Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Tips for ear surgery

I posted this on the microtia yahoo board, but thought it was worth posting here.

Here is some advice--some of which I received from people on that board and worked for us--some of which we just discovered on our own:

1) Bring lots of shirts and jammies that button down and don't have to be pulled over the head.

2) Bring pants/shorts/skirts that have a waist band (not button or zip) so they're easier on the abdomen skin graft.

3) If you have a boy, get a really short buzz cut before the surgery. They'll be shaving the one side of the head anyway. They're going to have to go without many hair washes for awhile, so the less hair, the better. Also, the cups they have to wear afterwards have adhesive that can pull out the hair when removed. So again, the less hair, the better.

4) Bring bendy straws for drinking immediately after the surgery. Popsicles are good for sore throats after the intubation during surgery.

5) Bring lots of little cheap but "wonderful" gifts and treats for "bribes" when needed. I know, they say it's awful to bribe your kid, but sometimes you just gotta do it. For us it was Bob the Builder die cast figures, lollipops, and M&M's.

6) Baby wipes for washing or cleaning them up, especially around the drains on the neck.

7) A small stroller, like the cheap umbrella kind. They will probably tire easily and it is painful for them to be carried on your hip due to the skin graft area on the stomach.

8) DVDs and dvd player. This is a good activity to keep them occupied, yet still rest. Some hotels, like the Magic Castle have DVD players in the room. However, we found the DVD player to be useful while on the plane, in the car, and in Dr. R.'s waiting room (he does have VHS or DVD players in the patient rooms, but we found it useful to have Miles' favorites with us).

9) A potty seat, since they can be a bit weak and wobbly after the surgery, and have trouble sitting on the toilet.

10) If you have other kids try to have someone else like a grandparent come with you to help out and keep them out of your hair. They can also help with the sleeping rotation. We've had to take turns sleeping with Miles. At first, we actually had to stay up with him because he was so bad about rolling over and messing with his "head gear." Now we can just sleep with him and wake up when needed. But at first we got no sleep. I haven't felt like that since I had a newborn.

11) Take something with you to the surgery that will really distract you. For us it was a book of Soduku (sp?) puzzles that a friend sent. I'd never done them before, but they were a life saver. You have to concentrate to do the logic puzzles, so I could keep my mind occupied. Whenever I stopped doing them, I was pretty much in tears.

12) Be prepared for a possible really bad scenario when your child first comes out of the anaesthesia. Dr. R. told us that he might be "restless." What an understatement! It was awful and I wasn't prepared for it. The dr. assures me that they aren't really awake and won't remember it, but it's hard to watch.

13) Don't make any promises to a ton of people that you'll be calling them after the surgery. Have one point of contact. In our case it was the blog. Or you could call one person who could then call everyone for you.

14) If possible, get the prescriptions filled while your child is in surgery, so that you don't have to worry about it afterwards. Dr. R. will give you the Rx before the surgery and there is a drugstore near by the Surgical Center (not sure about CHLA, but I would suspect there is one there).

I'll post more later, if I think of any. I'll try to post again today after our appointment with Dr. R.

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