Dr Ranj and Get Well Soon

Get Well Soon Dr Ranj with Jobi

Dr Ranj is a real doctor and he’s on all kinds of programmes but the only one we are interested in is Get Well Soon on Cbeebies.  He is a very smiley patient doctor who is visited by a whole range of puppet patients with a variety of ailments.  He listens to them, listens to their worries, talks about their illness and how to help it get better.  Simple premise yes, but until this programme overlooked in my opinion.  Children get poorly or have to have injections and have to go to a place that often smells funny and let a practical stranger look at them and are supposed to make sense of that.  Now I know we talk to our kids about trips to the doctor, dentist and others and can talk about getting better- but how many of us do it to a funky song and dance routine?!

Oliver has spent a lot of time being poked and prodded when going through diagnosis and then the genetic testing so as you can imagine he is mighty upset when he has to go to see the GP.  By the way our GP’s are fantastic, very patient and friendly.  It usually results in me saying what I think is wrong while he turns all the lights off and crawls under the examining table so he can’t be looked at.  At home we play with the medical kit regularly, the toy one obviously, and the little ones now know how to look in ears, eyes, take a blood pressure and give mummy 500 injections.  If I don’t say “Ouch” they do it until I do.  I hoped it would help with doctor visits.  Alongside this we started watching Cbeebies, we were Milkshake fans for a long time, and came across get well soon.  The kids were entranced.  It is colourful with lots of singing and not everyone is happy.  But it’s ok, they don’t have to be.  It’s ok to be scared and worried and sad that you’re ill.  And more importantly it’s ok to tell the doctor if you are feeling those things.  Dr Ranj explains without being patronising.  Watched a brilliant one on asthma.  My sons favourite is the ear infection though, the song made him giggle and he actually tried to join in the singing.  His version went “doctor, doctor, ear- OW!” which was close enough and he loved doing the OW! bit and dancing.  (the words are “go to see the doctor when your ear goes OW”) so pretty close.

Anyway he had to go, coincidentally with a suspected ear infection and although he didn’t like it much he was much better at being examined.  He let our doctor take his temp, look in his ears, listen to his chest, almost let him check his throat and suffered the pulse-ox finger monitor for 15 seconds which was brilliant.  Then he went and turned the lights off.  I understand that the NHS is under strain and GP’s are supposed to keep to 10 minute appointments but I have to say that mine never make me feel rushed and if I go in with a sick child, they take the time to talk to the child, explaining what they are doing and why.  I think it’s important that the child feels like they are involved, important and have some say.  When Popples had a hip infection, she was only just 3 but the doctor said to her “can I just put you up here on the bed and have a look at this poorly leg” which made her feel like she had a choice.  When he said to Oliver “can I see inside your mouth” he got a “No no no” so he didn’t push it (we weren’t overly concerned about his throat, it’s just if he sees him he likes to do as thorough a check up as possible as we don’t go that often) , but then got to listen to his chest.  It builds up trust and lessens the fear.  I think all doctors should watch get well soon, some of the ones we saw at hospital had no idea about children even though it was their specialty.  All I need now is for my GP to learn a few song and dance routines, although I suspect the kids would then be feigning illness in the hopes of seeing him everyday!  If you haven’t seen it, you should give it a go.  I should warn you though that the songs can get stuck in your head.

Until next time- Be happy, be healthy and get well soon!


DLA- the result!

Oliver has been receiving the high rate for personal care since we first applied.  Nothing for mobility because his legs worked.  We had to reapply just before Christmas and I said to my husband “they’ll lower it to middle rate” and he laughed and said they couldn’t as he was no better in real terms- he still needed 24 hour supervision.

Fast forward to today and I got the letter- middle rate for personal care as he needs helping to toilet for a few minutes through the night and low rate mobility.  What happened to all the other pages of the form?  You know the ones where I wrote about his lack of sleep, his night time wanderings if not supervised, his lack of awareness of danger which means he will try to climb over the stair gate at the top of the stairs if it’s shut and he fancies one of his “lets turn all the lights on in the house and any electrical appliance I can find” nights, his screaming and wailing if he is left too long on his own which wakes the whole household.  The 2/3 hours sleep I am on with him.  The getting him dressed and redressed in pyjamas when he has an accident with trying to keep him calm and quiet in the semi dark, and it goes on.  I provided evidence from school, his doctor, paediatrician, provided numbers for therapists.  Do they actually get in touch with anyone?

Our GP has recently prescribed something that might be able to help with sleep, when we feel he needs it.  Why would it be prescribed if he was a good sleeper?  The mobility I expected, I don’t think it’s right but I did expect it.

Needless to say we are going to appeal it.  Along with all the other things we have to do we now have to put together an appeal- although the rules for this have changed since my last appeal, so I will first have to figure out the new system, no doubt put in place so no one knows what they are doing and the people who need the money get fed up and stop claiming.  How can people who aren’t medically trained make decisions regardless of what the professionals say- it’s absolute madness!



Snow day!

So last week we were hit by “The Beast from the East”.  We got snow, and sub zero temperatures.  It wasn’t so bad at first, we walked to school and back for 2 days because last time I drove in the snow I bumped the car, much to the delight of the kids in the back who laughed and shouted “Again, again!”.  I couldn’t get up the hill to school so skidded into the kerb twice fortunately not hitting another road user or pedestrian.  So now we walk in the snow, well me and Popples walk and I push Oliver in his major buggy.

On Thursday morning we got a text saying school was shut, the wind had picked up something fierce and the snow was icy in patches and we were upgraded to Amber weather warning.   Beautiful to watch from the safety of the house.


Winds crept up to over 40 mph the hating was on permanently trying to combat the various drafts.  Scotland was issued with the highest weather warning, there was a 16 car pile up on the motorway, on another motorway people were in their cars for 18 hours.  I don’t remember weather like this.

Friday we got another text – another snow day!  Kids were made up, we haven’t had snow deep enough to build a snowman in their lifetime, so me and Popples braved to wind and cold to build what my husband has called the most sinister snowman ever built.  Now I don’t think he’s that bad, I think it’s quite a good effort.  She was devastated when he started to melt “do something mummy!”


Oliver managed to keep his clothes on long enough to come out and play snowballs, he was chasing his sister around and laughing his head off.  Lovely to see them playing, not so nice when he managed to hit me with a snowball while I was talking-straight in the mouth.  They ended up dismantling the snowman for more ammunition.

Unlike other countries who do have severe weather regularly, the UK is never prepared for extreme weather be it hot or cold, we come to a standstill.  I think the weather is our nations favourite topic of conversation.  Some have been hit hard, counties have been cut off with people having to walk through 12 foot drifts to get supplies of water, food and fuel.  And after this they’ll have the floods to deal with.  The weather seems to be getting more extreme, I remember when I was a kid we had seasons, now we just seem to get wet, windy and cold.  When we get 2 days of sun its a heatwave!  Anyway the little ones enjoyed their bonus days off- “mummy is it snow day again today?”  no sweetheart it’s back to rain “awwwww it’s not fair, I need a snow day”.



Living in chaos.

The electrics in the kitchen were condemned and Wickes were having a 4 years interest free deal on kitchens, how could we resist?  The kitchen was falling apart when we moved in, I think there was only one door still hanging in the end, but with limited finances it got put on the list of things to do- in time.  Now with this deal and our new budget drawn up we could look at getting a kitchen, as the electrics would need doing it could all get ripped out rewired and fitted.  Hooray!

We had a man come round to plan it with us, extra tall cupboards, pull out corner cupboard things, a pull out spice rack drawer and the sink of my husbands dreams (not very exciting dreams admittedly).  In the old coal shed we could put the washer and drier and other sundry items thus leaving the kitchen as just a kitchen.  We booked it after tweaking it to fit in our budget and got an installation date.  Everything going well so far.  As it was a full refit, with electrics, everything had to pulled out and that’s where the chaos started.  The conservatory was packed with stuff we wouldn’t need til after the fitting, the living room contained 2 freezers, a fridge, a tumble dryer, kettle, toaster, crockery, cutlery- you get the picture.  Any other bits were put in bedrooms in boxes.  Kids couldn’t get their toys, we wouldn’t have a working oven for up to 8 working days, no sink for at least 3, no washer.  Fortunately my parents live not far away and would let us eat there and wash the clothes.  So I seem organised and have tried to explain to the kids what’s happening, showing pictures of the new kitchen and moving things while they watch.

Day one- the workmen turn up at 7 on the dot and rip out the kitchen, I say rip out, they probably give it a kick and it collapsed! “I don’t like these mens mummy” says Popples but we seem to cope with the change ok.  We go for tea, do a wash and when we come home the “mens” have gone which makes Popples happy.  Oliver struggles as there is no space for him to play, or lounge with his teddies after a hard day at school.  Then comes the next blow, the pipes have been waggled so a connection to the bath has come lose and started leaked.  The husband caps it off and I text mum asking if we can have baths there too.  He plans to fix it at weekend.  At this point we have one working tap, the bathroom sink.

Behaviours get worse as the week goes on, by all of us.  I’m running around dropping kids off, picking them up, going to the folks, bathing them, washing clothes, packing the clothes in the car to bring home to dry, wrestling three kids back in the car.  It’s chaos.  And for my 2 boys, it’s particularly hard as the routine is gone.  Oliver starts playing up at school.  I end up getting a phone call Thursday to come get him as he has stripped off and won’t get dressed.

The weekend comes and he gets all the plumbing supplies, spends 2 days working on the bathroom, moving the bath and sink as planned to give us more room.  I’d asked 3 times if we should just get a plumber- “no I can do it, it’s just some pipes” turns the water back on at 9pm Sunday night and theres now fountains in the bathroom.  My one tap, my one source of water has gone.  My husband is very upset at this point, clearly it’s more than “just pipes” when it comes to plumbing.  I knock on my neighbours door with 2 jugs begging for water, and I get more than water, I get a 20 minute gossip session too with some very juicy stuff.

The mens fit my sink the next day and I could have kissed him, he also emergency repairs the main pipe upstairs and caps off the rest so we have the water back on.  I get the number for a plumber but Leon knows a friend of a friend (I know, I can see whats coming too).  By this point I’m exhausted and stressed and can’t remember when I last slept and still have to do the school run, cope with three displaced kids and my dad feeding me mega portions as I’m “looking too thin and ill”.  The plumber comes, doesn’t fit the waste pipe properly into the outside waste pipe so when I empty the bath it comes down the newly plastered walls (it’s still drying out).  He also managed to take a tape measure, spirit level, screw driver, saw and other items that had been in the tool box.

I cry.  For hours.  My house is not my home, my kids are stressed, I’m stressed, bits are missing from the kitchen, and then someone says to me “it can’t get any worse, it’ll be great when it’s done” and then they listen to me rant for half an hour.  Leon manages to fix the drainage pipe so the bath works, the kitchen men plumb in my washer and cooker.

On Thursday (a week and a half after it started) I move the living room back into the kitchen, I clean non stop, and organise the toys and rug and teddies and I bring the little ones back from school to a home cooked meal.  Oliver’s face was a picture, wreathed in smiles, teddies on the floor, lying down and covering himself in stickle bricks.  Popples not so happy “I need to go to my nana’s”.

The kitchen is done, the bathroom no longer leaks, Oliver is now keeping his clothes on- at school at least, the odd pencil pot stills goes flying but he has calmed down in school, Max is trying to find his way around the kitchen but knows where the coke and crisps are so isn’t overly bothered about much else.  My husband has agreed in future not to attempt plumbing.  I knew it would be hard but this hard?  Although what eejit attempts a bathroom whilst kitchen is being done?

All settled?  Not a chance, with the severe weather Max’s ceiling has a major leak- think we will leave that to the insurance!




“A thorough investigation”

I spoke about Max and losing his placement in “How can people be so mean” and this is the update.  We were invited to a meeting to be given the results of the investigation into the allegations made about staff behaviour.  They claim there was a thorough investigation and there is no case to answer.  “We can’t go into specifics about people but we found it was a disgruntled employee who we have let go and basically a case of revenge/sour grapes.  Max is welcome to come back”

Their timeline of events was different to mine, when I pointed this out they said I had it wrong.  I asked if the main mean person had been let go.  No he hadn’t.  There was no evidence against him except he said/she said and if we sent Max back then he would have no contact with this man.  I asked about the screen shots I received with his mobile number on it and asked if they’d called the number.  “That isn’t evidence, anyone can doctor a screenshot”, well I can’t.  Also if the man was innocent why would Max have to be kept away?  I asked why nothing had been done when his 1-to-1 first mentioned something to the manager and got “it was only after we let her go that concerns were raised”.  We argued the time line, but it was no use, they wouldn’t budge.

We told of how his activity programme had changed and asked why.  We told of his change of behaviour.  “We have new management” so the old manager who was really good with the clients and keeping staff in line was now being blamed because of his lack of office skills, the new managers had to sort all that out and it “may” have affected services.  I told them that the new manager was the same woman who had been with us from the start, so she knew us and it made no sense to change his activity. “Well I’ve known her a long time, she has been trying to deal with a lot as she hasn’t been a manager before”- yes and? She gets a promotion and decides my sons tailored programme is no good without discussing it with me? The programme she helped tailor!

All staff members have been interviewed and been given a leaflet on respect and dignity.  All clients have been interviewed and no one else has a problem.  What about the people like Max with no voice?  The parent was interviewed to see if anything had been “said” at home.  I asked how they were supposed to say anything when they couldn’t talk, what method was used? A sad/happy board? “we can’t go into details”.

I saw a change in behaviour in Max and thankfully his 1-to-1 told me what was going on, so I could intervene.  My gut tells me something went on, you get a feeling about people, and it’s not scientific and sometimes it’s wrong, but not often I don’t think.  For her whistleblowing she has lost her job, been badmouthed all over and when I spoke to her last she had had a social worker visit her as they had received “an anonymous phone call” about her and her kids.  She is seeking legal advice.

I just wonder when I am going to hear about another incident at this place, or will they be more subtle in future.  One thing is for sure, they had their own agenda and have fulfilled it.  No case to answer.  They’ve skewed things so she has no credibility, and I look like an overprotective drama queen mother.  They’ve lost over £18,000 in fees plus other monies they could claim as he is classed as severely disabled.  The man managing the meeting said Max would be welcomed back with open arms, he brings a lot of money with him.

To me, and I know I’m not impartial, it feels like a whitewash.  Max wasn’t happy.  I’ll never know exactly what went on, I only have screen shots of conversations and my gut to go on, but I know something went on.  He won’t be going back.  My social worker is trying to find something else for him, we will see how that goes.  In the meantime, we have time to get him back to his happy self and rebuild his self esteem.