Some days you wake up, blissfully unaware that your life is about to change forever. How could I have known, whilst drinking my morning coffee on June 2nd 2010, that my son would end up on life support later that day? He was 10 weeks old.
"He was on a dose of steroids, 32times the normal dose. Have you ever seen a baby with ‘roid rage?’. It ain’t pretty."
Finally, he started on a treatment that has only been used on a handful of babies worldwide. It was ‘experimental’ treatment in our case. We had no idea what to expect. Thankfully it worked and he didn’t grow a tail.
When we left the hospital, the hardest part of our journey began. We had virtually no supports, to teach us the rehabilitation strategies we desperately needed. The hospitals physiotherapy service, said they’d see him when he was ‘more disabled’. Early Childhood Intervention services had a 1-2 year waiting list and older children had priority.
I fought to get him a place in early intervention. I found a private physiotherapist who specializes in children with brain injuries. I worked far too many hours to fund his private physio.
I researched every opportunity I had and eventually stumbled across a Neuro-Developmental program in the UK called ‘Snowdrop for brain injured children. The Snowdrop program has helped him so much. It’s sad that nothing similar exists in Australia.
Every day, Max and I do an intense therapy routine, it fills 80% of our day. The days where we haven’t done much therapy, he regresses. I cannot put him in Childcare, because they do not have the resources to facilitate the hours of therapy he needs.
The brain damage has resulted in Max having cerebral palsy, vision problems & right sided hemiplegia. His right hand is always in a fist, it takes several massages/stretches
throughout the day, to stop it from permanently staying like that. Without the hard work we do with his right arm, it would become non-functional. Every morning, I wake knowing that I am responsible for 99% of his rehabilitation. The pressure often gets too much.
We have been rejected for Carer Payment twice, because Max doesn’t ‘tick enough boxes’. ‘Boxes’ which are applicable to an older child and not an infant. We need to wait until he is ‘more disabled’ before we become eligible.
So, I’m fighting another battle. I’m urging the Australian Government to review the legislation pertaining to Carer payments. Sadly, ours is not an isolated case. They say that ‘all babies need full time care’, I say ‘some babies need even more’.
No family, should be told to wait until their baby is ‘more disabled’ before the Government provides assistance. I love you Max, you inspire me every day with your stubborn determination. You are my hero.