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A sobering thought

Fulltime Foster Carer - Harriet author of: A Less Ordinary Family

A sobering thought

Thursday 24th March

If you have a weak stomach or get queazy easily, best to look away now!!

Last night was definitely not a night to remember. Charlie was away with work, so I was home alone with the girls. As I was just settling down for the night, I could hear Alice through the wall calling me. This is usually one of two things – she is either having a bad dream or she is unwell.

As I get to her room, Annie gets up too. Together we discover that Alice is unwell. She has vomited in her bed. Because she has Spina Bifida and cannot walk – she is never able to get up and go to the toilet if she feels unwell. I’m not actually sure she even understands when she feels sick. So it just happens wherever she happens to be.

I take a deep breath and enter her room, and try not to heave. She has been sick over all her duvet, blanket, pillow and herself. I carefully strip the bed and wash her down and clean her up. Inside I am cringing at what I am having to clear up. I can’t help but feel cross, but at the same time, I know she has not done it on purpose and she cannot help it. Annie was very sweet, she wanted to know how she could help. I could not expect a twelve year old girl to roll her her sleeves and start cleaning up. I give her a few jobs like – getting wet wipes, anti-bacterial spray and carrier bags.

As I clear up the bedding I noticed that the vomit had collected in her crocheted blanket. I made this blanket the first year Alice was with us. It had taken about 3 months to complete. She loves this blanket and it has become very special to her. I seriously contemplated putting it in the bin. In the past I have been known to throw away vomit or poo stained clothes away! I decided to clean it. After all, I didn’t really want to spend the next three months making a new one. I left a bucket in her room and told her if she felt sick again to do it in the bucket.

This morning we awoke to the stale smell of vomit. We discovered that Alice had again been sick. She didn’t make the bucket. She did however, make the fresh bedding and the wall. There are so many times we take a simply thing like walking/running to the toilet when we feel unwell. This is another moment where the reality of Alice’s disability, what it will mean for the rest of her life, really hits home. While she is small this is less of the problem for her personally, but it will require some adjustment as she enters adulthood. She will always need the support and encouragement of family around her, and will often be unable to help herself, particularly in ways that might be embarrassing to you or I. That is a sobering thought as I clean up her bedroom.

And right now, she isn’t the only one who needs support.

“Annie – fetch me the antibac!!”

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