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 he or she know your 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 NG feeding tube. 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 one).
Food: The hospital will most likely put you on a liquids/pureed diet. Just so you know, the pureed
beef tasted and looked the same as the pureed spaghetti (my dad and I are convinced that the
hospital just has a special pureed mix that they label to be different foods, only to get you to eat
it). It is, however, vitally important that you get a lot of calories, otherwise, you won't heal or
recover very fast, and they probably won't discharge you either. My surgeon said that you need
AT LEAST 10% more calories than normal to recover, if not even DOUBLE the number of
calories. He also said that it didn't really matter whether they were fatty calories, or healthy
calories, as long as you got them, since they'll be going straight to the recovering area of your body.
With an RED on, it is very difficult to eat, so you will probably have to start eating with
syringes. Ask the nurse for a few different ones. Then experiment with them. The syringes will
take apple sauce, different soup broth, different fruit juices.
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.