Joshua was allowed a lie in yesterday morning as we did not need to be at his wheelchair assessment until 10.30, so I left him in bed until 9 am. When I did wake him, he did not seem to appreciate that he had enjoyed an extra 90 minutes asleep and he was still slow to come round and to eat his Weetabix in bed. So we had a tussle to pull the duvet from his tight grasp as he giggled at his teenager game. He was happy in the car listening to loud music with his two favourite songs on repeat with the windows down , that was until he spotted McDonalds golden arches up ahead of him. When I drove past, it was 10,15 I told him, he began protesting – kicking the car and trying to escape his seat belt. So of course I made him a promise that I would take him there after our appointment, if he was good, by which time it would be nearer lunchtime.
We arrived at the wheelchair assessment centre, where there were just 4 disabled parking spaces which were all full. The rest of the street was double yellow lines and so I tucked my car into a disused entrance opposite and hoped for the best. Joshua walked with me into the wheelchair centre happily and sat down but the receptionist told me that I could get a parking ticket where I had left my car and as a space had come free by then, he offered to take care of Joshua while I moved my car. So I went outside and when I returned two minutes later, Joshua was standing at the back of reception kicking the door to the toilets, with a panicked receptionist looking hopefully at me. I explained that he was not good at waiting these days. So I then took over trying to distract him with the water fountain, writing on some forms and my phone, but nothing held his attention for very long.
Thankfully we were called into the assessment room, where two Occupational Therapists and the sales representative from a wheelchair manufacturer were waiting for us. Joshua sat down for a couple of seconds while he surveyed the scene, picking out the things that he wanted to fiddle with such as an OT’s pony tail, her glasses, her computer keyboard and a stool on wheels. It was like an Aladdin’s den to him but I tried my best to answer their questions while pulling him away from anything that he could potentially break – I needed to be an octopus to keep up with him, while focusing on lap-straps, brakes, the size of wheels etc. I dreamt of the old days when in hospital appointments when he used to lay his head on my shoulder or lap, and go to sleep, blocking out the conversation about him. But those sleepy days have well and truly gone and now I need to be a juggler and a multi-tasker.
After 30 minutes of these fun and games, we were finished and Joshua meekly held onto his current wheelchair and helped me push it to the car. He settled in the front seat while I manhandled it into the boot. It is both awkward and heavy, but the rep gave me no reassurance that his new chair will be any lighter or neater, as it needs to be tough enough to resist his new stamping on the footplate habit. As promised I drove back to school via Donalds, where he was sweetness and light : waving at everyone and thanking me for taking him to one of his favourite destinations. So when I delivered him to school at midday, I warned them that he might not eat his packed lunch. he gave his teaching assistant a big bear hug, as he was clearly pleased to see her, and then he ran to his classroom to get settled on the settee, hardly even looking up as I left to head to work, even though I felt as though I had done a day’s work already. His school diary says that he was sleepy all day, so maybe he felt the same.