The Unit. Day 42

The excitement of the trip to the bus museum had worn off by the time we visited yesterday evening. LB was in his room, subdued, having chosen not to go to the farm (again).

Choice eh? Very, very important that learning disabled people can make these choices, we’re told. Unlike many other people, who have no choices in their everyday lives. Yeah, it’s so much better that LB is able to choose to laze about in his bedroom all day (again), than get a good day’s exercise, sunshine, fresh air, hang out with different people and be productive. My arse.

Of course loads of people would choose the room-laze option over working. But they wouldn’t be given that choice on a daily basis. They’d have to (if they could) do something productive. And more than likely want to after a few days.

I’m getting pretty naffed off with this choice charade as you can probably tell.

Anyway. Back to yesterday evening.  LB’s bedroom was snug and comfy, with the evening sun shining in. He sat leafing through his Yellow Pages, with bus magazines spread across the floor. Jug of squash on the desk. It was calm and peaceful.

“Do you like it here, LB?” Asked Rich.

“Not really, no”, he replied, without looking up.

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.