Hi Dad, where’s Mum?

Why does nobody ask Mum where Dad is?

So I mentioned something in my last post of the strange phenomenon in the paediatric health service which involves you losing your name and only being known as Dad (or Mum) from now on. Not Lydia’s Dad but just Dad – you must be Dad, are you Dad, nice to meet you Dad.

Well my wife has been at home for a few days with our other daughter and sorting things out back at HQ. One of the respiratory doctors we’ve waited ages to see decided he was going to come and see us Wednesday morning about an hour after we’d already decided that my wife needed to leave to go home.

So I say no problem but my wife won’t be around, to which I was told it would be better if we were all there. We have learned that we can’t always put or lives on hold for every body else’s schedule, particularly as we’ve been in the hospital almost 2 months and this doctor is here every day and hasn’t come before now. So I tell my wife to go home.

I meet with the doctor, my wife didn’t really need to be there and the doctor didn’t really ask about her so it went fine. However I began to question – Why doesn’t anybody ever tell Bethan that I need to be around? Our expertise and involvement with Lydia is very equal as the level of care she requires has dictated that we are both dedicated to it. So why am I considered a secondary substitute?

Im probably the most involved Dad that I know of in the hospitals because I’ve had to be but still

Dadability

What’s in a first blog post?

Well they’re all different I suppose. However there are a few things I would probably want to know – who is writing it? why are they writing it? why should I care and what on earth is Dadability anyway? So I’ll just try to answer those and maybe you’ll read my next posts too.

My name is David, I’m as average and regular as my name is. My family however, now they are something special and they are the things that may make me that bit special. Firstly Jesus Christ is the head of my home, we love him and more of dealing with life as a Christian family will follow in other posts but for this one I will continue with the introduction. I have a wife named Bethan, she is bright, beautiful and has a heart of gold which also means that she is the greatest Wife and Mum who ever lived. (I may be slightly biased)

Which leads us to our two girls and they really bring me into the “why am I writing this” question. We have an eight year old named Caitlin, she had a difficult start to life and now has reactive attachment difficulties which go hand in hand with things like hyper-activity, inability to recognise danger and an adorable difficulty to listen to anything we say – ever (This doesn’t stop her from being the greatest ray of sunshine on even the cloudiest day).

We also have a seventeen month old named Lydia, she’s had an even more difficult start to life. She was born with a cyst at the back of her brain meaning she had something called Dandy-Walker Variant, virtually unheard of and certainly lacking in any help and support in the UK. Thanks to a number of medical blunders she also has Cerebral Palsy and Hydrocephalus. This causes many other difficulties, as I write this it is from the parents accommodation of the University Hospital of Wales as Lydia is laid in the Paediatric Intensive care unit with her second bout of double pneumonia in a month. It involves a lot of sitting around so this blog at least may make it productive.

During my time with these children I have been allocated a number of titles – “Special needs” Dad, a “Super” Dad, a Dad with “Super kids”, a “Disability” Dad. I’m not all that bothered by them, as a matter of fact one of the most annoying ones is simply Dad. Not when my kids say it, but anyone who has spent much time in hospitals with their kids will recognise that you no longer have a name, you’re simply referred to as Dad. I’m going to ignore your name David, and you’re not even going to be Lydia’s or Caitlin’s Dad now…… You must be Dad!

This is Dadability! Am I? Am I Dad? I answer yes of course because I know what your getting at but I don’t think I ever realised just how much I had transformed from David to “Dad”. Not only Dad but these are kids with some pretty heavy needs, I feel like somebody needs to check my credentials, am I qualified?

Before children are born many tests are undertaken, there is a huge focus by doctors and parents these days to find out if a child has a “disability” before he/she is even born. We need to check if this child is qualified enough to be ours, is the child up to scratch? Is this the trophy child with bright blue eyes and chubby cheeks that the wife can present to her coffee pals? Is it the playful little scoundrel that Dad can have “quality time” photos with that can be put on social media to show how he was just cut out to be just about the greatest Dad in all of Facebookshire?

In reality the test shouldn’t be on the child, all he/she did was to exist. What is your Dadability? Have you been tested? You may be, and you may transition into Dad before you know it. You may be fortunate enough to be a social media Dad and know how to upload photos or you may be a special needs Dad and know about neurosurgery or physiotherapy and anything in between.

The secret: If you love your kids you’ll never feel like a great Dad no matter how good you are, you will always suffer from Dadabilities. The truth is this, it doesn’t matter how you feel, it matters where you are. You are THERE, you never leave, you never go and you never run. All I want to do is run from this hospital but that will only happen when my girls can all run with me.

I’m going to share with you more of my Dadabilities as they surface and as I remember them, maybe you’ll recognise some of your own.