08 July 2008

Chapter 9: They Have a Lovely Disposition

Last week, Cathal and I popped down to our local GP clinic to get his first round of vaccines at the vaccine clinic. Our family GP doesn't do the vaccines, so that's why we had to go elsewhere. We got to the clinic not too late in the day, only two babies ahead of us. Apparently, only babies and oldies need to see the doctor, no in between people there at all in the waiting room. Then we had a lady sit beside us who just kept giving out about having to wait to see the doctor, first to herself, then to us, then to a man she knew on the other side of the room (sigh!).

One baby down, two babies down, OUR TURN.

The nurse took our details, looked Cathal over and then asked if he had any heart conditions. Oh dear, is it that obvious, can you see his heart through his chest? Oh, she saw he has downs, I get it now. She also asked the big one, did you know before he was born? Nope, but do see the previous post.
"Grand so, because he is a new patient here, I'll just get the doctor to give him a quick check."

The doctor came in, she listened to his chest to make sure his lungs were clear for the needles. He was kicking like mad, he spotted a lamp and was totally fixated and excited about it. But the shock of the cold stethoscope and a strange person touching him did not go down too well, and he started crying. We hadn't even started the injections yet.

As he was crying, the doctor turned to me and said, "Ahh, but they have lovely dispositions".
What's that now, babies? Well yes, they can be pleasant.
I replied with "I don't know about that, he can be a real terror".
To which she said "Ahh no, but really, they do".

Now, I only have experience with one little baby who happens to have downs, but he is a messer and can be the most frustratingly stubborn four month old in the entire world. He has days where he cries at everything, if he is on his matt, if you move him to the sofa, if you carry him around, if you look at him, god forbid if you try to kiss him when he is in a mood, anything will set him off. Then the next day he is sweetness and light and full of cheer. My head is wrecked. If there is a lovely disposition in there, it must be hibernating.

The nurse gave him the first needle in his right thigh. His answer to that was "That really, really hurts"

Remember dear, you have a lovely disposition. I finally got him calmed down by bouncing him up and down while he rested his chin on my shoulder and screamed in my ear. But I made a fatal mistake, when he stopped crying; I did the mammy thing, and kissed the back of his head....

disposition....lovely?!? Where's that doctor again, maybe she could prescribe one?

Funny the attitudes and preconceptions out there to disability or special needs. I often get comments in the local supermarket from the oldies "God Bless him". God bless you too, in the name of the father etc amen. No blessing required thank you, he’s just fine the way he is. No divine intervention necessary. If he gets another blessing like that, he is likely to spin his head around 360 degrees, not baptized yet!!!

I don't claim not have some of those preconceptions too, but I am learning, there is no norm, every one has their own character and way about them, and Cathal is no different.


Sesame said...

Thanks, I needed a laugh today. The older generation seem to have held on to that "God bless the mark" response to special needs. I shouldn't give out cos my own ma would be one of them...I took her to a fun day organised by our support group and it really opened her eyes. To be surrounded by so many children with various disabilities and to have to accept that her grandson is one of these children was huge. To be honest that day was an eye opener for me too..at least my own kids will have a greater awareness. God Bless! (sorry couldn't resist)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the birth of your baby boy. We too were blessed with a special boy with Downs. Take it from me, the early months are the most difficult in my experience and not just for children born with downs. I have to say that God plays a huge part in my life and I see God in everything and everyone, especially children. Although you find it upsetting I don't think people mean any harm by the comments they make they are just trying to send you some well wishes. Congrats again and good luck for Cathals upcoming operation. Anne xxx

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the birth of your little boy. My little boy is 5mths and the 'oh they are such happy children' drove me mad, along with 'oh they are so lovable' all kids are happy if they have a good childhood and all kids are lovable if thought how to be affectionate. But the biggest one for me kept me up all night, and was said by so many people to me was the the Tesco comment "sure don't you see them all working in Tesco" nothing wrong with working in Tesco worked there many many years ago myself and when my eldest son finished school and hadn't a job I told him to get off his backside and go down to Tesco, but I just couldn't think that the height of my ambition for my child was to work in Tesco, my husband and I finally laughed over it and 2 days later walked into Tesco and the only till with someone packing and yes it was a lovely adult with Downs Syndrome.
Now rant over, God Bless you!

Anonymous said...

Cathals Mammy and Daddy-Wow!
I have been in tears reading your blogs.
I work as nurse in learning disabilities with many people who have downs syndrome. These people are very stereotyped and my advice to you is to continue seing Cathal as a individual.
Packing bags in Tesco. Indeed it had/has it's place. If someone can pack a bag properly they can be taught to stack a shelf, to serve at deli etc etc.
Things are moving on swiftly for people who need extra help. Trinity has a course open to people with intellectual disabilities. Fetac courses are just recently being offered regionally at level 1 and 2 for people who require extra assistance.
You have years ahead before you need to think of these things but my words to you are keep accessing every resource you can and fight for the ones hard to get.
Keep enjoying Cathal! x