My husband has been suffering from a nasty cold for over a week now and yesterday I woke up feeling as though I had swallowed a hedgehog, my throat was so sore , my ears hurt and my head was banging too, so I had succumbed to his germs too. As Joshua was asleep all morning, this gave me the opportunity to have a bath to steam away the head cold, after which I fell asleep for over an hour. I felt a bit better after that nap.
When I came downstairs, Joshua was still asleep in his bed too, which was a relief and my husband had lit a fire as he was feeling cold and shivery. We had planned to go away for the weekend, but both felt too listless to do so. I found that I was worn out by the few chores that I did around the house and I did not have the energy to complete al of the tasks that I had set myself.
The problem is when we are both feeling poorly, Joshua still needs to be cared for. We had a discussion and I ended up taking Joshua with me to the supermarket. As it turned out, he was very well-behaved and unusually he enjoyed the outing and the retail therapy helped me to feel better too, so we all won. But it made me think that you cannot explain to Joshua that Mummy does not feel well so could you please pay quietly in your bedroom while she lies on the settee to rest her head. He would not understand that concept and he needs our care and full attention, whether we feel equipped to give it or not.
Luckily I feel a lot better this morning as I have started to sneeze so my head is not as congested, so Joshua should find that his mum is back on form today. But it has made me reflect on how we would cope if both of us fell ill with something longer term and much more debilitating than a cold. It made me reflect on the agonies that a mother from his old school went through as she was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer : none of her family felt able to cope with her son’s special needs and so, while battling her own disease, she additionally had to plan for her son’s future care. He started to have overnight stays at the Home where Joshua used to have respite, in readiness for being admitted as a permanent resident when the time came. I am full of admiration for the careful planning of that Mum as I am sure that making those arrangements, broke her heart. It is these additional burdens that parents of special needs children carry, that people often do not recognise.