he think of cold drinks wink

WorldsBiggestGrotbag Wed 01-Jul-15 16:49:43

You can't not tell her! It will lead to a massive mistrust of hospitals/Dr's/medical procedures. I had a hernia op at that age and was told what was happening (I remember crying that id have to have time off school!). Tell her on the day in an age appropriate way.

mugglingalong Wed 01-Jul-15 16:53:52

Ds had a hernia repaired. We told him the day before. We did much the same as Issy . He wasn't in pain (umbilicus). He called it a bubble so we told him that they needed to take the bubble away, he would have a sleep and the dr would make him a new belly button. We didn't tell him about the pain afterwards and he had some pain killers and didn't seem affected by it. He got a new onsie out of it too so he didn't have a waistband so he was happy! Hope it goes well. It is far harder for you than it is for them.

Rivercam Wed 01-Jul-15 16:57:36

Tell her in an age appropriate way. Perhaps buy a book ( such as Topsy and Tim go to hospital) Which may help,to explain what's going on.

Hope it all goes well.

RichardInBermuda Wed 01-Jul-15 17:22:57

thanks for your help

sorry for writing pour not pore.

the bump doesn't bother her at all, so she's not really aware it.

i think telling her in an age appropriate way is the right think to do, probably the day before. Buying a book would be nice, but it wont be on island it takes 4 weeks for an order.

The 1 week in Bermuda, 6 weeks on the NHS wasn't a dig. I didn't want anyone questioning or being confused by the timing. The reason for the short wait is concern about the blocked pore getting an infection. Infection are more common and serious in the tropics. I prefer the NHS into UK to private health care.

Rivercam Wed 01-Jul-15 19:21:57

Topsy and Tim are on YouTube so you could show her the video

DeeWe Thu 02-Jul-15 10:26:53

Don't say "making your eye better" because she'll probably go into the operation with her eye feeling fine and wake up with it sore. So to her mind they'll have made it worse.
I know someone whose ds at the same age went in to "make his throat better" he didn't speak to his parents for a week he was so furious that they'd "lied" to him.

I'd tell her a little bit: "Everyone has a little hole like a tap in their eye to let tears out. Yours has got a bit stuck, so the doctor's going to sort that out while you're having a special sleep. It will be a bit sore when you wake up, but then your little hole will be fine." Or something like that. But mine liked details and were better knowing what was happening.

I also would tell her 1 or 2 days before. If you tell her on the morning you may find she starts worrying what might happen today.

When ds had grommets at various ages, after the first time (he was onyl 20 months) we discussed it freely from the point we knew he was having it. LAst time (he was 6yo) he planned how things were going to happen:
He wanted to get up at midnight (no food after 2am) and have a midnight scoot round the neighbourhood and then a midnight feast consisting of a cheese toasty, lemonade and a packet of crisps, followed by pop corn... etc.
He planned the day including things like where (which car park) we parked in, and chose new pyjamas.
That little sense of control gave him security to feel safe.

Imnotbeingyourbestfriendanymor Thu 02-Jul-15 23:25:22

I'd tell her as little as possible at 4yo

Radiatorvalves Thu 02-Jul-15 23:40:00

DS was 6 when he had a GA and some teeth taken out. He knew he would have an injection, go to sleep an t would hurt a little bit when he woke up. He was fine with the first bit....not happy when he one, but fine 30 mins later. Good luck.

AliMonkey Thu 02-Jul-15 23:46:49

Whilst I'm all for being honest with children, if I told DS (8) he was going to have a minor op etc he would absolutely refuse to go. He would physically fend us off and even if we carried him out to get him to the car he wouldn't go in his seat. I dread him getting ill or needing hospital as I don't know what we would do. So in those circs I probably would lie just to get him there. But agree that if possible you should tell her the day before.

Mehitabel6 Thu 02-Jul-15 23:53:17

It was on breakfast TV only the other morning. A survey found that children in hospital were much happier if things were explained to them before they happened. Play seemed the best way with showing on a teddy bear.

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Thu 02-Jul-15 23:57:24

You'll need to prepare her for the eyepatch and a bloodshot eye or she'll be v shocked?

DeeWe Fri 03-Jul-15 14:10:49

Ali I think 8yo are more inclined to worry about such things than a 4yo. Ds worried much more when he was 6yo, whereas 4yo he was more cross.

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