By Peg Prendeville

No home news this week as I have spent the last week babysitting in Abbeyleix with my two grandchildren Lily and Lucy ages 6 and 4. “But, Nana, I will be five next week.” Lucy reminds me! Some of you may know that Lucy has special needs as she was born with spina bifida. The reason I am saying all of this is that unless you live with a person with special needs you do not realise the extra energy needed to ensure that all needs are met. Medicines at a special time, catheter every three hours, standing chair for a while, on the ground for a while and in her wheelchair for a while. There is a lot of lifting involved and I am in awe of my daughter and her husband who manage all this while keeping down two jobs also. Lily, the older sister, is a treasure. Oh yes she has her moods like all children but is always there to help when asked, knows where everything is and is a great sister to Lucy.

It was interesting being with them for a few days while their parents were taking a break. I can see that it is so important not to use a wheelchair space unless one has a permit as it makes life that little bit easier, for the one who needs it, to get a space near the school or the shopping centre or wherever one is visiting. I observed too that most people are touched when they see a child in a wheelchair and always give a smile where normally they might not. One kind lady saw me lifting the chair out of the boot and offered to help. “I do not know what to do” she said “but I will help”, when she saw me trying to put the wheels back on.  The wheels come off each time to enable it to fit in the boot. So everything takes much more time also.  It is always nice to meet kind people.

To be fair to the HSE Lucy has got lots of medical aids likes wheelchairs, walking chairs, standing chairs, toilet chairs and an electric bed which can be raised or lowered when necessary and which makes life easier for her parents. Some things are frustrating. There was very little physiotherapy offered as it was felt it would be of little use. The medics presumed that Lucy would never be able to move a lot. But after many sessions of private physio a huge improvement was noticed. Her limbs and muscles all round improved in tone. And now Lucy is becoming a competent swimmer which gladdens my heart.

So my corner is a bit personal this week but it nice to know how others live and make do and still be happy. Lucy is loved and is a very happy girl even though she told me that “I will always have my spina bifida.” Then she can break into a song while a catheter invades her little body. Isn’t life amazing!