Our respite weekend did not go quite to plan as I had a call in the morning : Joshua had fallen out of bed at 6 am and had bumped his head on the wardrobe next to his bed. I asked if he had experienced a seizure as he can fall out of bed at home due to spasms, but they thought not as he was not fitting when they reached him after hearing the noise from the fall. So I suspect that he either stumbled in the dark or got his feet tangled up in his duvet. I asked how badly he was hurt and was told that he had sustained a bump to the head and as he had a head injury, they followed procedure : They had already called an NHS helpline who had asked if he had ever had brain surgery, and as he has, they advised taking him to A&E to be checked out. I asked how he seemed in himself and was told that he was behaving normally and seemed to have no ill effects.

I know from previous falls and bangs to the head, that hospitals are looking for evidence of concussion, but that given Joshua is non-verbal , he does not respond to their typical tests and so we end up sitting around for hours, until they ask us if he is behaving normally, and then they send us home. So if it is not necessary, I would rather avoid a Sunday in A&E and I explained this to respite deputy who called me. She said she would consult her Head Office and call me back, which she did. Being understandably cautious, HQ had advised her to take him to hospital. As I did not wish this to happen, they could not keep him, having ignored medical advice and so I went to pick him up.

Luckily he is only 9 miles away and we had not, as originally planned, gone further away for the weekend. So I was there in around 15 minutes to be greeted by a very smiley, happy son and two very apologetic staff. I saw the bedroom furniture that he had banged his head on and we discussed plans to prevent a re-occurrence  : they are going to pad the sharp edges. Bed rails were suggested but I asked that those were not used, as from our experience in hospital, Joshua attempts to climb over them and therefore is at greater risk and height. Joshua had a small bump on his forehead, a scratch on his nose and one at the side of his face and so did not look as though he had hurt himself badly at all, much to my relief.

He skipped out and leapt into the car, seemingly pleased to see me and happy to come home and I was relieved to see him too. So we got a day less respite than we had planned, but that did not really matter as we had no big Sunday plans that we were breaking. We had already enjoyed a meal out together on Saturday night and we had completed our planned chores, so it was fine for Joshua to return home early. It is good to know that Joshua’s respite provision have procedures in place and that they take head injuries seriously and I did not mean to undermine them by not following their advice. I was happy to take responsibility for monitoring Joshua’s health at home and if he should have shown any ill-effects from his fall, then of course I would have taken him to A&E later in the day. I was just pleased that we were around to be able to respond and once again, I have to wonder if things happen for a reason.

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