What to Expect

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Hi, my name is Mary. I had my surgery at Texas Children’s Hospital. Before my surgery, I was a little nervous and had questions about what was going to happen. But when I was there, everyone was so nice and I felt better. I wanted to tell you about my day and everything that happened, so you can be ready for your surgery.


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Before I went to the hospital, my doctor and family talked to me about why I needed to have surgery and how it would help my body get better. I didn’t know what having surgery meant. I had a lot of questions. The doctor said having surgery is the same thing as having an operation. I learned that when people have a surgery, the doctor gives them medicine to help them fall asleep so they do not feel anything.


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When my family and I arrived at the hospital for my surgery, we checked in at the front desk to let them know we arrived. My family also asked for me to see a child life specialist. Child life specialists are people who talk with children about the hospital and help them understand the surgery process. While my parents signed some papers, I played in the playroom.


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Next, I met a nurse who checked to see how tall I am, how much I weigh, my temperature and my blood pressure. He also put a sticker that looked like a band-aid on my finger. It had a red light on it. The nurse said the sticker is called a pulse oximeter and it would tell how well I was breathing. I liked how the red light shined on my finger.


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He gave me some pajamas and a bracelet with my name on it. The nurse put the bracelet around my wrist. I brought my favorite doggy with me and she put one on him, too! I was happy to have my doggy look like me!


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When I was in the waiting room, a child life specialist came and talked to me about my surgery. She let me play with some of the medical equipment that I would see while I am in the hospital. She answered all my questions. I felt so much better after talking with her.


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I got to choose which flavored medicine I would smell through the soft mask in the operation room when it was time to go to sleep. I chose bubble gum. Which one do you think you will want?


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Before my surgery, my parents talked to all the doctors. There were lots of toys and books. I thought it was more fun to play, so I did.


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While I was playing, my doctor came over to talk to me. She told me she was going to change into some blue hospital clothes called scrubs. She said they help keep the operating room very clean. The doctor took a marker and wrote on my skin where I was having surgery.


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Before I went to the operating room, I gave my family a hug. My doggy came with me. I held him in my arms. The doctors asked if I wanted to ride in a toy car, in a wagon or walk with them. I chose to walk. The doctor told me some funny jokes on the way to surgery. I laughed.


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When I got to the operating room, I saw that it was a big white room that is very clean. There were lights on the ceiling that helped the doctors see well. They reminded me of the lights at the dentist office. I saw a lot of equipment in the room, but the doctors reminded me that not all the equipment is for me.


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In the operating room, the doctors had me breathe medicine through a mask. The medicine smelled like the bubble gum I chose earlier. This medicine is called anesthesia. Once I got this medicine, I fell asleep. The anesthesiologist continued to give me this medicine throughout my surgery so I did not wake up and did not feel anything.


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When my surgery was over, I woke up in the recovery room. My family was with me. A nurse was also there to help me feel more comfortable in the bed. When I began to feel more awake, the nurse said I could have a drink or a Popsicle. I chose an orange Popsicle. It tasted good.


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The doctor placed an I.V. on my hand while I was asleep. An I.V. is a little straw that helps the doctors give me medicine. Usually kids get the I.V. placed after they fall asleep, so they don’t feel a thing. It was still taped to my hand when I woke up. It wasn’t uncomfortable at all.


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Once I finished my Popsicle and drink, the nurse asked me how I was feeling. I told her my tummy felt okay. She said that I was doing well and it was time to go home. I even got to ride in a wheelchair to my car still wearing my hospital pajamas.


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When my friend, Allison, had surgery, she had to stay overnight in the hospital so the doctors could look after her a little longer. This is the room that she slept in. There was a bed for her and one for her mom. Her brother even visited and played games with her. Allison told me that there are lots of fun things for kids to do who spend the night. There are playrooms, a library and even a children’s radio station in the hospital. She liked the library the best.


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Thanks for learning about my surgery. I hope it helps you feel better about having an operation at Texas Children’s Hospital. Remember, it’s okay to ask questions and have fun while you are there.