Everyone makes mistakes, and we all know that. We’ve been told a million times, “everyone makes mistakes, don’t beat yourself up over it.” That doesn’t quite help at the moment though, because the stakes are a bit higher than they’ve been in the past.
Forgot to turn on the pump last night? That’s less calories a continuously fed child is going to get, and it’s not hard to do. Even more common, your child rolls just the wrong way and disconnects himself from the pump. He doesn’t wake up because he’s exhausted, and you have no idea. When one of you finally wakes up, the bed has gotten all of the feeding and some stomach acid. You try to prevent it, but nothing is fool-proof. Besides, you can’t connect it too tight because it needs to release if your child gets tangled in the tubing!
Feeding schedule mistakes, missed medications, spilled medications, forgotten inhalers, the list goes on and on. They’re all parts of life for parents of special needs children. It’s important to know that it’s OK to make these mistakes. Is it ideal? No, it certainly isn’t. We are still human though, even if the stakes have been raised. A sleep-deprived, un-showered, sore, and generally exhausted human at that. Here are some things you can do to help avoid mistakes. I hope they help.
- Bed wetting alarm – I don’t have an ideal place where you can put it… you’ll have to decide based on your child’s sleeping situation. They’re not cheap, but if you can get the money together I would recommend looking into one (especially if your child is a restless sleeper and disconnects often).
- Pre-drawing meds – Some medications can’t be pre-drawn, but it’s worth it for ones that can be. You can break the doses out by the day, and if your child was supposed to have a dose at 8am, it’s 10am, and there’s two of two doses left in the basket you know you missed one. Syringes given by pharmacies frequently leak. There are syringes out there that not only avoid leakage, but also have caps on them. They’re worth the investment.
- Keep a routine – This doesn’t have to be an exact routine, but the more you do something at around the same time every day the more ingrained it’s going to become. You’re less likely to forget things when they’re a consistent part of your life.
- Leave breadcrumbs – If you can stand it, leave proof of things you’ve done that can be easily cleaned up at the end of the day. For example, if you’ve switched out a piece of medical supplies, maybe put the packaging aside so you know it’s already been replaced. You can go around and gather up the wrappings in the evening in just a few minutes.
- Have two, when you can – Anything critical to your child’s health needs a back-up when possible. You already do this for things like buttons, but consider doing it for things like rescue inhalers as well. If your child attends school then see if you can leave one at school. That way, in the event your child forgets to take it, they still have it within close distance in an emergency.
I make suggestions primarily because I feel a responsibility to do so when I bring up a problem. If these don’t work for you for any reason there’s no need to feel bad or guilty. We’re all doing our best. Also, if you have other suggestions please list them in the comments below! Things that help you are bound to help other moms (and dads).