A Glimpse Into Our Child’s Surgery

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As some of you may know, my son recently had a pretty major surgery that required him to stay 3 days and 2 nights at the hospital.

His surgery went fine, by the way, and he is recovering quickly. In fact, our biggest problem is keeping him still enough to heal properly!

From our own experience I learned a few things that I would like to share with you just in case you ever have to go through such an ordeal. Or perhaps you know someone who has an upcoming visit that could use a little advice.

So here a glimpse into what we went through before, during, and after my 6 years old partial nephrectomy. I hope it will help prepare other parents who have to go through anything similar.

When you first arrive at the surgery center someone will walk you through everything that is going to happen, and then three more people will do the exact same thing. This may seem repetitive and you may be tempted to tell them you already heard everything, but just let them do their thing. These people are professionals and the more info you have the better you will feel in the long run.

Hearing everything 3-5 times actually helped me calm down, as the first time I would hear it the tears would well and almost spill over, but by the 4th or 5th time I could handle the news without too much emotion.

You also will get to meet with your child’s entire team of doctors, nurses, and aids though you won’t remember any of their names.

In our case we met with at least 10 people who described their job, reassured us of my son’s care and talked to us about the procedure. We had a Child Wellness Specialist speak with our son about the special mask he would wear during surgery and let him pick a yummy smell to paint inside it. He really liked this part as painting is his favorite activity and it made him feel like he had some control. Then the Anesthesiologist came in and did the same thing. We had 4 different nurses walk us through who we would talk to next, what I would have to wear to go with him to the room as he went to sleep, etc. Finally we spoke to the surgeon, shook hands, and prepared to say goodnight to our baby.

I was pretty much a wreck at this point, just barely holding back the tears so my son wouldn’t see, and I don’t remember any of the nurses or doctors names. I wish I did, though, because they were all wonderful. I would love to send a thank you letter. A note that expresses my thanks for keeping me sane, understanding when I needed a tissue now and then, and most of all, for keeping my son safe.

I was allowed to follow my son back to the surgery room and hold his hand while he fell asleep. I got wear a “bunny suit” which he and my husband thought was absolutely hilarious. Jerk.

Be prepared, the surgery room itself is somewhat terrifying; filled with masked medical personnel everywhere, sterile, pointy instruments, and beeping machines…I was taken aback by the size of the room and everything and everyone in it, but I held it together enough to tell my son that it was “so cool that he got to be a in a spaceship for his surgery!” He thought that was pretty awesome and giggled a bit.

They let me sit with him on the surgery bed, his little body leaning on mine, while they gave him some laughing gas to calm his nerves. The anesthesiologist told him a wonderful Spiderman tale, befitting his awesome Spiderman jammies, that took his and my mind off of what was coming. I laughed as he giggled uncontrollably. It was so nice to see him so happy during a time that was so scary for me.

This next part is where parents need to prepare themselves. Your child will not drift calmly to sleep in your arms with a happy smile on their face.

My son simply went absolutely, completely limp on me. His entire body was slack, his face droopy and his lips droolly…It was the scariest, hardest thing to watch. I immediately burst into tears. No one told me it would be so sudden.

The nurses had tissues ready as I gave him one last kiss and they ushered me out.

We went to the waiting room where I cried freely for a bit and then sat staring at the clock.

Every minute felt like 20.

They didn’t tell me that I would receive a phone call when they started surgery, so when I received a call from the hospital, while still in the hospital, 30 minutes after leaving my son, I nearly had a heart attack that something had already gone horribly wrong. But everything was fine, my baby was as good as could be and I could officially start the clock on his surgery time.

The doctor had told us how much time he hoped the surgery would take…Trust me, this won’t help. Be prepared to sit and stare at the clock, shaking your leg and trying to keep it together for the next 2 hours, in our case, until you see the doctor.

I saw 5 children check in, watched their parents come out and wait just like us, and then get to go back to their child, during the time we waited for word that the surgery was even over. I wish I hadn’t been paying attention because this made the wait even harder. All these parents who got there after us already getting to see their little ones after their surgery….ugh, it was killing me!

Then I finally say our doctor emerge.

When you first see the surgeon come out, your heart will do a quick little flip that something has gone wrong, until you see his or her reassuring smile, and then you will cry again. At least you will if you are the emotional wreck that I was.

Once we knew he made it through the surgery fine we got to wait another hour before we could see him. I was so afraid that he would wake up alone and be afraid or think we had left him. But the nurses made sure that we were there as soon as he started showing signs of cognizance and he had a nurse assigned to him so he was never alone.

Don’t be too worried about your child’s confusion at this time. The anesthesia wears off slowly and my son was terribly confused. He didn’t understand why he hurt or where he was. He kept trying to sit up and hated the oxygen he was attached to. It was so hard to see him like this.

I was relieved when he was cleared to be moved to an actual room with more privacy, where his confusion wouldn’t be made worse by the constant crying of the other poor babies around him.

Once he was moved to a new bed in a private room, he started to calm down and his head cleared a bit. I was so relieved. He could be surrounded by family here.

Poor little guy didn’t even realize he had had surgery until a few hours later. He asked me why his back hurt, why he couldn’t stand up to use the bathroom. Cue more mom tears. I told him he had stitches in his back from his surgery and he kind of giggled, “they did my surgery already? when?” I smiled too, kids are so resilient and strong.

Nothing is every set in stone, there will always be surprises and shocking moments, especially in a situation like a surgery where there is so much that is unknown.

However, I hope that my own story may ease the fears of other parents reading this before leaving their own child in the care of hospital staff. Whether your child’s surgery be for ear tubes or something more major, it is a terrifying experience. The more information you have, the better you will feel.

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41 thoughts on “A Glimpse Into Our Child’s Surgery

  1. I literally have tears in my eyes reading this. You are so incredibly strong and you must be so relieved that it is all over now. Thank you so much for sharing this with us at #DreamTeam. I for one am grateful for reading this in case we ever need to go through something similar with one of our two. It’s a great comfort to read how incredibly supportive the medical team were with you both. Hope that your little superstar is now on the mend. Dawn x

  2. Hi Brandi, what and excellent post and I hope your son is doing okay now. Our son had to have a muscle biopsy when he was younger and it was scary, mainly because no one talked us through what would happen or what to expect. The Greek hospitals are very good, but things are done a little differently here. By sharing your experience you will hopefully have put some parents minds at rest.

    #HappyNowLinkUp

  3. Oh I am so glad it went well, it must have been so tough for everyone. I can’t imagine having to go through it. I can totally see logic behind being told things over and over again. It would be calming and I am not sure it would go in if I was only told once, what with everything else going on. Thank you so much for joining us at #familyfun xx

  4. So pleased to hear all went well. There is nothing more scarier for a parent than not being able to be in control, or to feel helpless where their child is concerned. This post is much appreciated by many, I am sure! x #globalblogging

  5. So, so glad that things went well – I’ve been thinking about him! My son needed surgery (it wasn’t as serious) but I remember waiting. He was longer than they originally estimated and I was scared even though it wasn’t really serious. Sending lots of love to all of you – especially your brave boy!

    Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes

  6. Oh this is a wonderful post. I’m sure it will really really help anyone in the same position to hear your account and I’m so glad that everything went well. Thanks for popping by the #bigpinklink this week.

  7. What a brave little boy! So glad that everything went well. I’m sure others who are going through this, will find great comfort in your post.

    Thanks so much for linking up with #MMBC. Hope to see you Monday x

  8. I think it is so important that you had such open communication with his medical team throughout the entire process. It is so scary for a parent to have to watch their child go through any surgery.

  9. Oh wow, scary stuff. That call would have scared the bejeepers out of me! I am glad everything turned out OK, nothing scarier than things like this with our kiddos!

  10. I love how kids just bounce back, they inspire me. I can’t imagine how I would feel if my child was having surgery, Thank you for sharing your experience and Thank you for linking up to #globalblogging

  11. What a great post to help puts others at ease. I don’t have children, but when my furry child had to have surgery I cried and cried so I can’t even imagine how terrified you were. I am so glad your little man is doing better! And btw I work in the medical device industry and used to have to wear one of those awful bunny suits every day! 🙁 Was not my favorite looK! Lol!

  12. I’ve been on both sides of the surgery. I had a few surgeries as a kid and it was terrifying and exciting at the same time. As an adult I’ve seen my parents go through surgery and it’s heart wrenching. Thanks for sharing your story

  13. Lots of hugs! I can’t even imagine going through that, and I know this post will be helpful to those who are in similar situations. I hope he heals well and is back to his normal self!

  14. Big hugs to your brave boy, I am a childrens nurse and I always try and prepare parents for that moment when their child falls asleep. I hope i help xx #DreamandSparkle

  15. I’m so glad your son is doing well. This is a great and informative post. It’s always good to be prepared and knowledgeable in case someone you know needs to have surgery.

  16. Surgery is scary but you both handled it well. It is terrifying to see your little one go so slack. My husband said the same of me when I had to have surgery. Hope all is well and healing like it should.

  17. So glad to hear he’s healing well. I’ve had to deal with a few surgeries for my kids as well, my oldest has had 4 and then 2 of my others on their eyes but theirs was minor. It’s so scary especially trying to keep it all together for them!

  18. So glad to hear he is doing well!! I can only imagine how hard that must have been for you. Thank you for writing such an informative read for other parents who have to go through the same thing!

  19. Thanks for sharing your story; I can only imagine how difficult each waiting moment must be. It sounds like your son had a great team of medical professionals. Glad to hear he is doing well!

  20. First, BIG hugs to your little man and to you. I’m a pro when it comes to surgery. Fortunately, I’m usually the patient. Unfortunately, I’ve walked both of my children through surgeries and OMG it’s so, so, so beyond terrifying. I love that you shared this in such detail. I have no doubt it will be of comfort to another Mama out there who has to go through it. XOXO
    #sayanything

  21. What a great way to put other mums who will go through a similar experience, at ease Brandi. So glad it all went well.

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