Being the parent of a child with special needs is physically demanding, as well as emotionally draining. Both my husband and I are currently suffering from injuries that are probably attributable to the fact that we have a tall, strong son who needs physical support. My husband has a trapped nerve in his neck/shoulder and has been struggling for weeks now. He lifted Joshua out of the bath and Joshua swung all of his weight on his neck and as a result he is in a lot of pain. He has seen physiotherapists and the GP and now he is strong painkillers which simply knocked him out yesterday. Everyone says that time will heal, but that is dependent on being able to rest it while recovering, and Joshua hooks around his neck even for a hug, it must be due to his height, as he does not do it to me.
I ,on the other hand, have a torn achilles that I have been battling with since May. Originally I thought it was caused by a slip, but now I am told that it is probably wear and tear. When I push Joshua in his wheelchair uphill, I get my full weight behind it and push so that my legs are straight out behind me, this puts a strain, so I have learnt, on my achilles tendon. I now have an in-sole in my shoes to give it more support but like my husband’s injury, we need time for it to heal properly.
The problem is that as we are getting older, both of us are now in our 50s, Joshua is getting heavier, livelier and still taller, so we are unable to rest our fragile vertebrae and tendons for any length of time. I used to rely on my husband to push Joshua up the steepest hills for me but now, who will do that? We do have a hoist over the bath, which we have never used, so we will have to dig out that sling, see if we can remember how to use it , so that we can avoid any further bathtime injuries.
So, as we prepare for Joshua turning 18 next year, both my husband and I turn a year older in the next couple of days, we need to try to take some sensible steps to ensure that we are able to cope in the coming years.