Steve Palmer's blog about his son Stanley - who has Down's Syndrome - & the extended family. All about Down Syndrome and learning disability.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Stan's a teen; and his own person

Stan's latest heart check went well, so why did they ask us to come back in 18 months, rather than two years? Cause for concern? No; it's because he's being sent off to the adolescent unit. Because he's now a teenager. Then, when he's old enough, he'll be discharged from Great Ormond Street and go off to another hospital. 

We've seen the same cardiac consultant since before Stan's operations in 2002. We send him and the surgeon Christmas cards. I said in my book that not a day goes by when I don't think of all staff at the hospital and thank them for saving Stan's life. 

So, the latest news is a challenge. He'll be off. Away from a children's-cardiac-unit-safety-blanket to somewhere unfamiliar. 

And it's such good news. In 2002 we couldn't think of this day coming. I've said before, that for the first year of Stan's life, Down's Syndrome was the least of our problems, because of his heart. And just now, Stan and I have discussed a range of options for tea tonight. He's having exactly what he wants. But the important thing is that we had the discussion. And he's 13. And he's his own person. 

I feel like we're moving into Phase Two. He now knows the difference between right and wrong. He won't always do the right thing, but at least he knows that he probably should do that right thing. 

It's just that as he grows older Stan needs supportive (and yes, firm) parenting. I've just been re-aquainted with a former colleague from the travel agency. I haven't seen her since 1993 but she found me on Facebook. She always used to laugh at my jokes. So I've cracked a few more on Facebook personal message. She shouldn't encourage me. I've always been a joker, so providing that firm and supportive parenting should be a doddle, heh? 

Especially as, while I'm writing this, Down's Mum is rightly pointing out that I should be attending to said parenting, as described above. It's probably a hopeless case. 

But I'll give it a go. Welcome to the teen years, Stan. 

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