Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Kawasaki Syndrome?

I have not written about this very much before because at the time I was very stressed. Blogging was the last thing on my mind.

During the beginning of this year, my son had fever for several days. The fever would not go away. He also had badly swollen lymph nodes around his neck area. His could not put his head straight and he was in pain. His lips were dry, red and peeling. After a week and the second time to the paediatrician, she advised us to take him to emergency unit at the hospital. She gave us a letter of referral to one of the doctors at a local hospital.

When we got to the emergency department at the hospital, we did not get immediate attention because of our referral letter. We were told to wait for the doctor in question outside her clinic to have an evaluation first. The clinic was packed and the wait was long. Sigh.

When we finally saw the doctor, she took one look and said “I think he has exactly the same symptoms as another 12 year old girl I saw. Yes, exactly like her. Look at his lips and his neck bent like this. I think he has what she had.” When we enquired what that was. She said it was kawasaki syndrome and autoimmune decease where the body attacks itself. She said he had to be hospitalized.

She said that she must monitor him closely. She said that they had made a mistake with the girl by not diagnosing it as kawasaki decease soon enough and she had to endure many scans etc unnecessarily. She said that they had to learn from their mistake.

My boy was then taken to do a scan around his neck area. Then, later on while taking his blood samples, she asked the nurses whether they remembered the other girl and whether my son looked like he had the same thing and they all agreed. My heart sank.

He was not given any treatment the whole day and his fever stayed on. When we enquired, he was given antibiotics intravenously around midnight.

To cut an extremely long story short, my son had to stay in the hospital for 2 weeks and he missed school for almost a month as he had to stay home another 10 days after that. This was right after the Chinese New Year holidays.

My son is usually Mr Sunshine. He was a very happy baby and he continues to be a very cheerful fella now, who is always full of smiles and laughter. During his time in hospital he was full of tantrums though. He could not sleep well because he could not lie down on the pillow properly as his neck was very swollen and his fever continued to stay on for more than a week at the hospital. He became very fretful and uncooperative. He became quite a different boy. That made me realise why some children throw tantrums etc. Sometimes, it is because of the situation and not because the child is naughty. The child may be hungry, sleepy, tired etc but does not know how to verbalise his or her feelings. For my son, of course at the time he was in pain and probably feeling very scared. He became a bit more demanding than his usual self.

Eventually, after many blood tests, 4 and 5 times during his hospital stay and we had to go back twice after that to do more blood tests, they found out that it was just a very bad virus. The doctor said that no treatment was necessary and time would have cured him. However, he was pumped with a lot of antibiotics during his stay. Sigh.

I think the doctor learned something too. Although she had made a mistake the first time by delaying the diagnosis of kawasaki decease, she should learn that not everything that looks the same, can be assumed to be the same thing. She should not have jumped to conclusions. It is the same in life, I think. Don’t judge a book by its cover comes to mind. Never make assumptions about anything without first checking out the facts.

Anyhow, that is behind us now. I am very glad that he did not have kawasaki syndrome as the doctor had thought. My sunshine boy is back, no more tantrums. Only tears when he does not get what he wants at times but just a good scolding, an explanation afterwards and a good hug often settles it. The time at the hospital was just a nightmare. A nightmare that I do not want to remember because while I was staying at the hospital, my girl had a seizure at home. Then we had to leave the poor boy at the hospital with just the maid so that we could take the poor girl to the doctor. Sigh.

Yes, it was certainly a nightmare. Writing this down is supposed to release it but somehow I am suddenly brought back to an unhappy moment. Perhaps I should not have written it. Anyway, it is passed.

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Growing Pains in Children

My daughter used to complain about pains in her joints especially her knee and legs at night. By morning, the pains would be gone. Sometimes the pains were on one side only. She was about 7 at the time. I was very worried. When I consulted the pediatrician  she said that it was common and it was called growing pains and was caused by Growth Spurts.

I had not heard about it before this. So, I thought that it would be useful to share this on the blog for other mothers too. Here are some useful articles about growing pains in children.

1. From KidsHealth under the Aches, Pains and Injuries article on Growing Pains
2. From WebMD article on Growing Pains - When should parents worry
3. From Kids Growth article on Solving the Mystery of Growing Pains
4. From Wikipedia article on Growing Pains
5. From Guardian.co article on So what exactly are Growing Pains?

I hope the above articles on Growing Pains in Children will be useful and solve most of the mystery. Never ever suggest that your child is faking it and always seek medical advise when in doubt.


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Friday, July 22, 2011

A Mother’s Worth

The other day, my boy said to me…. “Mummy, you are like 99 billion diamonds.” Now that put a big smile on my face because I know diamonds are important to him. He wants to become a diamond miner when he grows up, you see. He thinks that he will make a lot of money by mining diamonds. (A result of reading too many adventure books and watching too many adventure films as well).

His sister piped in "”No, no, mummy is like………. hmm like…… more than billion diamonds, cannot describe.” She couldn’t put a value to it. Now, that made me smile even more.

Well, my darlings, you both are priceless!

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

How to get your baby to sleep through the night

How to get your baby to sleep through the night? Just grit yourself and say "this too shall pass" and read Adam Mansbach's Go the F**k to Sleep to prepare yourself for the sleepless years to come and have a good laugh. (P.S. It is not a guide book on how to get baby to sleep, it is a humourous look at parents who have tried for years to get their children to sleep during the early childhood years.)

One of the ways I used to get baby to sleep was through music. Music soothes not only baby but me too! I remember I used to go to one of those online songs for children sites. Whenever my firstborn could not sleep, I would pick her up and hold her over my shoulder, then I would play those free midis and sing or hum along as I did my work  blogged. It worked perfectly. Music calmed her down and me down as well.

Otherwise I would have been so worked up. The only problem I did not manage to resolve was how to let baby stay asleep. Quite often after she drifted off to sleep with my bad singing, I would put her gently down in the cot and there would be peace and silence for ..... 5 minutes. Then she would be up again. Thank goodness for the relaxing music even though it is just children's music.

Like I said, my only advice is to grit your teeth and tell yourself "this too shall pass" because they grow up so quickly. Now my kids are 7 and 9, I think if I try to sing, they'd say "Mummy, please, I'm trying to read." They have this habit to read every night and the first thing when they wake up and during mealtimes and waiting times and just about any time of the day.

You can visit my Squidoo lens for more Children's Songs to sing with your child. I have made a very nice list with previews and recommendations of online sites offering kids songs with lyrics, free midis, sheet music etc. Do check it out: Children Songs Lyrics and Music. You can sing with your child while they are awake and not only to get them to sleep.

Back to the subject on sleep, when all fails and you are ready to tear your hair out and it is the middle of the night and you can't get back to sleep, perhaps you'd like to have a good laugh and read Go the F**k to Sleep by Adam Mansbach. Please don't read it to your kid. It is an adult book with adult humour and swear words. It will probably make a great Father's Day gift. :)

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Planning for Home Ownership

I think that all parents should plan for home ownership as early as possible. Once the baby comes and once they start schooling, there are many other expenses we have to worry about. If we keep on delaying taking up a loan, you will find that you will never find the right time to buy and own a house of your own.

This is even more so for parents who are military members. It is better to plan early and look around for a suitable military mortgage. One of the greatest benefits of a VA loan is being able to purchase with no down payment.

In addition, the veteran mortgage rates can be rather competitive so qualified veterans should take advantage of this during home purchase planning.

Here is an overview of the VA Home Loan Program from the Department of Veterans Affairs where one can check on eligibility, how it works, size of loans and the steps in the process.

Veterans of Foreign Wars who are eligible should take advantage of the VA Home Loan Program. Despite its name, not only veterans are elible, active duty personnel, certain reservists and National Guard members as well as certain specified classes of spouses are eligible too.

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Monday, July 11, 2011

You don't have to be stuck in a rut

One of the ways, not to get stuck in a rut is to keep on learning. There are so many things to learn in life. Education does not stop after school, college or university. In the school of life, education and the persuit of knowledge is ongoing.

You can learn just about anything.

A musical instrument, a new game or sport or hobby. Anything at all! I am a 45 year old housewife. I have been a housewife for some years now. (Actually I can't remember the exact years...)

However, in the last couple of years, I have learned so many things. I have learned Chinese Mandarin, I have learned the piano, practical as well as some music theory. I have learned blogging and all the things associated with blogging and I am still learning. I learned some basic html and css as well as some basic SEO (Search Engine Optimization). I am learning how to write articles and I practise everyday. I learned a little belly dancing on my own, just to make my exercise regime more interesting. I also learned how to make some homemade soya bean drink and pandan kaya recently.

There are so many more things I would like to learn.

If I had more time, I would want to learn how to draw cartoons as well as how to draw using the pc as a tool. I want to learn baking and flower arrangement and yoga and how to dance more Latin dances and how to sing. I have taken up Latin dancing and singing classes when I was much younger but what fun it would be if I had the time for it now.

As I said, there are so many things to learn. How can you be stuck in the rut if you are constantly learning? I find that lifelong learning is the best way to get out of any rut. Why not try it? Pick up a new skill, learn something new today.

Learning motivates you to learn even further. Learning is fun. Think about it. What would you like to learn today?

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Thursday, July 07, 2011

Dressing up during Pregnancy

Dressing up during Pregnancy. The celebrities do it. They have no choice. They have an image to maintain for fans. Besides, they probably have wardrobe and image consultants plus body and make-up specialists not to mention assistants to make sure not a hair or hem is out of place but what about us ordinary folks?

Bad Morning Sickness

Dressing up during pregnancy is a chore, well for me at least. It would take considerable effort for me to look presentable and good during pregnancy. Forget about looking like the ever lovely Angelica Jolie pictured above.

This was especially more so because I had very bad morning sickness during my pregnancies. Not just in the mornings as its name seem to suggest but all through the day AND night, each and EVERY day. There was no letting up!

Comfortable Maternity Clothes = Ugly?

I remember one of my favourite outfits during my first pregnancy was a  navy blue, small checked dress. It looked rather like a table cloth but it was comfortable and cooling (very important!). I wore it all the time, even though it did make me look like a walking table cloth!

Then there was this oversized yellow T-shirt that was a hand me down. The wearer before me had found it to be comfortable too so she passed it on to me. It was old and being a T-shirt, the hem had become out of shape as the rest of me were.

When you are worrying about whether you can keep down your next meal, you wouldn't have the energy nor the inclination to worry about your looks, believe me. Where to throw up without making too much of a mess was my at the top of my worry list then, not how I look.

I wish I had known about barf bags!

I did it in the car, in the drain, at the malls and anywhere else which was convenient and nearest before the "volcano" errupted. I hear they sell barf bags now like the airsickness bags they have on airplanes. How convenient. In my time, I had to carry a plastic bag along with me all the time. Once I had to take my plastic bag out in the middle of the traffic lights in town during a traffic jam!

Another time, I had brussel sprouts and before I knew it, I had to pick brussel sprouts from out of my nostrils because I had had the most violent projectile vomit I ever experienced. They don't call it "projectile" for nothing!

Dressing up during pregnancy? Hah! I choose comfort anytime. Can you tell that I am not of those lucky types which simply glowed during pregnancy?

Shoes for Pregnant Ladies - Heels or Flats?

What about shoes? No heels for me that is for sure. I remember I wore the lowes of heels to work and I had to walk down the hill and across the road from my carpark to my office every morning at the time. One morning, I was walking down the hill as usual when SPLAT!

I had to consult my gynae and worried for weeks about the baby after that fall during my first pregnancy. Your centre of gravity shifts during pregnancy so balance it up with good shoes. Heels during pregnancy are a no-no. I threw out my heels after that and wore flatties. Besides there are many nice looking ballerina flats these days.

Comfortable Maternity Clothes = Not Ugly!

I smartened up during my second pregnancy. By then, the maternity clothes became trendier and with "smarter technology" haha. They had trousers and skirts that could expand magically to fit  your expanding body. So I had the chance to look a bit more presentable as I was able to select some nicer mix and matched outfits with prettier blouses in sweet and bright shades to match those magic expandable bottoms. I said goodbye to my blue checked navy cloth dress but still wore it occassionally because it was really comfortable and cooling.

If you are pregnant, remember the most important thing is your baby and your comfort. Do remember to take care of yourself. If you really have no energy, it is ok if you don't look like a celebrity. Don't feel miserable about it. It is only a short time in your life and before you know it, you can dress up again. Or you can get one of those magic expandable outfits and mix them around like me and still look presentable. :)

However, be warned, that high heels aren't exactly the kind of shoes made for chasing after a toddler but then that is another story. Don't be scared off by this. Everything will be worth it. When you gaze at your newborn, such frivilous matters like  how you look will slip to the back of your mind. Really!

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