You may recall last summer our chaotic appointment with the podiatrist, when Joshua ran amok in the health centre waiting room, kicking and reaching for the receptionist’s telephone and generally running me ragged, while we waited for our appointment. Well his next three monthly appointment was yesterday, so I collected him at lunchtime from school and he was delighted to see me and gave me a big hug and a grin when I appeared. We drove to the health centre and the car park was grid locked as the car in front just stopped at the entrance, sitting waiting for a space to come free. I sat behind him for 5 minutes as I watched our appointment approach, then I jumped out to check if there were any disabled spaces free and there were two of them. So I politely asked the obstructive driver if he would move forward so that I could park, which he did to everyone’s relief as his selfish behaviour had created a backlog onto the main road.
We checked in at reception as we were now exactly on time and Joshua gave the desk a gentle kick. But I lead him to the seating area where he sat down beautifully and crossed his legs, indicating that he was staying rather than roaming. I only needed to occupy him for a short while before the podiatrist called out his name and we walked through to his clinic. I removed Joshua’s boots, splints and socks while we made small talk and then Joshua relaxed into the big therapy chair which was raised up to eye level, so that the podiatrist did not have to bend. Joshua looked so relaxed even as the chair moved up and he happily allowed him to cut his toe nails and file the hard dead skin of his callouses – that form as his foot deformity means that he walks on the soft side of his right foot rather than his heal and balls of his feet. Joshua looked as though he enjoyed his pedicure and he was certainly in no hurry to climb off the chair. But he did when asked and waved goodbye nicely to the podiatrist, so all in all it was a very successful appointment.
As we got back in the car I said the magic words to make his day, as he had not eaten his packed lunch , so I offered him Donalds as he had been such a good patient. His face lit up and he tapped his heart – but I am still not sure if he was saying that he loved me or the idea of Donalds! He was so excited as we drove into the car park and ran into the restaurant and he did not even complain about the long wait for his meal – he just sat patiently, looking expectantly towards the kitchen. He ate and drank all but a few chips and waved at everyone, staff and customers alike, so it was a very happy reunion and a fitting reward for his smooth appointment.
My friend tells me that Joshua is not naughty but he is communicating, well if that is the case, he was communicating a lot yesterday morning at the Health Centre. We had been sent there for a podiatry appointment as his splints and walking gait have rubbed his skin, so he has callouses on the side of his right foot. So orthotics had asked me to ask our GP for a chiropody referral, which I duly did and this appointment was the result.
It was at 9.20 and as I was unsure about parking facilities and how the rush hour traffic might impact on me, so we were ten minutes early, as I found a Disabled parking space right outside the entrance. We went inside and told reception that we had arrived and were told to sit in the waiting room until we were called. Chance would be a fine thing, Joshua was not in the mood to sit and wait and chaos ensued as he tried every tactic he had in his repertoire to communicate :
- He kept standing in front of the automatic doors, so that the endlessly opened and shut, letting an artic gale inside each time he did so
- He walked up to the reception desk, a pillar and a door marked ‘staff only’ and kicked them hard
- He ran into the adjacent GP surgery reception, leaned over the desk and grabbed their telephone, pretending to make a call
- He ran down the corridor, trying to access a door marked ‘private’
- When I found him books to look at, they were tossed onto the floor, as was my mobile phone
- When I got him to sit down, he tried to knock the chair next to him over
- He leaned over to stare at a young girl close to her face, the pre-school girl was afraid of him but I was just relieved that he did not grab at her bright, bobble hat as he does not usually allow anyone to wear a hat
- He stroked a mother’s hair then tugged her ponytail
Finally, exhausted, he sat next to me and leaned on my shoulder, to have a rest and it is of course at that calm moment, that we were called through to see Podiatry. Unfortunately, the lady asked us both to sit down while she filled in an introductory form. As Joshua was being ignored, he began to play up again : pulling notices off the walls, trying to escape, kicking the radiator, switching a fan on and trying to gain access to her computer keyboard! Having seen how ‘busy’ he was, the podiatrist said that there was no way that she was going to take a sharp blade to his feet as it would be just too dangerous. She seemed reluctant to even ask him to remove his shoes, socks and splints to look at his foot. But I insisted that she saw the extent of the problem after we had waited so long to be seen.
Remarkably, he sat back on the long couch and happily allowed me to remove his footwear and then he sat very still while she simply filed the callous and even cut his toenails while he was there. She made us another appointment for 3 May and I agreed to bring his iPad next time, to encourage him to sit still both in the waiting room and in the appointment itself. Exhausted by the busy and frustrating 40 minutes in the Health Centre, we got back to the car and I drove him into school, via Donald’s for breakfast.