Tuesday, May 29, 2007
It's time for yet another rant - this time about the NHS or the Minister for Health or whatever skinflint is in charge of the NHS purse strings. I am slowly coming to the conclusion with child number three that it is more than scandalous that there is a cheap, effective vaccine for chicken pox that from my trawling of the internet is the norm in the USA but we are still putting our precious little people through this unnecessary nightmare.
When Marcel and Charlotte got chicken pox back in 2002, they both got really mild doses. That is to say they had a couple of dozen spots and a temperature for 1 day. Charlotte being an exceptional child decided to catch the uncatchable a second time in February 2005 causing me untold problems: blood tests etc as it is dangerous to pregnant women who haven't had it and of course I was 5 weeks pregnant with Léon and no one could remember me having had it - more hassles. Again though Charlotte had a mild dose - perhaps as few as 10 spots and no temperature, so I wasn't overly concerned from a health point of view - simply from the hassle point of view that when you only get 5 weeks holiday a year you really don't want to be taking 10 days off each time a kid gets chicken pox.
Léon though, if you have been following my poxy saga, has changed my view of the need for vaccination. Léon got one of the worst doses of chicken pox I have ever seen. (Maybe because he is so young, I am not sure). He was unwell and had to be off nursery 4 May through 15 May. He had a temperature, he couldn't sleep, he couldn't eat, he was up every hour for days and nights on end. I had the hassle value of arranging places and people to look after him, the hassle of working from home 3 days making sure I fitted in my 4.5 hours of work sometimes by working long after everyone was asleep in bed. I was stressed, tired, no exhausted and I was also worried sick about a really ill wee man. After only one day back at nursery, he started vomiting profusely and was sent home again. I too was on the verge of illness by now after 2 weeks of this level of stress. Two days after the vomiting started he was burning up and the emergency GP appointment diagnosed an ear infection in each ear and a chest infection all caused by the fall out from the chicken pox and what it had done to his immune system. He got antibiotics and was finally starting to eat and smile again by last Tuesday. Of course when the antibiotics finished on Thursday night the inevitable happened - Friday he was ok, by Saturday his nose was running and today he was roasting, not eating, pointing at his ears and wailing. A 24 hour trip to the hospital diagnosed 2 ear infections and a throat infection - all further complications of the bloody pox. How long is this wee man going to have to suffer - all for a vaccine that would probably have cost tax payers 50p? He's been ill for the best part of a month, can hardly stand, I am shelling out £350 for a nursery place he is never well enough to attend and I am stressed out my mind trying to work at 3am so I don't lose my job.
It's truly wonderful our NHS - isn't it?
Barbra, as I mentioned last month, is coming to Europe for the first time in 13 years. And when does she choose to come - right in the middle of my bloody (unchangeable- because-of-a-wedding) summer holidays. So I'm left with about 3 of the dates that I am actually available for. I check flight prices and decide since it is equally expensive to go to London or Rome, I might as well pop off to Rome. I go online and actually manage to get tickets, great - result! So I book flights to go to Rome for a weekend - Ryanair of course - cheap and non-refundable but why would I need it refunded...unless the useless, arrogant, idiotic promoters pull out of the Rome date, thinking they can easily just swap 15 June Rome for 18 June in Zuerich at 2 weeks notice without causing anyone any inconvenience...What are they thinking about? Ok this will slightly upset 200 Italian fans but what they fail to realize is that with Ryanair being fairly reasonable in price, half the tickets will have been snapped up by people who are going to be flying in from all over. She isn't going to every country so this is going to piss off a hell of a lot of people.
I have just zapped off an email to 'CPI' asking where I apply for my flight and hotel refund and when they will forward me tickets at the same price for her London concert...I will keep you posted with the no doubt unsatisfactory answer I receive! (Oh and apparently it is going to take them 20 days to process my refund - by which time I will no doubt be too late to spend it on any other venues - they are going to become more than fed up with me in the near future - believe me.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Léon, as you know, has been very unwell - 10 days of really bad chicken pox complete with pox in his mouth and throat etc making eating a painful trial. Thereafter, with a much weakened immune system, he caught a vomiting bug for the best part of a week, not to mention a seriously high temperature caused by both a chest and ear infection. All this meant he spent nearly 3 weeks eating very little other than a yogurt a day. On Tuesday this week however, with the pox almost gone, the sickie bug at bay and the antibiotics kicking in, he discovered eating was once again a possibility. And he got down to serious, making-up-for-lost-time eating, serious better-eat-today-in-case-I'm-ever-ill-again eating. He tends to go to his high chair approximately once an hour and stick his hands up to be lifted in. If that is ignored for more than 5 minutes, he opens the Welsh dresser, takes out a plastic plate (even tugging on one if 10 china ones are balanced on top - we've had very few breakages so far) puts it on his tray and sticks his hands up again. So we've been feeding him a little more than usual to build him up a little. Today was a prime example. Before work he asked for a yogurt, a digestive biscuit and a piece of banana. At 8-15 he had a bowl of weetabix at nursery, at 9-30 he apparently downed a plate of breadsticks, a box of raisins and a biscuit, at 11 a piece of toast and cheese, at 12 he had a bowl of soup with a roll, a bowl of chili con carne and then had the cheek to hold out his bowl to be refilled. He ate a second full of bowl of chili before his juice and fruit and at 12-45 when I arrived he was in the toy kitchen trying to put plastic pieces of toast into a toy toaster... a hint? I drove him at 1-30 to mum's where (as you can see here) he managed a plate of bacon followed by a packet of dolly mixtures and a chocolate biscuit - something he's only been allowed once or twice before. Tonight he's with André - I wonder how much he's conned him into feeding him!? I did hear today about a snake that exploded trying to swallow an alligator...I wonder if a baby has ever exploded?
- proportional representation
- to be taken seriously as a political force
Over the past 3 weeks they have single-handedly, more or less destroyed both. In both the Scottish and Welsh parliaments, they have refused to even enter coalition talks, therefore showing everyone why first-past-the-post is the only workable solution and they have dismayed all their voters, losing their political credibility. Well done them on what has to be one of the least successful three weeks in the history of UK politics! :-\
It isn't often I comment on adverts - I usually find them mind numbing or annoying but I have to say if I needed a smaller car than the one I bought last week, I might just have considered the Skoda Fabia because its advert is so sweet. I hadn't noticed it till yesterday when the kids shouted me through to watch it - both announcing they'd like to try a piece! Well done Skoda for making a car ad, unlike any others.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
As promised, here is a photo of my new baby! Isn't this cheerier than a cloud-coloured car? For anyone who is interested, it is the beautiful Citroën C8. I will let you know more about it later in the week as it has so many buttons and knobs, I haven't quite worked out what it can do yet! (There are a few other photos on my flickr page too, if you want to see them).
Monday, May 21, 2007
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Scotland is often a grey, cloudy, dreary and depressing land where you feel you could catch a cloud just by reaching a few centimetres above your head. This isn't like Greece or Italy or the South of France where you are greeted every morning by brilliant blues, sunflower yellows, explosions of purple bougainvillea. We spend 80% of the year looking at grey. So why do we paint our houses grey and fill our roads with grey cars? Can't we have pink houses and yellow cars to make our life a little less dismal?
Anyway as luck would have it, one of the best cars I found on sale at Arnold's with the lowest mileage and highest spec wasn't grey so I bought that. Call back in a few days if you want to see what colour I am trying to brighten the world up with!
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Anyway - if they don't fix it over the summer, I will seriously be considering dumping the email address I have had for the past 10 years in favour of a googlemail or yahoo equivalent. So Microsoft - GET IT FIXED NOW, please!
I have a very special friend with a disabled child. She can't walk so her mother has to try to carry her from the car to a buggy and after shopping get her back into the car. That needs enough space around the car to open the doors, that needs the parking space to be near the entrance to the shop. Anyone who has tried carrying a sleeping 4 year old can just about imagine how awkward that would be if for some reason you couldn't get the doors open wide enough.
I sat for 20 minutes becoming more and more infuriated with lazy, selfish people using these bays not as disabled parking but as I only need to get a few things parking. The first culprits - 2 twenty something females in jogging suits - jogged in quickly and returned 5 minutes later with 2 20 packs of beer, the next a father who zoomed in in a people carrier, left all the kids in the car and rushed in and bought one bag of stuff, again and again the pattern repeated itself till at one point all 10 bays were filled and not a single disabled badge was on display. Because they were rushing, everyone of the 10 had literally sprinted into the shop, no doubt feeling what they were doing wasn't a great crime as they'd be quick. Imagine for one minute my friend had arrived at that moment and could get her daughter out the car, had had to carry this large child to the entrance in the rain from a far corner of the carpark? I felt like getting out and punching them. I wish people would think before being so selfish.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Saturday, May 12, 2007
So why did the bloody car decide to play silly buggers? I drove the kids to school on Friday and it felt odd, the gears were a bit wobbly. After working I drove back and the engine growled and banged, the gears jumped into neutral, I tried to do a 3 point turn and the car refused to go into reverse. I burst into tears and may have uttered the 'F' word. I don't need a £500 bill for a new gearbox a month before the summer holiday. Waaaah - why is life so hard? I knew it had to be the clutch or the gearbox. Dad had a shot, and suggested we asked our mechanic friend Ian. He took it for a spin and confirmed something was going on. He stuck it up on a ramp and looked underneath and announced - the bolt the holds the gearbox in place has fallen out - it is a 2 minute, free repair job! RELIEEEEEEEF!
Thanks Ian! I can definitely highly recommend 'Thornliebank Motor Engineers' to any stressed motorist.
Friday, May 11, 2007
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Monday, May 07, 2007
Sunday, May 06, 2007
On Friday after nursery I noticed Léon had one tiny blister on his torso (see the note if you click on this photo). I said to Thomas immediately - Pudge has chicken pox. He thought I was quite mad, I think. I was more than surprised on Saturday morning when very little had developed but still thought my hunch had to be right. Saturday we'd to give him calpol twice as we was a wee bit hot. This morning it looks like my GP skills have been proved right though. He's laughing and singing but definitely not looking his prettiest today. I guess I now have to work out where to put him all week as nursery isn't going to welcome him with wide open arms!
Thursday, May 03, 2007
I guess the background is something very Scottish. When you are born in Scotland, you come to sense how transitory nice weather can be. I once knew a Californian guy who would get up on a Saturday morning (while living in Hyndland for 5 years) and see it was raining - he'd then declare he'd go shopping 'when the rain went off'! It doesn't work like that. You could potentially starve to death if you limit your supermarket trip to the next dry day. Equally sunshine is something you don't overlook. If you get up and it is sunny you don't finish the ironing, or do the dishes before running outside. You run outside carrying your bowl of breakfast cereal with you because if you stop to finish it first, you might miss the only window of warmth and light for weeks.
So there I was on Sunday morning looking at a weather forecast with a big yellow sun and 20 degrees. Not bad for April. Obviously, we had to go to the beach. We drove to Prestwick and walked to Somerfield to buy sausages. The kids did ask to put on a jumper, jacket and hood to go for that 5 minute walk because although the sun was shining there was just a little bit of a north wind blowing.
We played some rounders on the beach, successfully while the disposable barbecue heated. We put on the bacon, sausage, and pork chops. I think the flimsy paper plates didn't really help either - you see when Marcel put his chop on the plate he was holding in one hand, it promptly folded in the middle leaving the beautifully cooked chop to fall on the sand. We'd no water, only coke so we couldn't clean it. Pudge was getting hungry and had a little cold. He wailed, the tears ran down his face, the snot joined in, the wind blew sand that stuck onto the tears and snot, the sand went in his eyes, he cried some more and rubbed his eyes with his now sandy hands. We tried to give him a sausage because he was hungry, the sand from his hands and face stuck to the sausage and he sat crying and crunching simultaneously. Yuck, yuck, yuck.
I guess we learned a valuable lesson - barbecues are what you do in a garden, at least 50 miles from any sand, with no wind and when your kids aren't extremely hungry. Beaches are for building sand castles, collecting shells, playing sports, walking the dog if you have one but never ever ever for barbecuing sausages in the wind!
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Well I suppose it helps to know the spectrum of objectionable people we have to walk the face of this Earth with.