Since K returned home from respite, she has been complaining off and on about her left knee being painful. Now I know what you are all thinking. Why has it taken her mother all this time (nearly two whole weeks) to take any action on the matter? What sort of mother is she that leaves such a vast amount of time before taking her Down’s Syndrome daughter to the doctors in order to have said knee investigated?
Well I will explain. K can tend to be a sort of hypochondriac in that if you are suffering from any ailment, she gets it as well. Arm hurting? So is hers. Back ache? She has that too. ( I suppose a psychologist might suggest that she suffers in sympathy.) So when she declared that her knee hurt when she went downstairs, you can hardly blame this arthritic kneed mother who’s knees happen to creak and groan every time she ascends the stairs, (which K has actually heard by the way) arriving at the conclusion that she was just announcing a sympathy pain, especially as on examining the complained about knee, I could see nothing untoward.
In my defence, as any parent of a special needs child will readily tell you, it is far from easy to gather information that can help you to come to some conclusion on the matter. I had asked the usual questions. When did it hurt her? When she descends the stairs. Did it hurt to walk? No. Did it hurt to stand? No. As she also seemed fine when attending exercise class last week, I wasn’t particularly worried about it. She insisted it was Arthritis. ( Doctor K mode.)
Yesterday she began to complain about the knee more frequently, returning home with tales of a member of staff at the day care centre trying to give her some relief by applying a bag of frozen broccoli to the affected knee. Hmm. This information told me that she was obviously relating her knee problem to members of staff and not just to me! Time for some action. This was obviously not the usual aping of Mum’s aches and pains! I grilled her again about when this problem had first surfaced.
“I banged it on the hospital bed at the Respite Care home.” she suddenly admitted. “It knocked me sick” (this description borrowed heavily from myself when I cracked my knee against the door jamb one day whilst fetching the milk in many years ago, and very nearly for the first time in my life, passed out with the pain.)
Ahh! Now we were getting somewhere! She had banged here knee hard! Off to the doctors today as a precaution and to let her examine the affected knee thoroughly. She asked K to lay down on the bed, and began raising it to a more suitable height. (the bed, not K’s knee.)
“Is this bed safe?” K asked in a terrified voice as the bed lifted up higher. She followed this question with another. “Will I need my leg chopping off?” (I keep saying she watches too many movies, one of which recently was ‘Dances with Wolves’ where he very nearly has his foot amputated.)
“I don’t think we’ll need to do that just yet K! “ she said laughing. (Our doctor spends most of her time in fits of laughter at us two.) After a full examination of said knee, she wrote a prescription for some inflammatory gel to be rubbed on the affected knee four times a day, and advised K that she didn’t want her to be immobile but do some gentle exercise such as walking etc. We thanked her and left to the surgery to collect the prescription. As we waited in the bus station for our bus, I ended up making K laugh out loud when I said
“ Yes and did you notice K? She didn’t prescribe an application of frozen broccoli to be administered four times a day!”