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TIPS ON SURGERY AND ITS AFTERMATH by other parents who've been there and done that!

11 tips from Linda Bullard Stoich (compiled as she readied for Sam's First Lip Repair)

Well, we're getting ready for Sam's Lip Repair ... Yes, we're nervous but I wanted to say much better prepared because of Cleft-Talk!

We now know:

1. We have a right to be with our baby up to and immediately after his surgery.
2. It will be my job while in the hospital to be aware of his meds, etc. and to not hesitate questioning anything. I will also question the need to awaken Sammy to give him pain medication.

3. We will bring Sammy's car seat. Sitting in it make his arm restraints more bearable.

4. We have Joanne's instructions for making a special outfit in case the arm restraints aren't quite right.

5. We will make sure to dress him in button-up-the-front outfits, so as to not disturb his suture. A pullover shirt is also tricky to manage with arm restraints on.

6. We have Joanne's article on how to handle the time during the surgery. (WS-109 Getting Through the Two Hour Tough)

7. We are aware that he will look swollen and have blood on his face. 

8. We know that we will have an adjustment period getting used to his "new look". (WS-162 The Reality of the Miracle)

9. I will bring in diapers and wipes, to avoid the high hospital charge.

10. We will give Sam Arnica, and whatever else our pediatrician/homeopathy doctor suggests to aid in Sam's healing before and after the surgery.

11. And many, many more suggestions we have picked up from Cleft-Talkers, thanks to you all for helping us be a lot more prepared for a very scary first surgery!

Here are more suggestions:

Read over WS-403 - What to Pack for Hospital Stays

* One other thing to remember to take to the hospital is a variety of clothes. Sweaters, sweatshirts, and short-sleeves. Our son had his surgery in August so I only had shorts and short sleeved shirts. It was FREEZING in the hospital.

* One of the things I wished I wouldn't have worn to the hospital for Meea's first surgery was a nice sweater. The first thing that happened to it in the recovery room was to have blood smeared all over the shoulder. I wore old t-shirts the next time! Plus having a warm child on my lap for 3 days made my stay very warm!

* Joanne often tells parents to take a favorite shirt or bathrobe, one that the child is familiar with you wearing and holding them in.

* My friends were just happy to sit with David while I soaked in the bath. It was a great help, but it felt funny to do something else when I had company. If you can get beyond that, go for it.

* The other thing you brought up has been mentioned before - that is sometimes nurses do things one way and the doctor wanted them done the other. Guess what - the doctor is the boss! The doctor's orders should always stand above and beyond the best intentions of the nurses. And it's something you have to watch out for.

* When Samuel had his surgery I asked to see the Doctors instructions. Our Doctor was very picky about after surgery care and I wanted to make sure that her instructions were followed. The nurses have several patients 
to take care of and sometimes they don't always remember everything. I only had one patient to take care of (my son) so I was able to catch things when they weren't quite right. -- Elizabeth

* Meghann had her soft palate repaired at one year of age. She was up and running around the next morning. Well actually walking and getting very upset because she had just figured out walking 2 days before the surgery and wanted to get right back to it after surgery. They put the oximeter on her big toe. Was she mad and frustrated. So we put socks on her and they waxed the floors. She had to settle for rides in a wagon. She also managed to pull her IV out within 5 hours, but as she was so hard to IV and was already drinking her fluids from a cup no one made mad dashes to reinsert.

I would if at all possible stay with your child during their hospital stay. It just seems to me that parents catch things a little before the nurses do. If you have a concern be sure to voice it.

When Meghann had her tonsils out we did have a go around with the nurses. Meghann came out lethargic and the nurses kept trying to tell me it was because of the surgery and I kept telling them that was a bunch of baloney  because she had had a surgery that lasted 2 1/2 hours the year before and she was ready to roll the next day and this surgery only took 1/2 hour. Besides she had had a brother and sister who had also undergone  tonsillectomies....The upshot was less than a half hour after I told them there was something wrong she was back on oxygen and was receiving IV antibiotics. The doctor came and talked to me and asked me if I was okay and I told them I would be if the nurses would listen to me. They were very solicitous the rest of the time she was hospitalized and consulted me at every turn around. In other words, trust your instincts. If you feel something is wrong, then there is probably a good chance that there is something wrong.

I felt better staying with my child, I don't know if my child felt better but I surely did. Good luck with the surgeries -- Sharon

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