What to Do When Your Child Is in Surgery
You’ve been through all the preparations. You’ve made the trip to the hospital. You’ve signed all of the forms and talked to all of the medical staff. Pre-op is complete. Your child has been taken back for surgery.
Now what? Time to wait.
Each time we took Audra in for an endoscopy, the wait — from the time our little girl was taken back for the procedure to the time that we were let back to see her — caught me off guard. I would focus most of my energy on helping to gather everything we needed, making sure that we did everything we could to prepare Audra, and trying to take care of loose ends at work. But once the door was shut and Mary Beth and I were sitting in the waiting room together, it felt like time stood still.
As we walked through more procedures, I began to think more about this waiting time. Here are a few things you can do while your child is in surgery — or in another procedure — that might help.
Five Things to Do When Your Child Is in Surgery
1. Bring someone with you or call a friend.
We talk a lot about the power of remembering that you aren’t alone on the blog. It’s moments like these when it is critical to have a community to reach out to. Being with someone during these times can be a huge help, or calling a friend can be especially comforting if you don’t have a spouse or friend available to come with you.
So what do you talk about? Tell them how you’re doing. Let them know if anything is worrying you. Ask them how they are doing if you need to give your mind a break from your own circumstances. Regardless what you talk about, calling someone who you can just be yourself with can be comforting. Keep in mind that if you decide to make any phone calls you should follow the waiting room rules, and you may need to take it outside.
2. Bring something to read.
Giving your mind something to focus on can be a powerful and productive way to guard against fears while you’re waiting for your child to come out of surgery. From a novel to short stories to a biography or something else, a good read might be a helpful encouragement.
3. Listen to an inspiring podcast.
Podcasts are a great option to consider while you’re waiting. The stories, advice, and inspiration that are available in the podcast format are almost endless, and regardless of your interests, there’s probably something out there for you. If you haven’t explored podcasts before you can check out iTunes, Stitcher, or a number of other resources. (Pro tip: You may want to pack a pair of headphones if you don’t normally carry them.)
4. Listen to music.
Music is a great tool for times when waiting is difficult. There are amazing albums that point to hope, faith, and peace that can help to keep your mind from being overwhelmed. We’ve highlighted some favorites in our Songs of Hope series on the blog.
There were times when praying for Audra and the medical staff was the only thing I could do. As a parent, it’s hard to sit through times when you feel helpless or like you can’t do anything to help your kiddo, but I’m certain of this: prayer helps.
Whether you’re praying for you child’s healing, the doctors’ and nurses’ skill, or even yourself, prayer is powerful. Don’t hesitate to let God know how you feel and to ask Him to exchange worry for peace and truth. Mary Beth and I have both experienced times when God brought encouraging Bible verses to mind or simply calmed our thoughts as we were praying through difficult circumstances.
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