Working Late

I am working late again tonight, thankfully I am at home. Today, I had to chaperone one of the kids, while had day surgery today. Everything went OK for the child involved and he is being looked after in Sick Bay. This meant that most of today, was spent sitting around in the Children’s Ward at the Hospital, but I didn’t mind.

Once I got back to work, I took our poorly pupil to Sick Bay, I went on my rounds. I do a rounds of all the units, at least twice a day. It’s a chance for me to interact with the kids and also to deal with any issues staff have.  When I got home, some of our kids were in bed, so I went up to check on them and had a quick game of pool with Josh and then hit the paperwork.

I also sent an email to all parents re: the Norovirus, as follows:

Dear Parents and Carers,

As you may be aware, we have a minor outbreak of the Norovirus. Please be assured, that only a few children are infected and we are currently keeping them isolated on their unit. Because of this, the Squirrels Unit is currently closed to all visitors, unless there is a urgent reason for visiting. This must be agreed in advance. so please contact the Unit and speak to the Unit Leader, before visiting.  Isolating the few pupils with the virus, will help us to prevent the virus spread to other pupils \ staff and visitors.

Please be re-assured: Your son’s welfare is high priority and we are working hard to contain the virus and stop it from infecting other children. If your son does have the virus, they will be assessed and treated accordingly. Dr. Robinson and Dr. Daryk are providing support to staff as needed and your son will be given medication; to stop  the symptoms of diarrhoea and medication to stop your son being sick.

Please feel free to ring the Unit to speak to your child on: (number omitted)  You may also use this number to speak to staff, if you have any concerns. You can also contact Sick Bay on: (number omitted,) where one of the nursing staff is available to answer any questions you may have.

If you or your child have had symptoms of the Norovirus, please do not send your child to school and keep your child at home for at least 48 hours after the the sickness and diarrhoea stops. This is to prevent re-infection of the virus and to stop it spreading around school.  

At the entrance to the main school building, the entrance to J Block and at the entrance to each unit; there are sanitizer points, which you can use on your hands. Please sanitize your hands on entry and exit of the buildings, to help contain the virus.

We are hoping that we will be able to re-open the Squirrels Unit to visitors on Tuesday and another email will be sent out regarding this, in due course.

If you have any worries or concerns, please feel free to give me a ring on: (number omitted) and I will be happy to answer any questions, worries or concerns you may have.

Kindest regards,

Kyle McLaughlin,
Head of Care


I still got quite a bit of paperwork to do and I know I will be at it for a hour or 2. The good news is, I am on a waking night shift tomorrow, as I was covering on another unit and that means that I didn’t do my waking night shift on the Jets Unit on Friday night.

Told you I am a busy bee!

Yes, I know it has been ages!

Once again, sorry for the lack of posts, over the last few months. Sam and I have not had a chance to blog much, but we will try and keep you updated with what’s happening at our end, as much as we can.

So, here’s what’s been going on, condensed; as I am actually at work and posting this on my break.

Major Building Work on B Block

B Block at school is currently closed and has been, since November. The reason for this, is because of asbestos removal. B Block is riddled with it and it is cheaper to remove it, than spend millions knocking the block down and rebuilding. So we have hording all around B Block, access is currently blocked off and it means pupils need to go via D Block; to access A and C Block. We also have a temporary modular building, which currently holds the Kitchen and Canteen. (Once the asbestos is removed, we are having a new kitchen installed and a larger canteen area.

Work is going well and we hope that by April, all the building work will be done.

Poorly Toby

One of the kids we foster was taken very ill in the Summer Holidays, after getting Septis and was rushed into hospital while we were in Blackpool. Toby was well looked after at the Victoria Hospital, before being air lifted to Sheffield, for specialist ITU treatment. Sam stayed with him all the way and Toby made a full recovery.

The Septis was caused by a wound which got infected, after he had a kidney transplant. Toby came to us after his operation and a 3 week stay at the  Children’s Hospital in Sheffield. Our “Tobes” is getting better and stronger every day. He no longer uses a wheelchair or sticks, but gets tired very easily. Due to this, he uses the Day Teaching Unit on Sickbay, where if needed, he can rest.

Christmas and NYE

Christmas was very busy for us all. Sam was working on Christmas day, after the Care Staff accidentally activated the Fire Alarm, while cooking and the birds until lost all lighting, due to a fault with a light fitting.

I worked Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve on Waking Night (Christmas Eve) and Sleep In on NYE. We let the kids stay up on the Unit I am in charge of, to tire them out mainly, as they were so hyper about Christmas! (Can you blame them?)

On Christmas Morning, I drove home, opened presents with the kids and then went to bed. In the afternoon, the family arrived and we had Christmas Dinner, which got delayed, due to the fire alarm activation. (Sam had to respond to it) Later, I was back on night shift again.

I was off Boxing Day and worked days on the 27th – 30th. On New Year’s eve, we had a party over in the School Gym, which surprisingly, our Head and a few other teachers attended. (I wonder if she used the cattle prod to make them come.) Sam did his usual Karaoke and Disco, which was great fun. At midnight, we sang Auld Langs Ayne and rang in the new year together.

As I said, Sam and I will try to post as often as we can. We haven’t forgotton you, it’s a case of finding 5 mins to blog. Right break over, so back to work I go.

Finally… From myself, Sam, Toby, Kyrlo, Liam, Will, Linda, Derek, Tommy and Martha, (Tommy and Martha are my parents, Linda is Sam’s Mum and Derek is his Step Dad)  Sox the cat and and from all the staff here at school (boarders too) we would like to wish you a happy and safe new year and here’s to 2019!

Gossip & Wild Rumours

The kids have decided to be deceitful and betraying confidence, after they noticed that Will has one to one sessions with Sam and I. Helping Will make that step back into society, after being locked up. So is important to us; so we can help him get used to life on the outside and I know Will is frightened of peer pressure and that he will be tempted to offend again. This is why these sessions are important, so we can talk about things and we can help to steer clear of the temptations.

Of course, the boys have been trying to get it out of Sam and I about the reasons he is on tag. Of course we will not betray him and tell them, as this is something Will needs to do when he he ready. (Which he is not) So the kids decided to find out once and for all, by planting a distophone in the study.  A little later Jenny caught the kids listening to the tape in the Playroom and told me about it. Of course I dealt with it and the kids got a very bad telling off about betraying confidence and starting wild rumours and nasty gossip. Thankfully Will did not have to hear this, as it would of really upset him.

The boys have learnt a lesson about confidentiality, betrayal, starting rumours and also that they are not allowed in the study without permission. (It is a shame that Sam and I now need to keep the door locked, as we cannot trust the boys not to go in there without permission, which is disappointing.

On more positive news, Sam had a really busy night, doing a disco and Karaoke.  He had had over 80 singers in one night and the atmosphere was buzzing. He was exhausted when he came home after 1am last night and is currently out doing another disco at the moment and is working again tonight. (Poor Sam! Good thing I have the weekend off!)

When Every Second Counts

I found myself in a rather difficult spot, when having to deal with a medical emergency at home.  It started when I’d said no to one of the older boys, after wanting a bar of chocolate so near tea. I’d said no for a reason. (He’d not want his tea and I had suggested a piece of fruit instead) However, he decided to storm off and went upstairs. What I didn’t know, was that he knew that another one of the boys had a Fruit and Nut bar in his bedroom. The boy who originally had stashed the  Fruit and Nut bar away should of known better, as the kids know anything with nuts is banned from the house.

So this older boy had heard one of the other boys walking up the stairs, so he ran into the bathroom, locked himself in and began eating the bar of chocolate. Of course, he began to go into a allergic reaction and was unable to reach the emergency cords we have in the bathrooms. (We have this, because we have 2 boys who are disabled and the cords allow them to call for help.) He was slumped behind the door and unable to breathe, within minutes his airway will have closed up.

At this time, one of the other boys wanted the toilet, so he went to the 1st floor bathroom. Finding the door locked and the downstairs toilet engaged, he began hammering on the door. I came up to see what the noise was about and knocked on the door to the loo, to see if whoever was inside was OK. Getting no response, I used a 10p to release the lock, but was unable to open the door, due to boy slumped behind the door.  Knowing that something was very wrong, I held the door as far as it would open and got one of the younger kids to slip through the gap.  When I got told who was behind the door and that there was a bar of Fruit and Nut on the floor and this boy wasn’t moving. I asked if the person behind the door was breathing, (by placing his hand in front of his mouth) sadly he wasn’t. The boy in question could not pull him away from the door, so I told one of the boys to run downstairs to the kitchen, call an ambulance by dialing 9-999 and stating that there is a casualty with anaphylaxis and his Foster Dad was trying to get into the bathroom, to help him.

meanwhile, I had run into our  bedroom and gone to the locked box we keep in our wardrobe, which has the kids meds for during the night and grabbed the spare Epi-Pen. (It saves walking down to the Laundry Room, unlocking the cupboard to get the meds and walk all the way back up again at 4am!)

 

epi-pen-anaphylaxis
Epi-Pen, for Anaphylactic Emergencies

An Epi-Pen btw, is a emergency injector of Adrenaline, used to reverse an anaphylactic reaction.

 

I opened the bathroom window on our ensuite and climbed out onto the roof of the kitchen. Carefully walking between the pitched part of the roof and the wall, made my way to the bathroom window. I told the other boy to turn away from the window and stand back. I then used a loose slate and broke the glass.  I Was able to administer adrenaline and move him away from the door, for when the paramedics arrived. I also performed CPR, until

Jenny went with him to A&E, where he has recovered from the reaction and may be home later. Meanwhile, while all this was going on, one of the boys got on their bikes and cycled down to school, (using the alleyway that runs down the side of the house and down the side of the fields) to fetch Sam. (Who was preparing for his Aikido lesson.

The boys have had a good talking to about nuts not being allowed in the house, (especially chocolate with nuts in it) as well as the consequences of  nut products being bought into the house. (IE: severe allergic reactions) What Sam and I have done, is to setup a nut ammunansty. There is a bin outside the office, which the kids can dump anything with nuts in, with no questions asked.

 

First Aid for Anaphylaxis Emergencies

  1. First, loosen the casualties shirt collar and if he or she is wearing a tie, loosen that too. While you do this,
  2. Ask a bystander to immateriality call an ambulance, (DIAL 999 OR 112 FROM THE NEAREST TELEPHONE) stating that the casualty is in anaphylaxis.
  3. inject the casualty with their auto injector (Epi-Pen)  – push it firmly into their thigh until it clicks. Hold for 10 seconds. (The auto injector can be jabbed through clothing)
  4. If the casualty is not breathing, place he or she on their back and perform CPR. (Rescue Breaths will not work, as the airway is normally restricted, so perform Chest Compressions only) – Push hard and push fast, to  the beat of Staying Alive By The Beegees)
  5. Once breathing again, place in the recovery position and closely monitor his or her breathing. If the casualty stops breathing, put them on their back again and begin CPR
  6. Show the Ambulance crew what allergen the Casualty has come into contact with, if possible.

Why Do We Care?

I often get asked, why do you Foster? This is not a simple answer, but the long and the short of it, is that there are not enough loving families to protect and support Children and Young People. On top of this, there are not enough Foster Families who are able to support the most vulnerable people in today’s society. (These are children and young people who have either been through trauma, or have enduring mental health problems.

The kids keep us on our toes! They can be a lively bunch, “crazy as a box of frogs, but good at heart. This is why there are 3 of us at home; to help care and protect the kids in our care. Kyle Jenny and I do a pretty good job of keeping the kids happy, safe and well. (We also have extra support on weekends, from my mum. (Linda) My mum used to work as a Unit Leader , on the Birds Unit at work; until she retired.

The kids with mental health  issues, (which is 3 of the kids) are the most demanding. As you can probably imagine, all the sharp knives are locked away, as well as locking up cleaning chemicals and that the kids have safety scissors. Also, because we foster kids who are under Police \ Child Protection orders, we have to be careful who can come in and out the house. The main front door is always locked and requires Kyle, Jenny or I to open the door release button in the study. (The door to the study is also always locked, as the kids have a habit of going in there and spilling their drinks on my desk and my PC. The garden is walled in and is safe for our kids.

The kids know  they can come to one of us, 24 hours a day. It does not matter if it’s 4am and Kyle, Jenny or I are fast asleep. We are always there, if the kids need a private chat or just need a cuddle. We encourage the kids to talk to us, any time. Talking helps the kids and helps to deal with their problems. Of course, we have to deal with the ups as well as the downs, such as when the kids get certificates at school) But when it all goes wrong, we are always there to pick up the pieces.

You know, Fostering is one of the greatest of life’s journeys. You get to learn a lot about yourself and the kids you look after.  You share the smiles, the tears and the tantrums, as well as sharing birthdays, christmas’ holidays and family activities. So If you have a spare room and could offer a child a new start in life, contact your local Social Services Department or a Fostering agency. I’ve had over 20 kids go in and out my house. (Most are either emergency placements or on respite care.) I have 2 on long term placement, as well.

Oh, before I forget… We’ve found out which of the boys flooded the bathroom. That’s got the kids off the hook, except for the person responsible. This person is now grounded for a month and will be paying for the damage to the ceiling.