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Vulnerability, caring and accidents or illness – my latest experience

Nothing makes me feel more concerned or vulnerable than the thought of not being able to care for Braeden. I don’t think I’m alone in worrying about the future but it’s not only the future, is it? It’s when anyone caring for someone with a disability suffers an injury or gets sick. Well, last weekend I had a small jolt of reality after an incident. I thought I’d share it because it did make me think about doing a bit more planning in case anything should happen again.

Vulnerability, caring and accidents & illness - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

Vulnerability, caring and accidents or illness – my latest experience

This is the most ridiculous tale and when I tell people what happened they are somewhat incredulous. Hubby was away and Amelia was doing a uni assignment, so Braeden and I headed to Sydney Zoo for their member only Halloween event. It turned out that there was more trick than treat on this outing. We arrived in the car park, and someone started reversing, almost hitting our car. I jumped on the brakes and took to the horn. I blame my Italian and Greek heritage for my ample horn use. I still remember in Rome and Athens listening to the seemingly never-ending horns in the streets. Anyway, the second I hit the horn I heard a snap and felt intense pain in my thumb. I managed to park the car and assumed the pain would lessen in a few minutes. Instead, I came over faint and wasn’t sure if I’d pass out or throw up first. My main concern was that if I did, Braeden would be in a hot car without any way of getting help. I decided to Facetime Amelia and keep her on the phone until I was sure I was okay. I figured if I passed out, she could call the zoo or an ambulance. It all seemed so ridiculous over a sore thumb, but it was what it was, and I had to think through the best approach. I drank some of Braeden’s juice and put my head between my legs until I felt I could get myself and Braeden inside. Once I got to the ticket counter, I again came over faint and had excruciating pain in my hand so I asked for First Aid. The girl at the ticket counter said, “already!” – quite reasonable given we hadn’t even walked through the gate.

Vulnerability, caring, accidents and illness - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

First aid gave me an ice pack, Panadol and a bottle of water and kept an eye on me until I felt okay. It was a relief to have someone else around that could at least take care of Braeden if I did have an unscheduled nanna nap and pass out. I stayed at the zoo until I felt sure I could drive home. When I got home it became apparent how difficult it was going to be to assist Braeden with personal care and all tasks required. Up until now my thumb was unappreciated and a totally underestimated digit. What a trooper it is doing so much work every single day without any praise or reward. Hubby couldn’t get an earlier flight home, so it was up to Amelia and I to solider through until the next day when Braeden’s support worker arrived. I felt so vulnerable not being able to do everything as quickly and as well as usual. I couldn’t even bath Braeden – he never misses a day.

When Hubby got home, we chatted about what had happened, and I decided in case of an accident we need to have a laminated piece of paper with a bit of information about Braeden in our cars. We plan to include his name, a bit about his disability, how to transfer him and emergency contact details. Who to contact in case of an emergency, his doctor’s contact details and anything else we think might make it easier for him to be supported by strangers. A friend also suggested adding tips on how to calm Braeden down, including what strangers could talk to him about or do if he was upset and needing something to focus on to calm down. Of course, this job just adds to the incredible admin involved in caring for someone with a disability or living with a disability. If you’ve done this already, I’m keen to hear what you included. It always makes me feel better to at least feel better prepared if anything should ever happen.

As a side note, we often hear bad stories about hospital emergency departments but when I attended Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney the day after I hurt my hand, I was in and out within two hours and that included having plaster on my hand. X-rays showed no fracture, but I tore a ligament in my hand. Staff were exceptionally lovely and assured me that people have similar injuries from all manner of weird accidents. Apparently, hitting the car horn and injuring my thumb, while amusing, isn’t all that out there as far as injuries go.

I do feel I need a better story though. I mean if I was heli-skiing for the first time and tore a ligament that would earn awe from those hearing my story. Repelling, water skiing, anything would make a better story than hitting the car horn. Help me out with a good story please! And don’t forget to share any emergency plans you have in place for your loved one you care for.


5 thoughts on “Vulnerability, caring and accidents or illness – my latest experience”

  1. My heart goes out to you. I pray that your injury will heal as quickly as possible and that the emergency team of supporters will continue to help you thrive in the years ahead of you all! Having a crisis plan to hand is absolutely necessary isn’t it! So grateful that you had your own back up plans in place and continue to it appears. We are grateful for the small, medium and large mercies that come along the way by way of grace in all times of need. Thinking of you with compassion and empathy.

  2. A couple of years ago I also had this realisation and created a laminated emergency info card that’s attached to my sons wheelchair. He is has a TBI and is non verbal, silent aspiration risks, falls risks and takes medication. I included these details including medication dosage as you never know what unfortunate thing could happen and with a swallow risk something as simple as offering my son a drink of water to settle him could be catastrophic! It is scary to feel so vulnerable as a carer and worry about the what ifs….

    • Hi Amber

      Thanks so much for sharing your solution to this incredibly tricky situation. It’s always better when you at least feel you have a plan in place for the unexpected.

      It sure is scary to feel so vulnerable.


  3. I’m so sorry about your injury, but so glad it wasn’t worse. What a good idea to have a laminated information sheet in your car! I have one at home for sitters, but didn’t ever think of car emergencies. The older I get the more I think of these contingency plans. It’s a scary thought to be unprepared for emergencies.


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