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A visit to my daughter’s class to discuss surgery and surgeons

This week I had the wonderful experience of speaking to my 4 ½ year old daughter’s pre-school class about surgery. They have been studying the body in class and had a visit by another parent, an internal medicine specialist who demonstrated how she examines people using devices such as stethoscope and blood pressure cuff. My wife and the teacher suggested I come in and talk about surgery. I was incredibly nervous, what can I talk to 16 4-5 year olds about?

I started the morning by wearing surgical scrubs and my cleanest sneakers. I bestowed each child with a medical degree for the day; as they introduced themselves I had them call themselves doctor. Dr. X xxx, Dr. Yyyy, Dr. Zzzz , etc. We discussed that there are a number of different kinds of doctors such as pediatricians, medical doctors, dentists and of course, surgeons. Sometimes surgery is necessary when medicine doesn’t work.

We talked about how clean an operating room is. Each child put on (or was helped), surgical booties, hats and masks. We then discussed special hand washing; 5 times for each side of the hands then arms. This was simulated by each one with a dry scrub brush followed by a surgical towel. Lastly, each put on blue gloves.

My daughter chose a doll as a patient. We discussed how a mask is used by a doctor called an anesthesiologist, whose very important job it is to make sure that the patients are asleep and don’t feel anything. I taped on an IV then used a mask to “put the patient to sleep.”  Following, I demonstrated some surgical instruments and then sew up patients.

We finished with discussing the body. The heart pumps blood to the body. The brain helps us think, talk, see, hear and move. Bones support the body. I brought a gold painted simulated skull. The finale was when I opened the top and it was filled with candy.

Whew! This was more nerve wracking than surgery. It went extremely well and I cannot describe how wonderful I felt after. I made my daughter so proud. I wouldn’t trade the chance to share with my daughters and their friends for anything.

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