Your doctor just told you that your child needs surgery and I am sure you have plenty of questions and concerns. My son just had his tonsils and adenoids removed so I am going to tell you about our experience. My son's surgery required a night in the hospital so I will also talk about that. Most tonsil surgeries are a day surgery but since my son had sleep apnea he needed to stay overnight.
My son was not allowed to eat or drink after midnight the day before the surgery. They want their stomach empty so they will not get sick during the surgery. We arrived to the hospital 2 hours before the surgery to check in and sign papers. My son brought his favorite stuffed animal with to hold during the surgery. Then we waited in the surgery waiting room along with other people waiting for surgery. This room was also where families could wait while love ones were having surgery. We waited for about an hour, so bring with something to do. My son passed the time playing on my computer.
As a parent I would not give the child too much detail about the surgery as this might frighten them. My sons doctor explained the surgery in a great way to him. She told him he was going to come to the hospital for a sleep over. He was going to get a drink that would make him silly or sleepy. Them he would go to a spaceship room and get a special space mask to put on. He would then hear a story and go to sleep. When he woke up he would get all the popsicles he wanted and have a sleep over. I also told my son he would get to eat all the ice cream he wanted and watch TV all day. My son was excited for the ice cream and never got afraid of going to get his tonsils out. I knew he would be in pain afterwards but I would be there to comfort him so I felt there was no need to explain that part to him as I did not want him to worry.
A hospital person then walked us down to the pre op room. At our hospital they have separate rooms for children while the grown ups are in a room just separated by curtains. Parents are allowed to be with their children in pre operating room . In pre op there was books and videos to entertain my son while I talked with the nurse, anesthesiologist, and surgeon.
The nurse had my son strip down to his undies and put on a gown. She took his vitals and asked me questions like whether my son had a cold or drank or ate anything in the past 8 hours. The anesthesiologist came in next to explain to me what his role was in the surgery. I was informed that my son would be getting medicine to make him sleepy, 30 minutes before hand. This medicine sometimes makes kids silly too. When the medicine kicks in your child wont remember anything until after the surgery. The anesthesiologist also told me that he would tell my son a bed time story as he put the mask over his face to put him to sleep. He would also be there during the surgery to monitor him. The surgeon also came by to say hello before the surgery.
We were in pre op for about an hour. My son was able to watch Spiderman during this time. I read him some books too. My son got very silly after he received the sleepy medicine. I talk to my son about going to the spaceship room and he rambled on about how he was going to fly in space. I knew the medicine was working to make him fall asleep. I hugged and kissed him and then they wheeled my son to the operating room. The nurse walked me to the waiting room that was just for parents and told me she would come get me after the surgery. This is a good time to get something to eat as after the surgery you wont have time. I brought food with me but our hospital has a Subway also.
The surgery lasted about 1 1/2 hours. When it was over the surgeon came to the waiting to let me know everything went well. She told me the nurse would come get me when my son woke up. About 20 minutes later, the nurse came and walked me to the post operating room. At my hospital children again have a separate room away from adult patients. My son was screaming in pain from the surgery so I was glad I was there to comfort him. The nurse stayed by his side the entire time. My son received medicine as needed through an IV that was placed in him before the surgery but after he went to sleep. My son was in post op for 2 hours as he was having a hard time with the pain, most children only need an hour. Once my son was alert and the pain medicine was relieving the pain, they gave him a popsicle. Then another nurse came to take my son and I up to his room on the pediatric floor. Thankfully my son does not remember being in post op. He remembers watching Spiderman in pre op and then waking up to take an elevator ride up to his hospital room after the surgery.
My son stayed in bed and ate popsicles and drank Sprite. The IV had to stay in him for the night. My son had to be hooked up to a heart monitoring machine while he slept because of sleep apnea. This was done with a pulse thing on his finger. My son was too tired to do anything but watch TV. The nurses gave him pain medicine and checked on him every 4 hours. I did not get any sleep that night while at the hospital as my son kept waking up from his sleep apnea every 30 minutes. We were allowed to go home 24 hours after the surgery. While in the hospital, my son stayed on a clear liquid diet. The next 4 days my son was able to be on a soft food diet.
I will be writing another post on my son's recovery at home. The below link talks about why my son needed surgery. Feel free to ask me any questions and I will do my best to answer them. I know surgery can be scary for both parents and the child.