Tonight, we are preparing my 8-year-old for her 2nd scope. Her younger sister has had so many scopes, I honestly have lost count (I think 8-10). I would consider our family to be seasoned scopers at this point. I have asked our beloved GI doctor to start a punch card program…but no luck yet. ha!
Are you preparing for your child’s Endoscope?
- Re-read all of the instructions and preparations your GI doctor has likely given you. There are certain steps that are required in order for your child’s scope to go as planned. You won’t want to reschedule, so be sure to understand everything clearly and call your child’s GI doctor’s office if not.
- TALK TO YOUR KIDS PRIOR TO THEIR PROCEDURE! I used to somewhat avoid talking about procedures and the like around my kids for fear of instilling anxiety in them beforehand. I was very wrong. Recently, we started working with a play therapist that insisted we play out an upcoming procedure on baby dolls with my 5-year-old. At first, I really was questioning if I was doing the right thing, but I am convinced it is the best way to prepare your kids. Act it out with toys or dolls if age-appropriate. Explain to your older kids the process from anesthesia to wake up(not able to eat, arrive, check vitals, hang out, doc comes and get them, mask with gas that might smell funny, sleep, wake up, eat, go home). Prepare them so they know what to expect each step of the way.
- Scopes are harder for us parents than the kids. Nobody likes to see their child in the hospital, so as you can imagine, it’s not the most enjoyable to see your child in a hospital bed. Even more so, if they come back in after the scope with oxygen and the monitors hooked up while sleeping from the anesthesia…it can be jarring. However, keep in mind: scopes are very common/routine and is an outpatient procedures for a reason. GI doctors perform hundreds of scopes a year. They are experts! Your child’s GI doctor and procedure nurses should help you and give you updates.
- The scope itself should not hurt. During your child’s scope, your GI doctor will feed a VERY tiny camera into your child’s esophagus. Your child will not feel this as they are under anesthesia. If your child is younger, they may wake up crying. This is typically not from the pain (so we have been told). The crying is caused by the confusion and clouded mind after being put under. When my youngest was a baby, there was not much we could do to stop her from crying while waking up. It just took time for the anesthesia to wear off, typically, 10-15 minutes. Now that my girls are older, I immediately say, “Good morning” repeatedly when they start to move around and come out of the anesthesia. Once they see my face and realize they were ‘sleeping’, they tend to wake up much easier.
- Ask your doctors and nurses to draw all bloodwork during the scope. The absolute best time to get blood drawn from a child is while they are sleeping from the anesthesia. If I know any bloodwork is due, even if it is not through my GI, I will request it be drawn at this time. Blood draws are one of my least favorites but they don’t even know it happens during a scope. Use that time wisely!
- Your child may not be able to walk out of the hospital. Currently, we carry my 5-year-old and wheel my 8-year-old out of the hospital. Don’t be surprised if you need to do the same. Just like when an adult is under anesthesia, they will be a bit groggy and out of it. No need to risk a falling injury.
- Let that baby sleep! It is tempting to wake up your child as soon as they bring them back from the operating room. HOWEVER, resist that urge. Sometimes, I even shut the door to drown out the noises from the nurse station. The reason being-the longer kiddo sleeps, the more the meds wear off. This is HUGE for the little ones that wake up confused. Let them sleep and I guarentee the wake-up will be much smoother. It’s hard to resist snuggling but you will be grateful you did!
- A few hours after your child’s scope, they will be mostly back to normal. It is important to take the rest of the day slowly, as they can continue to be a bit disoriented. Do not make any plans that require a lot of physical activity after your child’s scope.
- You might feel drained after a scope, and that is normal. Being a medical mom is a tough job. There are just certain things that make our momming job a little more difficult. For me, I go into business mode the day of. I’m sure to have all of the things under control and keep my focus on my child. I want to keep her as calm as possible by staying calm and collected myself and to be honest, that can be draining. That, followed by seeing your child sedated in a hospital bed can wear you down. Don’t waste your time feeling guilty or weak. You’re in good company. Take some time in the next few days for yourself, if possible. Work through the feelings and know that you’re human. It doesn’t really get easier but you will become more aware of how temporary everything is for the greater good (your child’s health).
Clearly, if you have any concerns that are medically related, do not hesitate to contact your doctor’s office. They should have all the information you need. Keep in mind, I am not a medical professional, just a mama that has been there, done that (8-10ish times).
Anything you are concerned or worried about? Leave a comment below and I can help as best as I can.
Below is a quick Q&A with my 8-year old-Bailey. The goal is to help other kiddos know the process and understand other kiddos are going through the same. 🙂
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