Joshua was allowed a small lie in yesterday as I was taking him to a 9am orthotics appointment at another special school in the city, so instead of having to wake him at 7.30, he was able to enjoy an extra 30 minutes in bed. I had not been to this special school for eight years – Joshua used to have to go there for physiotherapy when he was in mainstream school – and so it was not quite where I had remembered it. it had also had a new building, much like our own school, and so it was unrecognisable from the school buildings that I recalled.
I enjoyed arriving at the same time as the school buses delivering lots of happy children in wheelchairs to school, as this is primarily a facility for the physically disabled. In fact when we were looking to move special schools, I had applied here as they too had a school nurse and were not full at the time, but we were turned down as Joshua is mobile and so would not have fitted in with the majority of pupils.But yesterday, we were made to feel very welcome as we walked into reception. until I was told that I was in the wrong part of the building for orthotics and so poor Joshua, had another five minutes walk to make!
We were ten minutes late by the time we arrived for their first appointment of the day but we were made most welcome as we were greeted by a smiling therapist. However he quickly explained that the boots we had come to try on, were not ready or delivered and so they were not ready to try on. This did not surprise me in the least as last time, it took around a year to get his current pair so that they actually fitted Joshua’s feet, with countless false alarms. His splints were there to try on and they fitted perfectly but whichever supplier had made them had not followed his instructions as they were missing a velcro strap across his feet to hold him in place and also the side was to be built up again to keep his foot in position. So we did not get to come away with the new splints either! As it was the manufacturer’s error, they have promised to provide the amended splints on Thursday this week!
I was concerned that that meant another morning appointment for us both, missing more work-time, but I was assured that they could take the new splints to school on Thursday and that I did not need to be present. This was helpful as, by the time I had taken Joshua to his own school and then driven back to the office, it was already late morning and as I still have no carer, I am still making every school run, so I had to leave again at 3.30, so I worked my lunch hour and took work home to make amends. I come back to my usual complaint that the NHS, and school to a certain extent, seem to assume that parents of special needs schools do not work and so can be endlessly available during the working day. I do have flexibility with my employer, thankfully, but it is not reasonable to expect them to accept me being ‘missing in action’ twice in one week for the same appointment. I will wait and see if both boots and splints can be resolved this week… but I am not holding my breath!