First Respite ever

My husband and I had 4 children under four years of age. No great feat by any means, there are more people out there with more kids and closer together than that .

We had been told that respite is good and we should have it because it keeps the spark alive. Hmmm, spark, what is it and did we ever have it?

Between hospital visits and caring for twins as well as the older two boys, we had to give a lot of our “normal” times up. But these were our past, why should we complain? I knew things would change when we had kids, I also realised pretty quickly that things changed dramatically when they were diagnosed with Hypohidrotic Ectodermal Dysplasia (HED). Still, no need to complain, there are children a lot worse off than ours in the world. 

So, back to respite, we decided to try for an 8 hour block. Very long and scary for a first time but we were going to re-visit the old haunt a couple of hours away up the coast. I had horrible guilt and gut feelings when we were leaving. I had prepared the whole house as much as I could, had tags on all the food two of the kids were allergic to. I even had a carer list drawn up with each child’s preferences and sleep times. And the vital piece of information for any “baby-sitter”, a picture of the TV and DVD remotes with arrows to explaining the function of a certain button. Don’t laugh, many a carer since has been grateful for the knowledge of how to change channels after the kids had gone to bed.

Back to the story. We left, me with trepidation, my hubby excited. An hour and a half later we arrived at our destination. Gee things look different when you haven’t been somewhere since you’ve had kids. To me, most shops looked superficial and overdone and the people over accessorized. Or, I was so tired and under accessorized that it was true, I need respite.

Both hubby and I started to feel an urge to go home around about lunch time so, after we sat down to a relatively slow lunch, we decided unanimously, to head back to home turf. Not that we wanted to go home as such but we just wanted to be closer to home than one and a half hours away.

We drove back and passed our house to the closest town and decided to go for a wander through Big-W to kill some time. We had another two hours left of our respite block, we might get laughed at if we came back that early. Just as we decided to maybe spend a couple of dollars on something for the kids, my mobile phone rang.

” Hi, it’s *** your Respite worker…..ummm… Your son has jabbed himself with the epi-pen, what do we do now?” I almost dropped the phone. He had an epi-pen but it was well out of his reach on the bench and I was sure he had used his training pen which he had every where we went.

“Are you sure? It was the green junior pen and not the black and gray training one?”

“Yes, it was the green one and there is blood, he jabbed himself before we knew which one he had”

Well, you may never have seen anyone get through a checkout quicker than us that day. I hung up after instructing them to call the ambulance and explaining it to them, as that was the only instruction I had ever gotten about epi-pen use.

We beat the ambulance home, how , I still don’t  know but I got a call from the driver asking me all about it. I had to tell him that we are on route ourselves and that I don’t know if they have to do a siren run or not but that the Carer had told me he was only mildly distressed.

The afternoon unfolded thus. Number two son had wanted to show the carers his new skill of how to use his epi-pen. Not having noticed there was a difference as yet (he had only acquired the pen a week earlier) he then proceeded to climb up the kitchen bench and grab the epi-pen closest to him. Hopped off and yelled “Look what I can do!”

Jab…! He got himself good. Not only did he grab the back off it to activate it, he jabbed himself so good, he bent the needle on his thigh bone.

The pain of it must have been a shock not to mention the hit of adrenaline straight after. He cried, poor boy. They did their best to console him and waited for us to return. We pulled in and the Ambulance was hot on our heels. They were gorgeous, the paramedics, we were calm and they were too. They took him to get checked out at the hospital with daddy following in the car behind.

The carers were so apologetic, they simply did not know how to explain this to their bosses, or us. We knew our son and we knew how headstrong he was too. They went on their way and soon after Hubby and son returned. The Doctor at the hospital was very impressed, he managed to inject the lot and in the right place. Our boy was high as a kite for almost two days, a humming-bird had trouble keeping up with him. He then crashed and slept for 12 hours straight.

“Now that you know how to use it, will you do it if you have to?”

“No Mummy, it hurts too much. I never want to be hurt again!”

We had our next 4 hour respite block, about two years later. I still don’t feel “right” whenever I go.

This is how we keep the epi-pens safe from little hands now

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1 Response to “First Respite ever”



  1. 1 IL BISONTE イル ビゾンテ Trackback on 10/03/2014 at 3:50 pm
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