​When I was younger, I loved winter. I love all the fun things that go on –  bonfire and firework displays, freezing cold mornings, snow, Christmas, plus I’m a January baby so all in all a lot to look forward to.

Now things are different.

I still love all those things but now I prepare for winter like a military operation.  

For Sam, winter is a dangerous time indeed.  As it is for many special needs children and adults.

This year so far since September, Sam has suffered a bout of tonsillitis, two chest infections (one resulting in hospitalisation as his seizures became so severe), chicken pox and has had a constant chesty cough and pouring nose. 

The poor kid is utterly, totally fed up; he’s tired, run down and constantly poorly. And I don’t just mean he has a cold… a cold is never ‘only’ a cold for children like him. 

A cold = fever, increased seizures, high likelihood of progressing to pneumonia… which then means oxygen, rescue medication, ambulances, long stays in hospital.

Not to mention how much school he has to miss, and how much work we have to miss to take care of our little superstar.

We had literally just been discharged after our latest little visit to the NHS hotel; due to being generally poorly with his chest anyway, when Sam was taken back in due to a chest infection. He then had swabs taken which showed group A strep bacteria (not actually a huge worry on the skin, but if it becomes an invasive infection it can be a killer), so yet another course of antibiotics. 

After 3 weeks off school, the little guy was thrilled to be back there this morning – I am currently praying that he manages a full week!

I’m also praying that I manage a full week at work – juggling things has become increasingly difficult this year and my level of absence this semester has become too much to maintain. 

Once again the importance of a supportive line manager and employer has become evident – with my level of absence they would be fully within their rights to point out that I cannot continue to do my job (as I basically have been off more than in) instead of this however; they are trying to move Heaven and Earth to find ways to manage my work so I can work flexibly, and to ensure that when the inevitable crises hit my work load doesn’t have to be covered by other, already very stretched, staff members. 

I can’t even begin to tell you how difficult it is to juggle everything, but knowing that my employer isn’t about to just give up on me means a lot. So.. fingers crossed the little man manages a full week back at school.  

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