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How on earth do you cope with your toddler needing a general anesthetic?

(39 Posts)
IlanaK Mon 22-May-06 12:46:58

My 2 year old needs to have surgery to remove a hydrocele. It is routine surgery (so I am told) and he will most likely just be a day patient. However, he will of course need a general.

I am not worried about the surgery or the recovery time following. But I am terrified about him needed the anesthetic. How do you cope with watching him go under, waiting to hear he is ok, and then seeing him come out of it??

I had a bad experience with anesthetic as a teenager which may be clouding my view, but I don't think that is it. It is just terrifying me!

zazas Mon 22-May-06 12:53:25

Hi - my just 2 year old DD had a general after an accident and I understand your feelings. However I found the staff so experienced in dealing with this and so supportive that they really helped me cope. They will be used to anxious parents and will understand your fears so don't feel you have to hide them from them. By the way my DS will be having the same surgery soon too. I wish you all well.

Wallace Mon 22-May-06 12:58:28

It is hard - you have my sympathy xxx Dd was 18 months when she had general anaesthetic. She was sedated first, so she was so out of it already when we went into the anaesthetic room, that I didn't wait for her to be put umder - I just couldn't take it so handed her over and ran.

We had a 5 hour wait to hear how she was, which was awful, but you just get through it because you have to, and it will soon be something in the past.

JanH Mon 22-May-06 13:07:54

DS1 had a GA for grommets when he was 18 months - luckily I was OK with it, so I was able to hold him in my arms as the mask was held over his face and talk calmly to him as he fell asleep and he was fine. He was groggy and upset waking up of course but was OK after a while.

I know lots of parents get upset (something wrong with me obv ) - is there somebody else who can be with him as he goes under, who can be calm and reassure him? His dad or maybe a grandparent?

IlanaK Mon 22-May-06 13:10:04

Thanks everyone. I wouldn't want anyone else with him except me. He is very clingy to me anyway so will want me with him in a new place. My dh will be with me though. I am sure I will cry buckets.

tallmummy Mon 22-May-06 13:14:54

My DS1 aged 5 and DS4 aged 11 months are both having surgery this summer. I am absolutely dreading it. Like you IlanaK I'm not sure how I'm going to cope with seeing them go under and then the waiting while they have the ops. Both are routine and quite short but it is going to be hard.

Laura032004 Mon 22-May-06 13:20:16

DS had one week before last aged 2y 1m. It was absolutely fine. Don't bank on DH being with you whilst they administer the actual GA though - they'd only let one parent in at our hospital.

We went to a session run by the Play specialist the Sat before the op to familiarise him (or us!) with what would happen which really helped.

He had the GA administered via a line in his hand. He'd had the magic cream, so didn't even notice them doing it (a lot different to Christmas when they put a line in without the magic cream and there were several of us holding him down ). He literally went out in seconds. I had a few tears leaving him, but it was over v.quickly. Apparently them having gas is more distressing?

He was away from us for over an hour and a half, but only in theatre for about 30mins. They told us when he'd come out that he was fine, but we couldn't see him until he started to come round properly. I walked to the coffee shop to pass the time, and by the time we'd had a coffee, it was all over.

themoon66 Mon 22-May-06 13:20:30

My DS had emergency surgery after an accident when he was 2. He was very upset and scared so I stayed right by him, hugging him whenever I could. I also let him hang on to favourite teddy and comfort blanket (bit of mucky old sheet he loved).

I did my best not to look upset myself and transfer my fears onto him. Just be comforting old normal mummy.

When he came round I was right there still, with teddy and mucky old comfort blanket.

Blu Mon 22-May-06 13:26:00

IlanaK - I do sympathise, I realy do.

DS had 4 GAs between 10 and 15 months. In fact, none of it is as bad as you imagine. ALL the children i have encountered (lots in all our weeks in children's wards) all sail through quite difficult surgerical interventions. They are brilliant. the parents of course are in anguish, but hinestly, it's never as bad as you thought it would be when it actually comes down to it.

Talk to the aneastetist. S/he will cme and talk with you as part of the admissions procedure, and will explain how they will do the aneasthetic. It may be via a canula in the back of the hand (in which case they put 'magic cream' on 30 mins before, which completely numbs the skin, and also brings the vein to the surface), OR it will be by gas first. Either way, they will be really good at involving you and putting your child at ease. Gas was better for DS because they could never find a vein at all, and every time, put the canula in his neck after he was knocked out with gas - but you do have to hold them while they struggle with the mask over their face. BUT THIS TRULY TAKES LESS THAN 10 SECONDS and actually if they do struggle it takes a lot less because the strugling makes them breathe faster! Some aneasthetists waft the end of the gas pipes under thier noses before applying the mask, so they are already a bit out of it!

You will stay with your child until they are unconscious...and it is true that it is extremely emotional seeing your baby unconscious on the huge trolley. They only ever let one of us into the aneasthetic room (in cap and gown), but your DH or friend will be allowed to copme down into the reception to theatre with you, so will be able to meet you as you rush out from the aneasthetic.

Before you go from the ward, make double sure form the nurses exactly where you should wait to be told your child is in recovery. they will let you in to be with him/her as they are coming round. Usually, they ask you to wait on the ward. It sounds as if it will be very quick? DS's first op was 5 hours...but then only 30-40 mins. they do seem to work v quickly.

My advice is definitely have someone with you (though most people I see are Mums on their own with their child - I must be a real wimp!) Also take good snacks for you, and for your child - they will be hungry and thirsty very soon after they come round.

You will be AMAZED at how quickly s/he bounces back. Have yogurts, little sandwiches, a drink, easy to eat nutritional food.

DS had 4 GAs in 5 weeks - and every week when we returned to the ward, he eracted with excitiemnt to the posters, the clanky cots...he wasn't deterred in the least by the fact that he kept having operations!

honeybunny Mon 22-May-06 13:39:22

Dont forget to do some role play at home to help you both with the experience when it comes to the real thing. My dh is an anaethetist and he says the children who tend to have the worst experience are more often than not with parents who are freaked out themselves and transfer their anxiety onto the child. Talk about it to your 2yo, not much may go in but you never know, pretend to put some magic cream on teddy, it may feel itchy at first, then talk about the needle in the hand, how it wont hurt cos of the magic cream and then pretend to syringe through several lots of medicine to help teddy sleep. Teddy may get a mask of oxygen, my 3yo thought this made him look like a fighter pilot, to help keep oxygen levels up, and whatever you do dont hang on too long after your child is asleep cos the anaesthetist needs immediate access to your child once they are out of it.

My ds2 had grommets and adenoid removal when he was 3 and thought it was all magical. The staff wished they'd been able to video the whole thing cos he was the most chilled out child they'd ever had to deal. Apparantly it would have made a great educational tool for anxious parents and children.

If you have any qus please ask.

Wallace Mon 22-May-06 15:02:05

I agree about the role play. Dd and I did lots of preparation with dollies, showing her the wires and tubes she would have attached to her after surgery, and where her scar would be. She sailed through the whole thing

shewhoneverdusts Mon 22-May-06 16:40:28

hi
has anyone had to do this with older children? Sorry I dont mean to hijack your thread, but I know I have to do this soon. DD1 (13)is due for a knee surgery shortly and that part terrifies me.

Saggarmakersbottomknocker Mon 22-May-06 16:55:22

Ilana - loads of good info here. Hope it goes really well.

shewhoneverdusts - my dd had her latest GA in Nov last year (she's 12). It all went pretty smoothly but she makes it easy for me as she's had several and is generally very calm. I think it's important they know what to expect and you'll find that the staff do most of the explaining directly to them rather than to you. Don't be surprised that she has to countersign her own consent form.

Older children can often be a bit aggressive when waking too...well mine is They will lash out a bit sometimes and fight off any oxygen mask they have on so be prepared for that. Also don't let them eat or drink too quickly afterwards as you may find that it all comes back. Dd's last surgery was on her knee/leg and her main worry was whether she would cope with the pain - she was well dosed up afterwards and was fine. Just make sure that they keep on top of the pain meds.

If there's anything else just shout.

ernest Mon 22-May-06 19:19:23

well, I wish you well, I just had to go through this for a fourth time last week, and I aadmire the brave mums on here, cos I found it the hardest thing I've ever done. I'll leave it at that, cos don't want to upset you, but if you want the fulll version, not to worry you but maybe to give a different view, then let me know.

I must say though, While I found it really difficult, my brilliant ds sailed through it with a smile on his face and not a murmur. It was bloody hard for me, but fine for him!

IlanaK Mon 22-May-06 19:53:03

Thanks everyone - blu especially for typing so much - that was really helpful

I saw the consultant today and he is having the surgery on friday. He is not allowed anything to eat after 8:30am and we don't have to be at the hospital until 12:30! How on earth will I stop him eating?????????????

Do I need to take snacks with me for after? I would have thought they would give him some food. He is having this at the Portland in London. Does that make a difference to whether or not I need to bring food?

CADS Mon 22-May-06 20:04:27

DS had is adenoids removed at 16mnths. As the others have said the staff were very good and reassuring. I think the best thing i did for my piece of mind was not look at him (just cuddled him and spoke reassuring) while they were giving and anesthetic and the nurses took him before he went completely limp. Watching him come out of it wasn't too nice but had dh hold him initial because he was quite floppy but he soon went back to sleep, woke up 2hrs later and started running around the ward.

Good luck and try not to think about it too much.

Laura032004 Tue 23-May-06 13:17:59

Not great about the food DS had his op at 9am, so couldn't eat from midnight. He was starving in the morning, but we just kept distracting him. Maybe you could get him up early to ensure he has a really big b/fast to keep him going?

Our hosp had toast and biscuits available for afterwards, but we took in peanut butter, jam, our own bread & biscuits (ds needed gluten free), crisps and cereal. Anything easy that he could eat whilst a bit dopey. I'd go for any comfort foods if your DS has any. We also took his cup & plate in so it would all be familiar.

bloss Tue 23-May-06 13:45:15

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Blu Tue 23-May-06 13:56:22

Bad luck about the timing of ther operation - generally they try to do young children first so that the 'starvation' is over night. Give him a good breakfast, porridge or something, before the deadline, and then you'll just have to do your best with distraction...loads of smal new toys. Will he be allowed clear liquids after 8.30 up until a certain time? Have a really good breakfast yourself, too, as you won't want to eat anything in front of him until after the op, and it is important yu keep up your own energy and spirits.

I would never rely solely on hospital food. You may need to get it from the cafe / canteen, it may be stuff he doesn' like - personally I would take a small amount of food and drink you know he likes, to have ready.

singersgirl Tue 23-May-06 14:22:21

If he is at a private hospital in our limited experience they were quite good about getting food sent up whenever (DS1, now 7, has had 2 minor ops in the last year, both day surgery, and one for a hydrocele). This happened when DS1 was in the Cromwell for a cyst on his face, but I had food with me anyway in case. Blu gave me the same excellent advice she has given you! He had the hydrocele done at Chelsea & Westminster and there was no chance of unscheduled food there, so we took a good supply.

The scar in the groin is quite sore for a few days, so DS1 didn't want to do PE or karate or anything involving jumping or kicking. But he was soon tearing around like a mad thing again!
Good luck - DS1 has had 3 GAs now and it is still upsetting for me each time. He reacts pretty well to them but gets rather cross as he is coming round, and it takes him about a week to come down from the high they give him!

Blu Tue 23-May-06 14:36:00

I should publish 'Blu's tips for parents in hospital'!

I must admit that my view on hospital food is based on the fact that I would not feed anything from the trolley at King's to a starving mollusc, and that I used to hide when b/feeding DS because an over-enthusiastic nurse would bear down on me with the trolley shrieking 'a nursing Mum, that's what we like, it's our policy to give free meals to our nursing Mums!'

HoneyBunny - could you pop over to HappyMumofTwo's thread under Multicultural Families, as she is concerned about a GA for a child with sickle cell trait - your DH might have some re-assurance!

HappyMumof2 Tue 23-May-06 14:38:23

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HappyMumof2 Tue 23-May-06 14:38:23

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HappyMumof2 Tue 23-May-06 14:38:49

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Bozza Tue 23-May-06 14:59:32

I've totted it up and my 5yo DS has had 4 GAs. The first one was 2 days short of his first birthday and the latest one he was 4. As for the not eating - ours have always been such that we have to be at the hospital (40 mins drive) by 7.30 am so we have just got him straight out of bed into the car in his pjs. There is always waiting around time at the hospital to get him cleaned up. In your case I would give him a good breakfast of porridge or similar at 8 ish and then maybe break all the rules and let him have cakes or biscuit or anything that he will definitely eat and will fill him up. I would also try and take him out somewhere where there is no food to distract him.

For afterwards, yes they provide food but a 2yo in a strange place might be comforted by familiar food - eg his usual brand of yoghurt. And a pack of choc buttons usually go down quite well later on.

Could you get one of those doctor's kits and outfits perhaps? And play with that for a while. When DS has his 2nd op (grommets at 2.3) he was very cross and upset on waking, struggling and confused. That was quite horrible but he soon came round. He was quite bad at 3.6 as well. But the latest time I got called through and he was just laying there asleep and then woke up and smiled and we read and then I produced some food and it was fairly easy.

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