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How do you explain surgery? (x-posted)

Forum: Homeschooling


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April 24th, 2009, 01:48 PM
Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Maryland
Posts: 20,233
I'll give you a little background so this makes sense. DS has never been able to eat solids. He either gags until they're out of his mouth or he throws up. This also includes anything thick and has resulted in a phobia of food. He eats oatmeal, pudding, and (if we're lucky) applesauce. His old pediatrician's office blew me off no matter which doctor we saw (there are 25) and told me he'd grow out of it. He'll be 3 in August and has made no progress. He also snores, has trouble breathing when he eats, etc. His new pediatrician took one look in his mouth and said his tonsils are too big. This week he has had plain x-rays that showed enlarged tonsils, a ton of blood work, and today he had a barium swallow. He'll also have to see an ENT and start going to a feeding clinic. The pediatrician is hoping to build a strong enough case to have his tonsils removed so he can begin to eat normally with some therapy for his phobia.

So that brings me to the question. DD will be 6 soon and doesn't understand any of this. We've tried explaining the tests with some success, but for the most part she's so confused. If he does have the surgery we're at a loss as to how to explain it and the way it'll make him feel. Any suggestions?
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April 24th, 2009, 02:41 PM
BensMom's Avatar Ephesians 4:29
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: The Lonestar State
Posts: 50,214
I don't have a 6 year old, but I do have a 3 year old whose adenoids were removed last summer (we chose to keep the tonsils ... and since you mentioned snoring, have you asked his doctor about adenoids?).

Keeping in mind that I don't have a 6 year old or any experience with this, I can only tell you how I'd explain it to my son (because I just had 3 surgeries in a row myself. ). Have her look in a mirror and show her where her tonsils are. She can even breathe on a small mirror to fog it up if you want to make it fun rather than scary. Explain to her that his tonsils are much bigger than hers (like the difference in a raisin and a grape maybe). It would be like her trying to eat with a gumball or cotton ball in the way. The doctor is going to look in his mouth just like a dentist looks in her mouth. He'll snip the adenoids out (like pulling off a grape, perhaps???), and then he'll have a sore throat for a while just like having a cold.

Sorry... I'm probably not much help. I explained a c-section, hysterectomy, and bladder repair to my 3 year old, and I'm still not sure he "got it", but he seems to understand. He says he wants to be a cardiologist, and he enjoys watching surgery on t.v. Yeah... he's weird. Definitely gets that gene from me. His daddy hates seeing guts and stuff.
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April 24th, 2009, 05:32 PM
Butter's Avatar Heather the Mama Duk
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: San Antonio TX
Posts: 28,853
Can she come to an appointment with her little brother? Some doctors are glad to explain to kids what they will be doing.

~Heather, wife to Jamie (15 years; June 5, 1998) and mom to
Ani - 14 (February 15, 2000), Cameron - 12 (October 3, 2001),
Fritz - 7 (July 11, 2006), and Adrian - 5 (June 19, 2008)
Smaller on the Outside

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April 24th, 2009, 06:00 PM
Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Maryland
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Chrystal - Thanks for the advice.

Heather - His appointments are during her school day so unless they happen to schedule one closer to closing she can't go. I'll see if they'll do that next time.
~Thanks Babydoll213 for my awesome siggie!~

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April 25th, 2009, 12:53 AM
docsmomma's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I can tell you how we've explained things to our kids when someone has had surgery.

My 6 yr old has seen my sister in and out of many surgeries, as well as his grandparents many surgeries.

With each one we exp[lained that X part didn;t feel good and needed the doctor to look at it and maybe take it out so that *insert name here* could feel better or walk better or whatever it was for.

A few examples. When joey had his biopsy we told David that the doctors needed to do some tests on Joey's neck because it looks like it might be sick and that they would go in through an itty bitty cut while Joey was asleep and take the part that looked sick out so they could find out if it was sick and make it all better. Then 2 weeks later when we had Joey's port placed we explained to David that joey was getting a special button to help him get his medicine and sometimes give his body a drink or to check his blood and make sure it stayed healthy. He thinks Joey's port is "cool" even now that he has a greater understanding of it.

When we ecplained my sister's surgeries we always just explained it using "cool" examples. Like when her port was replace we told her that they need to replace her "oil change spot" (he loves cars) when her pacemaker was replaced it was they had to replace her "engine" (and he does know what they really are but the "cool stuff" makes it easier for him to handle). And when they had to remove a cyst, we told David that she had something that was just too big for her and it needed to come out. he took it really well and we assured him if he ever had any questions he could always ask.
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April 25th, 2009, 06:37 AM
Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Maryland
Posts: 20,233
Thanks for the advice.
~Thanks Babydoll213 for my awesome siggie!~

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