Last week was rough. I think I had a bit of a post-vaccination slump, but also, Littlest is so, so bored that things have become untenable. She doesn’t understand why she can’t go to school and she’s fed up with being at home with us all the time. Twice a week a carer takes her out for a couple of hours for a walk round in the woods—rain or shine, she’s a machine. But it’s not enough.
Every single moment of every single day, Littlest needs someone there with her. Unless she’s plugged into her iPad—but at the moment, she doesn’t want her ipad, she wants either my phone or Mr AL’s. If I need to use the phone she tugs at my arm and screams incessantly whilst I’m making the call, unless Mr AL is there to either occupy her or give her his.
Currently she is sat beside me in her wheelchair feeding Morris Skips. He’s delighted. She’s delighted. But when she runs out I’m either going to have to pacify her with my phone, or stop work and go and do an activity with her. But nothing holds her interest…a story, colouring, stickers, dolls house, brushing the guinea pigs, video calling with grandma, cutting things up, glitter, feeding the hens, duplo, music. You get about twenty minutes concentration for each activity, max. As much as we can we are trying to involve her in the household processes. ‘Helping’ pass laundry to fold, unloading the dishwasher—she can manage to hand someone the cutlery and some of the smaller plates, hoovering is hilarious, so is dusting. She sometimes plays Dora the Explorer or World Zoo on the Wii, but she does find that tiring.
Once she gets bored, she starts throwing things on the floor. Her doll’s furniture, DVDs, TV and Wii remotes, books, toys from the toy shelves. Cutlery. Crockery. We have tried sending her to her room for some quiet time, which at least gives us a break, but it doesn’t change her behaviour. We can’t leave her alone with a book any longer because she has begun to rip pages out.
There is nothing to bribe her with like I can with Talking Child—there’s nothing she overtly wants. And threatening to remove internet privileges etc. is pointless. She has no concept of punishment and reward.
This is on top of all the usual tube feeding, personal care, making-sure-she’s-not-choking-on-her-own-secretions, physiotherapy, phone-calls with professionals, ‘ordinary’ stuff.
My seizures are through the roof. Mr AL is randomly falling asleep mid afternoon like I remember doing when I was pregnant (he is not pregnant).
I have spent the last week finding out about vaccinations for Extremely Clinically Vulnerable children. There is apparently an expectation that there are between 1,500 and 2,000 children between the ages of twelve and fifteen who are fragile enough to need the Pfizer vaccine although the clinical trial for that age group is not yet completed. I have found a document with criteria from the NHS that strongly suggests Littlest falls into that category. A handful of Mr AL’s friends on the SWAN (Syndromes Without A Name) facebook group have kids under fifteen who have had it, their paediatricians working in tandem with Great Ormond Street.
I have phonecalls in to her two leading Paediatricians.
Regardless though…we have arranged with school that she is going back in on a Tuesday and a Thursday from the end of this week. Mr AL is going to take her rather than the school bus. Her class has six children and they don’t interact with the rest of the school. The teachers have all had their first vaccine dose, as have we and as have her carers.
We have kicked it around with our palliative care nurse, with school, with the children’s hospice, with other parents and we have made the decision because she’s clearly jumping out of her skin…her mental health is rubbish and Mr AL and I are going to snap before long—it’s happened before, before we got help with her care, a few years ago, and I recognise the signs.
I hate this shitty, shitty situation. I know everyone else does too, we are all in the same situation on one level or another. But I guess I needed to vent…and if you feel like this too, you’re not alone.
We’re here with you.