I recently discovered that the American College of Surgeons produces a fantastic free eBook to help parents whose children need surgery. The book, called Who Will Hold My Hand? (.pdf), is written by an experienced pediatric surgeon and walks parents through the basics of surgical procedures, including diagnostic imaging tests, what happens on the day of surgery, post-operative concerns and the roles of various caregivers. It also covers such challenging topics as how to talk about the operation with your child and what to do if you have trouble communicating with your surgeon.
It’s hard to pick a “favorite” portion of the book, but I think the part I like best is its wonderfully comprehensive list of 20 “Questions to ask your surgeon about the operation,” which include:
Are there any options besides an operation?
Where will the incision be, and how long will it be?
What restrictions will my child have after the operation? Are they temporary or permanent?
Does this condition run in families? If so, how likely are my other children to need this same operation?