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How to prepare your child for surgery?

(7 Posts)
Mo2 Wed 22-Jan-03 21:26:59

It looks very likely that DS1 (aged 3)will need to go into hospital within the next couple of months to have eye surgery to try to correct his squint. It will only be day surgery, so back the same afternoon/early evening, but it will involve a general anaesthetic, and therfore no food beforehand etc etc.
Anyone got any tips on how to prepare him/talk to him about this beforehand without scaring him? Has anyone come across any useful books/websites about how best to do this? Dh & I both feel there's no point raising it sooner than a couple of days before, and plan to have some sort of big "get well soon" present for when he gets home again.

Mo2 Wed 22-Jan-03 21:31:17

Oh - and perhaps I shoudl also ask "what should we be prepared for?" since I've heard various stories about toddlers being aggressive or confused when they come round from the anaesthetic?

jasper Wed 22-Jan-03 23:41:01

Mo2 I can't help with how to prepare your little boy for the operation (but am sure others will help,) but having seen hundreds of toddlers come round from a general anaesthetic can confirm he may well cry a lot and seem distressed and thrash around a bit.Don't panic. He won't remember much if anything about this stage. The brain is just "starting up" again. He will be able to hear before he seems aware of you, so if hospital policy permits , talk to him even if he seems to still be asleep.
However not all kids come out of anaesthesia like this. Some come round quite calmly.
You can be sure you will be far more worried about it than he will
Best of luck.

eidsvold Fri 24-Jan-03 19:39:15

I remember looking through books in WH Smith and Waterstones that explained trip sto hospital. I did not need them as my daughter was too small to need an explanantion for her surgery ( 8 weeks). Is it possible for you to show him around the hospital and ward where he will be? I know they did this at the hospital where DD was. They also had the nurse who would be looking after them when they came around introduce themselves so they were not totally unfamiliar. Not sure if that is much of a help.

JJ Fri 24-Jan-03 20:59:30

Mo2, both times my son has gone under, I've cried. The anaesthetists (two different ones) have said that everyone does it. Truthfully there's no way to prepare and the whole reason to tell you is so you know it's normal.

No advice wrt your son. Will he have to wear an eye patch or something like that? If he is then maybe get him prepared for that. If you could ask someone about the specific surgery, that'd be helpful also. It was for me, but my son's was common: tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy . Mumsnetters helped an immense amount for mine. Keep the thread open by posting every now and then and hopefully someone will turn up for your son's operation.

Good luck.

SueW Fri 24-Jan-03 21:03:18

When DD had an op in the summer we were sent a book called something like 'Jack goes to hospital' which explained having an op. It was a publication specific to our hospital so not sure if it's available elsewhere.

Also, when we attended two days prior for bloodowrk, there were photos on the day surgery part of the ward which explained what happened and the play therapist went through them with us.

We talked to DD about her op from the moment we knew it was going to happen but she was older than your son - 5yo. I was very factual about it and even tried to make it exciting!

Might be worth looking at somewhere like the Great Ormond Street website - they have a section for children but I can't remmeber what's on it.

Good luck.

Carolann Fri 24-Jan-03 22:41:28

Try to find out hospital proceedure before hand. We told our daughter that daddy would be there when she went to sleep and when she woke up. They didn't actually come to get us until she had woken up, they wanted to ensure no complications and anxious parents would have been in the way. I think this added to the distress she had. Also they like to give an injection to get them to sleep before the gass masks go on. To do this they first put some cream on the hand over a good vein and put a clear plaster over it. dd was unfortunately alergic to the cream and after complaining that it hurt for awhile it had to be taken off. Its the only bad thing she remembers about the whole thing. I however remember her cries of "I want to go home" all day. She calmed this down when one nurse explained to her that they wouldn't let her go home if she was so distressed. It was a gromit and adenoidectomy and the results are well worth the fuss.

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