Sick notes and excuses

Had a ‘chuckle’ this morning while reading tweets from mothers about their disabled kids off sick (or not) from school. It reminded me of past experiences. A key task for parents of disabled children is to weigh up your child’s ‘sickness’ status and manage nursery/access because the ‘sick bar’ is lower for disabled kids. LB now has an indefinite sick note (have I mentioned that before?) but he wasn’t any more unwell than most kids when he was a tot.

In those days, he went to the university nursery a couple of days a week while I did my degree. They soon found him a bit of a handful (despite talking the talk in terms of meeting his needs) so staff regularly contacted me to collect him. Fifteen years ago of course, mobile phones were a bit of a rarity so the nursery staff had my lecture/seminar timetable to track me down. It was pretty frustrating to get hauled out of lectures to go and pick him up. Regular heart sink moments.

“He seems a bit under the weather. We think you should take him home for the rest of the day”, they would say, handing over a grumpy little parcel of healthiness.

Halfway through term though it was reading week. Whoo hoo!!! No timetable just uninterrupted study time in the library. Such a treat. One day, after about half an hour of reading, there was a tannoy announcement in the library;

“Would Sarasiobhan please go to the nursery to collect her sick child. Sarasiobhan to the nursery please.”

Unbloodybelievable. Seriously???? You have got to be kidding me??? I sat there, surrounded by books, in my chilly little study carel thing, feeling like I had a massive arrow over my head indicating it was me. Of course, in a university of 16,000 students, no one had a clue who I was but I felt completely exposed. I packed up my stuff and wandered out of the library. Furious and frustrated. I walked about for a bit wondering if I could ignore it. “If only I hadn’t gone straight to the library..” I muttered to myself. I went to get a coffee in a cafe. Standing in the queue, deep in thought about my options, I vaguely noticed an A4 sheet of paper pinned to the noticeboard by the till. In large black font was typed;

“Urgent! Would Sarasiobhan please go to the nursery straight away to collect her sick child.”

Eeek!!!!  Game over. It was clearly serious. I legged it over to the nursery, dropping books and bits of paper, feeling guilty about the wasted ‘fume’ time.

“Ah hello Sarasiobhan.  I’m glad we got hold of you. LB seems a bit under the weather so we thought you ought to take him home for the rest of the day.”


Thinking about it, I’m not sure that indefinite sick note did start in November 2011.

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