The photo that makes me anxious 

I came across a photograph today that I haven’t seen for a little while.  I love photographs, I always have my camera or iPad to take them. You don’t realise their importance until you lose someone very special and realise you didn’t take enough.  This one however made me flush with anxiety.


Reilly burned his hand really badly a couple of years back. I’d gone to see my Mam and Dad returning from holiday and made some pasta while we waited.  They have a ceramic hob.  Pasta cooked and put to the side they walked in, still had their coats on pulling their suitcases and amongst the flurry, in a split second in the tiny kitchen Reilly put his hand flat on the still extremely hot hob!

I’ll spare the details I don’t care to write it but take it from me it was horrendous.  Next door neighbours were tremendous wrapping his hand, taking us to hospital. I on the other hand went to absolute pieces.

Now imagine you don’t know whether your child comprehends what has happened, where they are going, why the hospital is so bright and scary, why his mam is forcing his hand under a cold tap in a tiny room he’s never been in before, why we are crying, why is he hurting.  It was horrific. He couldn’t vocalise anything but pain through screaming.

The staff were incredible he was given morphine and began to calm.  That was just the beginning of the hand journey.  Soothing him at night was so hard, keeping his hand out of water was hard, trying to remove bandages but most of all the frequent trips to the RVI to check it were a nightmare.  He knew and still does the road that leads you there as soon as we hit it he’d meltdown knowing what was coming. They told us he’d probably need a graft which made me feel sick to the pit of my stomach.  As the weeks past he became attached to his bandage boxing glove and used to put a sock on it to keep it clean, he continued to wear a sock on his hand after the bandages were off – think we were bothered by the strange looks at the child with the sock on his hand, think again!   Luckily no graft was required in the end.


A truly traumatic thing to endure for any parent of any child but a child with special needs multiples it to a whole new level. I thought twice about sharing this post but if you want the whole picture it comes with plenty of warts an all.  Illness with a special child is extremely hard to manage, a normal day is hard to manage, anxiety fueled and sleep deprived. 

Next time your SEN friend or families little ones are ill offer some help you have no idea how much it will be appreciated. A lift, a takeout or just a friendly ear.

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Christine Stephenson

Really busy mam who runs her own charity, has 3 sons and learning about autism every day. Contact me at alphaautistic@gmail.com

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