22 January 2016
Kat Lambert – Travelling with Todd pt.2
For most couples, a simple weekend away doesn’t take a lot of planning – book the easiest flights, find a suitable hotel on the cheap and away you go! But travelling with a young Aussie with high care needs is not so simple… Kat Lambert explains.
The manual chair we took to Melbourne was not available so Todd had another one lined up to take. I hoisted him into the chair when we were just about to leave the apartment, only for him to discover that this chair would be unsuitable and that if he had this much discomfort in only five minutes, there was no way he’d be able to stand 40 hours out of the next 48 in this chair. The staff raced around and found another chair. It was missing a footplate, but Todd didn’t care, as it was a million times (could be a slight exaggeration) more comfortable than the other.
After a significant delay in getting a taxi we made it to the airport with a little time to spare (lucky he is that pedantic planner who leaves ridiculously early). We boarded the plane before the other passengers so Todd could be hoisted into his seat. After a hectic morning we were super happy to be on our way. That was until the rest of the passengers boarded. After an incident before take off with the cabin staff showing little respect for Todd, we were relieved to land in Sydney and disembark from the plane.
When he turned his phone back on, Todd discovered he had received a message that the hire equipment was going to be delayed, and unfortunately wouldn’t make it to our room until 6pm. This meant Todd couldn’t use the toilet until this time. We continued on our journey, however Todd’s concerns over our prior Melbourne trip now seemed to make all the more sense. The hire equipment arrived earlier than expected at 3.45pm, and I think Todd wanted to kiss the delivery guys, he was that happy. I can’t imagine what it feels like to find that much excitement in being able to perform a basic human need like using the toilet.
We then discovered that the missing footplate assisted with Todd lifting himself up to re-clothe him after the toilet, and not having it proved difficult. The hoist base was also too high to fit underneath the bed to hoist him into bed. We improvised and our overnight suitcase that was packed like any woman packs (for about a month long stay) made a great footplate to push back on, and when I could lift that heavy ensemble (with a “few” curse words), a great “jack” to lift it high enough for the hoist to get under.
I ended up with a sprained ankle from the the walk to the forum from the hotel, I split my skirt half-way through the day and had to wiggle through the building to change (luckily I’d packed for the month as previously mentioned), however if anything, all of these struggles outlined the importance of why we’d made the trek to Sydney. As I sat in the room and looked on at the passion expressed from those included, all those prior struggles seemed insignificant. It was all worth it. This is exactly what Todd said on our flight home.
When we got back to the apartment the following evening, I was so grateful for the comforts of home. His power chair, his ceiling hoist, the ability for him to go to the toilet whenever he wanted. This wasn’t the first time I’d been appreciative of the work of Youngcare, and just what this means to Todd, and his independence. It wasn’t the first time I’d seen the difference it had made to his life, to his parent’s life, to my life, to so many lives. But for me, it was a very personal reminder of how much our lives would be different if it weren’t for the wonderful work of Youngcare. It was a clear indication of what piece of mind and quality of life the Youngcare organisation provide to young people with high care needs, with their independent accommodation, at home and home soon grants and for that, I will be forever grateful.