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5 Tips to Get Through Your Child's First Major Surgery


When my son had his first surgery and a month long stay at Children’s following the surgery, I wished I would have had some sort of “parent survival list” to help me get through it all. I was so new to the “medical mom” world and it was incredibly overwhelming; especially those first few days post-op in the PICU.

So, here are my favorite tips and advice that I found to help:

1. Take breaks when you can. Even just to run downstairs to get a coffee or a sandwich. I took at least one walk a day to clear my head and it was such a relief. It felt so good to get out of the tiny hospital room.

2. During your child’s surgery, bring some family or friends to be with you. I was alone for my child’s surgery and it took eight hours, so you can imagine how distraught I was. It would help to have someone to talk to and keep your mind a little busy. I can’t tell you how hard it was to sit there in that waiting room alone while everyone else around me had family with them. Everyone needs support during this time.

3. Have books, a tablet or your phone and a charger with you. It will help pass the time a little while you’re waiting. My phone was a good distraction from just watching the clock.

4. Don’t be afraid to voice any and all of your concerns. You are your child’s biggest advocate and no one is going to fight for your child the way you do. If you feel like something isn’t right, speak up. You’ll be glad you did.

5. Just hang in there. If the only thing you did today was breathe, that’s OK. It’s hard seeing your little one this way. It takes a lot out of someone. Your warrior will grow up so proud of you for all that you did for them.

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Getty image by Sasiistock