Monday, September 28, 2009

Swine Flu - not all its cracked up to be

So last week both kids got sick and we eventually diagnosed with Type A influenza. Type A includes the seasonal flu and H1N1. There have been no confirmed cases of seasonal flu in Austin (and Colin was vaccinated). There have been confirmed cases of H1N1 in Austin, and although the CDC is not testing all suspected cases, that is the presumption: they had H1N1.

Colin missed a week of school, and Anna missed all but one day. Basically they had high undulating fever, congested noses, and Anna vomited. We treated them with ibuprofen, sudafed, saline, and gobs of TV.

Anthony and I so far have not gotten sick, though we have certainly been exposed. We also inadvertently exposed my visiting friend Fran, and our heroic babysitter Wesley (they're not sick either). Perhaps we've been exposed to a similar virus before. In any case, the swine flu is no longer as virulent as once feared. Hard to believe our school was closed for 2 days last May for a possible case, later confirmed not to be swine flu. Now, one in four were out in Anna's class, and one in three were out in Colin's, surely with the very same dreaded disease.

I was very happy to send them back to school today, although they were drowsy and dragging, since during their recuperation we let them sleep in as long as possible every morning. They came home with lots of make-up work, which is very tedious for Colin but is inducing some anxiety in Anna ("What if I don't get it all done? What if I get a bad report card?")

Staying in, cooking and cleaning for this lot, does make one weary. The good news is we won't have to line up for the swine flu vaccine - available by injection only, and requiring a booster! Also: no fish died!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sorry seems to be the hardest word

Anna had a little friend stop by today. Her dad asked if she could play at our house while he went on a bike ride. "We are about to leave to go buy new ballet shoes, but she can stay a little while." He said he'd be back in 30 minutes.

While I was outside hanging a load of laundry, both Anna and Colin called me, "Mommy you need to come in right now!!!" Anna's friend had dumped half of the fish food into her tank.

This is potentially disastrous. It can cause nitrogen levels to rise and can kill fish. Anna was horrified, because she knew this had happened to another family we know. I got the net out and started scooping as much food out as I could, but it was flake food and dispersed pretty quickly. I rinsed out the filter and did a water change.

During this time the friend was no where to be found. She hid from us, and when Colin found her, she said she was going to leave and go home. "Don't go home! You need to wait until your dad gets here," I shouted her, since I couldn't see her.

Finally dad showed up. "We had a little problem. She spilled half of the fish food in Anna's tank." I told him.

"Huh," he said. "What kind of tank do you have? Yeah, I lost a whole bunch of fish when her little brother added soap to my tank a few years ago." Then he launched into a long description of his tank and problems he's had. Meanwhile his daughter snuck out behind me, jumped on her bike, and headed home. Finally I said, "We've got to go to the store!" and he said, "OK, well, do you want me to buy you a new filter or pay for more fish or something?"

Uh, no, but an apology would go a long way, dude! Or, how about talk to your daughter about how to behave when you go to someone else's house, or what to do when you make a mistake. It was certainly a long topic at our dinner table tonight!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mini Me

Anna burst into tears when I picked her up from school Monday because her throat hurt so badly. When I asked her why she didn't ask to go see the school nurse, she said, "There wasn't time. I wanted to get all my work done!"

I was able to get her into the pediatrician's office, and her strep test was negative - yea! But that means its a virus; nothing to do but wait it out. Her throat hurt worse on Tuesday morning, and soon she was weepy at the thought of going to school. Since Anthony was out of town, there was only one choice... go to work with me.

This isn't such a bad option. First of all, my work is pretty friendly to this situation. Its easier to deal with a kid than to cover an entire missing doctor's schedule. If she wasn't febrile, she wasn't contagious (according to the ped's office). Plus, Anna is very self sufficient. She packed herself a bag of notebooks, chapter books, and a DVD while I walked Colin to the bus stop.

Most of the time, though, Anna watched me in surgery. I'd be happy if she stayed at my desk and took it easy, but she kept asking what she could do to help. She held a lip out of the way while I pulled some teeth, cut a few sutures after I tied them, put lube in an anesthetized cat's eye, and comforted animals a lot. While my technician Luis was recovering a patient, she plopped down of the floor next to him and lounged in the cage, helping monitor the golden retriever's recovery. She was a little grossed out by rectal temperatures, anal glands, and blood in general, but overall she amazes me.

On the drive home she was pretty tired, and in the evening whining a lot about her painful throat. She stayed at home with me again today (I was off), but tomorrow I think it will be back to 3rd grade learning.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Jiggered - Women's Adventure Race

There reason I went to the coast was to teach other vets how to take dental Xrays in a wet lab. It was great fun, but it's a little harder to be on the teaching side of one of these gigs. I enjoyed watching several of the vets get inspired. Hopefully some of them will have dental Xrays at their clinic soon.

The heat and the drought finally did break. We've had days of drizzle and overcast clouds. I feel genetically predisposed to love this kind of weather, but everyone here seems to appreciate the cooler, wetter weather. Viva la difference!

However, it did make for very MUDDY conditions at the annual Women's Adventure Race. This is the 3rd year Anna and I have participated. Costumes are encouraged; Anna decided she would be Padme Amidala (also her Halloween costume) and I could be Princess Leia. This makes her my "mom!"

Here we are after the race, just as enthusiastic, but more disheveled!

Thanks for the photos, Triona!

Friday, September 11, 2009

I'm back

Just arrived home from the coast, drove nearly five hours in rain and traffic.


More later.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Back to School

We had a nice, quiet Labor Day weekend, staying home and letting the kids relax after a long week at school. The transition out of summer vacation is hard on them.

Today, I was SO HAPPY to have them go back to school, so that I didn't have hear, "MOMMY!" every 10-30 minutes.

Also, I was happy to let them go to school and be addressed by the President. I am still floored that people are so afraid of Obama that they don't even want their children to hear him. I was no fan of President Bush, but I would not have kept my children home just to shield my children from him. Which is what some of our neighbors did today.

Before I heard of the controversy, I thought Obama's speech would make students feel important, since he was addressing them, and maybe inspire them to take more interest in current events. Today I was glad to hear Laura Bush spoke out in favor of the speech.

Anna's class heard the speech; Colin's did not. What happened at your school?

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Farmers' Market Haul

Arranged for me by Anna.

We haven't been to the market much this summer, since I work half the Saturdays, and we were gone other weekends, and for the remaining few, well, I just couldn't bear the heat. I feel bad for the farmers, out there in the heat for hours. I made up for it this weekend by buying LOTS.

French Melon (smells like oranges!)
Crispy, ugly, but delicious pears
Heirloom eggplants
Baby squash (so cute Colin has to have 'em)
Striped zucchini
Large round zucchini
Heirloom garlic

Also purchased but not pictured:

Berkshire pork
Grassfed beef
Round Rock Honey
Texas Olive Ranch EVOO
2 Chelsea buns, 4 scones, and 2 mini quiches from the English baker

Hooray for eating locally!