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Henry’s story part six – School celebrity

Henry with sister Melissa, getting used to his new wheelchairWe have been brave and ventured out of Liverpool! We went and spent a few days in Milton Keynes with my mum. Packing up to go away for a few days is always a bit of a mission – clothes, toiletries, toys and things to entertain the kids – but having to find space in the car for a wheelchair, leg board, walking frame and all the other bits and bobs that go with Henry at the moment was like Mission Impossible!

With some strategic packing and Jenga-like organisation in the boot of the car we managed to get on the road – but I hadn’t anticipated having to stop at the motorway services for a toilet break. There was no way I was going to be able to unpack the boot of the car to get the wheelchair or walking frame out – not least because they were at the bottom of the boot – but also it was raining. So there was nothing for it, I had to carry Henry through the service station!!

Henry and his sisterWhen Henry and his twin sister were babies, I got used to people staring at me when I was walking around with them – me pushing a big twin buggy around, bags and baby paraphernalia but that was nothing compared to the stares I’ve been getting when I’m out with Henry with his frame on. I guess it’s understandable that his frame will attract attention, but some of the stares can be quite uncomfortable.

I’ve also found that people assume Henry’s had a sporting injury and come up and ask him questions to find out if it was a football or biking accident. Having to explain that Henry was born with club feet does get tiring and you can see it makes people uncomfortable – fortunately though Henry is quite proud of his special feet and will happily talk about it. We did get more than our fair share of stares walking through the service station with me carrying Henry and trying to support his leg!!

When we got back to Liverpool, I arranged with Henry’s school for him to go in for a couple of hours, with me there too, to see how he would cope but also for the school to see how they would manage Henry. His class mates were really pleased to have Henry back in class and had lots of questions for him about why he had the frame on and how he was coping with the frame. Henry really enjoyed being back (and being centre of attention), but it was really difficult negotiating his way around the classroom! There is absolutely no way he can use the wheelchair in the classroom as it’s quite small and the tables and chairs are quite close together; even using the walking frame is tight.

I think it will take some time for the school to get used to Henry’s frame. It’s understandable I guess – when you look at the frame it can look scary and fragile – but Henry has adapted to the frame really well and can move around easily without hurting himself – but it will take the school some time to realise what he can and can’t do. The other issue is also making sure that other children in the school take care around Henry, to avoid hurting him, but also to avoid getting hurt themselves. Getting a kick from the frame really hurts, as the bruises on my legs testify! Henry will start going back to school for half days (mornings) until we’ve finished doing the turns on his frame.

Henry’s thoughts

I was quite nervous about going back to school because I didn’t know how to go around the school, but I was very happy to see my friends again. On the first day I came back to school mum came with me. We had singing and sang some songs and then we came back to class and did some work. I was happy to go back home after a few hours because I was nervous, but I did want to stay with my friends. I had to swap tables in my classroom because of my frame which made me a bit sad, but I was happy that two of my friends were on the table: Charlie and Daniel.

Henry’s story continues next Friday. You can read previous parts of the story on ourNews and Media pages.

Sarah works at Alder Hey and is telling hers and Henry’s story to help raise awareness of Bilateral Talipes (club feet). If you enjoyed reading this, or if you are a parent in a similar situation, we’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

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