My Toddler Needs Surgery

Surgery is one word no parent is ever prepared to hear, no matter how old the child. It doesn’t matter if the surgery is routine, laparoscopic , inpatient, or outpatient.. the thought of your baby being in a hospital and being “put out” is enough to put a permanent knot in your stomach. In our case, our two year old was snoring like a 70 year old drunk every night. There were a couple nights he stopped breathing in his sleep and we made an ENT appointment immediately. Driving to the doctor’s office we were certain the doctor would look at us like we were neurotic and send us on our way with a clean bill of health for our toddler. Unfortunately, our visit took a turn in the complete opposite direction and our news was “tonsils and adenoids need to come out”. Now it wasn’t an emergency surgery and there was even the slim chance there would be a change in the size of his tonsils, but we knew deep down what needed to be done. Our little guy hadn’t had a good night sleep in months, and surgery was the best opportunity for him to be well rested again.

Photo credit: surroundsound5000 / Foter / CC BY-NC
Photo credit: surroundsound5000 / Foter / CC BY-NC

After the initial shock of the word surgery (and your brain registers that YES.. MY TODDLER NEEDS SURGERY), mommy/daddy mode kicked in and we flooded the doctor with a bazillion questions. Some things to think about when your child is going to have surgery:

–          How long has the doctor been performing this type of surgery?

–          Is the child put out through local anesthesia?

–          Does the surgery take place in a children’s hospital setting?

–          Is it outpatient or inpatient?

–          How much pain will he be in after the surgery? Will he be on pain meds?

–          Are parents allowed in the room when he is put out and how soon after surgery can parents go into the recovery room?

–          What are the risks for surgery and anesthesia?

–          Are there any residents that will be involved in the surgery or anesthesia?

–          How long is the surgery?

–          When is the follow up appointment?


In our situation, we were very comfortable with the doctor (he was recommended by our pediatrician and several friends had gone to the practice as well) so we decided to proceed with scheduling the surgery. Next .. we have to prep the boy before the actual surgery!


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