Sleepless in the middle.

I am wondering about life too much, my mind stumbles over the what if’s, the maybe’s, the should be’s. I am feeling lost and I am not sure why.

This last year have been hard on so many, the losses, the isolation, the fear has placed a heavy toll on our society and yes I have missed so much and my worries for Daniel’s health, his anxiety, his fear of people leave me with a uneasy feeling I can not shift. Can I get him back to where he was physically, can I get him back into school, can I stop him having such awful panic attacks? Are all questions I cannot answer right now. Yet I have a quiet acceptance that a pandemic is trying times and holding on to what should be, seems lost in the thankfulness that we are still here when so many others aren’t. The fact that I can worry about Daniel is a gift that I am trying to be grateful for. How strange is that of a statement being grateful for a worry, maybe it’s the fact that I have one child in heaven that I desperately wish I could worry about once again gives me this perspective.

I am trying to be thankful more,I cannot stay in this negative fear based reality anymore, if I do I don’t think mentally I would survive. For months I have been obsessed with numbers, with testing, with symptoms with fear. Frightened that allowing anyone into our lives would be a risk that I couldn’t take. Honestly I have been awful, hating my husband for his RC racing, for talking to someone outside a store, the fear of everything being so overwhelming that my stomach has not settled for months.

So I am trying to fight the negativity in my mind, giving thanks for the vaccine, for the lateral tests, for the research, for the scientists and especially for the wonderful NHS those that haven’t given up when many would have done.

I’m trying to find a balance between safety, protection and living. Daniel and I cannot hide between the walls of our home anymore, I cannot hide anymore.

So as I write this I am in the one of the places I swear my soul knows, North Yorkshire, we visited here for the first time last year and I never wanted to leave. The people, the places, the air all somehow allows my soul to breathe deep. I know my worries and fears haven’t disappeared but in the openness of this country my heart just finds peace.

Its not perfect, I mean today we tried to park our wheelchair adapted van in Whitby and it so didn’t happen, besides people deciding they fancied dicing with death crossing roads, today we just could not find anywhere to park our big van that allowed us to get Daniel’s chair out. So after a rather stressful (husband) drive around the town we gave up and decided to take Daniel to Staithes the little seaside village where Old Jacks boat was filmed. The information we read told us of the lovely harbour, the beautiful quaint cobblestone streets it forgot to mention the heart attack hill to the harbour. Holding on to Daniels chair for dear life as we went down the hill, returning up was well actually fine as I sent poor hubby up to drive the van down. It just wasn’t safe for us to push Daniels chair up the hill the gradient was so high it would be an extreme risk and thats my excuse and I am sticking with it. Also Old Jack’s boat wasn’t to be found. So as I was saying far from perfect but somehow it just felt different.

Full disclosure I am not a great traveller, especially now with Daniel. Anyone who is a parent of a child with complex needs will tell you packing for your child feels like planning an army mission. You cannot just wing it because the things you need cannot just be picked up at the local shop whilst you there. Medications, pads, feeding supplies, formula, syringes the list is endless. This is all after I have done my recognisance on the area, where is the local hospital, will it cater for my child, is there a specialist, PICU etc etc ? The worry of making sure I can keep Daniel safe does weight heavy but again full disclosure he is so worth it all. But yes it does impact on my desire to travel. My girls used to joke I had to say “I wasn’t going” at least three or four times before we finally got into the van. I personally blame them I mean essentials for a weekend away does not mean you need 8 pairs of shoes, also underwear is a must.

Anyway back to my title of this post, its 2am and I cannot sleep yes the heat isn’t helping, yes the desire to suffocate Alan for his snoring is strong but mostly my soul is restless. It’s a weird feeling like I am supposed to be doing something but I just don’t know what. I feel a tugging at my mind telling me something but what it is saying is just out of my hearing.

Does any of this make sense?

I am not sure but for some reason I think change is coming. I don’t feel anxious about this change which is a miracle in itself, but I do feel itchy as if I am ready to get started. Maybe it’s Yorkshire I mean they make the best tea here so I definitely could believe its a county of change, vision and hope.

I am just going to try and get some sleep and see what tomorrow brings. Whatever the sunrise brings with it I will try and be thankful and stay hopeful.

Sleepless in Yorkshire in the middle of what is yet to be.

It’s your fault

Having a child with disabilities means I often find myself meeting with professionals who are supposed to be in place to support and guide me and make sure my child’s reaches his full potential. I use the world supposed because sometimes and some would say often this doesn’t happen.

I have met some amazing people who are incredible at their jobs and I have met some doozies who seriously need to either consider a career change or at least attend a training course on compassion, respect and understanding.

Yet thankfully I have never come across one like the one my friend has met this week. My dear friend is at breaking point she adores and loves her child with every breathe she takes but after literally sleeping for less than three hours on a good night for the last how many years she is broken. After asking again for the numerous time for a little support and respite she actually told a professional that she is close to breaking, she is physically and emotionally on her knees. To which the so called professional replied “well how is that going to benefit your child, you have a responsibility to keep yourself well for your child”. What the **** seriously I’m not sure how my friend stayed calm in this situation without demanding a manager or someone at a higher level but she did (I actually think she is just too tired to fight anymore). Yet how, just how can a someone say this, it’s not as if my friend wouldn’t love a good eight hours sleep each night, the chance to spoil herself and have a haircut, a night out on the town with the girls. She would desperately love this but as a sole carer, her child has and and always will be her priority. How is her exhaustion her fault?

I’m sorry but do people really believe this ? That parents of children with disabilities just cannot be bothered to take care for themselves.

Let me give you a little breakdown of my day,

It’s starts pretty much where yesterday finishes, I have medication to give at 12am, 6am, 8am, 12pm and 6pm. I also have an overnight feed to prepare from 12am till 7am, also another 8 Bolus feeds to give throughout the day.

I have a minimum of 10 nappy changes each day with all nappies weighed and recorded.

My child sleeps maybe 3 hours max at a time needing comfort, moving and generally loving throughout each night and that’s on a normal night. This can double or treble if unwell in any way.

To leave the house, besides feeding, changing and lifting my child into his wheelchair I also have to pack feeds, meds, and emergency protocols and emergency meds. I cannot ever just wing it and just grab my handbag and leave. His life depends on me carrying the medication he may need.

Let’s also realise that normal chores are often doubled or tripled, washing for example does not consist of the normal one outfit a day but the numerous we need from unexpected changes, sheets bedding etc etc.

Add to this caring for my child’s needs, dressing him, bathing him, moving him, lifting him and of course playing, amusing him and loving him.

Oh I almost forget I’m also my child’s personal assistant arranging, rearranging and chasing his numerous medical appointments, the EHCP paperwork, ordering his medications, his equipment and so on. I’m also his advocate fighting for the things that he needs to live with a quality of life he deserves, his voice and his fiercest defender.

So please tell me where or when I am supposed to take care of myself? And guess what I have a supportive husband, great older children and actually a care package that is working for me. For a professional to suggest my sole carer, 4 hours each month respite friend literally is bringing her ill health on herself makes me see red.

Times are hard, right now we have a government that believes everyone can make do a little more, well everybody besides the top 1% of course. My friend already has to make choices between sleeping and eating but hey I guess she can make do a little more. I mean who needs food? She loves and adores her child and so wants the best for him but all she was asking for was a little compassion and support, is that too much to ask?

If she does break and her child goes into a residential facility where he will need 2 carers to support him at all times he certainly will be costing this government so much more.

I actually didn’t know what to say to my friend when she told me what had been said, part of me wanted to go in kicking and screaming and demanding an apology for her. Yet I’m realising the problem is a lot wider.

When you have train companies believe it’s ok not to make trains accessible for disabled people, when you have superstores using disabled children for advertising whilst depriving them of the basic facilities to have their care needs met, I realise this world needs to change.

When you live in county where almost three quarters (72%) of carers have said they had suffered mental ill health as a result of caring, while well over half (61%) said their physical health had worsened.

You know things have to change.

I welcome the news released yesterday that a joint report by two Committees of cross party MPs, the Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Health and Social Care Committee, calls for new contributions from individuals and employers into a dedicated fund to be ringfenced to help pay for the growing demand for social care in the future. Highlighting the immense strain that the current system is under, including families providing unpaid care, the MPs have proposed a series of measures including a new “Social Care Premium”.

But there is a long way to go..

Figures released by Carers UK show that

1 in 8 adults (around 6.5 million people) are carers

By 2037, it’s anticipated that the number of carers will increase to 9 million.

Carers save the economy £132 billion per year, an average of £19,336 per carer

Over 3 million people juggle care with work, however the significant demands of caring mean that 1 in 5 carers are forced to give up work altogether.

Carer’s Allowance is the main carer’s benefit and is £64.60 for a minimum of 35 hours, equivalent to £1.85 per hour – the lowest benefit of its kind.

People providing high levels of care are twice as likely to be permanently sick or disabled

72% of carers responding to Carers UK’s State of Caring Survey said they had suffered mental ill health as a result of caring.

61% said they had suffered physical ill health as a result of caring.

Over 1.3 million people provide over 50 hours of care per week.

Again I will stress there is a long way to go.

Yet how hard or how little would be needed for those professionals in the lives of carers to actually think before they speak. To actually show compassion without passing judgement.

My dear friend hasn’t the energy to ask for an apology and right now is literally holding it together in her words “with Gods grace and the love of my boy”. But how many more are out there struggling feeling alone and broken?

I know how hard it gets and as I have said I am one of the lucky ones.

All I hope is that change will come but until then if you are struggling, if you are feeling alone please get it touch because none of us can do this alone but together we can and will make it.

Not staying down

So we now have a Conservative government and to be honest I cannot even pretend to be anything but devastated about it all.

I have real fear for the future of those with disabilities. Those who struggle to make ends meet. Those who have nowhere to live and my list goes on and on. 

I am actually feeling truly despondent. 

Yet after listening to Ed Miliband’s leaving speech I was reminded of something.

“Finally, I want to say this. The course of progress and social justice is never simple or straightforward. Change happens because people don’t give up, they don’t take no for an answer, they keep demanding change.
This is my faith: where we see injustice, we must tackle it. ”
Ed Miliband

People can bring change and we can fight injustice. Maybe Russell Brand is right it’s time for a revolution.

A time for compassion.

A time for community 

A time for change.

A time for us all to find our voices and start shouting louder.

A time to fight for what we believe in.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
Margaret Mead

I have to have hope and I for one aren’t staying down

After the storm.

And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.  – Haruki Murakami

 

 

I can’t explain why this quote really affected me.

Why it just made perfect sense.

It just seems to be the journey of my life.

Riding the storms,

"Stormy Weather" by dan "FreeDigitalPhotos.net"
“Stormy Weather” by dan “FreeDigitalPhotos.net”

 

Not knowing how I survived but finding myself completely changed by the end of it.

It’s as if in the middle of the hurricane the adrenaline fuels your survival mechanism so that you don’t think or feel.

 You just survive.

Yet then in the lull of the storm the emotions rise and your heart and mind rage.

ID-10092951
Hurricane By Victor Habbick FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I remember the times when I was in hospital with Livvy those scary times when I should have fallen apart I didn’t.

Then afterwards when we returned home and she was well and happy i would burst into tears and the slightest of things.

Our minds are crazy things, they protect us in ways we don’t realise.

The human instinct for survival comes from deep within.

Yet all storms change us and then we have to venture on a journey of self discovery to find out who we are now.

The aftermath.

I’m on this journey right now.

The storm has raged for such a long time I’m struggling to recognise who I see in the mirror.

Change has to happen I accept that

It’s how we grow.

Yet sometimes life turns from a brisk wind into a fiery hurricane.

Inflicting damage of the greatest proportions.

It changes you in ways you could never of imagined.

Never have foreseen.

Yet you survive and slowly you have to walk your fingers over your face.

Learn the new lines and creases that have formed.

Search the depths of your mind, count the beats of your heart.

Find the new you.

The one that survived the storm.