Surgery impact on child

I am having a 4 hour surgery (finally) next week and my husband is interested in coming to the surgery. But we have an 8 year old. I will be under general and will have bandages when I get out.

Is it appropriate for a child to wait in the OR and see me directly after?

Your child is eight, which is a reasonable age.
You know him best.
The results are not gruesome, bandages are clean, and much worse is seen in films and television.

Protecting a child from reality that is unpleasant, but not awful, isn’t always the best course, and not knowing but depending upon imagination can be sometimes be worse for a child. Even if initially shocked, he’s old enough to understand and offer a little sympathy, a trait that will be needed in life and later marriage.

God grant you a successful surgery and a rapid recovery.

I would think it would be okay, but it might depend on what kind of surgery.

My only thought is four hours is a really long time for a child (and if there’s a scheduling glitch, it might be longer). Depending on the child, that might be a factor (two of mine would have no problem, two others would be climbing the walls after 2 hours). :shrug:

Either I misread your post or it was edited, but I was horrified by the last line upon re-reading your post.
I think you may have edited it as originally there was a mention of bandages which is now gone. I don’t believe that at the time I first posted there was mention of the child being in the OR during the operation, or my answer would have been very different! Your original words seemed to ask if it was okay for your son to see you in bandages. Perhaps one should always use the “quote” facility when replying to remove such misunderstandings.

I wouldn’t allow a child to be present in the operating room, the OR, nor would I want any family member to be there. Personally I’d only want the professionals there and able to concentrate on their tasks. Family members could be a distraction. In any case I would find it weird for a non-professional to be present. If your husband and you wish it and it’s permitted that’s up to those involved.

However if your child saw you unconscious and had too endure a period of seeing you subjected to surgery in that state, that would be cruel and traumatic.

Hopefully you have someone who could mind and distract your child, preferably not at the hospital, during the surgery, otherwise he’s in a stressful environment for four to five hours, stressful because the location is a constant reminder that his mother is going through something disturbing.

Soon enough for your son to visit to see you after recovery when you are is conscious and able to reassure him.

The question I have is ‘Would you want to see your child directly after?’. It sounds like this is going to be intense and you may want a day to rest. Nothing would be worse to see a hurt expression on your child’s face when you need to rest and won’t be able to be 100% there for him

I highly doubt the little boy will be allowed actually in the operating room. I’m sure they’ll have him wait in the waiting room and come into the recovery room.

I’m quite sure the OP meant to say the child would be in the OR Waiting Room, located down the hall from the surgical suite, and not in the OR itself.

I seriously doubt the doctors would allow any observers, especially children, to be in an operating room. It would violate the requirement to maintain a sterile environment, and require the surgeons to take their attention off the patient to ensure the observer wasn’t sicking up, handling the sterile equipment, moving in and out of the room, or creating any other disturbance. The only time I have ever heard of an observer being allowed in an operating room was when a father was present during his wife’s C-section, and even then he had to wash up and dress in appropriate clean garments.

Yes my husband and I are in disagreement over this. I am concerned. I would be in OR while son and husband would be waiting outside and would come in when I’m waking up. But not IN the surgery.

I will look pretty rough… And I’ve talked to my son about that. But I’m concerned about stressing him directly after.

It would probably be okay. It might help relieve his anxiety to see you and see that you are all right.

I’d ask him what he wants, and do that, unless he already has a past that tells you he will manufacture a big traumatic drama where none exists. If he has already made some big deal about seeing someone all banged up, tell him you will not find that helpful. Do not act as if seeing you with bloody bandages that you asked for and expected in order to make you better is something that ought to traumatize him. It might upset him, but there is no reason it ought to be upsetting because you will only* look *bad.

Warn him

a) this could be extremely boring, because while the doctor has an estimate about how long it will take, the surgery will go until the surgeon is satisfied it has been done correctly. He is not going to speed it up because an 8 year old is bored. Your son needs to take that into account, because your husband is not going to be able to take him home if he changes his mind. Teach him that delays in surgery are an inconvenience, but not something that should automatically worry him–because that is what they would be.

b) you’re going to be looking kind of rough and would appreciate not having him act like you look like an evil witch or had you nose sawed off or something. A little “you look like you got into an argument with a truck and lost” humor will be OK, but otherwise you’ll need him to pretend you look better than you do. In other words, your looks will be more of an affront to your vanity than to your safety, and you need to treat it like that if you want your son to do so.

In other words, do not make this sound worse than it is. It is going to look worse than it is and seem worse than it is, but this is not a big deal. If he’s ready to sign on for that, then let him be there.

Your husband is not going to be allowed to watch, let alone your son. He ought to plan on being with you while you’re being prepared, wishing you well, and then leaving the hospital with your son for somewhere more pleasant. He can come back in four or five hours. Make it clear to both your husband and son that you will manage fine if they are not on the hospital campus when you wake up. It will be enough to have visitors shortly after you wake up, which you will appreciate, if they won’t be upset seeing you looking awful. If seeing you look awful is going to make them look like they’re seeing death, though, thanks but no thanks. (If you are not worried about him or yourself, it will make it easier for him not to worry.)

I don’t know whether TLC still has surgical programs. If so, promise him he can watch one of those programs when you’re feeling better?

Not only that, it isn’t like you show up and go into surgery. :shrug:

You show up hours before your surgery. They have to start the IV, go over all the release forms, you have to get undressed, innumerable things happen before you go under. To say nothing about when the doctor is ready. If you aren’t the first surgery, you really will have no idea when your surgery will start. Once you go under, THEN the four hour count starts. Chances are, this is going to be an all day affair.

I cannot imagine that they are going to let your husband or your son into the OR. ORs are sterile or very clean places. After your surgery, you will go into “Recovery.” And chances are, you won’t see them there either. Since you are staying overnight in the hospital, they most likely won’t see you until you are brought up to your room. They MAY allow your husband in to see you for a minute, but I don’t see them allowing a child in.

Hospitals are busy places. They don’t allow family members to walk around checking things out.

Most hospitals do not allow children in to visit except possibly a new sibling. You don’t have to worry about this because they won’t let him stay in the waiting room. Find someone to stay him at home or better yet have him sleep at a friend’s house that night. Let Dad phone to tell him you are OK.

Absolutely true. She would be wise to say, “Trust me, kiddo, you aren’t going to want to be there. It would be incredibly boring, and the day will be way too long for you.” If he insists and is not easily bored, though, there is no necessary trauma in going through such a day, other than the torture of how long the wait actually is and how uncomfortable it is to wait around at a hospital.

Is school out for the summer where you live? If not your son should be in school. Please hire a baby sitter. You have enough problems without worrying about your son waiting around the hospital, and how he is going to react when he sees you. It’s not fair to you or to him. You’re being in a stress free situation will make a quick recovery more likely. You will be home soon enough.

Or let him stay overnight at a friend’s house. You could even offer to pay for your son and his friend to go see a movie. There are several movies in the theater now that boys his age will enjoy.

Have dad promise to call the friend’s house as soon as surgery is over to tell him you’re OK.

I work in a hospital. I agree with this.

Hospitals are boring places for a child or for anyone else.

And remember, when you wake up from the surgery, you will be groggy and possibly say things that you don’t mean for several hours. That’s disturbing enough for an adult, but for a child, it could haunt him for years.

Let him be a child.

Given the many problems in your marriage based on previous posts: you may need to consider the fact that your husband is probably going to do what HE wants to do.

You will have no control over what he does with your son while you are in the hospital. Better prepare your son in advance, perhaps show photos and describe what he will see. Please be assured of my prayers for your health and family.

When is your surgery? Do you have time to make arrangements for care for your child, even an overnight visit with a friend because you may have to report the hospital very early, and present the plan to your husband as a fait accompli? Just say “This is what we are going to do.” It is not in either your best interest or your son’s to have him there. Look, you haven’t even had the surgery yet, and you are already stressed out. As a surgery patient, your interests come first, then your son’s, then your husband’s. Who’s interests are coming first here? It looks like your husband’s to me. If I were you, I would go to the hospital in a cab, and have my husband stay home with my son. They can visit when you when the doctor says you are ready for visitors, and they can take you home. You need to be able to relax to facilitate that quick recovery that you want.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit