I’m a slave. I have got to start fostering more independence in my boys. I was up and down the freakin stairs today a hundred times. Can I have a drink mummy? More lunch mummy? Where’s teddy mummy? Nappies nappies nappies….today, twin one, five nappies, five poos. What that boy is eating is beyond me but he expels far more solid matter than goes in. I can’t work it out.
We are well into talking now and, having twins means you can’t help but compare them. It became impossible to ignore that twin one was falling further and further behind twin two in speech development. They both talk like the clappers, but poor little R just can’t get his point across and make himself understood. We went through the GP, hearing test, ENT routine and long-story-short he’s getting grommets and an adenoidectomy. We are still in our waiting period for our private health insurance so will probably have to pay, but it shouldn’t be too much of a hit. We were politely informed we could wait on the public list, which would take up to a year. And that got me thinking.
I’ve worked with God knows how many families who, for a start may not have enough knowledge about child development to even notice a problem. The behaviour problems caused by the communication blockage may be misunderstood as, well, behaviour problems. If these families, and let’s be frank, I’m talking about major, generational poverty here, can get an ENT appointment organised (and get there), what they do with the $200 bill is beyond me. After that, they’d be presented with the option to pay what they can’t afford, to fix what is a pretty simple problem, or wait for a year while the child falls further behind, loses confidence, learns maladaptive behaviour and learns that being misunderstood is their lot. Never has the true inequality of the health system hit home to me until now. I naively thought that if you needed health support in our country you would get it. That a child with such a simple hearing issue could not just get the damn thing fixed, and that it could snowball into so many related behavioural and medical issues is utterly shameful. Does anyone out there have a few spare million so I can set up a Fred Hollows style free ear clinic?