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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.

Does everyone feel terrified at the thought of their child having a general anaesthetic?

(59 Posts)
snooks Mon 06-Oct-08 10:47:22

Ds2 (2.5) is having a minor op on Thursday - grommets put in for glue ear. Both me and dh are terrified at the thought of the GA - what if something goes wrong? Are we being irrational? Does everyone feel like this? (I almost feel a bit guilty because I'm aware that many children and parents have much more serious ops/illnesses to cope with).

Please tell me I'm being silly, I wish Thursday had come and gone and everything is ok.

fishie Mon 06-Oct-08 10:49:31

of course you feel like that but it will be ok, you'll meet the anaesthetist first and can ask questions. actually teh starving thing is probably worse, ds had a minor op at 8m and it was horrid because i couldn't explain anything to him and he was HUNGRY. he was absolutely fine afterwards, bouncing around.

cupsoftea Mon 06-Oct-08 10:50:44

It's awful & very stressing xxx

Hope everything goes well. Can you be with your ds in the recovery area?

BCNS Mon 06-Oct-08 10:51:24

everyone I thing gets worried.. but the odds of something going wrong for you are very very low.
Having been through it.. take tissues because when the put your ds2 out.. you will cry.
go grab a cuppa from the cateen and read a mag or chat to dh while you wait till they call you.. he'll be fine.

It's not nice.. but It's not as bad as you are thinking.

stealthsquiggle Mon 06-Oct-08 10:52:18

Of course you're scared. The risks are real, but they are also very rare.

Talk to the anaesthetist - they will be a paediatric specialist and will be used to parents concerns.

chocolatemummy Mon 06-Oct-08 10:54:28

my dd (4) had her tonsils and adenoids out four months ago under general anesthetic. It is horrible but they made it as good as possible, the nurses got her to blow into a 'magic balloon' which she of course did and by the time they put the needle into her hand, she was not totally out of it but couldnt feel anything and just asked why they were putting pins in her hands! THATS the pint where I had to hold back tears for my little darling being so brave.
They'll be alright......its you that needs to hold it together! lol

DrNortherner Mon 06-Oct-08 10:54:51

Oh God it is so normal to be scared. My ds has had 3 GA's (on efor grommets) and I was a wreck. It was awful.

I told the doctors to bring him back safe! (watch too much ER!)

It will be fine, honest.

WhereWolfTheWildThingsWere Mon 06-Oct-08 10:55:05

Perfectly normal imo.

I was in bits when ds 7mo had a GA, he was in theatre for an hour and I cried the whole time.

Then again I cry when I drop the dog off for a GA and x-rays.

And I made the hospital pin my broken finger together under a local as I was convinced I would never wake up from a GA.

So I am a bit irrational. grin

It will soon be Friday and you will be so relieved, what about planning something really nice for the weekend to occupy your racing mind a bit?

Good luck to you all, it will all be fine.

WhereWolfTheWildThingsWere Mon 06-Oct-08 10:55:29

Perfectly normal imo.

I was in bits when ds 7mo had a GA, he was in theatre for an hour and I cried the whole time.

Then again I cry when I drop the dog off for a GA and x-rays.

And I made the hospital pin my broken finger together under a local as I was convinced I would never wake up from a GA.

So I am a bit irrational. grin

It will soon be Friday and you will be so relieved, what about planning something really nice for the weekend to occupy your racing mind a bit?

Good luck to you all, it will all be fine.

Blu Mon 06-Oct-08 11:06:31

yes, everyone feels that way, and it is completely understandable - BUT at the same time, yes you ARE being irrational, and you do need to enable yourself tobe very calm and confient until your DS is asleep smile.

For gromets the GA will be v short, the anaesthetist stays with the patient monitoring the throughout, and the chances of there being any problem at all really are ngligible. If you travel by car, you are more likely to have a serious accident on the way there that anything go wrong as a resul of a GA - and you aren't goin tobe pnicking about driving there, are you? smile

It feels awful - i won't pretn it doesn't. DS has had 6 GAs now, and will have another a week tomorrow. It is always wrenching to see the asleep on the trolley, BUT the children are usually completely unfazed by it - the pain is all yours, I promise.

They will let you stay with him until he is unconscious - you will hold him on your lap and either they wil give him gas first - which does work v v quickly, within 10 secs, or will be very skilled at putting it in the canula with the child hardly noticing.

Mak sure you know where to wait so that they can call you down (a nurse will usually accompany you) once he starts to regain consciousness in Recovery - you will be there as he is waking up.

Take some easy to eat nutritious snacks and drinks that he likes - he will be v hungry and thirsty once he comes round.

Also - when you ask 'how long does it take' don't be scared if they don't call you for a lot longer than that. IME consultants can often give a v short time - forgetting that often their bit doesn't start for a while - the anaesthetist can spent ages finding veins for lines to go in after the child is unconscious, prepping etc. On the other hand it may all be over in a trice f a small uncomplicated procedure like gromets.

Good luck - it always feels MUCH worse in the run up - and a big relief and not as bad as you feared afterwards.

ListersSister Mon 06-Oct-08 11:08:25

Hi Snooks, I can join you in this - my dd is having grommets next week. I am comforted by the fact that friends of ours work in operating theatres assisting with anaesthetics, and they say that reactions are extremely rare, and they are incredbily vigilant to anything unusual. I know how professional and caring they are, so am hoping that those caring for my dd will be the same.

I have told her about the counting down to one when the anaesthetic goes in, and she now sees it as a challenge to see how low she can go before it works smile (my dd is obviously older than your ds though).

I know I will be fighting the natural urge to scoop her up and run, but she will be fine and sees it as a little adventure.

Have you been told about what to expect re recovery? Do post when you get back smile

cupsoftea Mon 06-Oct-08 11:13:57

iirc - my dd had a blue fluid into the hand for the ga. I don't remember her having a mask but I was so stressed at the time to really report on what was happening. It was for a hernia op.

I could wait outside the operating area. Afterwards I could go to the recovery area once she was installed there and was with her as she came round. It was quite confusing for her as she wanted to get up straight away but was still under the influence of the medication. I explained that she was fine. The nurses were really nice and everything was explained until she was able to go up to the ward.

snooks Mon 06-Oct-08 11:14:44

oh thank you everyone for the reassurance. i think what's made it worse is because usually dh reassures me (I'm a worrywart) and this time he keeps asking me (about ds) "will he be alright?". You see when dh was about 7 a friend of the family lost their teenage daughter during a minor op because of a reaction to the GA. This was 30 years ago and dh doesn't know the details because he was so young but obviously the fear has stayed with him.

fishie yes I am also dreading the starvation bit!!!

And yes I am welling up when I imagine the bit where they put him under and we are there.....DrNorthener - 3 GAs?? You are very brave. Chocolatemummy your tale made me cry too. WildThings good idea about planning a treat for the weekend. Dh is buying him some Night Garden toys as a treat for after the op. It is so so hard being a parent (understatement of the year).

DrNortherner Mon 06-Oct-08 11:23:07

Blu's ds beats mine with 6!

I agree with Blu though, the pain is all yours - your ds will be fine! He'll be charging around afterwards like nothing happenned.

snooks Mon 06-Oct-08 11:24:08

Blu you are very kind and talk a lot of sense - blimey 6 GAs, I can't imagine - does it get any easier? (I suspect not). I am sending lots of good luck and best wishes to you and your ds for next week. Know what you mean about the risks of driving there - so true, yes I am irrational smile

ListersSister yes let's hold hands smile I will report back on Friday and buoy you up for your dd.

cupsoftea - ds has a tiny hernia too!! it is very small though and so I am not worrying about that at the mo (trying to cross one bridge at at time and all that).

Thanks again - will show this thread to dh and hopefully it will help him as much as you've all helped me smile

stealthsquiggle Mon 06-Oct-08 11:24:08

DS was 3.5 but rather than count the anaethetist got him to recount the plot of his favourite episode of some TV programme or other - he got as far as 'x was going out to play and...'

snooks Mon 06-Oct-08 11:25:44

lol at blu and drnorthener's GA competition wink

cupsoftea Mon 06-Oct-08 11:29:00

snooks - my dd had a hernia at the top of the leg all of a sudden so need an op - another dd has a small hernia that she's always had & it should go away the doc says.

Cadmum Mon 06-Oct-08 11:29:38

Our dd (also 2 1/2) had a minor op 11 days ago and our biggest worry was also the GA. She did beautifully and it was much better to have had it done.

Does your son know what to expect? I think that it was really helpful that DD was able to see and hold the mask that would be used to help her 'go to sleep' the week prior to her op.

singersgirl Mon 06-Oct-08 11:30:18

It is scary, and it is perfectly normal to worry. DS1 has had 3 GAs for different minor operations comparable to grommets - a cyst removed from the cheek, for example.

Everyone else has given good advice. The other thing I would be prepared for is how cross and upset and sick-feeling they can be after they come round. DS1 was never sick but he got very angry with me and shouted a lot. After that he was high as a kite for about 24 hours and didn't stop talking/couldn't sleep.

Good luck!

snooks Mon 06-Oct-08 11:34:16

cupsoftea - sounds like ds's hernia, that's good.

cadmum - the hospital said it was too late to make a pre-visit (we only had a letter to confirm the op at the weekend). Ds2 has very little speech (speech delay because of glue ear) and it can be hard to communicate with him. He is not good at all in any situation 'out of the ordinary'. I'm thinking that we may just have to roll with it and be there for him on the day, if that makes sense.

snooks Mon 06-Oct-08 11:35:38

singersgirl - someone in rl mentioned to me that he might just cry and cry for half an hour when he comes round - but I will be so happy!!!

Blu Mon 06-Oct-08 11:40:25

Snooks - Yes, it does get easier - we were half way to blase last time, and this time I do not feel tearful in the run up. That's BECAUSE the experience is re-assuring, and we know now that it is not as bad as you fear in advance - so take courage from that!

The other thing that parents of children having operations can be re-assured by is that DS does not fear it either. He now knows full well what to expect, but is quite calm and matter of fact. He has been having surgery since he was 1, and is now 7, and he has never reacted badly when we have taken him back to the hospital. He has been having some pretty brutal bone surgery, too.

I agree that the starving is the worst bit - but they usually do all they can to schedule children's surgery as early as poss, so if you can whisk him out of the house and keep the him occupied at the hospital he my not even realise he has not had breakfast. We never eat or drink in front of DS on surgery days. We tell him that we are all going without breakfast, and will all eat together when he comes round (this is, of course, a lie, and I am slurp strong coffee in secret like a junkie ....).

G'wan then Northerner - what's the longest your DS has been in theatre? Longer than 5 hours???

Cadmum Mon 06-Oct-08 11:42:10

snooks; Perhaps your plan to roll with it is best four your ds.
Looking back on our experience, I am still amazed by how well dd2 coped. (She needed dental work done due to genetic condition and had been in pain for ages.)

It is all a fading memory which will hopefully make it easier for next time.

The worst part for us was fear of the unknown. I agree with Blu that it is harder for parents than the child.

My little brother had grommets several times as a youngster (way back in the dark ages) and he has no memory of the experiences whatsoever...

Cadmum Mon 06-Oct-08 11:43:08

for your DS even.

(I really need to get more sleep!)

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