Tales from the day surgery ward

By: Alison Dunn Apr 20, 2010
  Editorial

I will hear his little voice in my head forever. "I want my Mommy!"

My son was just four years old and had to have tubes in his ears. It's really not a big deal – the whole procedure takes about 10 minutes in total. But – and this is the part that freaked me out – they did have to put him under for those 10 minutes.

When the procedure was done, I rushed to the recovery room to be by his side. I could hear the commotion as I rounded the corner. He was standing up in the bed, crying that he wanted Mommy. The nurses were gathered around him, offering him popsicles and water. He wasn't having any of it.

It probably took all of 20 seconds before I had him in my arms. He stopped crying, accepted the popsicle and all was well. We took him home and he was right as rain (and, as an added bonus, he stopped having ear infections!). I think it was harder on me than it was on him.

Recently, a friend's son had to have the same procedure done. She asked for a few tips on how to get both her and her son through the procedure without trauma. That was easy – bring lots of things to do before the surgery. While the surgery only took 10 minutes, we had to be at the hospital hours before that – with a child who wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything either. Try keeping that grouchy child amused for two hours.

But my friend's question got me thinking: are there any other tips parents can use if their child has to have surgery? The truth is it's something many parents have to face, even if it's just a small procedure (or, heaven forbid, something worse). There must be a way to make your child's hospital stay a little bit better?

I sent one of our contributors, Sydney Loney, to find out. With the help of the phenomenal staff at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, she got right down to the nitty gritty of what parents should do to prepare for their child's hospital stay. The end result is our article, "Surgical strike," this week on Primacy Life.

After I read the article, it reminded me of what an amazing job the doctors, nurses and staff at Sick Kids do every day for our children. Without their tireless efforts, many Canadian children – some facing terminal illnesses – would not get the caring, compassionate treatment they deserve. What's more, the teams at these hospitals also give children and their families the support they need to cope with those hospital stays. They are true heroes.

Of course, Sick Kids and all the other children's hospitals in Canada are always in need of funds to keep up that incredible level of caring. If you haven't made a donation to one in the past, I urge you to do so when you can. (See the links below to find a hospital in your area.) Your child may never need to visit the hospital, but remember that someone else's will. A small donation can help make their child's stay just a little bit smoother.

Alberta

British Columbia

Manitoba

Newfoundland and Labrador

Nova Scotia

Ontario

Quebec

Saskatchewan

A journalist with more than 10 years experience, Alison’s work has appeared in a number of top Canadian publications, including glow, Oxygen, Canadian Running and more. She is the former editor of a number of well-respected Canadian and American trade journals and recipient of a Kenneth R. Wilson Gold Award of Excellence in feature article writing. She is a part-time faculty member at Sheridan College’s journalism department, as well as an avid runner and fitness enthusiast.