Mama Advice

Kids & Surgery: A Simple Checklist

Today marks Brooks’ induction into the Ear Tube club. He’s had countless ear infections in the last several months and has been battling fluid that won’t drain. Aside from a string of antibiotics of different kinds and dosages since September, the poor little dude has managed to keep smiling and growing. But it was time.

Ross and I have done this a couple times before with Julia. The surgery thing, that is. If you missed that post you can read about our journey with her ears here.  I will say though, that even though this wasn’t our first time, my nerves were getting the best of me last night. I had a fitful night sleep and so did Ross. We knew everything would be fine, but you know… there’s always that looming thought about anesthesia. Brooks is just a little dude and even though it’s light, it’s still scary. You still have to check in to the hospital where the procedures are strict. You still have to have discussions about side effects and decide if you want to let them take your child or go with to watch them go under. Ross and I, on all three occasions, just let the nurse take our babies to the surgery room. I just didn’t feel it was necessary for me to watch that. To all the parents who do go with, your courage is amazing!

Having done this a few times, I wanted to create a little checklist for myself so if we have to do this again (which sounds likely because poor Brooks’ ears were super sick) I can look back here and remember some of these things that are nice to know.

  1. Before surgery, you’ll need to do a pre-op physical with your child’s pediatrician. Doctors are usually really nice and if you have a well-check scheduled you can ask them to do it at that time. Try and double-up and maximize your time!
  2. They will tell you they are going to fax a copy of the signed and filled out pre-op form to the hospital where you’re having surgery, and they’ll give you a paper copy. Keep the paper copy and don’t forget to bring it with you on the day of surgery. It’s a nice backup copy in case something gets lost on their end.
  3. I know hospitals have different ways of scheduling surgery, but our experiences are that they schedule the surgery and then they don’t call you with the exact time until the week of (2-3 days before surgery). I called to pre-register our kids at the start of that week and asked them to pinpoint a time then. They did this for us, which is nice! I’m a planner 🙂
  4. If you have any other children, it’s a good idea to find care for them. One, it allows you to be hands free and tend to the child being cared for while you’re at the hospital. Two, most kids under 5 are not allowed in many of these hospitals due to flu restrictions in the cold winter months.
  5. Bring a few of your child’s favorite toys. For us, check-in was at 6:00 AM and surgery wasn’t until 7:30. Surgery rules are that no food or drink are allowed within (x) hours of surgery. Your kid will be hungry and potentially fussy! Bring something to occupy the time. I’m thankful I packed two of Brooks’ favorite balls today. We played catch between climbing the crib and trying to escape our room.
  6. You’ll have to bathe kids and wash hair the night before, as well as wash all their blankies and security toys. Bring those things with, your child will want it when they wake up from anesthesia. Brooks has a blanket he loves and a little elephant security blanket. He sucks on the tag, of all things. It’s weird!
  7. Speaking of anesthesia. It’s no fun watching your kid wake up from it. Be prepared for crying and potential out of the ordinary behaviors. Julia just cried and whimpered in my arms and squirmed. Brooks, on the other hand, not only cried and screamed but he also got a little violent! Again, all totally normal behavior, just hard to see.
  8. If you’re like me, it’s important to let it out if you’re feeling anxious. Even when it’s a simple ear tube surgery, it’s relative to what you know and can be scary. Text a friend and share your thoughts, write down a favorite verse, find some calming music, and share your anxieties in a prayer! All helpful ideas.
  9. Be SURE to ask questions if you know of any other Mamas who have been through it before. It’s super helpful to hear from people who have done it and can share experiences. Same thing goes for finding specialists in your area. Reach out to the Band of Mamas: chances are, someone has a great reference for you.
  10. Be ready to change sheets, clothes, or wash blankies often. With ear tubes, particularly, the kids’ ears drain out this bloody ick. It stains, so have extra sets to change out after a day of naps and nighttime sleep.

I hope you found this checklist helpful! If you’re reading and your child has had surgery, please feel free to comment below with anything else I may have missed!

Cheers to happy ears in 2019!

XO,

Linds

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2 thoughts on “Kids & Surgery: A Simple Checklist”

  1. Great checklist! I would add that even though your kiddo isn’t allowed to eat prior to surgery, mom and dad should definitely eat! Surgery times often get pushed back and nobody needs mom getting light headed from not eating breakfast. ☺️

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