POST-OP: Waking up could be the worst part, but it doesn't have to last long. You'll probably wake up with a breathing tube in. I hate these, but I've found that the best way to deal with it is to relax and let the machine do my breathing. If you try to control the machine, it will probably backfire on you. Hopefully, they'll start to wean you off the ventilator within the next day, but I know that that's not always possible. Just try to relax, and remember that it will come out eventually. There's really not much you can do to make it come out any quicker, except for doing as the doctors say. Since you can't talk with it in, you may have to write notes or play some charades to communicate. If you get hot, pretend to fan yourself when the nurse comes in (to let him/her know you're hot, etc.)
TIP: Whatever you can do to show that you are conscious and alert (when you really are conscious and alert), do it. When the nurses saw that I could write notes to my mom, they knew that it was time to start weaning me off the machines.
Depending on your hospital and your condition, you may need an feeding tube through your nose. I didn't need one, but I've had them after surgeries when I was a baby. I've been told that once they're put in place, it's not very uncomfortable, so don't sweat on that.
Since the patient can't talk, PARENTS, MAKE SURE YOU PUT A LARGE SIGN ABOVE THE BED MAKING IT CLEAR THAT YOUR CHILD HAS A LATEX ALLERGY (if there is an allergy).
While you're in the 'turning period', you may have some achy pain (not like a sharp pain, more just a constant muscle ache). So if you need pain medicine or a stronger pain medicine, tell your doctor right away. My surgeon was able to get me a stronger medicine, and that really helped.