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Testing Alice

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

Testing Alice

Fostering Alice Blog


Today I received a recall letter from our local children’s hospital for Alice for later this week. The nursing team at the renal department want to see her following her recent bout of urine infections. We had an appointment a couple of weeks ago and started a course of bladder washouts which should hopefully get her clear of the infections.

Whilst I understand that taking Alice to hospital appointments is all part of the job – I do hate extra ones – and in this case we have one in a fortnight anyway so am not too keen on an extra one this week. Alice has so much time off school anyway due to her complex health, so seems a shame to take her out of school again this week when half term is only next week.

So I have a few options, I can either just get on with it and take her to the appointment as requested, or I could call them and ask the question whether it can be delayed till next week as we are not actually going away this half term. Or I could be even bolder and ask whether the extra appointment is even necessary at all. I am pretty confident the wash outs are going well, we have done them before so I know whether things are going well or not. I could also offer to get a sample of urine to the Gp to be tested…. this would show them how things are progressing.

I bite the bullet and make the call. Fortunately, I get through to one of the nurses who knows Alice well, and more importantly knows me well. She has known Alice since she was born and knows her medical history without having to refer to the notes. She agrees that the extra appointment is not really necessary as we are coming in two weeks anyway. She doesn’t feel the urine sample is necessary either as by the time they get the results we will be going in anyway and she would need to be retested at that point.

I have to say I was pretty relieved to dodge the extra appointment. I would never compromise her health in any way, but know that sometimes as a foster carer, like any parent you make judgement calls with the knowledge you have – and sometimes you really do know best. It is difficult as a foster carer to know when to make such judgement calls. I know in the early days of fostering I would have run everything by my agency social worker. The answer would always have been a cautious one and that would have resulted in the extra appointment.

I have learnt over the years that using your own judgement is usually on course, and going ahead and checking with the hospital is the best way to start – the social worker would never give advise different to the hospital as its not in their area of expertise!!

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