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Any advice for talking with kids abt upcoming surgery? Any advice for talking with kids abt upcoming surgery?

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  #1  
Unread 03-25-2012, 11:11 PM
Any advice for talking with kids abt upcoming surgery?

Hello to my (future) sisters! I have my surgery scheduled on May 9th. My surgeon has told me to plan on 2-3 nights in the hospital (based on situations for me post-op following previous surgeries). I now have a 6yo DD that I am wondering how to talk to abt this. I have had 2 surgeries since I was blessed with her, but fortunately she was young enough to not need to get into details with her. She knows I have days I "feel yucky", but not even specifically that my belly hurts. She has recently pointed out to me how "lazy" mommy is bc freq I end up in bed with pain and/or bleeding & cant really keep up with her as well. Now that she is "older" I feel as though I need to explain something to her- esp since I will have restrictions post-op.
Anyone have advice that they did or wished they had done?
Thank you so much for all the love & support throughout this site! I am so happy to be part of this community.
Best wishes to all!
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  #2  
Unread 03-25-2012, 11:37 PM
Re: Any advice for talking with kids abt upcoming surgery?

Mine ate 10and 5 and both know what im having done. Not that they understan everything but they know momma will not have periods anymore and will not be hurting so bad.. Both girls were with me at obgyn when they told me i neeed hysterectomy, so they know its best for me..
  #3  
Unread 03-26-2012, 12:00 AM
Re: Any advice for talking with kids abt upcoming surgery?

My daughter hasnt known abt bleeding (really dont know HOW she hasnt seen it, but thankful), but sometimes I do say my "tummy has problems inside". She knows I have doctor appts. The last 2 surgeries we were living with my mother so she took over most of her care (she was 8months & then 2.5 yrs). I also had help from an Aunt & a babysitter. Not likely to have the same amount of help this time- my mom yes, the others prob not since DD is "older". Prob with my mother is that unless you have a giant oozing wound you are "fine", so DD will likely be back home with me soon after return from the hospital. I feel like if I can explain some of this to her it might be easier on both of us when we are "stuck" home together.
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  #4  
Unread 03-26-2012, 05:50 PM
Re: Any advice for talking with kids abt upcoming surgery?

That was a hard one here. My DD is also 6, but she was traumatized about it because I ended up in the ER several months before surgery, and would randomly start crying and say it was because she was worried about me.

I found that the best thing was to tell her that the surgery would stop me feeling so bad, and if I had it, then I wouldn't end up in the ER anymore. It also helped to tell her that I was just having a "little" surgery where they were making several small holes in me, and that it was safer then when people had "big" surgeries. And I told her that she would have to be careful around me after I had it, but kept stressing the good points of how surgery would make me feel better. I waited until there were just a few days to go to tell her, so she didn't have long to think about it.

After it was done, I instructed everyone to tell her that I had "won surgery", which seemed to make her very happy. I even got the Dr. in on it at my post-op where he told her that I was "winning recovery", too.

And a word of advice for your recovery: Don't underestimate what a 6 year old can do. We didn't turn her into a workhorse, but both my 6 and 8 year olds were great at helping, and I was shocked at how well they did with responsibility, and she really helped me after all my help was gone and we were here by ourselves until my son and husband got home.
  #5  
Unread 03-26-2012, 10:03 PM
Re: Any advice for talking with kids abt upcoming surgery?

Thank you so much!!! She overheard my mom & I talking the other day so she knows "surgery" is happening. She had her tonsills & adenoids out @ age 3 so Im hoping to compare a few things with that (of course that was out patient, but she knows the doctor made it so she wasnt sick as much after). Did u have ur kids come see you in the hospital? Like I said, previous times she was so young so I figured it would be harder seeing me there than just "missing me" for a few days (although 1 of those I was in the hospital for 7 days). She is an amazingly strong "independent" young girl & has ability to be very helpful. But, lately we have had behavior issues- which I wonder if they are connected with how I am feeling & all going on.
I appreciate all the input from my soon to be "sisters". Thank you all SO MUCH!
  #6  
Unread 03-27-2012, 12:35 AM
Re: Any advice for talking with kids abt upcoming surgery?

I have an eight year old son. He is very, very intuitive about things... plus he tends to be a bit of a worrier. When I found out that I was going to have this surgery, I was quite concerned about telling him the "right" way, as his father has a chronic illness (Multiple Sclerosis). I did NOT want him to think that I was going to have surgery and stay sick.

Because we have someone with a chronic illness in the house, hubby and I have been quite age-appropriate-honest with our son regarding medical stuff. So, for this, we decided to tell it like it is, in a non-scarey way. I explained to him that I needed to have some of my "girl parts" removed, and that once they came out I would hurt for a little while but soon hopefully all my pain would be gone. He asked the obvious things first (would I be in the hospital, would they cut me open, are they going to take the parts out... fix them... and out them back in?) and then he moved onto to the more detailed questions. He wanted to know what parts were coming out and what was wrong with them. At 8, he knows that a baby grows in a special part of a women's body (not just her tummy). The best part of the whole conversation though... was when he said "so if they are not going to put the uterus back, that means I am REALLY not going to get a brother or sister??" This made me laugh, because DH and I decided years ago to only have one kid and he has been asking for son long now if we could change our minds. Poor kid... now there is no going back!!

Anyway, what I really wanted to tell you is that I thought he was handling the whole thing well. We talked openly about this being something to make me better. But, one day we caught him chewing his fingers and lip. He had managed to pick up a nervous habit! When we talked to him about it, he said that he was worried that I might be in bed and need something and nobody would be here to help me. Poor kid... it about broke my heart. So... lesson learned that I am sharing... remember that little one's minds think about things that you or I would never even think of worrying about. I knew I would not be alone in those first few days... all he could see was that he would be at school and daddy goes to work. Mom is just gonna be stuck in bed dying of thirst because nobody is around to bring me water!!

Now that I am 6 days post-op, he barely even notices that I am recovering. In fact, I have to remind him to "hug gently".

Hope some of this has helped!!!
  #7  
Unread 03-27-2012, 10:10 AM
Re: Any advice for talking with kids abt upcoming surgery?

I had them come up. Only because I had an LSH and wasn't supposed to stay in the hospital, so I told the kids I would be home that night, but they clipped an artery 10 seconds into surgery, so I had to stay the night.

It actually worked out quite well, because I was quite insistent from the second I landed in the room that I wanted my IV and catheter out, and when the kids got there, they were just taking my IV out (we made a big deal about that it was because I was doing so well) and then when they came back from dinner with Grandma, I had just gotten my catheter out and they had just got me up and started walking me around (again, big deal about how it was because I was doing so good).
  #8  
Unread 03-27-2012, 11:01 AM
Re: Any advice for talking with kids abt upcoming surgery?

I've tried to be open with my dd's about my upcoming surgery. They are 12, 10 and 8. I compared it to when they had tonsils removed and told them i will need their help for a little while but once i healed this will make me healthier. Good Luck and the most important thing with kids is that you talk to them openly so they don't become afraid about the unknown.
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