Once I was bitten on the shoulder, and blood was drawn. Another time, while teaching the use of scissors, a lump disappeared from my finger as well as from the paper we were cutting. On another occasion, I fell while walking through the parallel bars with a tall, thin teenager. In slow motion she fell on top of me, neither of us were injured, and luckily her landing was somewhat cushioned!
The day before Christmas
On the day before the Christmas break it was different, I wasn't directly involved at all, although I was standing just inches away. I was leading the “workers group”, the four young people aged between 24 and 38 who all have cerebral palsy. One of my clients rolled off the plinth in his attempt to sit up, a movement that he has done for many years totally independently.
I arrived home later that same evening to find a mention on my answer phone telling me all was well, he had wanted make sure I wasn’t worrying and to prevent me having a sleepless night!
Why did it happen?
The members of this group are very independent, they bring themselves into the room, take coats and shoes off, get settled on their plinths and then we start the first programme. At the end of the session they do the same in reverse, I am rarely needed for these self-help skills. It was during this time when the group members move around independently that the incident happened which made it much more of a shock for all concerned. Once the injured client had been looked after I realised that I was not going to be able to carry on with a standing programme with the rest of the group as I had planned, as everyone was shaking! So we were spontaneous and creative and as it was Christmas a hand programme and some drawing of Christmas cards seemed appropriate. It was apparent, though, that at the same time we needed to talk about the incident, the rest of the group were suddenly aware that they too are vulnerable to having such a fall, however independent they are.
Listen to your bodies
I once personally experienced something very similar, not listening to my body. I had cancelled an appointment in the city because I was tired, but instead of curling up with a book I took myself out in the snow for some fresh air and immediately fell and broke my arm.
As simple as that.
I am personally insured against any accidents that happen to me or to my clients during our work together. On this occasion I was doubly insured as I was also insured through the institution where I was working. It is really important to have this cover, as I just discovered anything can happen, unexpectedly and very fast.