Caption: Picture taken by Anna Shvets (pexels)
Growing up with James
I'm James' oldest sister, I am 15 years old going into my GCSE year this September. When I was younger, I would get asked “Are you James’ big sister?” because I am taller, and I look older. This is some of my journey growing up with my brother. As a toddler, I spent a lot of time in hospitals and with different family members, friends and carers because James spent a lot of time in the hospital in the early years of his life. This meant I had to grow up quickly surrounded by adults. I didn't get to go to many playgroups because my parents just couldn't get me there and keep James safe from infection. The only children I really spent time with were the children on the hospital wards.
One of the first memories I can remember was watching 'Lady and the Tramp' at a carers house and my dad coming to collect me to take me to see Mum and James in ICU: James was seriously ill with pneumonia. Mum picked me up and put me on the bed, the nurse looked horrified as James had a tube in his nose and IV lines and lots of other tubes. The nurse said to mum “please don't let her touch his tubes.” I didn't touch his tubes as I knew Mum had asked me to kiss James and stroke his hair, which he loves. I was only 2 so I suppose the nurse would think I would be fascinated by the tubes, but I had grown up with James needing an NG tube up his nose for his milk. Although this isn't the best memory things like this have shaped who I am today. I have become a grounded and well-rounded individual, whose love and understanding of individuals’ society excludes and the world of special needs. I've seen the highs and lows and the good, bad and the ugly. I have dealt with things most adults never have to deal with in their lifetime. Another memory I have was when I was about 2 and a half. A doctor walked into James' hospital room and went to lift his top and I said to the Doctor, “You haven't washed your hands, please don't touch my brother until you have washed them.” I have spent so much time on the same hospital wards that when I walk down them doctors and nurses say, "oh my gosh haven't you grown" or "The last time I saw you, you were this big." I have the confidence to ask a nurse or a doctor for help, as I have grown up on a lot of hospital wards, with my Mum and James.
James' big little sister x