Today I had an appointment that I have been dreading. It’s been a black spot on my mind since Christmas. Today I had to face kiddos paediatrician with all the reports from the London appointments we attended at the end of last year. And I was angry.
I sat last night, a sea of printed words swimming in front of me, as I calmly clipped together all of the relevant papers. An injustice began to swell inside me. The NHS had failed me. I wanted answers, I wanted an apology. But above all I wanted closure.
I decided not to bring kiddo with me today. That in itself had caused some controversy, but I stood my ground even if it made me anxious. I sat in the waiting room which had a light airy feel. Unusual I thought. Previously that morning I had met a friend for coffee. Being the beautiful person she is, she had picked me up a magazine on well-being and mindfulness to support me in my New Years resolutions of better self care. I flicked through the pages with no particular focus (my mind firmly on the meeting at hand) until I came across an article that changed my entire day. And possibly beyond.
The title on the page simply read, “The Blame Game”. The first line struck a huge chord. “Regardless of the problem, a common way to explain what’s happened is to search for someone else to blame”. The words vibrated through me, from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. I blamed this paediatrician for everything. Because after all someone had to be responsible didn’t they? It has to be someone’s fault that the NHS system had systematically and categorically failed my son? The article went on to explain that “blame stems from a desire for self preservation, but ultimately it is doomed to fail because blame doesn’t seek constructive analysis or resolution”.
I paused. Why was I sat in this waiting room? I changed the question, “how did I feel whilst sat in this waiting room?”. Angry. Frustrated. Let down. Sad. All together in a whirlwind of emotion swimming inside me. I realised that this would lead to nothing. No moving forward, no answers, no constructive relationship. I was simply there to pick a fight. Because I just had to blame someone for what we had been through this last six months.
In the few moments I had left I listed all the positive things this one lady had done for our family. Now unfortunately even with a tonne of positive deeds on one side of the scales, the other side balanced it out with one almighty clanger of a mistake. A mistake in communication which could not be undone. So what was I hoping for? An apology? The mistake corrected? (Which incidentally was impossible. I was asking the impossible of this lady). I thought about what I needed to leave with today and how I wanted to feel as I left. And my persona, my aura, the way I carried my shoulders even, it all changed. My body opened up from a hunched position. And when the consultant entered the room I didn’t simply see a moving target anymore. I saw a person. A human vulnerable person just like me. Who is at the mercy of any single mistake she might make. And so I followed her down the corridor and into the room where I had the ability to be judge, jury and executioner. Only I went in as a member of the jury, and heard her out.
We talked through the London reports and through our battles with the local NHS. I was honest about my experience and about areas we had felt let down. As the conversation progressed I learned a great many things about my experiences all over again. Yes I held this lady responsible for a communication issue. But that was it. She wasn’t actually the reason we had felt the need to go private, which was the reason I had chosen to believe all this time. It was down to an appalling Physio examination, a horrendous dietician appointment, huge HUGE failures in the OT department and significant difficulties in communication across the board. These are all issues which have caused me a great deal of emotional suffering and disappointment. But today was not the place to try and resolve those issues. I now need to decide whether to pursue various formal complaint routes. But what I’ve realised is that before I begin that journey, I must have a clear reason as to why I’m doing it. Why am I expending energy on it? Who is it for? For kiddo? For me? And will it bring any improvement to mine or someone else’s life? All questions for another day I feel.
I left the appointment with my head held high, my dignity in tact and viewing the world from a completely different angle. Blaming the paediatrician was an overall blanket response to the incredible stress that overrides your experience navigating the NHS when you have a child with additional needs. I actually left feeling positive and that a new chapter was beginning.
Today has taught me many things. About my own resilience, seeing the world from a different viewpoint and not through the emotion that clouds my eyesight at every turn when it comes to my son. But overall, today I learnt a very important lesson. That it doesn’t always pay to play the blame game.
Thanks for reading,
The article “The Blame Game” can be found in issue 10 of “Breathe and make time for yourself” magazine. Thank you to the wonderful J for popping this beauty in my lap today. You star ⭐️