I was in school twice yesterday, once planned and once in response to a phone call: In the morning it was the school Harvest Festival, which I love. It was well attended by parents so there was limited seating in the school hall: the only seating was right behind Joshua and his teaching assistant. Of course he spotted me : to start with he grinned at me, waved and patted his chest to indicate that he loved me, which was all very endearing. But as the Harvest festival went on, he became naughtier, sliding his seat backwards to get nearer to me and then smacking his TA when she asked him to sit down as he kept standing up. I knew that my being so close was creating a problem, usually I can observe him from afar. There was lots of singing and plenty of readings, so the children did really well. I love to see proud parents photographing or videoing their child’s achievements.
This will be the last Harvest Festival at school that I will be able to attend, which is why I was determined not to miss the opportunity. I can recall the first Harvest that I went to at this special school , 8 years ago: the whole school used to walk to the local church then and I was overwhelmed by the effort that was being made, the joy and the signing of all the words of the songs. It moved me so much that I began to cry and could not stop. As we were leaving church, concerned staff were asking me if I was alight and I had to explain that they were happy tears. But I managed to smile all the way through yesterday’s performance, as I have had years of practice now. So I returned to work afterwards. but it did mean that I was missing for 2/3 hours of the morning.
So I decided to work through my lunch hour to make up the time, but at 2.35 I had a call form one of Joshua’s teaching assistants telling me that his seizures had gone on for too long and so the nurse had just administered his rescue medication. When she rang, he was still fitting as it can take up to ten minutes to take effect, and they always seem like the slowest time. I was asked if I wanted them to call an ambulance, but I told them to let the emergency medication do it’s job and only to call if it failed to take effect within ten more minutes. As it was so close to home time – school closes at 3.15 -it was not fair to expect the taxi to bring him home and so I told them that I was on my way back to bring him home myself. I texted the taxi driver and escort and then set off. The 25 minute journey to school, never feels further than when I am on those dashes, which thankfully I have not needed to do for sometime. I am in fact out of practice as my imagination clicked in about what might be happening to Joshua while I was en route, but I reassured myself that I would have had another call if they had dialed 999.
I arrived at school at the same time as other parents were collecting their children for home-time, so I pushed passed and went upstairs to 6th form. Where I was greeted by a wobbly Joshua, naked on his top half, being lead by three members of staff to the changing area as he had just woken up. He often overheats after seizures and so they had taken his t shirt off and had turned the fan on him. He was pleased to see me but was very weak and washed out still from the drugs. Once changed, he was re-dressed and his boots replaced, and we chose to wheel him to the car, which he was not impressed by and he kept trying to get out. He dozed on the way home, I had to stop once as he began to have more seizures as I was driving, but thankfully they were brief. Once home, he slept for two hours on the settee in his den, by which time he was starving for tea and then ready for his bath.
I know that Joshua was in safe hands at school, the staff are epilepsy trained and there is a school nurse on site too, but even with that there is a maternal pull that means I need to get to him as soon as possible. It was a timely reminder of how quickly things can change and how you need calm, quick thinking staff to attend to Joshua’s needs. As I take a look around the first daycare option this morning, I will be more sharply focused on their response to uncontrolled seizures and their emergency procedures as i will be looking for somewhere to take control in the same way that school did today.