When our now 26 years old and very healty son was 3 years old (almost 4) he had to have abdominal surgery...he was just old enough to know some of what was going on.
The hardest part for his mother and I was to see this little boy in a big full size bed with all the tubes and stuff...i would swear he had 1,000 tubes in him...but in real life it was only 2 or 3. He looked so small...and I think we would have really lost it if not for a few things.....
we knew and convinced ourselves that every thing that looked horrible and made us feel bad was actually making him better.
we knew that in the scheme of things..time wise...this was just a small blip. He barely remembers anything about his surgery or hospital stay...and I suspect any memory he does have is not real but is based on the telling and re-telling of the story over the years that followed.
The nurses were fantastic...we were at a childrens hospital in St. Petersburg, FL and they kept us informed and they used child friendly words with our son....never anything like shot...or this is going to hurt. they listened to him and spent some time with him.
Lastly...we had another son at home...just an infant and we were needed there. We knew that if we tried to be every where at all times and be everything to all concerned we would fail. So we did the best we could...we took turns at the hospital and left at night when he fell asleep. When he woke up one of us was already there or came in pretty soon after. And every day we brought him a very inexpensive gift...a book...some markers....a magazine with lots of pictures...we also had our audio cassette player (remember those) there and we played his favorite tapes.
Time passed quickly...he went home...he healed...(he did need one more surgery after that)...and now 23 years later he is married and enjoying life.
It is tough to go through this I know....but it will all be worth it and years from now your daughter may even look at it as one of her defining moments of courage. Good luck