Preparing Your Child for Outpatient Surgery
Things I wish I would have done!
As most of you know, my 5-year-old son recently had outpatient surgery to correct what ended up being double hernias. Before the surgery, I was worried about the best way to prepare him. Looking back, I don't think we did the best job. You can watch my Facebook Live video to see what I mean.
We did however do one thing right...well actually Brickston's sweet aunt and uncle did. They sent him an adorable care package right before his surgery with a social story and bear that plays music. The story perfectly describes what the child should expect from surgery, while leaving out the scary details. You can get your own copy here.
This was the same approach that the child life specialist took when she talked to Brickston. She told him, he had one job. It was to breathe through his special mask. She let him pick out the flavor. She also showed him a choice board of what he could have to eat/drink after surgery. He chose an orange popsicle. She told him he could pick if his hospital bed went SLOW, MEDIUM, or FAST down the hallway. Of course, he chose FAST! I love how she gave him a sense of control over the situation.
Brickston brought his singing bear with him to the hospital, and loved showing all the nurses and doctors how it played music. They let him keep the bear with him the entire time. The child life specialist brought a doctor kit for Brickston to use with his bear.
Having these materials to play and act out "his one job" was very calming for both Brickston and me.
In hindsight, I wish we would have told Brickston just the bare minimum details, and let the child life specialist answer the questions that he had. I decided to make a visual schedule that you are welcome to use if your child is scheduled for outpatient surgery.
Contact the doctor office to find out what to expect. Read your child a book like this or use the visual schedule. Pack toys and a favorite stuffed animal. Bonus points if he sings and dances. Pack comfy clothes for the ride home and bring a bucket!
My little guy is recovering and enjoying some extra attention. Thank you all for your kind messages!