Friday, July 30, 2010

New Camera

I hope you see an improvement in picture quality soon. This is the first uploaded picture with my new point and shoot lumix LX3.

It is Wren, being my subject for a depth of field exploration.  You can click it to see better quality.  

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Swimming Lessons

Frost and Wren are doing swimming lessons this week. It is Wren's first swimming lesson attempt and it has been tempestuous. Honestly, I wouldn't have signed him up at all but for the fact that Frost likes swimming and learns a lot each year. I thought it would be easy to have both boys doing swimming while I read my book.

Of course, its not working out at all as I expected. Instead, I lie on the wet cement by the pool, cajoling and reassuring Wren that his draconian preschool swimming teacher is not going to "take me to the deep" or "make him into an upside starfish" on Day 1 or "get water ups 'is nose!" [Day 3]

She has done all these things. She's really clueless. The worst of it is that she acts as if its his obligation to do the various exercises and routines she has on her little waterproof board and does not invoke any joy in him. None. Its all:


Seriously, Josh could program an iPod to be a better swim instructor. We could bob it around in one of those waterproof Pelican cases Scott recommended for my camera. I bet Wren would warm to it.

Its going well here: "Put your ear in like this"

"Now I am going to pretend I am a shark and drag you around the pool a bit. You just hang there in my jaws."

Despite the stress of the bad experiences, I insisted Wren stay in the pool if I stayed with him. Thus I stay near and throw the funny toy into the pool for him to catch. He loves that. His whole face lights up. The assistant swim coach is also great (he is in the lower right corner, above) and he is very kind to Wren and lets him wander around in his comfort zone and even gets him to do challenging things in a nice way). Today, Wren did a lot better - stayed in for the whole lesson and even laughed a few times.

He doesn't like the game "Mr Shark, What time is it Mr Shark?" because when the kid shouts "DINNER TIME" he runs away through the water with a look of terror.

I hope he feels better tomorrow.

Frost is doing great breaststroke, tolerable crawl and dives and jumps into the pool with ease. He is doing some semi-prone back floats and can do backstroke legs with almost-backstroke arms. I am very happy with his water safety and confidence.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Good update from cardiology

Wren had his 6 monthly cardiology clinic this afternoon. The clinic visit takes about one and half hours and includes echo, EKG, weight, growth and cardiologist consult. The background to the visit is that Wren's last visit showed a mild progression in the stenosis of his heart and the gradient across his aortic valve was 44. At a score of 50 we need to "talk about intervention". We have these 4-6 monthly clinic visits to decide when he will need the next cath or surgery.

The happy news is that he is stable.

This means he has:
  • mild mitral regurgitation,
  • mild-moderate mitral stenosis,
  • moderate sub-aortic stenosis,
  • aortic valve stenosis (the most worrying area now, contributing most to his gradient),
  • mild thickening of the left ventricle.
There was good news in one area, an actual improvement. This is the first time we have ever seen an improvement in pressures so I am very happy. The improvement is in the pressures in his lungs. These returned to normal this echo. The implication of raised pulmonary pressures is that his left atrium would be under higher pressure from worsening mitral stenosis.

EKG was normal

Blood pressures

Dr Lewin said that today's echo suggests that Wren's heart and blood flow are growing proportionally with him although he has been growing well.

He is now 16.1 kg (35.5lbs and 63rd percentile), and
40.47 inches (78th percentile)

I am happy that we are finally cleared to travel to South Africa!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cardiology clinic tomorrow

Birthday party is over. House is still a mess but its Wren's six monthly cardiology clinic tomorrow. Last time he had "moderate" stenosis at various important places (mainly around the aortic and subaortic areas). We are hoping to hear that his mitral valve, heart (thickness), subaortic area and aortic valve are no worse.

Can I hope for better?

He looks so good on the outside, I have almost been out of the 'shadow' for the last 4 months.

Touch wood and all things good. Due to superstition, I have collected sand dollars again.