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This one is about: Preparing a Child for Surgery

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Preparing Child for Surgery

From a conversation on Cleft-talk, email discussion list, a parent writes:

My five year old daughter is going to be having surgery shortly and I was wondering if anyone had a good way to tell her about it. How far in advance? How to tell her?  She is having a pharyngeal flap.

A response:

Hi. My 4 year old recently had surgery. She was pretty well prepped for it but that's partly because we did blood donations ahead of time so my daughter was pretty well oriented, I think. In no particular order, we did these sorts of things:

We began talking generally about pain and how the hurt eventually goes away .. and whenever there was a pinched finger or a scraped knee, without putting too fine a point on it, we described it and compared it to other times that she bonked herself. I think, if nothing else, this gave her some practice in explaining where it hurt and how much, so it gives her a bit of control over the whole surgical process -- where she really needs it and that is pain management. She's afraid of hurts, and even more afraid of the unknown which probably involves hurts. It gave her some language to use.

We talked about what the surgery would do. We kept it matter of fact. Same thing with her blood donations.

We also had the surgery done at a children's hospital. So the people working with her were excellent in preparing her for the procedures .. I think that's a really critical issue for kids, too (for anybody) is to have a procedure explained to you so you can participate in it instead of having it done to you.

We explained what she would feel like (like I really knew -- ha!) post op, where she would be and so forth. She had a little tour of the day surgery area.

Not sure what else we did but those things will get you started.

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