Thursday, 16 June 2016

Scary Places

I don't usually blog twice in awareness week, but this time I will.

I am also going to assume that most of you know the back story, or at least the bare bones of it, or have picked details up along the way.

For me, the time around Peter's diagnosis was one of the scariest, loneliest places I have ever been in.

I had just about convinced myself (by June 1990), that there was nothing really wrong with Peter, I was just a neurotic, tired mum who was looking for excuses.

(My gut was telling me otherwise, but i didn't listen I chose selective deafness so as not to hear the howling that was going on)

So we were going back for routine appointment at the hospital. They had told us of one thing they had picked up when Peter was born, so they would follow it through, rather than get our GP to do it.
At the appointment, the Consultant was looking at Peter's ears and his hands and talking about them.

Mmmm, what medical school, i thought , did you go to - you are meant to be looking at the bits between his legs!!
So, it was decided that bloods needed to be taken, so off we went to get them done.

Walked into the neo natal, introduced ourselves to the doctor, who didn't have a clue WHY we were there.
So she said to another doctor, who replied "oh, yeah, i know about them, but I'VE got to do a patient transfer to sick kids.

Oh cheers pal, i know you're busy, but did you not think to give someone else the heads up about us???

(this is the point where i remembered this guy being on the ward when we were in, another mum was worried about her baby, he was called in, wasn't happy about it and then muttered "first time mothers" as he walked out of the ward)

I think it is Mya Angelou who said "People may not remember your name, but they will always remember how you made them feel. I will add to that and say if you remember they way the made you feel AND their name , things are either VERY bad, or  VERY good.

The nice doctor asked me when we were coming back to clinic. I told her i didn't have a clue, but we were due to have a check up with our GP in the next couple of weeks.
So she said that she'd get the results to the GP

By Saturday morning, we had a letter asking us to come in on the Tuesday to discuss the results (all these years later, i wonder how they got them back so quickly).
Typical. get the letter on a day you can't get in touch to ask.

So, my mum and brother came over to look after Louise, we went to the clinic.
The doctor was over an hour late getting there , so we sat and waited our turn.

When we went in, he told us Peter had Prader Willi Syndrome and rather gleefully (i felt) told us this was the first child he had diagnosed this year and the youngest he's ever diagnosed.

Oh - forgot to say - you know Dr "don't hassle me, i'm doing a transfer"?

Yup, you got it. It was him.

So, i began that scary lonely journey.

We got home (how, to this day, i do not know)
My mum's reaction was to tell me that Matthew had had a shock, and i was to go and make him a cup of tea!!

Of COURSE, i hadn't had a shock - i just knew i was the person who would be dealing with it!!!

(many years later, i found out that my mum had said she would take Peter and look after him. Thankfully, Matthew had the good sense to say , umm - NO)

SO, then a blur - going to the GP, the one who did the baby clinic was on holiday, but, i was told, she had got the results just before she went off - and had to ask the trainees what they knew about PWS.

I felt soooo bad that she and her family were on holiday and i had ruined it for her .
It was worse that her Husband was a GP in our practice as well.

(this is the point where i say that if i ever win big on the lottery, i owe them big time in the holiday stakes)

Waiting for the genetics/neuro appointment, we were having to tell friends and family.
And get backlash from both mums that it was obviously the other family whot had done it.

Mmm - at least they didn't deny the existence of chromosomes in the family, but it was a close run thing.

Three days before our appointment, I was in a car crash with my dad and Louise.

This just got better and better.

So when we went to the hospital, my brain was gone. Along with my sanity and i really didn't want to be there.

It didn't help that the neurologist straddled that line between genius and madness.
Nay, he merrily wandered over that line several times in an appointment, much to my sorrow, because you could never get him to give you a straight reply

SO, there was me, on that lonely horrible journey (yes, Matthew was as well, but we were both so worried we didn't realise it)

They told us that no way could Peter have PWS.
Mind you, that was one thing that Doctor Mad Genius did explain to us, but i can't really remember what his explanation was. I do remember something about if he did have it, he wouldn't have lived.

(oh, yeah - make us feel good pal. Look, i know you're a mad genius, but give us a break and get someone to translate this into non medical jargon, so i might just begin to understand)

So, even the experts didn't have a clue, so shoved along that lonely scary path a little bit more.

When we got back  to my Mum and Dad's, we started to tell them that Peter didn't have PWS, but my mum cut me off before i could say any more and say "oh, great, he's fine, nothing wrong with him. Can you go and phone out GP, you dad isn't well and i think it's after effects from the crash"

How i made that phone call and didn't break down, i have no clue. I was trying to tell my mother that one of her grandchildren was going to need a lot of support as well as us , but she chose not to hear that.
(even now as i type, ....... my face is wet)

But somewhere in that lonely scary time, i got Edna's phone number.
My memories of that conversation we me trying not to cry and her telling me that i didn't do anything wrong, it wasn't my  or Matthew's fault and that we would eventually find things out.

Those were some of the most comforting words i ever heard.

Slowly, we got to know other Unique families.
Our children/young adults/grown ups may all have a different diagnosis.
But one thing we do very well is support each other.
And we try to raise awareness about Unique.

We got to meet some of the families at Conferences and over the years have made some VERY good friends.
They start out as people wanting to know about the chromos issues and somewhere along the line, some of them turn into friends who
a) get you Murray Gold's autograph for your youngest son who loves music and Dr Who. If you don't know who MG is, you're a heathen!!!!

(alright, it'll tell you - he writes the music for all the new Dr Who shows)


b) They tell me to get my big girl pants on and deal with things if i get stroppy!!!

 Now, when it comes to support, i really don't think you can get much better than that.

I'm not going to name names (well, apart from Jenny, Steve, Emma and Sam and muchos thankos for the autograph - i doubt my body could have coped with a Time Vortex Manipulator to get me to the Albert Hall that day!!)

The other names - well, i have mentioned them before and have done so this week already. Most of them would say that they were doing for me what i would do for others - being that supportive person there, ready to help.

Now, what Edna  and we didn't know was that it would take over 20 years to actually  get to a point where the get something like a genetic diagnosis. Even tho Peter had a lot of markers, it's only in the past few years that the techie stuff has caught up.
But in those years, i have thrown curved balls, asked questions and always had some info back - even if it was "you know, we hadn't thought about that ".

So another (more personal) take on Chromosome Awareness

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