Preparing for your Child’s Surgery

In January 2012 my daughter had surgery on both of her eyes.  As you can imagine, this was a very emotional and stressful experience. She was fine and the surgery was a massive success. One year later I was preparing for my son’s hernia surgery. Like my daughter, he was fine and the procedure went perfectly.

the-stethoscope-28_l

The Stollery Children’s Hospital was amazingly supportive throughout the entire process.  They gave us all the information and most of the advice we needed well before either surgery.  I also found some great tips on the Alberta Children’s Hospital website.

Most of the information and advice we were given was intended for the patient. Based on my experiences, here are some tips for the parent:

Follow Your Child’s Lead

If your child is relaxed, relax. If your child has questions, answer them. If the answer is beginning to scare them, pull back. If your child needs comfort, hug.  Wants a drink, go get one. Be there. Be positive. Be calm.

Trust the Surgical Team

The procedure is medically necessary and the doctors know what they’re doing. Don’t fill your mind with what-ifs or you’ll drive yourself crazy.

Bring Someone or Something to Occupy Your Mind While You Wait

No matter how long the procedure takes, it will feel like an eternity. If possible, have a friend or family member who can be there for you. If not, your phone is probably enough of a distraction to help pass the time. If technology isn’t your thing, a magazine or puzzle book is probably a better choice than a novel or paperwork for your job because you’ll probably be too anxious to do anything substantial.

Focus on the After-Care

Asking Dr. Google for every piece of information available on the procedure may ease your mind (or more likely overwhelm you) but it isn’t really the information your child needs you to know.  Don’t become an expert on what you can’t control: the operation. Become an expert in what you can control: providing the appropriate after-care to ensure your child heals quickly and properly.

 

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Stethescope: Photo credit: Alex E. Proimos / Foter / CC BY-NC

Feature Image: Photo credit: Alex E. Proimos / Foter / CC BY-NC

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