Saturday, November 28, 2009

A very speedy visit to the ER

When I started coughing up tiny bits of blood yesterday I realised I needed someone to listen to my chest again and check that I hadn't managed to get pneumonia. Our doctors' office was closed for Thanksgiving and the nurse line for our insurance said I should go to the ER and thankfully it's covered 100%, so we didn't have to worry about that.

I was in and out in about 35mins, must have hit them at a slow time! I saw a physician's assistant rather than a doctor and she decided that I had subacute bronchitis and the blood likely came from my throat being irritated by the repeated coughing. So she prescribed me some stronger cough medicine.

We took the prescription along to the pharmacy and the assistant told us it wasn't a prescription but an over the counter medicine, but didn't give us any help with finding it, I had a good look and came to the conclusion she was wrong, but instead of going back to the pharmacy counter I went home in a grump.

I called the hospital and they told me to take it back to the pharmacy and have them call the hospital if they couldn't work it out. The next person I gave it to took one look at it and told me it was a very strong cough medicine that was definitely prescription only, so they filled it and I went home!

It actually seems to work, I was a bit skeptical as I'd already been taking a prescription one without much luck, so hopefully this will now be the start of getting better!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Long weekend

With Thanksgiving yesterday, we have a four day weekend, which should hopefully be a chance to recharge our batteries a bit!

I'm still struggling with things left over from swine flu, my chest is still really mucousy, though it's still clear, suggesting no secondary infection. The right side is particularly bad, the whole ribcage is sore from repeatedly coughing, but it feels like there is deeper pain and at times breathing becomes very painful, but I'm not actually short of breath.

We had a lovely Thanksgiving meal with friends and their family yesterday, the kids had a great time and didn't want to come home!

We're avoiding the shops today, everything is crazy busy with the biggest sales of the year. We need a new dishwasher, but I'd rather go and choose the one we want when we actually have space to browse and make a good choice!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Well baby visit

Grace weighed 13lb8oz, which is a little lighter than I expected, but satisfactory, with the charts our doctor uses it's 8th centile. Her height was 25 1/4 inches, which is 50th centile, which surprises me as neither of our other kids have ever been anywhere near that tall, she does seem to have a longish body, but not long overall. Head was 16 1/4 inches, 25th centile. Everything checked and asked indicates that she really is a "well" baby!

We talked about solids and the doctor reminded me that breastfeeding is still the primary food and agreed that Grace didn't seem ready yet as she still has the tongue thrust reflex. She is suggesting we start with iron fortified cereal though, which I wasn't planning to do but because we weren't starting solids anyway, I hadn't reviewed the facts as to why I don't think this is necessary, I just quickly checked here and confirmed I hadn't got my facts mixed up. I know my iron is good, I had it checked 2 weeks ago and the doctor was surprised how good it was for 6 months post partum, so I know my milk is going to contain plenty of it!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

6 months

Grace is 6 months old today, I can't quite believe it! I took some pictures of her earlier, but I haven't downloaded them yet.

She's become quite a social little girl, loves to interact with people, she even held her hand out to shake hands with someone at church on Sunday. She is very wriggly, to the extent I'm a little surprised she's not managed very much movement. I've had to move her crib so it's not touching our bed as her wriggles were wobbling it and stopping me from getting to sleep. Almost every time she goes down, she wriggles until the top of her head is touching the end of the crib, then goes to sleep, it's almost as if she needs something touching the top of her head to sleep!

She rolls both ways, but mostly one way then back to the start, not the full 360! She can sit up on your lap, but seems quite a long way from sitting by herself.

I expect a baby this age to be "mouthy", but she seems even more keen on this than the other two and she seems to prefer soft things to hard things, so not really a teething behaviour. She'll use her own clothes for this purpose if she can't grab anything else.

She had a really cute moment yesterday where it seemed like she suddenly discovered her left foot, hiding in side her sleepsuit, she had a good look at it, then tried to shove it in her mouth. I tried to introduce her to her right foot, but she wasn't having any of it.

She's breastfeeding great, we've finally got to a point where I don't have to work to make enough milk for her and I'm verging on having an overactive letdown and she coughs and splutters because it's flowing too fast, which is such a nice feeling as it's taken so long to get here!

We're not planning to start her on solids yet, she doesn't seem anywhere near ready, if I'm right about when she was conceived, she was almost a month early, so it's not all that surprising. However at this point if she does grab something on our plates that's ok for her, we won't stop her. We'll be careful with dairy as I still have a nagging suspicion she's sensitive to it and because I don't eat wheat, she's not been exposed to that indirectly, so we'll be cautious about that too. This is the longest I've exclusively breastfed, Sausage Boy needed some supplementation and Banana Girl reached out and stuffed a fairy cake in her mouth one day before 6 months, so it's only one day longer!

I looked at the other kids' red books and saw what weights they were at this stage, Sausage Boy was 13lb, having barely gained anything in the 6th month, but it was more than double his birth weight! Banana Girl wasn't weighed as it was obvious she was doing just fine, but she must have been 16-17lb, barely double her birthweight. Grace was under Sausage Boy for a while, but 2.5 weeks ago she was over 13lb, so I'm guessing at her visit tomorrow she'll be around 14lb, which won't be double her birthweight. They don't measure length in the UK, so heightwise I can't really compare, but then all our babies have clearly been on the shorter end of the scale and she's no different!

She's just woken up, so I guess that's the end of "Grace at 6 months".

Thursday, November 19, 2009


I'm finally starting to get my head round the need to actually think about and do some planning for Christmas. I'm finally accepting that the burden of planning and organising seems to fall on mums and what I make of it is going to create the memories the kids have for the rest of their lives.

For some reason when they woke up this morning they were all excited about presents, which seemed to come a bit out of the blue and bothered me a bit, but then getting presents is exciting, so then it bothered me that they probably won't have that many to unwrap. I actually rather like small presents and nik naks, I think on average they probably give more pleasure and if it misses the mark then it's not a great cost and maybe it will eventually find a good home. There are a few things around the house that were presents like that for me as a child which my children are now finding pleasure from.

Banana Girl and I went through photos from this year and picked out twelve, roughly one for each month. The intention is some kind of photo gift for family, but I can't decide whether or not to try and pull something together myself, or hunt around for somewhere I can upload them and get a calendar or something.

Maybe this year will be the year I actually manage to print out address labels, but realistically am I really going to overcome my hatred of printers, probably not!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


I've been thinking a lot recently about home, nationality, cultural identity, that kind of thing. Eventhough I don't feel this causes a lot of surface emotion for me, I think underneath it's something that is causing me to feel quite unsettled and causing me some anxiety.

We've been here 3 years now and have no imminent plans to return to the UK, we don't even really have any vague plans. Last time it came up, I think we both still felt that in the very long term we'll be in the UK, but that's only very vague and I can easily see that it might not happen.

Either way living here has changed me in so many ways that I don't think England will ever feel truely home.

In all this I have to remember that all this is in God's hands, when we first moved here I felt very secure in the knowledge that it was His plan and that He knew the plan for our future even though we didn't. I can see now that as we settled in and things weren't quite so new that my thoughts didn't turn to this very often and then it's hit me today that I'm not trusting Him about the bigger picture, though I'm not taking it into my own hands and planning my own future either, I'm just not thinking about it at all.

This then makes me reflect deeper about how we are supposed to live and I'm not sure that's even a place I have the resources or strength to think deeply on right now. All I know is that right now this is making me feel quite unsettled and frankly I don't know how anyone copes with that on a purely human level.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The therapy without a name

I'm seeing this psychiatrist who uses a type of therapy that is so new it doesn't have a name. It's based on neuroplasticity in layman's terms it's about rewiring the brain, hunting down bad connections that feed low mood and creating new one. In practice it seems to be a lot about being aware of your body and she often asks "what are you noticing?".

I'm not really sure what to make of it. I'm a bit uncomfortable with the focus on the individual, one analogy she uses is a lifeboat bobbing around on an ocean and we can't control the ocean, but we can make the lifeboat more comfortable.

I also struggle with the mind/body connection. I don't want to deny it, but it's had a bit impact on my past, I had postnatal depression after my first child was born. My 2nd child was born 2 years later and I had an horrific time physically, but in seeking to get help with that I still had the label of depression and it was a battle to get the help I needed, I've got copies of some of my medical records from the time and I have letters from my psychiatrist saying things like "The lady is not depressed, her pain is purely physical, please deal with it". I know there is a huge connection between pain and depression and that I didn't get depressed at that time is something I want to celebrate and in someways marks a success in mind/body separation. My body isn't fully healed, it never will be so there is some element of fear in opening that connection.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

2 down, 3 to go?

Sausage Boy is now down too, he went to a gymnastics thing last night and went flop and had to come home early, then was up in the night and in pain. I'd asked DH to go out and stock up on various things, children's tylenol being one of them, but he hadn't. Fortunately I found some ibuprofen and he seems grateful to be given something and went back to bed. He caused a slight panic this afternoon when he went up stairs and was then not to be found in his room or our room, for whatever reason he'd decided to go to sleep in the spare room, I suppose at least there he won't be disturbed.

I've been doing a bit of research about when complications are likely to occur, which apparently is 3-5 days after onset of symptoms, so I'm not out of the woods yet, I've been this congested in my chest before and it not developed into anything further, though it's less than 2 months since a CT scan for other reasons showed an incidental finding of fluid on my lungs, though a follow up x-ray was fine. I don't follow the exact medical connection, because until this happened I wasn't aware you could have it and it not be a problem, but I have read somewhere that some organisation is now advising that all people hospitalised for flu should have a CT scan to check for this, so there is a little nagging in the back of my mind that if I managed to get it for no reason then maybe I'm going to more vulnerable to complications.

The good news is that Grace seems to be completely fine, as if she did get it she'd be very vulnerable being under 6 months and tiny with it, thank goodness for breastfeeding! My supply must be dipping though as I've completely lost my appetite and she has been eating through the night the past few nights, but it doesn't really matter as I'm snoozing at other times too, everything has blurred into a bit of a haze.

Friday, November 13, 2009

more bizarre treatments

The nurse told me on the phone that I wanted to get my temperature up to 100.5, but as soon as it hit 101 that I should take paracetamol. I'd already been taking paracetamol for pain, so I was told not to take any more until my temp was up to 101, when DH woke me to feed Grace I was at 100.9 after feeding I didn't wait for the thermometer to settle on a reading once it got beyond 102, it was time to take those pills!

We've no idea where we picked this up, we know several people who've had it, but around a month-6 weeks ago, so it probably isn't directly from them. Kids, Grace and DH seem fine, so I'm keeping my distance other than to feed Grace, which should hopefully protect her. I'm even wondering about pumping and turning it into chocolate milk for the other kids.

It would probably be useful to think of other ways we can boost their immunity, chewy vitamins perhaps.

it's official

I have flu, instructions are to rest and gargle with hot water every two hours. I asked about tamiflu as I'd thought that was supposed to the weapon to prevent spread, but this group of doctors are not doing that, they say the side effects aren't worth it. Time to try and sleep!


I've been asking myself can it be flu without a temperature, but now my temp has started to climb, which made me realise I didn't know what to do, we'd been in the doctor's office at the beginning of the week and I don't remember seeing anything. I put my thinking cap on and figured the best thing to do was to call and ask, afterall, if they asked me to come in, I could always say no. So I called and asked if they have a system to avoid me coming in and infecting everyone and apparently they do, so a nurse will call me.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

knee is playing tricks on me

ok, so my knee isn't a sentient being and isn't able to play tricks on me, but that's certainly what it feels like. I can't remember the first time my left knee yelled at me, but it's been intermittant for a while and more frequent since Grace was born. The reason I say it's playing tricks on me is that it comes and goes without rhyme or reason, I really cannot fathom any triggers or cures.

What seems to happen is everything is fine, then I'll take a step upwards and the pain hits and it's so intense ans such a surprise that I may well cry out, stupidly I usually then try again a couple of times, then resort to taking stairs one at a time, right leg leading. Then I'll forget all about it, until the next time I climb stairs or cross uneven terrain. Sometimes the first pain will be the worst pain, sometimes not, often it goes away completely between triggers, but sometimes doesn't.

I rather suspect that this is yet another hint that I need to get fitter and stronger, which is something I still need to figure out how to do. I really have to do something, I should talk to Andrew about pilates, because of everything I've done that really does seem to work for me, but as the private sessions do seem to make a big difference in it's effectiveness, it's a cost issue as well as a time issue.

The dinner they ate!

Whilst cooking yesterday's dinner, I was thinking it would be one of those dinners that wouldn't go down well with the kids. It was a packet of ginger coconut rice, that we've never had before and grilled scallops (from a packet that's been in the freezer too long!). Both of them ate it all! I'll have to buy that rice again as usually they aren't very good with rice, I love scallops, so I'm glad that they are on the menu!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

something rather than nothing

Well it looks like my slight symptoms over the weekend really were something, I don't know what, as according to my little table for differentiating between cold and flu, I have some symptoms more common with flu, and am missing symptoms that should be present for a cold, such as nasal congestion, but I don't have a fever. I'll go with not flu, not a cold, but something chesty for today's supremely accurate diagnosis work!

Had to do a bit of looking up to see what was ok with breastfeeding and robitussin cough is, but so far it hasn't worked! I'm just hoping I'll sleep ok tonight, then we can face the world tomorrow with my hopefully somewhat improved.

The only way is down!


I spotted this when we were out looking at trains on Sunday!
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009


My mood is definitely better than it was, but I'm still struggling with motivation, or "get up and go". I'm at a point where I know things need to be done, but I can't face the idea of even making a mental list of what needs to be done, so therefore I don't do anything, unless it's right in my face, i.e. looking after Grace. I feel very lazy and I don't deny that a tendency to laziness is part of this, but it's more complex than that. When I'm not depressed, I definitely have a tendancy to do things that are pleasureable rather than work, but now I'm not even doing things that are pleasureable, I'm just surviving.

Monday, November 9, 2009

too many appointments

I saw my psychiatrist and counsellor today, and realised that this isn't a good idea. One of the reasons I'm with this psychiatrist is that she does do counselling, but it's a very different style from regular counselling, so I think that at least for now I need to keep working with the counsellor as well, even though I've found it quite difficult.

I think I probably have quite a difficult personality for counselling, when I'm asked what I want to acheive by the sessions, my usual response is "I don't know, that's why I'm here". I feel that if I knew what I wanted to acheive I wouldn't need a counsellor to help me acheive it, though I think that is a very simplistic view of things.

I really need to fit exercise into my schedule, there are two problems with making an effort to walk more, the rain and the fact that I do still have pelvic instability, 20 minutes at a brisk pace can really set some pain off it those areas. I know what has worked for me in the past, but that's also something difficult to organise and finance, pilates is the type of exercise that works for me, but I have enough needs that group classes are not ideal. I also am not keen to put Grace in gym daycare, it's supposed to be well child, but with incubation periods of various illnesses that doesn't help much, I've got to figure it out, but I need some help with getting effective pain relief whilst I do that.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

maybe something, maybe not

My feeling slightly coldy increased fractionally today, but it's still far from a full blown cold - maybe you'd call that a mild cold! I'm wondering if it may be slight allergies as whilst we were getting Grace weighed, I suddenly got a whiff of some kind of plant and felt a suspicious tingle (not sure how to describe the feeling, if you've experienced plant allergies you'll know what I mean, if not, I'm not sure anything could describe it), which turned out to be from a large pot plant in a room across the corridor.

Yesterday I was lucky to get a quick response from my doctor and I was able to take the migraine preventer within two hours of the first symptoms, it worked! At least it worked on the headache and visual component, but still left a fair amount of nausea, which is exactly what happened last time I took it, but I was pregnant then, though I didn't know it.

After trying a friend's baby bjorn carrier last weekend and finding it infinitely more comfortable than the one we have, we reached deep into our pockets and bought one, it really was deep as the one we tried was an active version with extra back support, which I could feel was making a big difference for me. Now I'm going to have to use it as much as possible to justify it! Carrying her just in arms, or lifting the car seat was really bothering various bits of my body, so the discipline will hopefully be good for me!

Friday, November 6, 2009

bother, migraine

I've been disorganised, my neurologist wrote me a prescription for a medication you take as soon as you feel a migraine coming on, but the pharmacist wouldn't fill it as she was concerned about it's possible interaction with lexapro, my doctor knew about the lexapro and also gave me some samples, but without actually asking him I can't assume that he knew about the possible interaction, but also thought it was ok, or whether he didn't, or had forgotten I was taking lexapro. So I don't even want to take one of the samples until I get an answer - I called his office, but it's possible they won't even get the message until after the weekend and if they do, I'm relying on the goodwill of his assistant to actually pass it on today rather than wait until Monday. I tried to leave a message that was apologetic for my own disorganisation whilst still communicating that a quick answer would be appreciated. I also discovered that I didn't refill my antisickness tablets and there is only one left, our pharmacy takes 12 hours to do a phone refill and this script got written as regular tablets not ones that dissolve on your tongue, which seem to work better.

To add to all that I'm running really low on painkillers, but as my regular doctor is on holiday right now for two weeks, when I called to make an appointment about two weeks ago, it ended up being almost a month away! So I'm really feeling like a bit of a lemon, I had plenty of opportunity to have plans in place for the likely occurance of a migraine and I didn't, talk about sticking you head in the sand!

I really shouldn't even be sat here blogging, I have two sleeping kids, I should be taking all possible actions to avoid this getting any worse, but having taken my afternoon dose of adderall my brain doesn't want to relax.

did I ever mention

Grace shares a birthday with Queen Victoria, 190 years after her, this also means that Grace shares a birthday with her Great Great Grandmother, born in 1900, who was named Victoria after Queen Victoria.

That Friday feeling

Ok, maybe it's not a Friday feeling, maybe it's just how I'm feeling, emotionally I feel fine, physically I'm definitely not 100%, maybe the sniffle and the scratchy throat won't turn into anything, then again, maybe they will!

The good thing is that it seems that Grace probably wasn't reacting to ambien yesterday as this morning, instead of sleeping fo ages she just fed constantly, it's frustrating to have a milk supply that is so sensitive, getting slightly full yesterday seems to have led to less milk today.

More than one person suggested I try caramel apples, for simplicity, but that just made me all the more determined to make real toffee apples. This was accomplished with the aid of a brand new saucepan, I was actually given the money to buy one 4.5 years ago!

In finding a new recipe, I discovered there is some dispute as to what temperature the sugar should reach, ranging from soft ball to hard crack. What to me is a traditional toffee apple has very brittle toffee, which with my limited sugar boiling experience is hard crack. I discovered in the first attempt that hard crack on my sugar thermometer is the low end of the possible range and the resultant toffee wasn't really hard crack, so this time I let it go about 10 deg F above the hard crack line and it turned out perfectly.

The other tricky thing is keeping the sugar at a temperature where it isn't bubbling, but is still runny enough to cover the apples, none of the instructions I found suggested anything but taking the pan off the stove, which I did initially, which worked for the first few, then it became impossible to twist the apple as the sugar was so stiff, so I reheated it, then left the ring on low, which seemed to work.

Some day, I'd like to make Edinburgh rock, which is a favourite of mine, one I haven't had in a long time.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sleepy Grace

I really hope this isn't a consequence of the ambien I took last night, but Grace slept for almost 4 hours this morning, then fed, had an hour of being awake and happy then zonked out again. Maybe she is catching up for yesterday when she didn't really nap at all, or maybe she is fighting a virus. I checked "Medication and Mother's Milk" and it says it's undetectable in breastmilk 4-5 hours after taking it, she didn't feed until about 9 hours after I took.

Problem is, if it's a virus she could continue this behaviour for a few days, so it could take a week or so to determine if it's the ambien, because I don't want to discontinue it based on one day.

As far as I can tell, the only harm from infant drowsiness is that they are not awake to absorb the world around them and do the developing they need to do, so I feel reasonably confident that a week of figuring it out won't harm her. The conservative approach would be to not take the ambien tonight, but I feel so much better today, even without having taken the extra adderall this afternoon, that I really don't want to do that. It seems to me like when you do something positive in recovery from depression that it gives you more boost than logically it would, but that the same is also true, make a backwards step and the fall is further.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Moving forward - I hope (and pray!)

In the past few days I've been able to step back and look at the bigger picture of how things are going. I'm trying to see it as a positive thing that I can step back, but unfortunately when I do, I really don't like what I see.

When I do step back, I realise it's been a year since I first saw signs of depression, 7 months since I started treatment and yet I'm still far from well. One way of looking at it is to say that after Sausage Boy was born, it did take until after Christmas for things to really start looking up, but I wasn't depressed in pregnancy with him, though as I do think there is a hormonal component to this, perhaps that time frame is how long it takes for hormonal normality to be restored.

On the other hand, I have to consider that maybe time isn't going to do the trick and that somehow we have to make changes, both in life and with my medication to turn the corner.

I've been reading a little bit about symptoms of depression and how they would influence medication choices and I'm feeling that just an SSRI probably isn't a good fit for me, however, having had a severe reaction to Cymbalta, an SNRI, then taking any that have an effect on norepinephrine is something that needs to be approached with caution.

I felt like I was stuck on what else we could play around with medicationwise, because of breastfeeding and I was beginning to consider that maybe stopping breastfeeding might be best for the whole family. I made sure to say this all to my doctor today, including how I really didn't feel comfortable about stopping breastfeeding. Thankfully she had other ideas, that we should try to address my sleep issues more effectively as it's obvious that these are having a huge effect on my coping ability. We haven't seen any evidence of Grace reacting to the adderall I've been taking, so she suggested that I take an extra half dose at about 2pm. She also suggested that as I got good results with ambien for sleep that I go back to that, I'd stopped it back in April because my previous psychiatrist felt it contributed to lowering my mood, but the new one thinks that it's worth trying.

So I took my extra dose this afternoon and I definitely feel a lot better at this time than I did the past few days, which is encouraging. I need to get the ambien prescription filled before bed, but I'm hopeful about that too.

I find this particular doctor very encouraging, it's not anything she says, more her whole personality. Even though I've only seen her three times, I felt with very little explanation from me that she understood how I felt about breastfeeding and grasped that I was at a point where things really needed to change and that for me to be even presenting it as an option that I really was feeling pretty desperate. She's given me the confidence that I can make it a few more weeks which will give Grace her 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding and gives me more time to see if time is helping. I'm really pleased about this as yesterday I wasn't sure how I'd even make it to the weekend.

The big toffee apple disaster!

On Monday I mentioned the British tradition of toffee apples on bonfire night to Sausage Boy. As you would expect he wanted to make some. I've done it before and both kids have demonstrated they can be trusted to follow instructions in the kitchen, so I wasn't overly concerned about them being around boiling sugar.

The problem came in finding a recipe, I think I last made them when pregnant with Sausage Boy, so seven years ago. So I googled for a recipe and used the first one I found, BIG MISTAKE, after I eventually got the sugar to the right temperature, it became obvious that there was way too much fat in the recipe and the toffee just slid right off the apples!

Fortunately I'd already laid out foil trays for the leftovers, so I've just made a rather larger quantity than I expected of toffee!

I've done a bit more googling and found another few recipes and I given I have lots of apples, I think I will try again, even if it's after bonfire night, this time I'll go for fat free. Another suggestion I found was to have the apples in the fridge before you dip them in the toffee, so it sets quicker, so I'll be trying that too.

The kids were actually really good with preparing the apples, they carefully peeled off all the labels and then washed and dried them all, not a single one ended up on the floor, they struggled a bit more with pushing the sticks into the apples, but that isn't surprising.

I'm also very tempted to use this an excuse to buy a new saucepan as some of the non stick coating on mine came off and there was the odd black fleck in the toffee mixture.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

up and down

It was so good to feel a bit perkier yesterday morning that I was disappointed as the end of the afternoon came that my mood started to fall, particularly as I'd got some rest, the kids were being pretty good and dinner was planned. Unfortunately that's the nature of depression, looking at the negatives not the positives, but even by the end of yesterday I had at least realised that that was how I was looking at things and went to bed feeling encouraged that I'd had several hours of feeling better.

Unfortunately I took a long time to get off to sleep last night and Grace woke early and though I fell back asleep, she only slept another 1.5 hours, so I'm feeling sleep deprived today.

I also had to be out early to meet with Sausage Boy's teacher at 8am! I took Grace, even though she didn't need feeding so that Andrew wasn't having to juggle all three of them. Apparently he is a delight to have around and she doesn't really have any concerns about him, everything is average or better, in particular his speaking, he's not really a surprise to us as though he wasn't an early speaker, once he got going, there was no stopping him and he uses some pretty big words. We found last year in kindergarten that he's a natural when it comes to public speaking.

One thing that does bother us is the maths curriculum, I suspect it's one of those things where it's better than previous ones for weaker students and similar for the vast majority of students, but that it holds back the brighter students. It insists that they show working for things that last year in kindergarten working wasn't required, so to do something like 5+3, instead of just answering 8, they have to write 6 7 8 above the 3 and it's absolutely rigid in requiring that they do it that way. I remember at school, showing your working was always encouraged, but rarely demanded, if you didn't show working but got everything right you wouldn't lose marks, just earn a comment of "please show your working"! Thankfully it seems that unlike his parents Sausage Boy so far is very content to do as he is asked, but as the weeks go on, what he does in his head just because he wants to is rapidly diverging from what he does on paper. I can see that when it gets to multiplication he will have likely taught himself his timestables then be taught to draw everything out and at some point he may well not be so happy to oblige. For now we'll continue to encourage him to produce neat and accurate work and keep our concerns to ourselves, but it seems inevitable that at some point we'll have to consider our options.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Fall Festival


Instead of dressing up for Halloween, our kids got to dress up for the Fall Festival at Banana Girl's preschool, I tried to get a picture of them all dressed up, but as usual it's close to impossible to get them all looking good at the same time, this is about the best.
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A little brighter

I slept badly last night, I was awake before Grace woke up, which I prefer, but not when I look at my watch and realise it's only 5am! I was then bright and wide awake and couldn't get to sleep, then conked out after 7am. Sausage Boy has a random day off school and kindly played with Grace whilst I had a shower and for the first time in weeks I felt motivated to do stuff and plan stuff, so I have a list of things I need to do this afternoon and some ideas for later in the week, I'm trying to be realistic with myself and am letting myself take some timeout right now, whilst Grace is napping.

I had a counselling session at lunch time, it's only my 2nd with this counsellor as she had to cancel last week, but I feel positive about it, even though I think it's going to be challenging.


We've been wanting to get a new sofa for a while, when we went to Ikea in the summer, I saw one I liked and it's just been a matter of finding the time to get it. One of the cushions on our current sofa had a rip in it that was getting bigger and bigger and really frustrating me and I was getting pretty strong in saying we needed to do something about it.

Somehow not having a plan for dinner on Saturday, turned into a suggestion of going to Ikea to eat and sorting out getting the sofa delivered, which then turned into not eating at Ikea, but Andrew taking all the kids out afterwards to sort things out.

When he saw the boxes, he realised he could get them in the car, though he thought it would take two trips, so he arranged for them to be held for 24 hours, then brought the kids home, took the seats out and headed back for the first trip. It turned out that by a hair's breadth, he could get everything in so after 9pm on Saturday, we had all the pieces to build a new sofa.

I felt a bit mean and lazy, but after having read the approach to EDS that I recently posted, I decided not to push myself, but to be careful, which meant Andrew did a lot of hard work and I did a lot of unwrapping of plastic! I also took the conservative approach of going to bed promptly, leaving the job unfinished and suggested that Andrew did the same, thinking it would keep me awake. However he put it all together, for which I am very thankful and his activities didn't keep me awake, so on Sunday morning I came downstairs to a transformed living room, but empty boxes to climb over and a 3 seater sofa in the only available space left downstairs, meaning direct access from the kitchen to the dining room table was gone!

After letting the kids play with the boxes, they did make their way to the recycling on Sunday afternoon, thank you Andrew! But the extra sofa is still there, Andrew is convinced it will fit in the car, I'm not so confident, but fingers crossed it will and the tip is open very late, so it should get taken tonight and then we'll have space to move around again!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

safety during surgery

Over the past couple of years I've seen numerous articles like this, yet whenever I discuss this kind of thing with someone in healthcare, it seems like they are extremely defensive.

I was pretty stunned at the statement "Some have also implemented a check list system for each individual patient.", to me that seems obvious, surely someone should be checking the big picture, if the patient comes from a ward where they've been prepped, to you assume the people up there did everything right, how many times are basics missed like not having put surgical stockings on?

I've had a few surgeries now, in several different places, private and NHS in the UK and here in the US, obviously the type of surgery influences exactly how it is handled, but I've definitely felt more confident when the process has begun in an area dedicated to surgery than on a ward with a mixture of stages, I suppose because everyone is focused on preparing you for surgery and it seems less likely that something gets missed.

Only once in all that time have I spoken to the anethetist before the day of the surgery, which I've now decided is a very good idea and I'll always try to do in future. The opposite situation arose when on anethetist could only vaguely remember what Ehlers Danlos syndrome was and asked me if it would cause any problems with knocking me out!