Saturday, October 18, 2008

Keeping Healthy for Heart Surgery

This morning I consulted a naturopath about enhancing our health this month to try and avoid the plagues of flu season before heart surgery. She gave me many suggestions.

We need to limit our sugar. "One of sugar's major drawbacks is that it raises the insulin level, which inhibits the release of growth hormones, which in turn depresses the immune system. This is not something you want to take place if you want to avoid disease."

Keep hydrated. We naturally inhale many viruses and bacteria during normal life. If we have a healthy nasal mucosa, mucus and macrophages attack and immobilize infectious agents. However, if you are dehydrated they are able to attach and penetrate more easily. Keep hydrated, especially on the plane trip down.

Wash hands Wash hands frequently, especially before eating and while in public places. Most infections on airplanes are due to the germs on the surfaces rather than just airborne infections. If we wash hands and are careful to avoid touching mouths and noses we reduce our risk.

Sleep: It is important to get adequate sleep to remain healthy.

Daily vitamin: Just in case our diet doesn't contain enough of all the trace elements and vitamins, adults and kids should take a daily vitamin.

Wellness Supplement: For the next 3 weeks we should take a daily supplement of extra vitamin C, vitamin A and zinc.

Mushrooms: We can take a daily dose of extract of Reishi Mushroom. This is an immune system booster. We are only taking this in relatively low dose and will discontinue Wren's a few days prior to surgery.

Cod liver oil: We should continue taking cod-liver oil daily. This encourages a less-inflammatory response from the immune system. It can be taken long term - 1T for adults and 1t for kids. Apparently the kids-dose capsules are too low and the 4 caps on the label is insufficient. They can have up to 12 caps.

TV for Toddlers. More BOB less Mummy

This is my 600th blog post and I feel some pressure to make it special. Unfortunately, my nose is still stuffy and I'm tired so I shall simply continue with the flow of events which are our life.

No TV for Toddlers
Yesterday Joshua woke a bit early and was sitting on the couch. I was home also. Wren turned to me and said "Mummy, go out CAR. Watch BOB TV!"

Joshua is so busted.

Apparently, Joshua is not averse to Wren having a little Bob the Builder on TV when I leave him and Wren to bridge the gap between carpool (8.30am) and Heather arriving (9.30a). It is also apparent that Wren would prefer me to leave so he can watch TV. The blight starts young.

Joshua swears that it is never more than 10 minutes.

Tantrum Time
I am not surprised that Wren is bossing me around. He has become very strong willed recently and if he is tired and feels misunderstood or denied he is able to sustain a very loud tantrum: lying down, rolling about, crying and wailing for a long time.

The last tantrum was when I refused to serve him Eggo's for dinner. Eggos is a sweet corn breakfast cereal shaped like little wheels. Wren likes to be served a plate of it while he stands on his ladder at the kitchen island. I had made vegetables and cottage pie.

"No 'ottage" he yelled "EGGGOOOES"

Another tantrum was when I refused to let the large diggers come in from the sandbox, covered in mud and fresh rain.

Yet another was when I put away the dinosaur after he threw it across the kitchen. "No throw biganimal. No throw IT" he cried. I gave it back in that case and all was settled.

Car Repairs *****JOSHUA DO NOT READ!!!********
Yesterday, Wren and I spent our morning running around arranging car repairs. Initially, I contacted the dealer to buy a spare part and planned to have them install it. They gave me such a run around - could only be done next week, needed painting that would take days, would cost as much to paint it as the part, I would have to leave the car with them overnight etc etc. that I started to call around.

Online parts are not much cheaper and take a long while to arrive so that wasn't an option. I seriously considered having a tan plastic (unpainted) mirror OR installing a non-standard part that was not motorized OR sticking a bit of tape on the end and leaving it as a reminder of my folly.

However, due to the kind words of many friends (who shared their own mishaps and follies and a less judgmental response) I decided that I should have it fixed properly.

That's when I remembered JIM's BODY SHOP. There is all this talk about eating locally and I have often noticed this noisy and smelly little autoshop opposite the Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center. I called and it took forever for Jerry to answer but he was so sweet and friendly that I immediately wanted him to work on the car.



Hi, Is that Jim's body shop?

Yes, can I help you?

Well, I had an accident and broke off the passenger side door mirror - its a mechanical mirror - and I need it replaced.

Oh, that's not an accident. That's just life.

Oh. Um. Well, it FELT like an accident.

No, no. So do you have the new part or..

Yes, I have the part. Well, I will have the part. I ordered it from the dealer and they have it but they are asking $150 to paint it and that sounds a lot so I was wondering whether...

Hrmmm.. mmmm. Well, the thing is that they probably send it out to a body shop anyway. You have to match the paint, see. And paint comes in 1 pint minimum so that's $80 already.

So, its reasonable?

Well, I am trying to think of some way to make it sweet but.. mmmm...I could send you over to WestCo to get the paint. Look, if you want to... I would need to see the damage. Why don't you drop around the corner and I will have a look at it.

We dropped by later and Jerry was lovely. He's an older man who likes people and liked Wren. He let Wren pick his sungold tomatoes. It turns out that his son has Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome and was treated in the cath lab at Seattle Children's. He knows where all the Doctors, surgeons and even the CEO from Children's live in our neighborhood and loves the hospital for the help they gave his son. He even played College Football with his heart issue (is a conduction problem) and eventually needed the intervention.

It felt completely different to have our car worked on by Jerry rather than the blokes at Kia. He sent me to get the paint myself (with no markup) and I don't have to leave the car at all. He's going to put the part on for $20 instead of $90 and so even if he charges more for the painting itself I feel happy.

I will also know how to get the Subaru fixed (yes, I banged the Subaru years ago and the mark remains) if we decide to. He gave me a quote for the repair caused by another driver in the parking lot at Remlinger Farm (she left a note on the windscreen). If she decides to honor that note and pay for the damage I will be able to use the same paint to have it done).

Not a bad outcome, considering.

Wren likes Jerry's tomatoes and liked the community center where we went afterwards.

More 'awoweens?
Wren loves Halloween decorations. He calls them "awoweens" - spiders, skulls, skeletons - are all "'awoweens." He finds the automated ones scary but compelling and likes us to pick him up and then go and look through the curtains at the spiderweb and scary skeleton guy who are set up on our porch.

In the morning when he woke today he said "'awoween SEE it. Little scary."

His attachment to things makes it difficult to move him about. If I want to go out he may be wanting to see the 'awoweens. If I am trying to leave the store he might be interested in the scarecrow or pumpkins. Everything is very slow (unless you want to risk a tantrum and scoop him up and make a run for it.)

Another cause for inertia is the VERY big pumpkin at PCC. It is about the size of a dishwasher and Wren climbs up beside it and pushes it with both hands. It has formed a nice flat bottom, settled down onto the earth with its weight, and does not move. While it remains he does not want to move either.

Last weekend we had a mini-photo shoot of the kids and family with a Soulumination photographer. This is a charity that offers free portraits of children facing serious health issues. At first, I felt wary of contacting them. Some of the children on their website are so sick that I felt that Wren was too healthy and happy to be photographed. Plus, I don't want him in that category.

After speaking with Sarah at Soulumination I felt reassured that they are very happy to photograph children with conditions like Wrens. I asked to mainly focus on Frost and Wren so we have a nice quality picture of them together.

We went to the local P-patch.

We haven't seen the pictures yet but I am looking forward to it.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Frost invents co-housing and a new brother

On the car-ride home from school today, Frost confided that he and Alex suspect they are really brothers and "we would like to have a DNA test. Could we do that?" I said that they could but it would be expensive and may need to wait until they are older.

After a discrete pause I asked how they thought they could be brothers. Frost explained that they were good friends and lived nearby each other and perhaps they were brothers in the same way that Eve and Oliver discovered they were cousins. I should give a little background here and explain that Eve and Oliver are two kids in our school carpool. They have been told that they are related - although the link is somewhat tenuous, something like a grandmother's second marriage to a great uncle of the other side.

This has given Frost the idea that he may have a secret brotherhood with Alex.

When I asked Frost what he thought a brother actually was, he said that it was another boy who was not born at exactly the same time as you. Hang on, what? I tried to explain that brothers had the same parents. He then suggested that they were step-brothers. Uh oh. Another definition required.

Eventually he had it figured out that (in his words) "So brothers are two boys who live together who were born by the same Mom?" I shall just leave it there for now.

Alex and Frost were particularly excited about being brothers because they felt that if their DNA confirmed it, they should live together. By the way, according to Frost he has heard about DNA "all over" and "DNA tells you if someone is in the same family or not."

Frost explained that if we sold our house and built another house on top of Alex's house we would be a rich family and have 4 cars and we could sell one of our TV's and just join them together and have a double-super-size flatscreen TV and an attic with a trapdoor and many things and it would be cool.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Costly accident and some more diggers

Last night I had an accident. I drove out of the garage straight [into the wall of the garage] and smashed the passenger side door mirror. I am very sad and Joshua is frustrated and irritable [but not thinking about it]. This morning, I vacuumed and cleaned the car to try and make it feel better after the accident.

Frost said "well, you drove into that rock at Camp Orkila and you smashed into a pole in the parking garage once, so.."
And Joshua added "he has a point there".

It seems that the male ability to point out the driving mistakes of the opposite sex starts young. I am chagrined, embarrassed and miserable about the waste of money. Who would have thought that these little plastic and glass things on the side of cars are so expensive and why do they have to be motorized? I mean, how often do you adjust your side mirror, really? Can't we get out the car and do it?

Sigh. I am just trying to avoid the sad and jagged edge.

On a lighter note, Wren and I discovered a new playground (or newly renovated playground) at the entrance to Ravenna gorge. It has a huge circular sandbox which is filled with diggers, dump trucks pavers and other construction machinery. Wren spent a long while digging, making roads, sliding the diggers down a small slide and hiding them in holes and mountains of sand. He did not want to leave.

Later, he slid down the very steep slide with me (very scary) and we road the bike through the ravine to a coffee shop where he had a cookie and I enjoyed a latte.

He started his nap late and now is still sleeping when its time to go and drive carpool. Uh oh. He is going to be sad to be dragged out into the sunlight in a moment or two.

On another happy note. Frost completed his independent testing for the Seattle Public Schools APP program yesterday and it looks as if he will qualify for Lowell Elementary. We await the formal report. If he does meet the cutoff he still has to do the public group testing later this month however, if he does not score as highly in the group setting (our concern last year) we are able to use these private results to appeal.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Weekend Wrap-up

This was another busy weekend. I was sick with a cold and low fever from Friday night until Sunday morning. Joshua also has the head cold and Wren has the tail-end of the snuffles but is also cutting two molars and his gums look sore and red.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to lie low because there was lots of early rising and night waking from Wren (he has woken twice each night for the past 3 nights and then risen before 5.30am) because of his own discomfit. There was also Frost's soccer game (which was a lot of fun) and a homemade pizza. Frost has been playing quite a bit of goalie in the matches and his team chants "fearless Frost" at points because he has made some rather brave saves. This match he threw himself at a very hard kick from close up and caught it in his belly on the ground. He also deflected a hard ball coming in the air. He loves playing goalie but I wish he was getting more practice running and actually shooting at goal. When he is not goalie he is very defensive in his play, running back to protect the goal as soon as the ball changes direction, even if it means stranding a single player of his team with a chance at a goal.

Sunday, I felt much better. The kids and I went shopping for a few hours to catch up on days of consumer neglect. We bought filters for the furnace which is now on for the winter, some firestarters to help with burning our woodpile, Bakugon for Alex's gift, a few toys for the kids, pipe insulation, some Mums (a kind of daisy) for the window-box and even some bulbs for spring lilies.

In the late afternoon we went to the Party Supply store which is transformed into a Halloween costume and decoration store and bought many exciting skulls and skeletons to decorate the living room and porch. Frost has decided to be a cowboy for Halloween. As far as I can work out, this is so he can carry a cap-pistol as a prop.

When Wren woke up this morning his first words were "Haween Shop. VERY scary. BIG keletin - 'piders on it!" and "GO-sst!"

Frost woke up and loaded his cap gun before he had clothes on. I told him he had to be dressed to shoot caps in the gloomy dusting of rain.

He dressed with alacrity and shot about 16 shots - not enough to wake the neighbors but enough to get Wren excited to "want TURN!"