It’s just plain weird . . .

OK this is going to be a long series, I can see it already.

So there’s a little one in my life who is just a nutty nut.  She loves to eat.  She’s one of these little ones who might be a bit too much like a goldfish – just eat, eat, eat until she explodes.

She gets so angry if you go to eat anything and she’s not in on it – even if it’s something she cannot possibly eat properly.  Here’s a for-instance.  She loves her sibling’s snacks: usually peas and carrots. The healthy, raw kind.

 

But she cannot chew them enough or when she does she doesn’t realize that that’s as chewed as they’re going to get so anytime might be a good one to finish the ingestion process.  So she ends up chewing them for 10 minutes (that’s not even an exaggeration) and at some point gets bored and spits them out.  And I can tell you, cats are not like dogs.  They won’t come along and mop up anything that lands on the floor.  Nay Nay.  You end up walking on spit-out, chewed-up veggies.  Or better yet, coming across them when you go to clean up the mountain of toys before the next round of ‘let’s see how big a mess we can make’.  Good times.

So why oh why does she insist – and I mean insist (you see the picture) on having what she ultimately doesn’t want?

It’s just plain weird!

Posted in Dealing with baby, health questions, navigating life | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Packing essentials – some tips from a PET mentor

Not long ago, I found a parenting class at the local university and was introduced to the Gordon Method of parenting. I’ll be posting a few articles from the lady who led the class. She’s well-versed in these communication/ conflict resolution methods and unlike most, she walks the walk. So without further a-do…

Packing Essentials for Travelling with Children

By Judy Arnall

 

My husband and I enjoy holidays away from home. We have visited England and Ireland several times during the past 17 years, and we have just returned from a six-week trip to Singapore and Australia with our five children aged between 5 and 16.

We have traveled by airplane, car, ship and train. We have stayed with relatives, with friends, at hotels, at rental houses, at beach cabins, and in trailers and tents. We have learned the hard way about the challenges of travelling with children, including jet-lagged babies wide-awake at midnight, toddler tantrums on crowded airplanes, car-sick and home-sick children, and bored teens enduring an endless torment of art galleries and museums. From our experience, I have developed the following list of essentials for travelling with children.

· Small stuffed critters (stuffies): Youngsters (and older ones too, though they won’t admit it) appreciate a stuffy each, as a reminder of home, and as a pillow. Makes a strange bed more welcoming. Just make sure it’s not a special one because it could get lost.

 · Entertainment technology: A handheld game console, Mp3 player, or portable movie player can be a lifesaver in the middle of the night for an exhausted parent trying to settle a wide-awake child. Or to distract bored children from fighting or climbing the drapes while you are chatting with relatives in their homes containing glass-sided cabinets of crystal and china. Or to make long flights shorter. Or to provide familiar music for homesick teens. Or even to sooth parents whose patience is ragged from endless “How much longer, are we there yet?”

 · Batteries and chargers: You can never have too many batteries.

· Cheap and useful activity toys: Flashlight, roll of tape, pair of scissors, deck of cards, Rubik’s cube, tape measure, markers, pads of paper, dice, dictionary, ball of string and lump of playdough. Very versatile for keeping kids busy. Flashlights can be used to play ceiling tag at bedtime. The roll of tape is great for toddlers to pull off pieces and stick them anywhere. Toddlers also love tape measures, playdough and balls of string. Markers and pads of paper can be used by school-aged children, to draw paper dolls, animals and various scenes to play dolls with. Drawing, coloring and cutting out are all part of the fun of playing dolls.

· Plastic shovels and pails: Some of our best moments have been on a park or beach bench with glass of wine, while the children dig holes, make sand-castles, and nature soup, and collect rocks, shells, twigs, beetles and frogs.

· Digital camera: For teens and school-aged children

· Laptop computer: Laptop computers typically contain basic software such as Paint and solitaire, and most can play DVD movies. Useful for teens to make a journal, make a photo scrapbook of the trip, and catch up on e-mail with their friend’s back home. Many libraries and visitor centers have cheap Internet access.

· Pillowcases: The most versatile item for a trip. We try to find inexpensive accommodation, and often find ourselves short of pillows. A pillowcase can be stuffed with coats to make a huge pillow for the plane or for the hotel. They are easy to pack, lightweight, foldable and cheap. Here are some other uses for them:

Hotel comfort item – something from home that you can put over their pillows. Helps children deal with their homesickness when they see a familiar pillow.

Extra beach bag – for wet towels, garbage, food containers, toys, and clothes.

Bib- You need a safety pin or clothes pin to fasten.

Cape- for little boys and girls to present they are superheroes.

Spare pillow – Stuff with coats, jackets, hats and mitts for a nice BIG pillow on the plane or in the car. Keeps everything together in winter.

Picnic placemat – A clean cloth to put plates and cups on at the beach or picnic area.

Spare diaper change mat – Be sure to wash after!

Spare shopping bag – handy for drippy items because it’s easy to wash.

Laundry bag – for clean or dirty clothes.

Instant gift wrap – for a hostess gift.

Spare towel – for the beach or pool.

· Cheap lightweight sleeping bags: You only need inexpensive little summer-weight sleeping bags from outlets like Canadian Tire (unless you’re crossing Baffin Island by skidoo). About the size of a rolled-up beach towel, it can be spread to make an instant bed on or a sofa, or carpet, and can be used as a pillow in airplane or car.

· Lighter: You’d be surprised how much you’ll need a lighter when travelling. Try lighting a strange gas stove without one.

· Snacks: Always travel with a bag of non-spoiling snacks such as crackers, granola bars and boxed juice. Travel food is often expensive, and not always available.

· Wipes and roll of kitchen paper towels: Always useful.

· Large clear-zip up kitchen food bags: Perfect as wet swimsuit and dirty wash-bags, as food bags, and perfect containment for potentially messy things like toothpaste. You would be horrified how far shampoo can spread within your suitcase during depressurization.

· Hand sanitizer: Public washrooms usually do not provide soap.

Finally, always pack light. Don’t bring more than two outfits per child, and bring extra empty pack-flat travel bags for the souvenirs and clothes that you will inevitably accumulate as you travel. Bon voyage!

Judy Arnall is a professional international award-winning Parenting Speaker, and Trainer, Mom of five children, and author of the best-selling book, Discipline Without Distress: 135 tools for raising caring, responsible children without time-out, spanking, punishment or bribery and the new DVD, “Plugged-In Parenting: Connecting with the Digital Generation for Health, Safety and Love” www.professionalparenting.ca (403) 714-6766 jarnall@shaw.ca

Copyright permission granted for “reproduction without permission” of this article in whole or part, if the above credit is included in its entirety. Pictures added by You Get Well Soon.


Brought to you by You Get Well Soon

Posted in navigating life | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Travelling with Children – some tips from a PET mentor

I know that as the only parent in my local circle of friends that parenting discussions are lacking.  It’s nice to be able to talk about what’s going on; concerns, etc.  I found a parenting class a while back at the local university and was introduced to the Gordon Method.  I’ll be posting a few articles from the lady who led the class.  She’s well-versed in these parenting methods and unlike most, she walks the walk.  So without further a-do…

Benefits of Travelling with Children

By Judy Arnall

We brought our two children (a toddler and a baby) to England and Ireland on our first family overseas trip in 1996. During that first trip, we were introduced to the travelling perils of sick infants on cars, trains, ships and aircraft, and jet-lag sleep schedule disruption, and the wonderful task of hauling cumbersome baby travel gear around. Since that trip, our family has grown to five children, and we have logged another six overseas trips. Our recent holiday was to Australia with our five children, ages 5 to 16, for six weeks.  During our flight home, listening to a mother in front of me coping with a toddler tantrum, I reflected that it is easier in many ways to travel with older children. They can carry their own bags and they can immerse themselves in books or movies during long flights. But older children do have their own challenges, such as becoming downright uncooperative when facing situations that they don’t like, picking fights with each other when bored, and becoming just as expensive as adults when venues charge full fare for kids over 12.

Although it can be hard work for parents, children of all ages benefit immensely from travelling.  Travel is a multi-sensory learning experience that is much richer than textbooks, videos or classrooms. In addition to the obvious academic facts that they absorb from visiting science centers, zoos, aquariums, art galleries, wildlife parks and museums  (such as the quantity flow model demonstrating Pythagorean theorem at the Perth science center), children learn many important life-skills while travelling, such as these:

·Perspective:          They learn that home is actually not that bad, compared to some of the rest of the world. Tripping over each other in a 500 square foot cabin helped us appreciate that we have a home to call our own.

·Group decisions:   They learn that they must either provide positive leadership to the group, or must go along with group decisions. Not everyone can get their way even some of the time.

·Consideration:       They learn that when we are guests of others, we must be considerate of their plans, their home and their possessions. They learn to ask permission, that they must limit noise and clutter, and cannot just raid the fridge. They also learn how to socialize with hosts.

·Adaptability:          Things go wrong, such as missing sleeping bags, not enough pillows, unexpected weather, no transportation, lost mp3 players  as well as dealing with clean laundry too wet to pack. Children learn to accept and/or make-do. Our motto when things went wrong while travelling was “Oh well”. Sometimes it was either laugh about it or cry about it!

·Problem solving:   When adapting to new situations or circumstances, children learn how to solve problems. They can brainstorm options and help choose the best ones. Our 15-year-old and ten-year-old son got lost on a hiking trip. I was astounded at their problem-solving ability to find their way back to the camp, all the while not knowing what camp, city or state we were staying at in Australia.

·Different rules:     Rules and courtesies we take for granted in our country are not the same in many other countries. For example, chewing gum is illegal in Singapore.

·Patience:               Travel requires so much waiting around that children learn to be patient. They wait in long lines for check-in, for security, and for boarding. They wait for take-off, they wait for food, and they wait for the washroom. They wait for landing and more line-ups. It’s endless.

·Self-entertainment: Children learn how to cope with boredom from lack of media devices and electronic devices. When mp3 players, DVD players and laptops are not available for playtime, they get into sandcastle building, drawing, card games, board games, word games, scavenger hunts and good old-fashioned conversation.

·Socializing:            They learn to be polite to relatives that they have never met before, and discover to their surprise that they find them likeable.  They learn that strangers can be friends for travelers and it’s okay and enjoyable to strike up a conversation with them.

·Logistics:               For older children that wish to get involved in trip planning, they learn useful skills such as how to book itineraries, rentals, and accommodations. They can learn how to acquire documentation such as passports, visas and consent letters. They learn the protocol for security at airports and museums. They also learn mapping, budgeting, and documentation (photos and journals) skills. They learn how to secure transportation and groceries.

·Tolerance:             Travelling with family members means that for a few weeks or days, family members live in close proximity with each other full time. That means siblings constantly in each other’s faces.  Children get very practiced at learning how to cope with different quirks, personalities and people’s feelings. They may discover a side of a sibling that they never noticed before and actually quite like.

With all these travel benefits, it’s no wonder that many families take several vacations a year together. Whether staying in a tent, trailer, cabin, cottage, hostel, hotel or visiting relatives, travel provides an experience of a lifetime for both parents and children. Guaranteed, it will never be boring.  Have a fun and safe summer!

Judy Arnall is a professional international award-winning Parenting Speaker, and Trainer, Mom of five children, and author of the best-selling book, Discipline Without Distress: 135 tools for raising caring, responsible children without time-out, spanking, punishment or bribery and the new DVD, “Plugged-In Parenting:  Connecting with the Digital Generation for Health, Safety and Love” www.professionalparenting.ca (403) 714-6766  jarnall@shaw.ca

Copyright permission granted for “reproduction without permission” of this article in whole or part, if the above credit is included in its entirety. Pictures added by You Get Well Soon.

Brought to you by You Get Well Soon

Benefits of Travelling with Children

By Judy Arnall

We brought our two children (a toddler and a baby) to England and Ireland on our first family overseas trip in 1996. During that first trip, we were introduced to the travelling perils of sick infants on cars, trains, ships and aircraft, and jet-lag sleep schedule disruption, and the wonderful task of hauling cumbersome baby travel gear around. Since that trip, our family has grown to five children, and we have logged another six overseas trips. Our recent holiday was to Australia with our five children, ages 5 to 16, for six weeks.  During our flight home, listening to a mother in front of me coping with a toddler tantrum, I reflected that it is easier in many ways to travel with older children. They can carry their own bags and they can immerse themselves in books or movies during long flights. But older children do have their own challenges, such as becoming downright uncooperative when facing situations that they don’t like, picking fights with each other when bored, and becoming just as expensive as adults when venues charge full fare for kids over 12.

Although it can be hard work for parents, children of all ages benefit immensely from travelling.  Travel is a multi-sensory learning experience that is much richer than textbooks, videos or classrooms. In addition to the obvious academic facts that they absorb from visiting science centers, zoos, aquariums, art galleries, wildlife parks and museums  (such as the quantity flow model demonstrating Pythagorean theorem at the Perth science center), children learn many important life-skills while travelling, such as these:

·Perspective:          They learn that home is actually not that bad, compared to some of the rest of the world. Tripping over each other in a 500 square foot cabin helped us appreciate that we have a home to call our own.

·Group decisions:   They learn that they must either provide positive leadership to the group, or must go along with group decisions. Not everyone can get their way even some of the time.

·Consideration:       They learn that when we are guests of others, we must be considerate of their plans, their home and their possessions. They learn to ask permission, that they must limit noise and clutter, and cannot just raid the fridge. They also learn how to socialize with hosts.

·Adaptability:          Things go wrong, such as missing sleeping bags, not enough pillows, unexpected weather, no transportation, lost mp3 players  as well as dealing with clean laundry too wet to pack. Children learn to accept and/or make-do. Our motto when things went wrong while travelling was “Oh well”. Sometimes it was either laugh about it or cry about it!

·Problem solving:   When adapting to new situations or circumstances, children learn how to solve problems. They can brainstorm options and help choose the best ones. Our 15-year-old and ten-year-old son got lost on a hiking trip. I was astounded at their problem-solving ability to find their way back to the camp, all the while not knowing what camp, city or state we were staying at in Australia.

·Different rules:     Rules and courtesies we take for granted in our country are not the same in many other countries. For example, chewing gum is illegal in Singapore.

·Patience:               Travel requires so much waiting around that children learn to be patient. They wait in long lines for check-in, for security, and for boarding. They wait for take-off, they wait for food, and they wait for the washroom. They wait for landing and more line-ups. It’s endless.

·Self-entertainment: Children learn how to cope with boredom from lack of media devices and electronic devices. When mp3 players, DVD players and laptops are not available for playtime, they get into sandcastle building, drawing, card games, board games, word games, scavenger hunts and good old-fashioned conversation.

·Socializing:            They learn to be polite to relatives that they have never met before, and discover to their surprise that they find them likeable.  They learn that strangers can be friends for travelers and it’s okay and enjoyable to strike up a conversation with them.

·Logistics:               For older children that wish to get involved in trip planning, they learn useful skills such as how to book itineraries, rentals, and accommodations. They can learn how to acquire documentation such as passports, visas and consent letters. They learn the protocol for security at airports and museums. They also learn mapping, budgeting, and documentation (photos and journals) skills. They learn how to secure transportation and groceries.

·Tolerance:             Travelling with family members means that for a few weeks or days, family members live in close proximity with each other full time. That means siblings constantly in each other’s faces.  Children get very practiced at learning how to cope with different quirks, personalities and people’s feelings. They may discover a side of a sibling that they never noticed before and actually quite like.

With all these travel benefits, it’s no wonder that many families take several vacations a year together. Whether staying in a tent, trailer, cabin, cottage, hostel, hotel or visiting relatives, travel provides an experience of a lifetime for both parents and children. Guaranteed, it will never be boring.  Have a fun and safe summer!

Judy Arnall is a professional international award-winning Parenting Speaker, and Trainer, Mom of five children, and author of the best-selling book, Discipline Without Distress: 135 tools for raising caring, responsible children without time-out, spanking, punishment or bribery and the new DVD, “Plugged-In Parenting:  Connecting with the Digital Generation for Health, Safety and Love” www.professionalparenting.ca (403) 714-6766  jarnall@shaw.ca

Copyright permission granted for “reproduction without permission” of this article in whole or part, if the above credit is included in its entirety.

Posted in Dealing with baby, navigating life | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Yaz is part of a bigger problem

I recently posted a blog about Yaz that was more popular than I would have at first expected and it made me think that perhaps there is more to say about birth control pills and their effects on the body. So here we go …

Everyone’s body is different. I’m going on record right now – we are all different. Physiologically speaking we are unique. Similar. Shockingly similar. But definitely individuals.

I guarantee that no one reading this has ever had a doctor or healthcare professional do a blood workup (more than once) prior to prescribing medication of any kind let alone birth control. I’m not going to get into the importance of it to me – it is enough to know that millions of women and girls (emphasis on not-yet-grown-up women) take the pill. No one is monitoring what their baseline hormone levels are, how they change over the course of their natural cycle and no one is matching the prescription to these levels. Doctors are, intentionally / knowingly or otherwise, in the pockets of big pharmaceutical companies. (I wrote a blog about it because it bugs me so much.)

For this reason sites like Drug Watch exist to try to let people know what’s going on. People should be informed and that’s why I found some good pix online to help illustrate what a so-called normal cycle should look like and give some info about what the pill is really doing.

This is what a menstrual cycle should look like:

where menses means menstruation. FSH is follicle stimulating hormone (what literally stimulates a resting would-be egg to mature enough to burst through the surface of the ovary and float down the fallopian tube toward the uterus). LH is luteinizing hormone and when it spikes in production, menses follows.

Naturally these charts are really simplified and I’ve included a more accurate one to give an idea of how variable the timing of release is expected to be.

 

Now all 4 of the main hormones interact with each other in complex feedback loops. (Eating 1 oreo causes you to want more oreos – that’s a kind of like a feedback loop. I know it isn’t a negative one for me. I’ve never had 1 oreo and thought – well that’s going to stop me from eating any more.)

It’s crazy complex and I have no doubt that there’s still lots for the ‘scientific’ community to learn but just for a couple of examples:

from wiki: “LH receptors are also expressed on the maturing follicle that produces an increasing amount of estradiol“, “the oestrogen rise [with follicle maturation] leads via hypothalamic interface to the positive feedback effect, a … LH surge that triggers ovulation, thereby not only releasing the egg but also initiating the conversion of the residual follicle into a corpus luteum that in turn produces progesterone to prepare the endometrium for a possible implantation.”

from Rocky Mountain Analytical (a hormone detection company): estradiol is needed “for the proper function of progesterone receptors and maintenance of the right balance between estrogens and progesterone” which is “crucial for hormone health.”

Because sex hormones are produced by influencing hormones made in the pituitary gland (FSH, LH, thyroid stimulating hormone i.e. TSH – stimulates thyroid to produce thyroxine and triiodothyronine which in turn affect adrenal function), hypothalamus (thyrotropin-releasing hormone – controls TSH production), adrenal glands (testosterone – which in turn affects estrogen) and ovaries. It is an enormously complex web that the pill disrupts. This little look into the body is enough to tell me that indiscriminately mucking with it is not going to be without consequences.

And so it comes around again – consequences. Side effects. All prescriptives have them. We tend to ignore them but our bodies do not have that luxury. It is no wonder that late night television is swamped with adverts to sue drug companies. I think that part of this trend is due to a lack of full disclosure on the part of the doctors. Time constraints and the pervasive thought that patients cannot handle the volume or detailed-aspect of the information leads many doctors to gloss over the whole story (as it is known to them, and they may not have all of the most current published info at their fingertips). And so big drugs are specifically targetted for law-suits. Check out these links for details regarding suits against Yaz, Celebrex and Nasonex.

I write these blogs to put info out there. If it helps someone, that’s great. An even better outcome from these posts would be to inspire others to check out the issues they have on reputable websites to better know what they are taking and why. A little information can lead to foolish choices or it can bring about questions. Questions could lead to dialogue and maybe better answers from your doctor.
Good luck!

Brought to you by You Get Well Soon.

Posted in health questions, navigating life | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Big Pharma and big problems

Recently I was having lunch with my mom after one of her doctor’s appointments and like always she was consulting with me. Now just so you know off the top – I am not a doctor. I am one of those people with years of experience in pharmacies, health food stores, medical research and clinical diagnostics but I am no doctor. I vacillate between recognition of their years of intensive study and therefore remarkable knowledge of the body and their easily bought (no, too harsh), influenced choices when it comes to prescriptives.

Now back to my mom. She’s got a whole host of problems which I won’t get into but in addition to her previous drug regimen she now needs an additional drug for cholesterol and a different blood pressure drug. The doctor was actually paying attention that day (I mean this literally – she lost nearly 50 pounds which was more than 20% of her body weight and he didn’t notice before). So, he went to their stores and brought out a bunch of samples. One of them was a new drug and he explained that it wasn’t available as a generic. And a second one was an old drug.

This all confused my mom and maybe this is weird to you too. Drug companies pay millions to develop new drugs. For that money, they’ve got the FDA in their pockets such that there will be patent protection for the production of the drug for anywhere from 10 to 20 years. So no generics can be legally made and sold. After I related this to mom, I said that that was why he had mentioned the ‘new’ drug and was concerned about her being able to afford it.

With regards to the old drug – I told her that most doctors are ‘encouraged’ to promote new drugs so that big Pharma can make money. Old drugs make them nothing. And if you’ve seen The Fugitive you’ll remember that doctors are ‘courted’ by drug companies. They sponsor

conferences and meetings all over the world to not only help the dissemination of medical information but also as self-promotion. The kind of Old Boys’ Club mentality that it would be great to eliminate but given the state of politics (and especially special interest’s groups hold on political cojones) is unlikely to happen any time soon.

And speaking of the negatives of Big Pharma, I was recently asked about vaccinations with respect to my own kiddos. The old argument of vaccines causing autism came up and I had to remind the person I was speaking to that we (in Canada) do not get the same vaccine formulations that other countries do. Our regulations are different and an across the board comparison is not accurate. That stated though, another issue I have with big Pharma is how they have vaccination drives for batches of vaccine that are about to expire. The next time you see a push for a vaccine that should have been delivered en masse already (like an influenza vaccine push after January) it may be due to someone noticing that huge numbers of units are going to be thrown out if they don’t get out the door.

This isn’t to say that vaccine campaigns are always suspect. The recent ones for Mumps Measles Rubella and Varicella or Diptheria, Pertussis (acellular, a) and Tetanus are valid and should be seriously considered by all parents. It used to be that a child could not attend any public school until all vaccinations were up to date. Now things are definitely different. With the recent decline in compliance, herd immunity is down and most all of these are making comebacks in the developed world.

In order: Measles – identified by cough, runny nose and red eyes – fever in excess of 39C/102F, rash and sometimes spots inside the mouth. Complicated by diarrhea, pneumonia, encephalitis (swelling in the brain), corneal ulceration/ scarring which would lead to vision problems to blindness. Oh yeah and a fever of 40C can mess up the brain forever.

Mumps – noticeable and painful swelling of the parotid (salivary glands) and testes (also painful for adolescents or adult males that can in rare cases lead to infertility), fever and headache.
Both have recently been enormous problems in the western world with outbreaks dominating diagnostics in many countries.

Rubella – a personal favorite of mine because a schoolmate had it 6 times in 2 years. (And to this day she’s mad at me for giving her scarlet fever. sheesh.) Also has a rash, swollen glands, joint pain, headache and conjunctivitis. Mostly a danger to pregnant women as it causes spontaneous abortion and congenital rubella syndrome (heart, brain, eye and ear defects which are permanent, low birth weight, prematurity, anaemia, hepatitis, “blueberry muffin skin lesions” and low platelet levels or thrombocytopenia which causes wound healing problems.)

Varicella – perhaps better known as herpes / chicken pox / shingles. The pic above is shingles because just about everyone knows what Chicken Pox looks like. They’re vaccinating for this because of the increased risk for serious Staph and Strep infections of the lesions.
To note in the shingles pic – the rash is only on half of the body. Usually front and back and there can be limb involvement. This rash is painful in 80-odd% of cases. Really Painful.

Diptheria is one I won’t forget seeing as my mom had it as a small child. It causes sore throat (inflamed neck = bull neck), usually low but in rarer cases high fever, adherent pseudomembrane which may require medical intervention to maintain breathing and can lead to heart problems and death. (My mom was sent home to die 3 times.)

Pertussis, also known as Whooping Cough. This one is quite common in the north of Canada and causes a type of cough that is so persistent that the person doesn’t get much time to breathe – hence the whoop. Technically called a paroxysmal cough. It is so severe that it can cause eye hemorrhages, rib fractures, incontinence, hernia, fainting, inspiration of vomitting and even vertebral artery dissection. If that didn’t spell it out – hey, it’s serious!

Tetanus. This one got some press recently when Selma Hayek teemed up with Pampers to distribute vaccines to the third world. This bacteria is of the same parent group that includes botulism (yes, botox), gangrene and an overwhelming intestinal infection known as C.diff. Tetanus causes the muscles of the body to contract (opposite of botulism). It’s painful – very painful. Think of a muscle spasm that you may have had in your leg or back and multiply it by all the voluntary muscles of the body. In the industrialized world the fatality rate is about 11% but elsewhere it’s more like 50-75%. High fevers, sweating, increased heart rate and blood pressure go with it – but that’s no surprise given the muscle contractions. Lockjaw is also a common first sign.

So vaccines in general good.
Big Pharma not always good. I think of them like any big business of today (or say the Catholic Church of the dark ages) with so much power – it’s easy to be corrupted. And if a church can justify killing thousands if not millions what can a corporation justify doing?

Brought to you by You Get Well Soon

Posted in Dealing with baby, health questions, navigating life | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Another one bites the dust – well not dust, but retires

If you grew up in the 80s, you know exactly who Phil Collins is and what an incredible influence and impact he has had on music. I remember well doing a thorough washing of an apartment to

To this day I can probably sing every word (not well mind you) and recall every nuance of these songs. But if his retirement reminds me of anything, it is that I too am aging. And perhaps I can learn a few things from this rocker.
One of the reasons he sites for retirement is that he has problems with his back and nerve damage in his hands from years of hunching over a drum set. I myself have never played drums and have no concept of the ergonomics of the instrument.

I do wonder if perhaps a redesign of the seating or set up would help out in this department. I cannot imagine having to stop doing something I love because doing it has become the cause of health problems.
It also brought up for me something that was harped on when I was growing up – Posture. My family was rather anal-retentive on this issue and because of it I still have quite good posture and even make a point of sitting properly when at the laptop. I do this not just because I was constantly reminded to do so but more out of a deeply held knowledge that my body prefers it. Just try it and you’ll notice the difference. Your breath can come more easily and deeply. Your back won’t hurt when you stand up and you’ll find yourself far less fatigued. Unfortunately, like any other form of attention – it takes effort and practice. (Like thinking good thoughts – it doesn’t come naturally at first – it takes practice.)
I don’t expect that Mr. Collins will ever read this but if I could I’d ask him if he’s every really tried out yoga or, even easier on the body, QiGong. Or perhaps even some simple breath/ stretching exercises like Dr. Fulford’s.

 

Unlike most classic yoga poses that seem to be more focused on stretching/ bending (seem, being the operative word) this one is more about attention to your own body’s internal position. Focusing on your body – in a good way. A way that helps your body to work better, feel better.

Another less well-known method for achieving internal balance and awareness is QiGong. I was introduced to this practice by my massage therapist. I had been going while pregnant and found that the practice of QiGong could be minimally physical while still producing wonderful, energizing and relaxing (I know weird combo) sensations. It can resemble Tai Chi and also is great at focusing the mind and body.

Either way, I do hope that Mr. Collins is able to find some physical relief for his chronic symptoms and is able to fully enjoy his retirement and kiddos.

Brought to you by You Get Well Soon

Posted in health questions, navigating life | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

My $5000 mistake – you don’t have to make it

I’m not sure if that should read mistake or mistakes – either way, please don’t do what I did.

My little one is 4 years old. She’s got teeth that are seriously close together. Not overlapping but very nearly fused together. For this reason, I had only ever flossed her teeth if there was something (miraculously) between them. (Wrong #in no particular order really – let’s say 3)

I brush her teeth twice a day, after breakfast and before bed. It is very rare for me to miss one of these but I cannot say that’s never happened. (Wrong #4).  I only used a child’s toothpaste or one that had no fluoride (Wrong #7).

She also drinks watered down juice most days of her life for most of the last 2 years. And she eats some candy. If anyone other than me is in charge – a lot of candy. (Wrong #5&6)  She rarely if ever drinks milk (Wrong #8 and Right).

I took her to the pediatric dentist for the first time on Thursday. (Wrong #2 – not taking her earlier).  The first thing they did was take X-rays. Not unexpected. Even the Dora book writes this as the first thing the dental assistant will do. Thank you Dora.

They’ve got a new-fangled panoramic X-ray machine that was a little scary for her because she has to hold onto this huge machine that is all around her and moves around her but no big whoop.  Then they started with the more conventional ones.  This was also a bit scary but she got through it.  Now once the dentist got there to look at the X-rays I really expected him (in this case, him) to say something like “Yup, she’s got teeth.  See you in a year.”  That’s not what happened.  At  All.Turned out she has more cavities than teeth.  Over 30 for her little mouth of 20 teeth.  So many that the dentist described that it would take 4 or 5 sessions in the chair with some kind of mild sedation, drilling (complete with the smell of burning teeth), needles, etc.  i.e. TRAUMA
Then he went into a description of a surgery to do the same thing all at once.  The cost difference – in the chair about $4000 – with some form of sedation. About $3000 without. (Yeah, like I’m going to cheap out on pain meds.)
As a surgery – – you guessed it, $5000.  She’s 4.  With 20 teeth.  That means for the 2 or 3 remaining years they will be in her mouth, they will have cost about $300 each.  Now unless the toothfairy is real and pays hard currency – even with inflation, she’s not paying out 3 bills.  So why do people pay for this fix?  The rot can infect the soft tissues, bones of the jaw, get into the blood and cause septicemia and of course could rot the adult teeth before they even break the surface.  Cavities before the teeth come in – not a great options.

So by this time you may be asking yourself – with all of the listed wrongs – what is Wrong #1?  Ah, if only I had remembered my mother’s off-handed comment to me sooner.  When I was a teenager, my mom made a comment to me that for some reason I remembered.  She said that she loved my breath as a little kid.  Now my mom is European and says lots of weird things out of the blue.  Why I should remember this one – I don’t know.  But what I didn’t realize was what it really implied.
I asked what she meant by sweet – she said not like candy (which would be a bad thing – like diabetes) but different.  Now, I remember my little one’s breath before it changed.  It smelled like crisp apples.

I know this is true because there’s another littler one in my life and her breath is like that still.

The moment it switched – and so young ~2 years old – from sweet/crisp/fresh to kind of foul I should have taken her to the dentist.  I thought the switch happened because I had caught her using my toothbrush.  I figured she had gotten my germs (and this could be true) from my brush and that’s what had changed her breath (and naturally the flora in her mouth).  Maybe I did contribute to her cavity problem.  That and her having teeth too close together, her drinking juice (although I don’t know that I believe this because I drank and ate everything I could get my hands on and I didn’t have these problems), brushing with non-fluoride toothpaste, not going to the dentist earlier, candy, missing brushings and not taking seriously a major shift in her breath.
Does this make me a bad parent – maybe.  We are coughing up the $5000 to have the surgery – under general anesthetic. (And in this climate of financial hardship – this is one error we will never forget.) Now I can only hope that all will go well and that no other major problems with these unnaturally expensive teeth will occur.

Oh, and yes, I checked online about costs – and these are on par with expected pediatric dental rates for what is being done (stainless steel caps, ceramic caps, filing of the teeth to increase spacing, etc., etc.).

So if this can save someone else’s teeth and pocketbook – I’ll be happy for it.  No family should have to undergo this bizarre series of events just for baby teeth.

Brought to you by You Get Well Soon – practical packs for hospital stays or stops.

Posted in Dealing with baby, health questions, navigating life | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Yaz and other ‘rebels’

I was approached by a website to do a link exchange. As I’ve written before – this is nothing too new. The new part was a seemingly directed interest in a certain pharmaceutical: Yaz.
Personally, I am no fan of birth control. Not for the birth control part. I’m a big fan of exercising control over such issues. Big Fan! I just don’t believe that anyone (and by that I also mean any doctor, pharmaceutical company or researcher) has the info to rearrange an individual’s body systems for any directed purpose. Especially one as all-encompassing as the entire sexual hormone production of a person. (Like that’s not going to have consequences.)

Now I’ve attended, worked at and worked out at a university for most of the last 20 years. This means that I see how particularly birth control is marketed to the young women of the university. I have never seen the side effects listed – if at all – in print larger than 10 point. This includes on posters that are more than 2×2 feet in size. They are always an after-thought, as if it didn’t matter as long as the ‘prime objective’ was served.
Well, as someone who cannot take birth control due to blood clots, I haven’t been keeping up with the new types and brands. [I remember getting the usual follow-up at the doctors’ office and had high blood pressure. I’m thin and eat well and was very young at the time (~20) so there was no reason for this. My cholesterol turned out to be dangerously high. Higher than some of the obese people I knew at the time. Then came the blood clot – behind the knee (one of the most common places to notice leg clots as a layperson) and that was the end of my trials (which included over a dozen different varieties) with chemical birth control.]

So I was inspired to investigate Yaz. Drug Watch is a site with an interest in informing the public about drugs that have proven to have harmful side effects.

And Yaz is in their sites.

In the interest of fairness – I visited the Yaz site. It first wanted me to input the DIN before I could enter. I guess they don’t want anyone who doesn’t already possess the drug to visit them. (Interesting marketing idea – don’t let people make informed choices or bring information to their doctors – no, trust in your sales team to reach every doctor and give out enough samples that people who are interested will already have the drug in their hands.)
Once you enter the DIN, they ask if you’re 14 – the minimum age for usage – that’s all that’s on the page too. A picture and that question. Then you’re into the ‘highly informative’ yet ‘jazzy’ site.
Seriously, they must think every young woman is a moron – or listening to Rush Limbaugh (same thing)- had to throw that one in – what a buffoon. (Hey Rush, not every woman wants to be a 20 year old swimsuit model – for all of time. Just because that’s what you want women to look like doesn’t mean that’s what they want -but I’m sure you don’t understand the concept of No Means No either. BTW do you also expect your mom, Mrs. Limbaugh to look like a swimsuit model?)

When you finally get into the Yaz site – there is nominal information about the product. You have to listen to this ridiculously lame video that states right in it -that all of the side effects and warnings are on the drug pamphlet that you, the viewer of the site, already has. CUTE. What’s next, telling me that any adverse effects I might experience are my fault for having the drug in my hand in the first place? (Blaming the doc’s now?)

The site also does another ‘clever’ thing – they’ve put all the text in as a picture. That way it isn’t search-able. Take a look at the bottom of the screen – I’ve typed in nausea which appears as the first word under the heading beginning “The most common side effects . . .”

The blue bar at the side does another interesting marketing thing – it doesn’t indicate size. Most such navigational tools show a large or small bar depending if there’s a bit more on the page or lots more on the page, respectively. So you have to scroll through the whole thing to find out how much info there is

.

And as usual, it’s written at a grade 4 level and contains very little actual information. Hence the need for Drug Watch or more local for me C-Health. I like their site too because it gives the facts straight up with just some advertising (Huggies, that kind of thing) and general health stuff too. One of the things I found regarding Yaz was a list of states of being that were incompatible with Yaz:

 

They also had an easy to find and read list of drug interactions. I had to zoom out 4 times to get this list as one screen shot. 4 times – how dangerous is this drug? And why is it made out to be – for ‘everyone’ who is over 14, less than menopausal and a non-smoker. (Good thing most public places are smoke-free. Perhaps that will eventually mean most people are too.)

I also found an interesting blog post regarding Yaz and hair loss. If the bloating, gas, weight gain and irritability wasn’t enough to make you completely unattractive (I’m assuming this is of a modicum of import if the person taking the pills is concerned about birth control) the loss of hair will seal the deal.

It explains how this young lady had hair loss problems with Yaz – especially after halting the pills. What was more telling to me were the comments. So many not only found the site, read the post but also shared their own stories of horror. And here’s just one:

first off congrats for your progress!!! second…You just described everything that I am going through. I
don’t think I’m losing that much hair as you said in the 300’s. I was on yasmin for 5 years and loved
it except it made me bloated and i’m a normal/thin body type but i didn’t really care. I thought my hair
was started to thin out after my 5th year so I switched to yaz, plus my dr had free samples and coupons
bc i dont have insurance. i was on yaz for 5 months. it was so horrible with my moods and just not
well feeling. (plus i was a total bitch and never wanted sex) after the 3rd month of being on yaz i noticed
my hair started to fall out as i washed it and combed it. It was all over my clothes and weirdly yo
u could
see “hair balls” on my clothes after they came out of the washer! so this is my first month off yaz and free
of bcp all together. let me know everything that you tried bc it is extemely frustrating and i dont have
the money to be going to drs. I went to 2 diff derm drs who charged me $120 each just to tell me to go
on rogaine! this is my 2nd month on rogaine and nothing has really changed. im 24 and i eat extremely
healthy and dont dye or blow dry my hair and had blood work done that came back normal.

Now I know that birth control is important – even if the Republicans don’t. (Check out Freakonomics’ take on the government-forced lack of birth control in Romania and what it’s

results were – if you don’t remember the rampant stories coming out of Romanian orphanages that is.) Bottom line, women raise children. And, if they don’t want them – they won’t be raised in a way that benefits those who live among them.  That’s all the rest of us.  All  The Rest Of Us.

There are options – but Yaz doesn’t seem to be one of the universally wonderful ones.

Brought to you by You Get Well Soon – practical packs for hospital stays or stops.

Posted in health questions, navigating life | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

E-Business Strategies – link exchanges

It is no surprise that all businesses, non-profit through huge merged conglomerate companies, are in it for the

And hey, that’s just fine.  Even though we can’t eat money (in the direct sense), we certainly need it to feed, clothe and shelter ourselves.  I know that my own accounts make it possible for me to stay on this computer for instance and blog.  I even went so far as to start my own business to provide a product that wasn’t really available and from my own experience was rather necessary: practical hospital gifts.  I mean my flowers were nice but I could have used a puzzle book, some saline and something to clean my bloody IV line among other things.

And so, I have found myself in the perilous waters of e-business.

I have previously written about how tricky it can be to navigate the waters with sharks constantly circling trying to separate your company from its money.  (Well, I suppose that’s better than a person from their life but just barely.)  Unfortunately for the uninitiated, it feels like an episode of South Park where you know what your business product is and you know you want profits and you have to be online to get them but there’s a black box inbetween.

Does anyone remember the underpants gnomes.  They’d steal Tweek’s underpants with the idea that this would lead to “Profit”.  It was the How that stumped them – and tortured poor caffeine-addicted Tweek who was constantly in search of his underpants.

One of the many ebusiness concepts that is deemed essential is links.

Marketing companies make out like if you have enough links customers will be pounding down your doors (or at least jamming up the server).  But how true is this really?  How many links are enough?  It would seem you need thousands if not hundreds of thousands of links for the server-collapsing results that everyone would love to see.

Back in the day, like 5 years ago, it only mattered what your website page Metas were.  That was the Big Thing.  Then these guys (minus bing because they weren’t around 5 years ago)

 

could find your business and make you $$$$$$$$$.  With the meteoric rise of Social Networking, Metas are passe.  But the problem remains, how to get to the top of a search engine?  How to get your business in front of your customers when they are searching?  Well, the Googles, Yahoos and Bings are not going to reveal what it takes.  So what remains?  Link exchanges are still up for grabs.

It seems just about every week I get more requests for link exchanges.  This is good of course but are the products they sell similar?  To be honest most of the exchanges come from bloggers who I’m assuming sell stuff but it is not readily apparent.  So is this the way to build more business and therefore more $$$$$$?  I don’t know.  But I do know that it costs nothing but a bit of time.  It does seem to garner a better placement in searches and ultimately that helps get your business more exposure not only from the search engines but also from Social Networking sites – so why not.

Just beware the unscrupulous.  Check out the sites they claim to be exchanging with you and make sure you approve of the content.  That can be laborious.  It makes me wonder if the internet marketing sharks do even a cursory glance prior to exchanges for their clients.  Or do they simply make their own link hubs so that they can feel in control?

Seems to me that the marketers would do better to focus on social network ‘links’ over virtual malls (where many of their customer’s links are placed) that no one uses.  I mean really, do you know anyone who has purchased off of an e-mall?  Or started a product search there?  Because that certainly feels like a

Brought to you by You Get Well Soon – practical packs for hospital stays or stops.
Posted in navigating life | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Cloth diapers get dirty – an old way to get them clean really works!

This will be another weird one but here goes . . .

As you may have read, I use cloth diapers for my babies.  And as I’m sure you can imagine they’re not that easy to get / keep clean.  I’ve used just about everything available on the market and have pretty much given up on my unlined diapers.  But when I wasn’t getting proper results even with the lined ones, I all but despaired.  OK.  Despair is a wee bit strong.

Nevertheless, they were no longer getting clean and I need to use them for another at least year if not 2 and there is no way I am going to buy new ones.  And, I’m not going to use dirty-looking diapers.

Like all parents, I read to my kids.  And one of the stories I read is Mickey’s Christmas Carol.

Now in this story, there’s a part where we see Mr. Scrooge’s laundry over the fire and it occurred to me that in the way back days people did have white clothing.  (I’ve always assumed that brides wore white through history not only as a show of purity but because it would have been nearly impossible to have white clothing.  So it would have been a show of $$$ to have a nice white dress.)

With this spark of inspiration, I took out the diapers that didn’t get clean after round 1 in the wash machine and put them in a pot with boiling water and some Oxy Clean.  Put the pot on the stove top on high for an hour or so – and AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH, clean diapers.

Who’da thunk?  Looking back helped me with my ‘old school’ diapering problem.  Perhaps it’ll help you too!

Brought to you by You Get Well Soon Inc.

Posted in Dealing with baby, health questions | Tagged , , | 1 Comment