Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Why Cameron is No Ordinary Kid - Part 37

Mum walked into the room looking very concerned and then stopped. She'd heard Cameron crying and then walked into the room to find him sound asleep. Why had she heard him crying? His cry was very distinctive.

I had heard the cry she heard as well but I knew why. A baby had been admitted to the ward and it was one of the sadder stories on the ward - the baby had been shaken. The mother had become so overcome with stress that she had shaken her baby and the baby now had brain damage.

The reason Mum thought she heard Cameron crying was because brain damaged babies have a distinctive cry. While the other baby was on the ward we couldn't distinguish between the two babies cries - they were the same and every time I heard the other baby cry I felt so sad for the family because this was a brain injury which could have been avoided. Forever this mother would look at her child and be reminded of what she had done. I've never forgotten that baby.

There was another family that I also never forgot. I have no idea what was wrong with the baby. It was in a 4 cot room and people visited but didn't stay. We saw so many people coming and going that we couldn't help but notice that the behaviour around this baby seemed to be different to everyone else. Slowly we started to put the story together and realized that the parents were very young. We saw the mother and father visit and look extremely unsure of themselves and lost, they didn't know what to do. We saw grandparents from both sides of the family visit and be very maternal and concerned and then we saw lots and lots of other more official looking people arrive and leave.

These parents were so young that support workers were coming in to support them and were setting plans in place to support the family into the future. It was incredible how much help these young parents were receiving and when I looked around the ward it struck me how unfair it seemed that other parents who clearly needed support were not receiving any and yet this young family were receiving a clearly overwhelming amount of support.

There were babies on the ward who were there when we arrived and were still there when we left and they didn't receive one visitor in that whole time. There were single parents who were clearly struggling and there were families who were struggling for all kinds of different reasons but none of them seemed to receive the level of support this young couple received.

I noticed that the parents on the ward who cried got support. I found this really odd because a crying or not crying parent doesn't denote a parent in need from a parent who doesn't need support. I did receive one visit from two social workers while we were on the infant ward. They walked into our room, asked me the same questions everyone else had been asking me about our history and situation and then announced that I was clearly coping so I didn't need any support and left.

By the time I spoke to those social workers I was so numbed by my new life I was as matter of fact as the doctors when speaking about Cameron's condition. I had kept my act together and stayed strong ever since the nurse in the hospital, on the first day, had told me I had to stay strong. I didn't cry in front of anyone and I was staying positive. In reality my life had fallen apart and I had no idea what my future held but apparently I was fine.

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