Bit of groundhog day this weekend. My PhD (started about 10 years ago now) focused on going out in public places with learning disabled children and McDonald’s featured consistently in the interviews with mothers. Or the ‘Land of the Golden M’ (as it was then) as one mum called it.
Children’s ‘busy behaviour’ was tolerated, the food arrived quickly, it was always identical (very important to a lot of kids who were on the autism spectrum) and sprinkled with that magic dust that makes it pretty taste-tastic for kids.
Regular readers will know that now LB is offered choices in a fairly blunt way, it can be difficult to encourage him to do things. Last weekend he said no to going out with us, so this weekend, we decided to fall back on the old favourite and offered breakfast at Mooky D’s. An instant “yes”.
Wow. Changes afoot in the Oxford branch; self service machines and a new queuing system. Even better for the less than patient. It was fast and we had a laugh.
LB was in great spirits and, once he’d noshed every bit of his food and drunk his milkshake, chatted about scrapyards and tyre disposal. Perfect.
From yesterday. Bit-post. Unfinished through lack of words:
LB attacked a staff member at dinner time tonight. Unexpectedly. For no apparent reason. After some careful but excessive sauce action (tomato and brown) on his plate. This lead to restraint, more restraint and medication. The situation was explained to me carefully in detail when I turned up an hour or so later.
“Er, can you claim for your shirt?” I asked his key nurse, inanely, after my other questions were answered (but left unanswered because there aren’t answers).
There are also no words really to make any sense of this, without falling back on jargon and social care speak.
I saw LB briefly after the debrief (and ripped shirt). He was in his room. I was armed with an alarm. He didn’t say much, just muttered really. I rang later that evening to see how he was, and the support worker (love her) went upstairs to check on him.
“LB, your mum’s on the phone. She just wants to know that you’re ok.”
“Can I get you a drink or anything?”
“What would you like?”
Got a call from the Unit yesterday asking if we wanted to take LB to the nearby bus museum that he loves. TAKE HIM?? Pick him up and take him ourselves?? That’s a ‘Y.E.S.We’d love to‘ kind of answer. It wasn’t open yesterday, and he declined our offer to take him somewhere else instead, but today Rich, Tom, Owen and I scooted round, picked him up and headed for the museum. It was great. The museum’s very quirky with a lot of very shiny old buses. We sat in various buses and coaches, chatting, remembering visits to museums and holidays from years ago. The outing was rounded off with sausage rolls and ice-creams in the cafe. Fun and fab.
“By the way, Margaret Thatcher died”, said Tom, as we pulled up back at the Unit.
LB was well and truly back to his old self today. We could hear him chuckling away to himself as soon as we went in the unit. Tasty cottage pie smells, a Yellow Pages to leaf through, Al Murray on his DVD player and a jug full of squash in his room. His day was rocking. He bounced off to get Rosie and I drink, then we hung out answering his questions about the break-in at Rosie’s student house. Burglars, forensic police, finger printing and offloading an Xbox on the black market. The stuff of dreams for LB.
When we went to leave, I asked him if he wanted me to bring him anything in particular tomorrow. Silence.
“Hey, LB, say now if you want Mum to bring anything tomorrow, while you’ve got the chance.”