Helpful Surgical Information

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  1. Picture Lady says:

    I am a former pediatric nurse and the mother of a child with Left Sided Microtia Atresia. Here are some tips that I have learned over the years to help prepare your child for a hospital visit.

    1. Buy some children’s books about going to the hospital and read them to or with your child.

    a. There a number of book exchange sites online where you can exchange books for free, if you don’t mind used books. My favorite is http://www.paperbackswap.com. Or, try the library, or buy new.

    2. Rent, or buy a DVD about a child going to a hospital and watch it with your child.

    3. Buy a child sized doctor kit and let your child play with it. Or, make your own.

    a . If you know someone in the medical field, they may be able to get you some supplies for free or a reduced cost. A cheap stethoscope, band aides, tongue depressors, syringes (without needles) and ace bandages are good things to put in the kit. I bought my daughter a cheap children’s doctor kit from WalMart and added to it with some supplies of my own.

    4. Arrange a tour of the hospital before your child goes in as a patient.

    a. A hospital which caters mostly to children will probably have some type of prearranged tour, call the hospital, or ask your doctor for help.

    b. If you are at all concerned about what your child might see, or if you are nervous around hospitals, try to get to the hospital first, to take a tour of your own. Then go back and take your child.

    c. Or, if hospitals make you nervous, try and have a trusted friend or relative take your child on a pre-hospitalization tour. And have them take you on a separate tour, if you think that will help.

    d. If you plan a tour on your own, let the hospital know you are coming. They will arrange for your visit to be a pleasant one
    .
    5. A week before going in for surgery, help your child pick out his own pillow and pillow case for his hospital bed.

    a. Keep the pillow and pillowcase wrapped up in plastic until your child is ready to lie his head on it.

    b. Don’t take in white pillow cases. White linen is almost sure to get sent to the hospital laundry and most likely never seen again.

    6. Buy your child a new toothbrush to begin using after surgery. If you have the time, let him pick it out.

    7. Before going to the hospital for surgery, help your child pack his suitcase.

    a. Take one or two of his favorite stuffed animals or toys. Do not bring a lot of animals and toys because you will have to keep track of all of this stuff and bring it home. You will probably be stressed and exhausted by the time you come home, so make it easy on yourself. For the same reason, do not bring toys from home that have small parts that will get lost. The hospital will have toys and games for children.

    b. Help him pick out the outfit he plans to come home in. Shirts that button and unbutton are a good idea. Any shirt that pulls over the head is not a good idea. Easy-to-pull on pants, like sweat pants, or even pajama bottoms are a good idea.

    c. Remember that anything you take into the hospital might be lost, vomited on, stooled on, urinated on or get blood on it.

    8. For the most part, I would say don’t bring your other children in to visit the child in the hospital. You are likely to only be there for 1 or 2 days anyway. Make this your special time with the child who is having surgery.

    9. If at all possible, arrange for either yourself or a trusted family friend or relative to be with your child at all times while he is in the hospital.

    a. Do the best you can with this idea. If it is you being the only one there, then go for that. If you need to leave the child’s room for any length of time, be sure and tell the staff so they can watch out for your child while you are not there.

    b. If the child will be in the hospital the entire time by himself, it will be OK. This does happen. The staff understands and they will undoubtedly pay extra attention to your child.

    As a final note, relax. Thousands of children are hospitalized and have surgery all across the country every day and they come out OK and go home and lead normal lives. The hospital staff and doctors are there because they love children and want the best for them. If they didn’t, there is a high demand in all kinds of other hospital jobs and they would be doing something else. You and your child will be in the care of some of the best people in the world. Everything will be OK.

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