“Holidaying with a different kind of normal”
It’s finally here – the summer holiday I’ve been counting down for, I’ve been holding my breath for weeks trying to make sure we actually get to this day and now the day is here and it’s time to leave for our summer holiday to the Lake District. The boys are totally hyper as the operation of packing the bus begins. At first glance our packed bus looks like a “normal” family loaded up for the holidays but if you look closely you will notice there is only one scooter, the other has been replaced by a wizzybug (electric wheelchair), there is only one bike, a wheelchair has been packed in the place of the other bike. The holiday first aid kit has been trumped by emergency life saving kit like a cough assist machine, a suction machine, emergency antibiotics. Holiday snack boxes are instead packed with medical feed and the necessary syringes, tubing and feeding pump that goes along with it. Instead of carrying a few “just incase” medicines like paracetamol, antiseptic creams & upset tummy tablets, we are carrying routine medication needed three times a day for normal functioning and we also have the “folder” – the file containing Zac’s emergency information, explanations of his condition, medical contacts and any other information we feel might be needed in a life saving situation. In addition to this we have also packed a house chair, a bath seat, comfy cushions & blanket rolls for positional changes, oh and a spinal brace because this “different kind of normal” might be going to a new holiday location but there is no holiday from the everyday care that needs done. And just to remind us that we are never truly prepared, Zac decides to throw up just as we’re ready to leave!!
Three hours later we arrive at our holiday cottage and it’s beautiful! The sun is shining and the scenery is gorgeous. We’ve been at this crazy life for a while now so it doesn’t take “Team Cam” long to unpack & set up home in the holiday house. We breathe, we can relax, the pressure is off and it’s time to chill.
We have the bestest time together – we play golf and don’t care that we’re holding up the rest as we line up Zac’s wheelchair at each hole and help him take a swing, we race in the park and feel super proud when we see our boys scoot & wizz around the grass, we eat ice cream, we wander around the shops and it doesn’t seem to matter that we take up the whole pavement. Everyone else is on holiday too – they’re all too relaxed to comment or stare if Caleb gets anxious waiting in a queue or if he gets upset that timings haven’t gone to plan. We adapt every activity to our “different” and don’t give a monkeys who looks at us!! We play at the beach and we make precious memories. Of course we still have to do the everyday meds, the physio, the chest care that is so vital to keeping Zac well and we also have to keep some of Caleb’s routine in place which is so important to him feeling secure but it’s all so much more relaxed, so much easier when “Team Cam” operates as a full time two man team! We have movie nights, visit the miniature village, go trampolining in the trees, eat more ice cream and all too quickly a week has past and operation pack up begins with a few tears.
We make the road trip home and I have the usual holiday aftermath to sort out at home – washing, food shopping, organising the week ahead. I open the front door and see the mail – my heart sinks as I see the hospital appointments piled up, a reminder that the holiday is over. My heart sinks further as I realise that one of the appointments is a four day hospital stay – I now have the washing, food shop, organising the week ahead plus trying to sort out a hospital stay to deal with – my “different kind of normal” has welcomed me home with a slap in the face and a massive reality check.
So our “holiday” is over, we made precious memories and left the Lake District with happy hearts but now it’s time for one half of “Team Cam” to return to the day job and time for me to resume normal routines at home and live our real “different kind of normal”