Hello, remember me?

Hello, I am your host, you might not remember me because I haven’t been on since October. Oooooops!

So what has happened?

Well, my Mum was sent for yet another CT scan, just in case the gallstones that would nicely explain one part of her condition have actually decided to arrive by now. They hadn’t, but the GP was less specific this time, and the scan bumped into a WHOPPING GREAT TUMOUR lying up alongside her gall bladder and pancreas that suddenly answers for an awful lot of her condition. Fast forward to where we know more about that (the one benefit of posting so late!) and it’s something called a VIPoma, attached to either her adrenal gland or the tail of the pancreas. The tumour releases stress hormones which increases blood pressure, heart rate, and decreases digestive function amongst other things. All the things we show when suffering from stress and the things animals do when faced with tha fight or flight choice. Mum had to be treated to reduce the blood pressure amongst other things, as if the tumour is attached to the adrenal gland it will cause a sudden flood of these hormones when they grasp it during surgery and she could die on the table. Removing it from the tail of the pancreas would be less dangerous, but they would have to take away the tail and her spleen and it’s a very intensive recovery. Mum has already had a double hernia, hysterectomy, and fitment of a colostomy bag so the less intensive the surgery the better. Once they have her bloods down to safe levels, they wanted to take her into hospital for 4 days to get it just right before operating. They did this about a fortnight before Christmas, but then on the day of her surgery they had no bed on the high dependency unit so they sent her home. Whole thing was repeated, and the ended up operating on the 23rd December 2011. Yes, she was in HDU over Christmas. We didn’t really have a Christmas with my side of the family at all, Dad didn’t want to do anything Mum would miss and the hospital do a Christmas dinner for immediate family anyway. Mum doesn’t remember much of it, but my 19 year old Aspergic brother said the dinner was good.

The tumour turned out to be on her adrenal gland, which is a less invasive procedure, but potentially more dangerous as I said. The surgeon said it was like a little seed pod that just popped out into his hand when he tested it. VIPoma tumours are quite rare, use your search engine if you want to know a bit more, but it’s even rarer to appear in this way, and rarer still to not be integrated into the tissue of the organ. It turns out over 80% of cases with unexplained severe diarrhoea lasting more than 3 years with no improvement turn out to be this. Like giving Mum a colostomy bag was ever the solution! Sadly, that sums up some parts of our health service in the area of UK we live in. As an aside, my Mum is very short, had constant migraines and neck and back pain until after my brother was born (third child, 5th pregnancy), and her bottom 6 and top 6 vertebrae are all fused together. It was blamed on the short course of thamaldihide her mother was given in early pregnancy. Whilst in hospital, my Mum caught a hospital acquired chest infection (sometimes called pnemonia but there’s a difference, this is very common after surgery such as this as my Mum is asthmatic and was unable to cough for pain) and they took her for a ct scan to see what was going on. But she couldn’t straighten out her upper chest, shoulders and neck for them to get a good view. Her ‘tumour’ surgeon was very concerned and came to tell her that everything looked very fibrous, like cables; he mentioned spina bifida. I have to admit, Mum laughed at that (being 51), but he has referred her for an MRI scan we are now awaiting the results of. We are all grateful this is being moved forward on, it’s just sad that most of our Doctors each still to their areas and don’t see us as one interconnected person. I mean here, had she not had this doctor for her tumour (there are only 6 surgeons in the UK who have ever dealt with this type of tumour, we are lucky one was based at our main adult infirmary.) we wouldn’t be looking into this at all.

She is recovering steadily, mostly remembering just how many muscles it takes to get dressed and pour the water for a cup of tea. I work as a childminder out of her home, so have been getting to her house to meet children at 8am and home again with dd after 6pm. It’s knackering, I’m used to caring for the children, but to have the journey on top of that, it’s a very long day for dd and I. I’m glad to, Mum is my Mum, not just my boss. We’ve reduced numbers for me and the assistant to care for but it’s no easier – preschoolers just don’t work that way!

Speaking of Preschoolers, in spite of a quiet Christmas where she was still thoroughly spoiled by both sides of the family, DD did rather well out of her 2nd Birthday too. It was on the 14th January, we invited the parents and the little boy I look after full time, DD and he are like siblings – he’s 2 months younger. Our best friends, (from the bottoms beer and ice cream post) and their daughters 3 and 5 months, and DH’s old work friend and his wife as their daughter was 2 on Boxing day (prem CS) and make up the group of DDs best friends. We took them to a local soft play and then, horror of horrors, for a happy meal at McDonalds! It was a really wonderful day, DD is still telling everyone it’s her “‘appi burf-day!” and singing the song. To top it off McDonalds have broken the habit of a lifetime and instead of crappy plastic toys in the Happy meals, there were lovely little books by Michael Morphago (look him up, a wonderful writer – wrote the book War Horse which is a film at the cinema at time of writing). As an ex-librarian, teaching assistant and generally book obsessed; this was a marvellous end to the day!

I also have a rant coming about pull-ups, in the context of potty training and EC, but you’ve had enough for today, so I’ll set a reminder to do it via email tomorrow. I’ve just had half term off, so it’s back to flylady routines, crazy hours getting t and from work, and grumpy preschoolers. I don’t mind all that but I’m suddenly not so sure how rested I feel….


Lots has happened, but is it interesting?

Busy couple of days.

Had a day off that was more tiring than a day in work; someone I’ve just met who’s looking to start our local EC group with me just launched a group called ‘The Make Place’. Basically mothers meet with their babies and help look after each others in return for a bit of time crafting (knitting, sewing, making etc). I could only visit as it was my day off, normal work won’t let this happen but I loved it. My city so needs a permanent full time version, kinda like a sewing cafe I guess. Watch this ‘make place’ I guess. DD did wonderful considering she’s 21 months old and the others were all 9 months oldish. And she stayed dry the whole day, even taking her nap in her pushchair so I could fix the knitting she’d pulled off my needles on the way out! I’ve not progressed any, but am back where I was. It’s lacework knitting so not really something easily backed up and fixed!

DH has stepped up with the housework and met the task easily. He actually folded washing away (his pet hate), cooked dinner, washed up, bathed DD and fed her, put washing into the dryer and WROTE SOMETHING ON THE CALENDAR! Wow.  Although not all on the same day, over 3 or 4. A lot of it s down to my Flylady (www.flylady.net) rooutines being up to date and the house being so much calmer and less cluttered.

He’s actually very good and willing most of the time, just wants me to tell him what to do when. Trouble is, by the time I’ve told him I could have done something else with the time, which makes me grumpy – which is why he doesn’t volunteer for much in case it’s the ‘wrong’ thing and I get grumpy! So it’s my fault you see.

And I’m not even being sarky!

(PS. I realise there is some potentially identifiable information in here but I’m trying a bit of trust and I’ve grown-up a lot since starting this intermittant blog. We shall see…)

Bottoms, ice-cream and beer, teenage party or family meal?

Ha! Family meal!

We had some friends over today since we have recently swapped the master bedroom and living/dining/pet/play-room over as there was a stupid size difference. (We live in a flat for those of you who haven’t read the front page yet).

We had one of those moments when everything went wrong in about 20 seconds flat. Ha ha.

1)  Bottom. DD, aged 1,  was wearing pants, as per recent posts; when she suddenly announced “wee wee!” at the top of her lungs. Taking a quick look, I grabbed the loo-roll as she was already sat in a decent puddle! Thankfully she had the good sense to wait for help instaed of jumping up. She was sat with her visiting 3 year-old friend at her children’s table which we’d just loaded up with ice-cream, biscuits and cheese for our pudding. The Dad of the visiting family very kindly lifted the table onto his lap, so I could get DD out sharpish and onto the potty, when…

2) Ice-cream. The leg of the table caught on his jeans, tipped the table and launched DD’s bowl of ice-cream down the side of his shirt! The cheeses miraculously stayed put from the second it took my DH to jump up (we women had been on our feet at the first “wee wee” battlecry!) till he just caught them at the edge of the table. Clink!

3) DH’s beer has just tipped over at his feet, while he balances the table, cheese and ice-cream withe the other Dad!

The solution: I wizz DD over heads to potty whilst juggling a wad of loo-roll onto hard plastic chair. Our super husbands get table back into place and re-arrange cheese and butter etc. whilst beer is whizzed to kitchen, back with cloth for spilt beer, ice-cream and wee wee before DD back on her chair eating ice-cream, in cloth nappy.

We all laughed. What else can you do! But at least, as my friend pointed out, we’ve had our three things so the rest of the day should be safe.

She was right!

Dry in the day!

My DD is 21 months old today, and we are bordering on being dry in the day. No, I’m not an evil mother, forcably potty training my baby girl far too early; we practice EC, or Elimination Communication (see link for more about this, and go to www.bornready.co.uk in Britain). I’ve been watching the signs she gives when she needs to go and putting her on the potty since way back then. The result is she retains that preference to not be wet or dirty, and starts expressing a preference to wait for the potty. Fast forward, and unless she’s ill we haven’t had a poo in a nappy since she was 8 months old (except for one on a long car journey to Scotland – oops Mummy’s fault!) and is currently wearing pants and shouting for the potty during her waking time in the day. She wears cloth nappies during naps and at night (although nightime EC is very popular) but even these are often barely wet.

Well done DD, in your Peppa Pig panties! We’re so proud of you! Xx

Where’s my tea?

I am sat here with an empty mug. I remember making the tea. I don’t remember drinking it.

Today might be interesting. I’d better stick the kettle on, how many am I making?

On another note, DD has been trying to put Dog 1’s collar on to Dog 2 for about 10 minutes now. She does it the same way she puts her socks and shoes on – rests them on the top! He’s being very patient, as is dog 1, who has put himself in what he considers the best place for her to put it on him. Because of course, a collar is an essential part of a w – a – l – k.

Fake sleep grin, conjunctivitis, and mobile blogging at last…

Well, in reverse order, lets explain that one. I’m typing this on my mobile, hence mobile blogging. I can send new posts by email during the day instead of taking up time on the laptop at night when I could be, erm, would be… Decluttering. This is the first ever, lets hope daily blogging isn’t as far off as it once was.

Conjunctivitis. Poor DD now has this to go with her cold, we’ve got the drops, but I can’t take her into work with it so we’ve had to lay off a couple of children each day to stay within number limits. Luckily one little girl won’t be in cause she has… Conjunctivitis! Luckily she has a sister who comes too so it won’t give their parents extra trouble at work to keep them both home. At least I haven’t messed up anyone elses life this time.

You’d think being off work means I’d be able to get stuff done but I’m sat at the laptop, blogging on my phone. Something not quite right there me thinks. DD has been taking ages getting off to sleep, which leads me to the third thing in the title – fake sleep grin. DD has started playing around in the cot at work rather than sleeping, we can see this on the cctv. But the second she hears the hook on the door rattle as I open it to go in she throws herself bodily down in the cot, shuts her eyes tight and goes “ah-shuuu, ah-shuuu” which is her snoring impression. I suppose if we didn’t have cctv, and the cot didn’t THUMP as she threw herself down, and her snore was a little more realistic (or I was deaf); it might be a convincing act for someone barely 1 to try. If not for the MASSIVE grin plastered across her face from ear to ear! Real give away that, not to mention the following giggle that sounds very much like one a wide-awake cheeky little pickle might give. Busted!

I’ve caught a bug….

Actually, I caught several bugs lately. DH caught some nasty flu/cold/stomach bug thing and it floored him for three days. He was off work for two of them. DD caught it the same day, had temperatures of 40+ for 2 nights running, and kept throwing up when she coughed. Bless.

And me? I bet you can guess. I noticed a scratchy throat the day after they started, then developed a full-on cough, cold, asthma revival with flu symptoms too. Yes, I kept working; yes, I kept getting up twice hourly to poor DD; yes, I kept the sympathy up for DH. The result, I still have a cold 9 days on and they’re well past it. But no whinging, that’s a flylady rule!

Flylady? Oh boy, you’ll like this one. I found a website by accident when I googled for help getting motivated to do housework. Hee hee. Don’t you smirk like that! You might not have actually googled it, but unless you were born organised, you’ve seriously wondered how on earth people ever get through all the housework and cleaning and have nice homes. Well now I know! http://www.flylady.net/index.asp When you come across a site that mentions a 15 minute room rescue; clearing a path through the piles of clutter that have taken over the room – you know you’re on to something REAL! As in, honest. Yes, I was thinking about that ridiculous pile in our bedroom.

Well, guess what – it’s almost gone! What took three years to accumulate, 6 months to stagnate, and the sum total of that for me to get around to clearing it – but only 3 sets of 15 minutes work for three evenings in a row to be about 3 quarters GONE! I won’t bore you with the details, but get over to that site and have a lookie around, especially at the getting started section. Some people online have complained about the number of daily emails they got when subscribed to flylady; but you can change the settings to get them as a digest and no one ever said you have to read them. I also reckon the people saying those things don’t really have a desire to change the way they do things to clear their homes. In truth, it was the 4th day of this clearout that DH and DD came down with their bugs. I can’t help but think that all the dust raised from throughout and under that pile might have had something to do with it. Imagine how much less there will be now I can properly vacuum 80% of that room. It can only be good. I’m so glad I’ve caught a manageable dose of the de-clutter bug!

Actually, there was a more tangible benefit from it just the day before yesterday. Long and short together, DD fell off my bed and landed on her head; but she escaped injury as a direct result of the decluttering I’ve been doing. Most of the main space of the room is clear now, but the 2ft or so of space between the wall and my side of the bed still has some clothes, bedding and shoes etc. Clutter, in other words. DD was sat on my bed, just over a foot from the edge. I’d already warned her to be careful, and as she’s only just turned one was still keeping a careful eye on her while I got dressed. She was busily being funny, the way they do at that age, and lifting her arms like she was trying to take off the flufffy white bodywarmer she was wearing before bringing them down again. The third time, she laughed at herself and flung her arms up so enthusiastically she tipped straight over and went flying down, head first, off the side of the bed. I lunged over the whole bed in one move, and lifted her vertically up before lying her on the bed very gingerly. She very quickly started kicking and thrashing her arms and legs whilst screaming at the top of her lungs – I figured she was fine and lifted her for the cuddle and comfort I was desperate to give. And why wasn’t she hurt? Well, she landed on the dog! The dog who was only lying there because the rest of the room was clear of clothes and had been cleaned meaning that the strip of clothes down my side of the bed was the only place with that comforting smell of his owners bodies! Dog 1 is the skittish one, but whereas normally he would have bolted out from underneath anything falling on him whilst yelping at the top of HIS lungs – he somehow stayed put as DD fell and lay there growling softly as I lifted her up and checked her over. He is the reason she’s ok; as her head landed on him, her hips were still supported by the bed and she skittered down his side to the floor (clothes and bedding!), her hips finally tipping over and slowly flipping to rest against the wall. She ducked her head and therefore prevented injury to her neck.

If I had been clearing up the way I usually do, whipping everything into a pile together (!) then sort it by type, then find places for it all, touching everything 3 or 4 times; I’d have cleared that side of the bed, then lost motivation and left it. So no progress, and no dog at side of bed for DD to land on. Due to doing 15 minutes at a time with my phone timer, it’s made a real difference and my poor daughter had my mess on her side, so to speak!

BTW, dog 1 wasn’t hurt at all, I did check him over straight away too. He came up onto the bed as soon as he saw me cuddling DD, so we cuddled him too. Good dog!