23 posts categorized "Childhood illnesses"

Health insurance stories: What's yours?

March 27, 2012

I don't know about the "I Like Obamacare" meme that the Obama administration is pushing as the landmark legislation comes before the nation's supreme justices. Sure, I like "Obamacare," a.k.a. health care reform, but I definitely don't love it. I'd much prefer a single-payer health care system (a.k.a. socialized health care). All the arguments against it, or most of them, are also arguments against our current system. Take rationing. Today we ration health care to the wealthy and the people with professional jobs. Take long lines. Have you ever sat -- with a legitimate emergency -- in an emergency room? OK, then, you know that long lines are already here. My last visit, for stitches, took us six long hours. The procedure took 10 minutes.

I really believe that many of the woes attributed to "big government" and a "welfare system" could be alleviated with single-payer health care; for one thing, it would be easier to get birth control, so many families could be planned instead of just happening to families not equipped to deal with them. For another, bankruptcies would be greatly reduced; our nation's bankruptcies are more frequently caused by medical bills every year (20% in the first half of 2011, not counting those bankruptcies with medical bills as a factor). Another thing: every time we chat about "radical homemaking" or other ideas that center around the concept of spending more time at home with our kids, health insurance comes up. It hamstrings us, ties us or our spouses to jobs we may not love, because we can't imagine affording insurance without it -- or because we or our kids have chronic diseases that would preclude us from getting good private insurance.

In my helter-skelter, pie-in-the-sky, best-of-all-possible-worlds dream for the way our country could be with single-payer health insurance, we'd have more mobility, more happiness, less debt, more time to pay attention to our kids, and more making choices for the right reasons. More health, of course.

I thought it would be interesting to think about the whole debate going on right now in the Supreme Court -- which, according to pundits watching the courts today, is going to be struck down on very weak legal grounds and very strong political ones -- in terms of our own stories. How has health insurance influenced your life? What decisions have you made simply because of health insurance? What is YOUR pie-in-the-sky idea for how the system should work?

Here's my story:

Continue reading "Health insurance stories: What's yours?" »

Once obese, always obese: Can we prevent it in the first place?

January 19, 2012

At the turn of the year, we love to make resolutions.  Many might like to make resolutions of the health variety: I resolve to eat better, I resolve to exercise more, I resolve to lose weight.  A few weeks might go by, and our resolutions might slip.  In fact, over a third of resolutions are broken by the end of January.

Then, there is a twist.  On January 1st, the NYT ran an article discussing new studies in the realm of obesity: once obese, are we always obese?  Some studies show that we can get stuck in a fat trap, once fat.  Obese individuals who successfully lose weight will only regain all that weight (and more, possibly) in due time.

Depressing?  Yes.

What can we do about it?  Well.  There is much focus now on "upstream public health", tackling the root of the cause, preventing the fatness before we even enter (and get stuck) in the "fat trap".  This got us thinking about programs that affect our children, making sure that programs are designed to keep them active, to make sure they have access to healthy food, to help them be safe when active.

We live in a busy, complex world.  Our lives can be overwhelming.  How can make living a healthy lifestyle easy for people of all socioeconomic backgrounds, races, etc in our modern world?  Our lives are complex, and the environments that shape our health behaviors are too.  Work, school, urban or rural infrastructure all of these these can attract us to or deter us from eating more fruits and vegetables and moderate exercise.  How can we make this utopia of walkable/bikable cities with access to affordable fresh produce for all a reality for all?  What do we, as parents, see to be barriers to that reality?  What do the experts think we can do to change?  What are your top priorities for change?  What do you do in your day-to-day life as small steps toward keeping the family healthful?

* Keep the conversation going at a screening & panel discussion of "Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead", next Monday, January 23, 6-9pm at Living Room Theaters.  100% of proceeds of the $35 ticket go towards EcoTrust's Farm to School program.

In an emergency, contact... who?

January 31, 2011

Halfway through my memoir class this morning, I got a phone call from an unfamiliar number. Not school, at least, I thought, only to answer the phone to hear the 'hello' of my sister, Hannah. "Truman's school called," she said. "He's really sick and needs to be picked up." Luckily, I was relatively close to school -- only 2.5 miles away -- and headed out, making apologies to the other students and myself. Yet another sickness (strep throat, this time) has hit the kinders.

My two local sisters are the emergency contacts on just about every form I complete: they're nearby, they're usually easy to reach, I know they'd be there for me in an emergency. Of course, in a really non-emergency like this -- a coughing kid who has to be taken home -- it would be crazy to ask them to leave work, driving three times as far as I have to bike to pick up my children (and then what?). Hannah has two little girls, one an infant who recently underwent heart surgery; Abby is pregnant. Both are teachers and it would be a real hardship to leave class suddenly in the middle of the day, not to mention, I don't want to expose them to my kids' kindergarten germs.

Unless it is really an emergency, then, the emergency contacts are just there to help get in touch with me -- and sometimes I feel a bit panicked about how little backup there is. My closest friends have jobs and kids of their own; I'd hardly want to add their names to the form. Their own provide enough in the way of emergencies. And I'm relatively lucky: I have my sisters both within a 25-minute drive, my parents just an hour away. I have to wonder about the many mamas I know whose families are unavailable, either across the continent, or gone physically or emotionally from their lives.

Do you, too, ever roll your eyes at those emergency contact lines and think, --I'm all they've got if you want to be honest about it. --Good luck with that. --Let's just keep my cell phone batteries juiced and call it a day? Do you ever panic about it? Or have you found a creative solution, made your own community, or put a nanny or other paid caregiver on the form?

Links between autism, vaccines, and pesticides

January 05, 2011

I know that we all have our own reasons why to vaccinate our children on schedule, do it more slowly than the AAP recommends, or not at all. Many of us know now that the scientific evidence linking rising autism rates to the thimerosal preservative (which contained trace amounts of mercury) has been discarded by nearly every public health professional.

Still, today's news that Dr. Andrew Wakefield, the author of the original (and since retracted) study linking autism to vaccines did not just create a bad study but "an elaborate fraud" is chilling. The British medical journal BMJ conducted an investigation, and the editor told CNN, "in this case, we have a very different picture of what seems to be a deliberate attempt to create an impression that there was a link by falsifying the data." The editorial revealing the results of the study said it had created a long-lasting deleterious effect on public health and, worse, "perhaps as important as the scare's effect on infectious disease is the energy, emotion and money that have been diverted away from efforts to understand the real causes of autism and how to help children and families who live with it."

Speaking of those. No one (as far as I can tell) is calling pesticide exposure a definitive cause of autism -- perhaps the study has created a scientific-community-wide crisis of confidence. But I'm chilled by results of a 12-year study of migrant worker mothers and their children in Salinas, California, the Center for Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas project. Mothers who had the highest exposure to pesticides had children with poorer attention spans.

""We have very, very high reports by the mother of behaviors consistent with pervasive developmental disorder," UC Berkeley Public Health profession Brenda Eskenazi said in comments at a neurotoxicology conference. "These include signs like the child is afraid to try new things, can't stand anything out of place, and avoid looking others in the eye. This is considered to be autism spectrum behavior."

Continue reading "Links between autism, vaccines, and pesticides" »

How to help children deal with stress

November 09, 2010

We parents are not the only ones facing stressful situations.  Our children also experience stress: stress with transitions in their households, stress at school with friendships or academic challenges, stress related to medical situations.  An urbanMama recently emailed, seeking your suggestions for stress-reducing activities for her daughter:

My six-year-old daughter is going through some tough medical issues right now. I think we’re hooked up with the right medical providers, but she is understandably stressed. So I was trying to think about what to do for a stressed-out kiddo. Good food—check. Good sleep—check. Cleared my schedule to make life less rushed for her—check. Organized her room and am making an effort to keep the house tidy—check. What else? I’d love to hear suggestions about ways to help kids relax. My only thought so far was massage, but I think I’d have to find just the right provider since otherwise it would just be one more stressful appointment with a stranger. So if anyone knows of a masseuse who works with kids, or has other ideas about techniques for reducing and coping with stress, that would be great.

The physicality of angst: Children and phantom ailments

August 09, 2010

Over a period of a few weeks this May, Everett kept insisting his legs were full of pain alternating between dull and shooting. It had started a day or two after the time on the playground in which he'd gotten into a conflict with some older kids. As far as I can figure out, he was the victim, and a righteous one, too; he'd been protecting another, littler child, and ended up with a nasty scrape and bruise on his knee. I expressed what I thought was appropriate solicitation and pride; for once, he seemed to have handled a really unfair situation without retaliating with fury.

But now, it was weeks later, and he'd run up and down stairs and then protest in screaming pain when I tried to get him to ride his bike, or walk somewhere with me. Even riding on the back of my bike, he said, was too much. Finally I made an appointment for the next afternoon at the doctor's office, worried that there was some real ailment -- a bone marrow problem, maybe? -- I wasn't giving its due.

The day of the appointment, he couldn't get going to school; if he was to stay home, I told him, he'd have to ride his own bike on a series of errands I'd planned. By appointment time, we were on mile #11 and he was fine. As I've gone through a lot with Everett, who's now eight, and his outsized reactions to the sort of things many children would find only mildly upsetting, I only added it to my mental portrait of his challenges and let it be.

Then, this weekend, we got a question from a mama we know. Her younger son struggled with a potentially fatal illness when he was a toddler, and recently gave his family another confidence-shaking scare, until test results came back, indicating that he was indeed fine. The whole family had talked about their fears together, but it was very stressful. Now, she's worried about her older child.

My nine-year-old son has recently started seriously overreacting when he gets hurt. I have taken him to the ER twice recently thinking if he's screaming so badly perhaps he does have broken fingers or dislocated shoulder (two separate incidents). Nothing is ever diagnosed. He's always fine and the trauma is completely over two hours later. These type of incidents have been increasing lately.

I am wondering if his overreacting might be a result from the stress at home over the last few weeks. I am also wondering if he's trying desperately to get more attention from me even though this summer we have been spending most days together and I am available, physically, emotionally. I am here for him.

My question for other mamas is, is this something I should seek professional advice for; should I look into a few sessions with a child therapist? Or, will he just grow out of this? Could it just be a phase?

Waiting for vaccinations doesn't help

May 25, 2010

Concern about mercury in vaccinations, the worry that they might cause autism, and a host of other what-ifs have many, many parents in Portland delaying vaccinations for their children -- or, in some cases, foregoing them altogether. Tales of chicken pox parties are common, and among the reviews of any local pediatrician is her attitude toward vaccinations. Results of a study that had originally been designed to study whether thimerosal produced an autism risk (this connection has been discredited) now say that children who undergo a delayed vaccination schedule, or who don't get all the recommended vaccinations, don't have any neurodevelopmental benefit -- in fact, they may do worse.

The study was conducted on children born between 1993 and 1997, and new vaccination schedules contain more vaccines that are formulated with less antigens; so the researchers believe the effect should be about the same now. It also doesn't necessarily suggest that vaccinations improve a child's brain development, as there is a correlation between parents' income and education levels, and keeping a vaccination schedule (at least in this study group -- I imagine in some neighborhoods in Portland, New York, Berkeley, and San Francisco today, the correlation is opposite, that is, parents with more education are more likely to delay vaccinations).

As a mama who generally kept her kids on schedule for their vaccinations, and has definitely suffered much in the way of neurodevelopmental delay, I'm happy to see this -- I generally don't place any of the blame for my children's brain function on the hearth of the CDC's suggested vaccination schedule. I worry more about persistent environmental chemicals, especially those to which the kids were exposed in utero or in their licensed-character jammies, than those dosed via wicked needle several times during my kids' infancy and young childhood.

The licensed-character flame retardant-packed jammies are in a trash bag, the vaccinations are up to date, and I think this news gives me some small comfort with my choices. I think it would be revealing, though, to do the study again in some neighborhoods like the ones in which many of us live, with children born in the past decade, the age of heightened autism fears. I'd bet the neurodevelopmental benefit from sticking to the vaccine schedule would be erased -- but it wouldn't mean much.

Jamie Oliver, fresh food, and changing our (doomed) destiny

February 23, 2010

I think we've all heard these statistics by now, right? We're raising the first generation of kids who won't outlive their parents -- their life expectancy is 10 years less than ours. Obesity will cost $150 billion this year -- 10% of our health care costs -- and that's projected to be doubled by 2020. Diet-related diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and many cancers, are by far and away the biggest killers, far worse than even auto accidents. Why?

Jamie Oliver, in his TED talk that has everyone talking, has pegged a couple of culprits. Fast food is one; sugar is two. And we're starting to realize that it's not just high fructose corn syrup that's bad; it's all kinds of processed sugar. Even that "raw" brown sugar in the sweet brown packets. Sugar in the chocolate milk (it's truly terrible; one carton of the stuff has more sugar than the American Heart Association suggests a child have in a day, and more than soda), sugar in the yogurt, sugar in the breakfast cereal, sugar in the ketchup, sugar in the peanut butter and the jelly and the bread, sugar in the pizza sauce for goodness' sake.

And where is this killer food being served? In our schools, first. Even when fresh local cooked-on-site food is available, there's an alternative that includes yogurt, chocolate milk, chicken nuggets, pizza. In our homes, second. We're killing our kids. (Not just other people. Me. Everett's lunch yesterday: yogurt and "I don't want to talk about it any more.") What's more, in many classrooms Jamie's visited, kids don't even know what fresh food looks like. A radish is maybe celery, maybe an onion; an eggplant is maybe a pear; one kid doesn't recognize a potato in its skin. Jamie doesn't mince words: we are, he says, committing child abuse by feeding kids this junk.

His takeaway is this: "I wish for everyone to help create a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, to inspire families to cook again and empower people everywhere to fight obesity."

How can we do this? Here's one way: to cook, really cook, from scratch. I don't mean "a can of this and a can of that" from scratch; I mean carrots and potatoes and cabbages and dry beans. Take our kids into the kitchen (even if they're just playing with the water in the sink while you peel and chop); take them to the market; buy vegetables and fruits whole; plant a garden (you can put peas and spinach and lettuce and broccoli raab in now!). Here's one recipe I've been making that's easy, easy, cheap, and delicious -- Everett likes it just plain but I dress it up with plain yogurt, hot sauce, and some braised kale or cabbage:

Continue reading "Jamie Oliver, fresh food, and changing our (doomed) destiny" »

H1N1 Vaccine Update from Multnomah County

October 27, 2009

Multnomah County wanted to be sure to relay the most recent information possible regarding the H1N1 vaccine clinics, so they emailed:

Oregon vaccine planners as recently as late September were anticipating initial shipments to be small and then ramp up through the end of October, reaching a point where the vaccine would be widely available to the public through multiple channels.

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control announced that unexpectedly low yields from vaccine manufacturers were delaying the roll-out of larger vaccine batches. Vaccine shipments have been at a steady trickle since Oct. 5, with roughly 6,000 to 12,000 doses arriving in Multnomah County each week.

Facing lower initial shipments of H1N1 flu vaccine, the Multnomah County Health Department will focus vaccine that becomes available on two groups at higher risk for flu complications: pregnant women and children under 5.

The county only expects to receive 6,000 doses this week (October 26). There are an estimated 14,000 pregnant women in Multnomah County and an estimated 48,800 children under age 5.

Pregnant women have been hospitalized at five times the rate of the general population; the rate for children under 5 has been 45 percent higher than the general population. The data reflect admissions since September 1 in Multnomah County and are in line with national figures.

Health officials are now making decisions weekly about vaccinations, considering local data and where a limited supply of vaccine can do the most good.  With vaccine continuing to be in short supply, the Multnomah County Health Department has decided to reduce the number of public vaccination sites until vaccine becomes more readily available.

Future vaccination sites will be posted on the county's website, www.mchealth.org. The State of Oregon Flu Hot Line is also a resource to help people determine where they can get a flu shot: 1-800-978-3040

The Health Department also is in charge of distributing vaccines to private medical practices that have asked to be vaccine providers. The department, rather than distribute the vaccine across the board, is placing an emphasis on filling orders placed by obstetricians and pediatricians.

Our Health Department is coordinating with other Health Departments in the region as well as the state to ensure that information is made available to the public as quickly and accurately as possible.  Please visit our website, the state of Oregon's Flu website, and the Center for Disease Control's flu website  for valuable information and resources.

H1N1/Swine Flu: It's HERE

October 19, 2009

Flipping through Facebook updates, I noticed that a mama mentioned that her son was down with the flu.  A few comments later, she also mentioned that H1N1 has been confirmed in students at her son's school as well as at her daughter's daycare.  Later on this evening, my husband said drearily, "It's confirmed."  His colleague's husband and their school-aged son were also afflicted with H1N1.

It looks like H1N1 has made is appearance here in Portland - in schools and in workplaces.  Has H1N1 been confirmed at your school, daycare, workplace, or commuity at large?  For those who have decided to vaccinate for H1N1, have you done so yet?

Be sure to check out DHS' website on H1N1 in Oregon for more resources and information.

Thanks a lot H1N1: Limited Visitation by children at area hospitals

October 14, 2009

We delivered a little guy about three weeks ago at Legacy Emanuel Hospital.  The one night we spent at the hospital, we spent in our room along with our two other children to allow our new family of five to begin to get to know one another.  A couple of nights later, another friend of ours delivered their second child at Legacy's Good Samaritan Hospistal.  They, too, spent the night at the hospital as their new family of four.

When visiting together earlier today, my mama friend reported to me that Legacy would have a new rule in effect: no children under 18 may be visitors in the family birth centers because school-aged children have higher rates of exposure to the flu.  In addition, only two immediate family members or support persons could be present at the birth and during the mom's stay.

Apparently, Legacy isn't the only one.  The Providence Health System is also instituting the same policy at all of its establishments, effective October 9, 2009.  An urbanMama recently emailed:

I am heartbroken!
I'm due to give birth on October 26th with baby boy #2 at St. Vincent.  I've been so looking forward to my 3 year old son getting to meet his brother for the first time at the hospital.  For the entire 9 months, I've had this vision in my head of my husband bringing my son into the room and being able to show him his brother for the first time.  I want "that picture" of big brother holding little brother at the hospital, like almost every other mother in America has.  Now, because of concerns over the Swine Flu that will not happen.  I'm just sick with disappointment.
Don't get me wrong, I don't want to put anyone at risk and I think it important that everyone is kept healthy, especially in the hospital environment.  But I wonder if there is a place on the maternity ward floor where babies could meet their siblings?  I've already called St. Vincent to ask, but so far there is nothing.  I will call and talk with the head nurse on Monday.
Are there any other urbanMamas struggling with this new "visitation restriction" policy.  I understand that every hospital in the metro area has adopted it including OHSU.  I would love to hear what others have to say.

Law & Order stirs vaccination pot

April 29, 2009

I have vaccinated all my three boys more or less on schedule, but it is more inertia than science; when Everett was born, I wasn't in a community that questioned vaccinations (my husband's best man was a pharmaceutical sales rep, for one), and it wasn't until later that I started wondering if filling babies full of toxins was really the best approach. By then, it was almost time for public school, and I didn't want to face filling out forms stating my "religious" refusal for one child, but not another.

But I know lots of you urbanMamas don't vaccinate; parts of Oregon have some of the highest rates of vaccination avoiders in the country. And last night on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, I felt as if I was seeing one of my friends on trial. After an 11-month-old died from measles -- and her mom, a distracted and turbulent Hillary Duff, buried her in a parking lot, thinking she'd killed her -- it was decided that the real "culprit" was a mom who'd decided not to vaccinate her son. The baby and the little boy had been at the same playground after he'd been infected by an Amish teen with measles. The city of New York put the non-vaccinating mom on trial for murder. Seriously?

Not only were non-vaccinators called out in scathing tones for their lack of medical degrees and their dispassioned uncaring for all others ("I don't make choices for those kids!" said the mom shrilly), but the way the writers portrayed the woman was unforgivable; on the stand, she goes on a rant claiming that the baby would have died anyway, because Hillary Duff's character was a "bad mom" (true, but really) and she was a "good mom" and thus she deserved to get off. She did, much to the disgust of most of the SVU crew, who kvetched about how she'd gotten away with murder. The ending was too complicated and horrifying to describe here.

I was shocked that such an extreme viewpoint, which took the "mommy wars" media invention and ran with it in the ugliest way, was firmly established by a TV show I've often loved as the moral right. Did you watch the show? What did you think? Will you be watching Law & Order again?

Think out loud: Childhood Obesity

November 19, 2008

This morning, the OPB call-in radio program, Think Out Loud, will discuss the issue of childhood obesity (at 9am and 9pm).  According to the Oregon State Physical Activity and Nutrition Program, one in four of our children are overweight.  The proportion of overweight children in our state is increaing.  The percentage of children who don't eat enough fruit & veggies is high (60%).

Despite the fact that we like to model good behavior with all our biking, homemade food, and additive-free cereal or bread choices, obesity remains a reality in our community.  The Think Out Load episode explores:

Have you struggled with childhood obesity? Are you the parent of an overweight or at-risk kid? Are you a teacher or school counselor? What barriers do you see for kids who are fighting the battle of the bulge? Who is ultimately responsible for preventing childhood obesity?

Feel free to listen, call in, or discuss here or there.

Tethered Spinal Cord & Helping with Understanding Blood Draws

May 07, 2008

We're always amazed to see support and stories for other mamas about their experiences with difficult medical situations.  Cindy recently emailed us about her child's diagnosis of Tethered Spinal Cord.  Have you experienced this? And can you give her some advice?

I am seeking information from your wonderful community.  I have a wonderful six year old boy (almost seven!) who has been struggling with potty training for most of his life.  We were finally referred to a Pediatric Gastroentologist about six weeks ago and found out yesterday that he likely has a Tethered Spinal Cord.  We have to confirm with a Neurosurgeon and discuss treatment options.  However, our doctor and apparently all of the information available on the internet, says that surgery is the only effective option.

I would love support on a couple of fronts.  First, has anyone gone through this surgery with their child?  We had to use General Anesthesia to do the MRI this week so I know he tolerates that anesthesia well.  The anesthesia for the surgery may be different.  I am also finding information on-line that says once nerves are damaged, there is no repairing them.  Does anyone out there know if he may, someday, have control over his bowels and bladder?

The other element I’m interested in is how to help my four year old through this chapter of our lives.  We had to have blood drawn on my six year old several weeks ago for this issue.  My four year old and I had to take him and I think the little guy was the most upset out of all of us.  He somehow has associated blood with dying and so any quantity greater than just a scratch really scares him.

Are there grants available for housing?

May 02, 2008

It absolutely takes a village, and part of our goal in building the urbanMamas community is to offer resources and guidance to all.  We received a recent email from a mama just outside Salem requesting help accessing grants or other financial assistance to buy a home:

My name is Starla I live in Stayton, OR.  I am 37 years old, single for 9 years. I have 3 kids each with a different type of mental disorder. My daughter is 14 with OCD, Trichotillomania, OCD Hoarder and ADD. One son is 12 with Autism/Asperger’s, PDD and ADHD.  Last but not least my 10 year old son with Bi-Polar and ADHD. My children are my world.  We moved to OR from CA so I can get my children more help through the school and Therapist, things are doing so much better here. I have a Home Day Care, that is so I can be more convenient when I have to drive my children to all of their appointments (therapist, Med Prescribers, a Home Skill Worker, or school teachers or counselors). I just went back to college in Oct. 2007, this is the start for me to a whole new career; my goal is to be a family Therapist for children with mental disorders.

Being a single parent with children with mental disorders, my job options are limited and the so are my finances. I would love to be able to buy a home for us.  I am renting a duplex so the maximum number of children that I can have in my Daycare is limited to 5 children.  If I had a home I would be able to have 10, and that would double my income.  Also my children are loud and they bother the neighbors on the other side of the wall (the neighbors know about my children and their mental disorders).  It is hard enough to try to control the children, and - when a neighbor comes over and gets in the middle of it - that makes it much harder.  My son (the one who has Autism) thinks that the neighbors want to kill him and I can’t get him to play outside, and he thinks that the owner want to kick us out (they don’t).  He lives in fear all the time. My daycare children are wonderful, and my children love them.  They all get along with the great.

If there is a grant that can help my buy a home for us that would help us out so much.

What are resources statewide (or even in Portland that could potentially have similar programs in other cities) that you could suggest? 

The Asthmatic Child

March 23, 2008

Do you have an asthmatic child?  Have you been able to help your child better manage the condition?  Elizabeth would love to hear from you.  She emails:

I am looking to connect with other folks that have kids with chronic respiratory challenges. My son has been identified as opportunistic asthmatic. It is not allergen-based but more when his immune system is lowered or when he has some other virus, cold etc. I am trying to manage this condition and would love to hear how others deal with the challenges with medicine, inhalers, reactions to medications, hyper-activity etc. It seems like a constant cycle and I would love some perspective.

Baby's got the bug

March 17, 2008

In our household, it felt like a little kid infirmary over the weekend.  Both of our children fought fevers and pretty much stuck to sleeping all day long on the couch, sick ask can be.  Fevers have been running between 102 and 104, for which we have been giving chewable Tylenol (since we have no Motrin in the house).  I regretted not giving them some immunity boosters or even a flu shot earlier in the season.  Not too many other symptoms, other than the lethargy and fever.  One daughter has been fighting the fever for almost 6 days now, and the other is on her second day of fever.  On this Monday morning, I expect the trend to continue.

We received an email from Virginia last night, and we're all wondering, is it happening to you, too?

I'm checking in to see if any of your little ones have been really sick over the past couple of weeks.  My two year old woke up from his nap last Tuesday hot as a  lit match. I gave him Motrin.  The second it wore off, his fever went through the roof again and he had a febrile seizure and we ended up in the emergency room with nearly a 104 degree fever out of nowhere.  It was horrible.  He seems to be feeling much better but he's been complaining that his stomach hurts and today he seems to have a little nagging cough.  I've taken him to his doctor too.  On top of it, he's not congested at all.   What's going around???  I'm not one to worry over getting sick but this is a weird bug.  Have any of your kids had similar symptoms and how has
this one played out?  Thanks!

Put the thermometer where?

October 24, 2007

Fall is a lovely season, with the cooler weather and the falling leaves.  But as we roll through the change of seasons and back to school, no matter how much hand washing we do, there's bound to be a little sick going around.  Right now, my one year old has an ear infection.  In addition, I'm fairly certain that he's teething, too.  Add to that sleepless nights and I had one fussy bub on my hands this morning.  Halfway through the morning I thought he felt warm, so I headed upstairs to my "getbetter" arsenal to see if I could actually locate a thermometer.  I'll be frank and say that I've never owned a rectal thermometer for the babes.  I feel like it might be dangerous to try to wrestle them to stay still while somehow involving glass (and mercury?, surely not...).  Instead I stock three different type of thermometers for the little ones.  First, the ear scan thermometer, which is useless if you don't have the little covers, or if the battery runs out, or if the child is less than 2 (or3)?  Chuck that one out.  On to the next one, the flimsy digital read out kind that also needs a cover, but I don't use the covers when I put them under the arm.  I push the button and then try to wrangle my moody fussy baby to stay still while I pin his arm down long enough to register some kind of reading.  Result?  95.4°F.  Nope, don't think so...  even when I add a degree it's not even reasonable.  Last, and most desperate, attempt was made with the "binky" thermometer.  Apparently my child doesn't use a binky right because it decided his temp was 95°F.

I gave up.  I have many unreliable ways to guess whether he has a fever or not.  No good ones.  How do you check if your babe has a fever?  I usually end up going with my gut (and feeling their hands -- if their hands are warm it's unusual and means there is a fever).

Seeking support for Sensory Integration/Processing Disorder

September 13, 2007

"Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a complex disorder of the brain that affects developing children and adults."  There have been suggestions on preschools for children with sensory integration disorder and there was previous discussion on finding a support group for parents and children with sensory integration disorder.  But, did a group ever form and gather?  Beren is seeking support and would like to get convene families:

I’m looking for a support/social group for Portland mamas with Preschool aged kids with sensory processing disorder that impedes their ability to attend or succeed in preschool or Pre-K. I’m feeling a little alone and would love to share stories, offer support, and cry together over administrators who just don’t get it. Are there any other stay-at-home moms or dads who meet up during the weekday?—Mom of 3 in NE Portland

In sickness at the daycare?

July 14, 2007

Every child will get some kinda sick in their childhood.  If your child is in daycare, what are the rules - the hard and fast rules, the "it'd be nice..." rules?  How about when your daycare provider is sick?  An urbanMama emails:

I was wondering if you could post a question concerning daycare etiquette.  What kinds of rules do people follow with regard to sending their kids to daycare when they have colds/flus/fevers/ear infections?  What do folks do when their daycare provider is sick?

Treating Asthma/Allergies through Nutrition

May 02, 2007

Diana is looking for guidance and advice for a diet/nutrition makeover to help alleviate symptoms of asthma and allergies.  Can you help?

Hi, I'm the mom of a 3 year old boy and 20 month old girl.  Last spring, my 3 year old started to show signs of asthma and some allergies.  It seemed to last all spring, summer and unitl the end of fall.  We did the doctor/inhaler thing, but - when the doctor reccomended steroids - I decided to do some research before we went any further. 

In doing so I've come to learn about the use of diet to control the immune's system reaction to allergens.  I' ve read lots of good books on natural remedies and they suggest tayloring the child's diets of wheat, gluten, dairy and other trigger foods.  I've decided this spring before his allergies and asthma start again, I'm going to make a "big" switch in our diet to see if this helps.  It's also used in treating Autism and ADHD (part of the 4 A's including Asthma and Allergies). 

Are there any other Mamas out there who are using this nutritional technique?  This is going to be a huge change and I could use some tips and support on the subject.  I'd love someone who wouldn't mind showing me around the grocery store at some good choices.  We eat healthy now, but we will miss the milk and cheeses!  Is there a support group out there?  Any information would be a big help.  Thanks so much!

Seeking Parent of Hard of Hearing Children

April 17, 2007

Meg is seeking other parents in a similar situation:

Hi everyone!  After months of testing, we now know that our 10 month old son is hard of hearing and will require the use of hearing aides.  He has moderate hearing loss and should develop normal communication skills with the use of the aides and early intervention services.  We know there must be other urbanMamas and papas out there who also have a child with hearing aides (whether profoundly deaf or mildly hard of hearing) who would benefit from networking with other parents. Maybe these groups already exist, but we have struggled to find other parents in this situation.  We hope to have a group that would meet regularly to play, discuss childcare, practice sign language, discuss the IFSP process, and have a good time. 

Ear Infections and Tubes

February 26, 2007

A single ear infection can be a horrible experience, but imagine if it was recurring.  Martha writes:

My two year old has had six ear infections since Thanksgiving and my six month old has had four. We've tried a variety of things and we can't seem to get their ears to clear.  Our MD said one next possible step is tubes in their ears.  I hate the idea of surgery for my kids, but I also hate them always being sick. I'm wondering if other readers have had experiences with tubes that they would share.