Monday, February 28, 2005

Leaden Skies

The view from my window is bleak today.....although four species of plants are in blossom, the sky is leaden.
We have had a few flakes of snow, and the clouds are heavy -laden but reluctant to drop their load.

Last night was bitterly cold, at -10 degrees, and as we passed the lake this morning on the way to school, 90% was frozen solid with some very unhappy ducks and seagulls perched miserably on the ice. I did take a photo, but since the re-imaging of our PC on the weekend, we haven`t yet reinstalled the software to transfer the photos from my digital camera.
I will try to get that done soon :-)
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Sunday, February 27, 2005

Lenten Reading

What are you all reading for Great Lent ?

I am looking for suggestions, in addition to my project to finish reading "My Life In Christ " by St John of Kronstadt.
It is a glorious and heavy book, which I want to keep reading all the time, but I find I always read too much in one go and then have spiritual indigestion.
It is best read in very small chunks and digested thoroughly, as it is a book of great spiritual depth and wisdom :-)
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Unseasonal Weather

The much-predicted snow did not arrive in our part of the country , much to our disappointment.
Other parts of the UK have had enough snow for people to go sledging in, and to have schools shut .
Abby is now 3, and has never seen enough snow to be able to walk in, let alone make a snowman. She is a deprived child :-0

It has, nevertheless, been bitterly cold here.........I have been seen to be wearing a T-shirt plus thick jumper plus wool long cardigan indoors even *with* the central heating set at 30 degrees.........not to mention the electric blanket to warm the bed up before I get in it :-)
My excuse is my arthritis , which gets significantly worse if I get cold - yet I still long for snow....go figure !

Personally, I blame it on the hormones, having reached the end of my reproductive life. Either that or the onset of nostalgic senility, LOL !
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New Arrivals

Regular readers may remember the advent of our two budgies, democratically voted into the family as Mary and Joseph.
Sadly, Mary became ill on Thursday and died in the early hours of Friday morning.....
We buried her in a nice part of the garden.

After cleaning and disinfecting the cage, and ascertaining that Joseph continues in excellent health, we decided to get a replacement........
well, we ended up with another three birds, as we couldn`t decide amongst them. Luckily we have a palatial size cage, which can accomodate 4 birds easily.

We now have:-
Dash (male), who is green and very active and named by DH after a character in The Incredibles.
Alice (named by DD1 after a character in Resident Evil....thanks, DoomHamster !) She is pale green with a yellow head.
Violet (named by DD3 after a character in The Incredibles) She is pale blue and grey, with violet cheek patches.

So now we have two males and two females, and everyone seems to be settling in well. Alice is extremely bossy, and elbows the others off the perch if *she* wants to sit there :-)

They are busy chirping as I type.
They are such cheerful birds to have around, and so very pretty.
I hope one day to see a flock of them in the wild in Australia !
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Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Dental News

Abby`s trip to the dentist went well yesterday; the extraction sites have healed well and so has the abscess drainage incision site.
Yippee !

Just for those of you who may have been wondering, the abovementioned DD4 has a rare genetic problem called Amelogenesis Imperfecta, which means that when she was a developing fetus, her teeth did not mineralise properly.

As her baby teeth appeared, they quicky wore away and lumps of enamel disintegrated, allowing bacteria easy access and infections to set in, as well exposing nerves.
She has had to have many teeth taken out and has had to put up with a lot of pain in her short life.

She had metal caps put on all her molars in Sept 2004, and although they worked well for most of her teeth, she developed an abscess under two, and because the teeth are capped, it wasn`t possible to see there was a problem developing.......hence the recent hospital admission.
Not fun, but necessary.
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Tuesday, February 22, 2005


Many thanks to you for your kind comments and prayers during Abby`s recent illness !
I am pleased to report she has now finished all her post-operative antibiotics, and is looking extremely healthy.
She visits the dentist on Tuesday to check out the extraction and drainage sites, but everything is looking good.

Today was urgent shopping day, as she has grown out of her trainers and needs a pair of decent shoes too.

Not to mention the fact that my only pair of winter shoes have started to leak ! So, £100 and four pairs of shoes later, she and I are fully kitted out on the foot front. To be fair, my last two pairs of winter shoes lasted for nearly four years of daily wear, walking virtually everywhere.
I just hope these two new pairs are equally sturdy and long-lasting.

God willing, it will be playgroup as normal tomorrow morning, unless we actually have the predicted possible snowfalls.........
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Sunday, February 20, 2005

The Hospital Saga

Abby developed a swollen face on Weds 9 Feb.
She was seen by a locum GP on Thursday 10 Feb, who thought it may be sinusitis or an abscess and prescribed Co-amoxiclav, which she hated. It was a battle to get her to take it , and she is normally very good at taking medication.

By Friday 11 Feb, her face and eye were badly swollen, so our own GP saw her, prescribed Amoxicillin and said he felt it was a dental problem. He advised us to contact him if her face was not significantly better by the following day, and also to see our dentist urgently.

We saw the dentist within half an hour of leaving the doctor, and he immediately diagnosed the problem as a dental abscess. He also agreed with the advice our GP gave.

Well, Abby took her Amoxicillin, but on Sat 12 Feb, it was obvious her facial swelling was increasing, so we called the GP who arranged urgent admission to the hospital for IV antibiotics.

At the hospital, the admitting doctor agreed it was most likely to be a dental abscess and started an IV line with two lots of IV antibiotics being administered simultaneously. He told us that if we hadn`t brought her in, the infection could have damaged her eyesight on the one side if left untreated.

On Sunday, the swelling around her eye was very slightly bettter, but her cheek was rock hard.
The consultant paediatrician did a ward round and verbally and publicly took me to task about our very carefully considered decision to withhold the MMR vaccination, which I thought was a bit strange. Basically it became obvious that no-one really had a clue what was wrong with Abby.........

On Monday, 14 Feb, the consultant came round again and examined Abby, and was most conciliatory. It was decided that an ultrasound scan of her cheek might be beneficial, and this took over 6 hours to achieve. A huge pocket of pus was identified on her cheekbone, and the radiologist said he felt it was of dental origin.

On Tues 15th, everyone continued to look blank.
At one point, I was told she could not have a dental abscess because she was still eating, and it wold be too painful for her to eat (!)
No-one had got the results of the blood cultures , which were taken on Sat am, and are available normally in 48 hours. Although the swelling around her eye was improving, the swelling on her cheek was not.

By mid-morning, someone actually decided to call in the Maxillo-Facial team. They are based at Hospital Two, but run a clinic at Hospital One, where we were.....
The junior doctor who saw her said he wasn`t sure, and wanted the consultant to see her.
Fair enough, so at 2 pm we trundled up to the Maxillo-Facial clinic where a lovely gentleman close to retirement age took one look at her as she walked through the door, and declaimed "This child has a dental abscess !!"
When he found out that she had been in the hospital on IV antibiotics since Saturday, and had not been referred to his team, he was most upset, and said that Abby should have had urgent surgery to drain the abscess on the day she was admitted !

The upshot was that he insisted she have emergency surgery that same day, and we were advised to take her in our own car (because it would be significantly quicker than waiting for ambulance transport) to Hospital 2 where the surgery would be done that same evening.

When we got to Hospital 2, we only had a referral letter from Hospital 1, which had retained her notes, so when the new admitting doctor saw her, he said that she had apparently initially been suspected of having Mumps at our first hospital.

I was incandescent with suppressed rage at this point.
I am not stupid; I am a midwife, and I do know the very major differences between a dental abscess and mumps.
I find it very frightening that these doctors in Hospital One obviously didn`t.......

Think about it....if a child possibly has a highly contagious disease, would you put her in a 6 bedded ward with other children ?

Anyway...Abby was on her way to the OR within two hours of arriving at Hospital Two, and she was treated wonderfully and highly professionally.
She was in theatre for 45 minutes, and had to lose two right upper molars and have the abscess drained via an incision in her mouth. She was put on yet more IV antibiotics, but within 12 hours , she was looking brilliant, with very little facial swelling, and she was full of beans.

We were allowed home on Weds 16th Feb on the understanding she would religiously take her two oral medications for 5 further days, and Glory to God, she is now doing brilliantly well.

I find it really frightening that there can be such lack of communication between various medical specialties, and also such apparent lack of knowledge about differential diagnostic techniques.
Why should it be possible for the medical and nursing staff at Hospital 2 to be so much better than most of those at Hospital One ?

The National Health Service is a lottery, I am sad to say.
I could say a lot more, but it is time for me to stop ranting before I raise my blood pressure :-0
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Thursday, February 17, 2005

Good News and Bad News

Abby has come home at teatime today (Weds).
We have had a horrendous 5 days in hospital, culminating in emergency surgery last night (Tues).
She is on the mend and doing well now, but I am exhausted and need to go to bed....over three nights, I had less than 6 hours sleep. Last night was great, I had 4 hours, LOL !!
Thank you all for your prayers, they are much appreciated, and may God bless you all :-)
When I feel human again, I will blog about our experiences :-(

The bad uncle Jim died suddenly this morning.
May his memory be eternal.......
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Saturday, February 12, 2005

Prayers Coveted

Dear friends,
I am sorry there has been very little blogging this week, but our precious little girl Abigail has been poorly.
She has a dental abscess which is profusely leaking pus into the surrounding tissues.

At the moment, she looks like she has been in the boxing ring with a pro, as her eye is nearly swollen shut and the whole right side of her face is badly swollen and rock hard and tender.

Her antibiotics were changed this morning, and we have been told that if there is not significant improvement by tomorrow morning, she will be admitted to hospital for IV antibiotics.
As you can imagine, we are worried sick, and would welcome your prayers for the 3 year old handmaiden of God, Abigail.
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Monday, February 07, 2005

Going Back In Time

I watched a movie called Timelines on the weekend.
I won`t spoil the plot for those of you who may not have seen it, but basically a group of people go back in time and one of them falls in love and decides to stay back in 14th century France when his companions return to the modern-day world.

This film really captured my imagination, and today I started to ponder whether, if the opportunity presented itself, whether I would want to go back in time, and to what era.

Caveat 1 - I would only consider it if my husband and children could go with me too :-)

The obvious one would be to go back to bible times and see Our Lord, the Theotokos and the disciples in the flesh, and to see the most important events the world has ever seen.

Other than that, I would love to go back to a time when Orthodox countries existed throughout the live in a predominantly Orthodox world, and not be the odd one out, as I am in my modern life, would be amazing, and a great blessing.

I would love to live an Orthodox life in the context of, and support from an Orthodox society.
Possibly I would choose to go to Byzantium, to live in Constantinople, and to worship at the Church in Blachernae........sigh !

Other than that, I think it would have to be 19th century Russia, thanks to Fr Vassily and the wonderful satire of The Onion Dome :-)

Or St Petersburg, to meet my dear St Xenia !

The major problem would be the knowledge that life expectancy would likely be short for most non-royal folk. I don`t think I could watch my children suffer as so very many mothers have had to.............

Where would **you** go, and when, and why ?

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Blogger has eaten my post !
I am so cross, I could scream.
Rant, rave, shout.
Maybe even throw things.

I am too cross to type it out again.
Stupid Blogger that I am . I should know better than to hit the Publish Post button without having first BACKED IT UP! How could I be soooo stupid ?
Beats head on keyboard and gets QWERTY embedded backwards on forehead - a modern-day equivalent of wearing a dunce`s cap :-)
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Sunday, February 06, 2005

Nice News

I had a very welcome phone call late this afternoon to announce that my dear friend Elly has been safely delivered of a second daughter :-)
Glory to God !
Many years to Elly, Sean, Lucy and baby Emily Katherine !!!

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Saturday, February 05, 2005

Strange Encounter

After dropping D3 off to drama class this morning, I decided to fill the intervening hour before the class ended with a quick walk up to town to buy more toothpaste.
I cannot get on with Colgate ...yuck.
It was off to the chemist`s to buy good old Arm and Hammer fizzy paste. :-)

DD4 was happy in her pushchair for a change, and she wanted to know where the moon was. Even if the moon had been out, she couldn`t have seen it because of heavy cloud cover, and I tried to explain this in simple terms.

A man walked by, and said loudly whilst looking at us "Answer me this can you get a job when the house has already been built?" . He swept past at speed without waiting for an answer.

I looked a little taken aback, and just laughed , thinking maybe he was using a hands-free kit on his mobile phone, and was actually talking to someone else, but the rest of the time we kept him in sight and earshot, and he never said a single word more.
I would love to know the answer to his question, and why he asked it in the first place.......

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Domestic Hospital

It`s that time of year still, when small children `s immune systems are exposed to myriads of viruses, and get pole-axed by 90% of them !
Our domestic hospital now only has D3; on Weds it was myself and D4 as well.

D1 (the infamous DoomHamster) has been under the weather for a couple of weeks , and is "under investigation" by the GP, especially as D2 is still suffering from the after-effects of glandular fever (mononucleosis) which she had last July....

D3 has been running a raging temperature and had a streaming cold and cough. The noises my poor little girl makes whilst asleep have to be heard to be believed, and would certainly be worthy of a BBC sound crew making a special trip to record for posterity......or a horror film. :-)

DH is upstairs watching Eddie Murphy in "The Haunted Mansion", whilst the two young `uns are watching "Finding Nemo".

Each time I watch Nemo, with Marlin desperately struggling to find and rescue his son, I think of Christ as the Good Shepherd, willing to go even through Death to rescue us, His sinful children.
May we be worthy of the rescue.....

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Icons, icons, everywhere !

What is it about icons ?
I can never have enough of them.......

I found a great site with loads of lovely icons, some of which you can click to enlarge and save or print eg page 61.


We only have icons in seven rooms in our house so far, and I am working up to complete coverage except bathroom and toilet.
I am still looking for a suitable way to have an icon safely displayed in the garden, for those rare days in summer when you can actually go outdoors in the sunshine :-0

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Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Bribery and Corruption...

Tuesday is now playgroup day for DD4, and it starts at 10am.
DD3 has to be in school by 08.45.
It takes 15 minutes to walk home after dropping D3 in school.
It is a 30 minute walk to the playgroup.
There didn`t seem much pint in going home for only half an hour maximum, so we went straight to town instead after we said goodbye to big sister.

It has been a truly glorious day; blue sky, hot sunshine, and only a very gentle breeze instead of our custmary gale-force winds, so D4 and I ambled up to the promenade outdoor cafe on the seafront, found ourselves a nice table and chairs with a fabulous view over the beach, and indulged in a cappucino for me and an ice-cream for her.

It was so warm, we even took our coats off as well as our gloves.
Bear in mind, this is something we couldn`t do on several days last August :-) LOL.
It was a pleasure to sit and watch the waves lapping on the shore as the tide came in, with seagulls mewing and circling over head. There was even a boat to watch as well. What more could a three year old ask for ?

I did eventually manage to prise her away from watching the waves with the promise of playgroup, and the good mood continued as she coped really well with 25 other children in close proximity, all running and giggling and playing happily. It was lovely to see her happy and joining in, and settling down.
We didn`t even have a monumental tantrum when it was time to leave, though that again might have had something to do with the bribe of a fresh hot sausage roll from the bakery in town :-)
Bribery and corruption - undesirable in politics, but sometimes necessary for parental mental health !

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All Dressed Up And Nowhere To Go !

DD4 was a little disappointed yesterday that the TV crew didn`t film her class.
They were all spotless and raring to go; even her class teacher was wearing mega-smart clothes for THE BIG DAY :-)
Oh well, her fifteen minutes of fame will just have to wait a little longer...... at least others in the school were filmed.
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