More Knowledge is Not Always A Good Thing

January 31, 2011

Monday: Paul said, “I think I’m getting ANOTHER cold, my nose is all stuffed up.”
Tuesday: Paul’s nose was red and puffy, like the proverbial drunkard.
Wednesday: Paul’s nose was still red and inflamed and his cheeks puffed up, too. His lymph nodes were swollen and he felt terrible inside and out. He went to the doctor.

You know how it is with doctors, they speak quickly and if it isn’t a word you already know it’s hard for you to decipher. So Paul came home with antibiotics and what he thought the doctor said he thought it was. We googled every incarnation of what he thought he heard and repeatedly got “did you mean reticulosis?” Reticulosis. A form of lymphoma.  But I tried not to panic because we clearly had it wrong: the doctor would obviously have ordered a biopsy instead of casually sending Paul home with a prescription for antibiotics.  (He did call the office later to confirm what the doctor had said, but he hadn’t updated the chart yet so all he had written on the chart by the time Paul had called was “lymph” which was not reassuring.)

Yet, NOT panicking was really difficult.  Especially because his face looked so wierd, and the puffiness spread to his eyes by Thursday.  And he was sick, really really sick.  Now we aren’t sickly people and Paul typically functions on two thirds the sleep I get a night, so to see him sleep all day, sleep all night, not want to eat, and complain of pain all over (not to mention the swelling!)  It was wierd.  It was unnerving.  I woke up in the middle of the night to make sure he was still breathing  and I didn’t even do that with my babies.  He was so sick.  And I had lingering in the back of my mind the whole time, what if he died?

With days, the antibiotics slowly showed improvement.  The inflamation went down in the order in which it had come, and by Sunday evening he had a little bit of energy in his voice.  Today he went to work.  After that he went back to the doctor to make sure everything was healing up well, and to answer a few more questions.  During his visit he clarified the name of the bacterial infection he has: erysipelas (which, when pronounced, sounds similar to reticulosis and since we had no idea of the spelling, we were nowhere near the correct search results, not to mention that many of the symptoms are similar…)  It’s still a pretty serious infection, and things would have been bad if he had waited to go to the doctor, but we are very greatful for this diagnosis, and for a doctor that identified it immediately, even if we didn’t know what he said.

Of all the weeks for me to worry about my husband dying in his thirties, this last one was not a good one!  But we survived, and Paul is back, and all is well.

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Life (and death)

January 28, 2011

While talking about New Year’s Resolutions with the preschool mothers after my lesson on Tuesday, I turned to one friend and quietly asked her what her resolutions were, while the other two talked on a tangent. She somberly asked me “do you really want to know? Because it’s sad.”

I insisted.

“I want every day to live so that if I die today when I see Heavenly Father he’ll let me into heaven.” I spend so much time thinking about what a medical miracle she is, being so strong for so long even without dialisys as she waits for a kidney that I forget how close to death she really is.

As she apologized for telling me I thanked her. It really is a resolution we should all be trying to keep. And I’ve been wondering since then how to express what I feel, how to preserve this memory.

I don’t feel that my words have caught up with the rest of me, this conversation happening on the heels of hearing that some friends from Virginia had just lost their healthy 20-month old in the middle of the night. This morning, however, I learned that my first boss, a good friend, and someone for whom I have very happy memories, finally lost his battle with cancer. So whether or not I’m ready to write about any of this, I feel so compelled to write something, for Bennett, for Maria, for Robbie. 

Make today count. And make tomorrow count. And the day after that. And the day after that. Sometimes we have warning, and sometimes we don’t.


Preschool: H

January 27, 2011

(December’s lesson)

H is for Heather

Heather’s House has great toys!

H is for Hat

Everyone chose a hat from the hatbox to wear for the entire lesson. Some children chose to wear theirs for a short time, and some chose to change up every half hour, but there is no scarcity of hats so that was no problem!

Reading Time (H is for Ham and Hermit and House)

“Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss
“A House for Hermit Crab” by Eric Carle
“Whose House?” by Colin and Jacqui Hawkins
“ABCs” by Dr. Seuss

H is for Happy

Using paper plates to make the classic happy/sad face, the children decorated their faces, using yarn and other bits and pieces to make hair, glasses, and some pretty silly looks.  I taught them “Smiles” while we followed the actions with our faces.

H is for Helium

Paul had been sent home with a mostly-used helium tank from some work event so I added a science element to our lesson. Inflating one balloon with my own hot air I asked the children if it would float or fall? When I let go, it fell. Inflating one balloon with the helium I asked again if it would float or fall? When I let go, of course, it floated. (Each child got a balloon to play with and take home and Bridgette still asks “balloon?” every time she comes over.)

H is for Hummus and Ham

For snacktime the children had a plate of hummus, ham, pita, and apple slices. Several of them had never had hummus before and were reluctant, but once they saw Boy Blue dig in with wild abandon they gave it a shot.  The bowl was completely empty at the end, but I suspect it was Boy Blue who was responsible for most of the consumption.


Preschool: L

January 26, 2011

L is for Lego

As the children entered I had the duplos and megablocks boxes out and they set immediately to building their creations. My collection is finally large enough to satisfy four curious children without too much “that’s mine” problems. They made a giraffe, a rocket ship, a monster, and … something.

Reading Time (L is for Little, Ladybug, and Love)

“Little Fur Family” by Margaret Wise Brown (ill. Garth Williams)
“The Grouchy Ladybug” by Eric Carle
“Clifford, We Love You” by Norman Bridwell
and, of course, “ABCs” by Dr. Seuss
“I’ll Love You Forever” is also a good one, but I can’t get through it without crying, and didn’t feel like crying through preschool.

L is for Lamb

As they coloured their “L is for Lamb” picture I traced each of their hands onto construction paper and cut them out. Using their fingers as the legs and the palm as the body, I poured glue over the body, set out cotton balls, and let them make their own lambs. (I planned to make a face to glue on, but never got around to it and they seem to notice.)

L is for Lettuce and Logs

For snacktime we had lettuce wraps and bugs on a log. They left me only a little bit of lettuce and a few partically-chewed-and-no-longer-covered-in-peanut-butter-and-raisins celery sticks. Nutritious and delicious and in line with the lesson plan? Yes, this lesson was a lovely.


1001 Tales

January 23, 2011

Scheherazade I am not, but I’ve somehow managed to conjure up my own 1001 tales. It makes me wonder if any of them were compelling enough to have saved my life. I don’t know about that, but I do know that it has helped me find my life. Surely my reason for sitting down to blog has varied at every whim, but the true test, the “random post” button, reminds me that I am glad I documented so much. I love to go back and remember, rejoice in the triumphs, and cry over the painful disappointments. They are certainly not stories that would entertain a selfish king, but they are enough for me.


All Hail Dental Hygiene

January 22, 2011

Little Red, 6 years, 1 month, 3 weeks, and 3 days old, lost his tooth while brushing his teeth before bed.

“I was brushing the space underneath my tooth and it just fell out!”


Thumb Update (I Get By with a Little Help from My Friends)

January 19, 2011

Thanks to Sariah’s sage advice (I believe I’ve previously referred to her as a queen among women?  Well, she is,) I was finally able to take a step back from my thumb-sucking neuroses.  Today I didn’t mention his thumb once.  (Okay, I did, but it was on the drive to school, before reading Sariah’s comments and thus not a part of the new-me.  Well… nevermind, let me start over.)

I was too tired this morning to really harp on the thumb thing before school, so I only mentioned it in the car a couple of times, and not that I remember before that.  After school I had back-to-back lessons so he got a free pass with his thumb until nearly suppertime, by which time I’d read Sariah’s comments and committed myself to BACK OFF.  And so I did.  I didn’t say anything when he ate slowly because, and maybe you didn’t know this?, it’s really hard to eat with your thumb in your mouth.  And I didn’t say anything when he sucked his thumb while battling Darth Maul in the legendary battle of lightsabers while watching tv.

I think he felt that something was missing with my silence; he asked me for his glove at bedtime.  That’s when I had mulled my options long enough and had come up with a solution.  I presented my case.  I won’t say anything if he can just go the three hours of church without sucking his thumb.  He accepted.

And so it begins.  If we can get this under control then maybe the next step can be school.  Wish me luck!  I really want to keep my cool through this.