Category Archives: health

Being a Bad Mother

A colleague and I were talking last week about our children and I had a confession to make: I had kept the Bigster at home for 4 days before taking her to the doctor, because I thought she had some sort of generic virus and I’d just be told to keep her home and warm for a few days and she’d be better. (Note: I did the same thing to myself in March/April and nearly burst an eardrum, so you would think I would have learned my lesson). Of course, when we finally did see a doctor, it sparked the whole does-she-or-doesn’t-she-have-glandular-fever crisis which turned out to be “she doesn’t, but we don’t know quite what she has, and it’s behaving a lot like glandular fever”. And I had a big dose of Mother Guilt because I should have KNOWN that it was worse than just a virus and taken her to the doctor sooner. Which, admittedly, would just have sparked the does-she-or-doesn’t-she a little earlier – but I would have felt less guilty. And I would have Done The Right Thing, which is important.

“Don’t worry,” said my colleague. “My daughter hurt her wrist and complained about it. I got her to wriggle her fingers and they were fine, so I told her to stop complaining. When she complained again an hour later, I told her she was over-reacting … but eventually we went to the doctor and it turned out her wrist was BROKEN! Oh the Mother guilt”

To which I was able to tell the story of the Bigster’s broken ankle, which went much the same way.

And so on.

Does every parent have a story like this? I suspect they do.


Posted by on May 14, 2012 in children, health, parenting


One of these things is not like the other one.

For those who do not follow my every word on Twitter: I have news. Not great news either.

After she’d been sick (lethargic and achy and generally blah) for a week, I took the Bigster to our family doctor yesterday.

I have two words for you: Glandular Fever. Or, for those in the US, I have one. Mono. Suspected, at least. She had blood tests done yesterday.

And this is where Fraser’s and my reactions diverge.

Because this was my reaction:

  • OMG
  • Glandular Fever!
  • Kissing jokes!
  • OMG!
  • Crap.
  • Who do I need to notify?
  • When will we get blood test results? Will they even tell us anything?
  • Is she contagious? (NO)
  • Need to think about work schedules if she does have it. Can’t just leave her home all the time.
  • Ring school to notify that she won’t be back until AT LEAST the end of next week.
  • Tweet to notify THE WORLD.
  • Ring Fraser to tell him.
  • Think of some more kissing jokes. Explain why she is going to have to get used to them EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE VILE AND DISGUSTING AND OMG MUM SO INAPPROPRIATE.
  • Look up Glandular Fever on Better Health Channel. It’s fairly benign. Give it to her to read.
  • Go to school so she can pick up the textbooks from her locker.
  • Go to Kmart so she can buy some books even though she can’t concentrate to read them.
  • Go to Safeway and tell her to pick ANYTHING ANYTHING SHE LIKES to eat. She chooses, among other things, chocolate-coated popping candy. I buy it.
  • Text work to warn them that I might be around less in the next weeks and certainly next week.
  • Get her to ring my mum. Listen to her trying to reassure her grandmother.

And here is Fraser’s:

  • Agree to work from home one day next week.
  • We shouldn’t talk about anything beyond that because we don’t have final results.

There is a balance there somewhere.

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Posted by on May 5, 2012 in children, health, parenting



My family home was on a hill. A steep hill.

Some of you may remember it.

That hill was so steep that my dad’s old VW Golf couldn’t actually drive up our driveway. My parents built a new garage at street level and converted the old garage into a study and playroom. There were 25 steps up to the house and when elderly relatives visited we would put a chair out for them at the halfway point.

When my dad had a stroke, the ambulance crew called for another ambulance, just so that there would be four of them to carry him. Then they drove one of the ambulances up our neighbours’ driveway so that they would only have to get down half the steps.

One day, a car driven by a drunken hoon came down our street and ended up halfway down someone’s driveway. On the other side of the street, because we were on the high side and it wouldn’t have got that far.

True stories. No exaggeration.

A quite steep empty lot

The people who bought the house knocked it down. And the block has been like this for about 5 years now. You can see how steep it was though!

The upside was that we had fantastic views. Our neighbours, who had a small upper storey, must have had even better views.

And the downside, for me, was that I wasn’t allowed to have a bike. Because of the hills, and because I have always had a pretty crappy sense of balance, and because my mother worried that I was going to die horribly if I had one. She may have been right, on those streets.

Also, sports? Not exactly my thing.

My brother got a bike the year I was 11, when I went to Germany for Christmas. 1981. I still remember. They bought a VCR too.

Anyway, moving on from the bitter disappointment of my youth. A few years ago, one of our neighbours put a bike out on the footpath with a “please take me” sign.

“That looks like a good idea,” I thought. “I can learn to ride a bike and it will be free!”

So I took the bike to the bike shop and spent an amount of money getting it fixed. Possibly as much as a new bike would have cost. At least a crappy one. But I was going to ride everywhere and be super healthy and lose lots of weight and be fit and a good example for my kids. And the bike had been free.

And then I got on the bike.

And then I fell off the bike.

And I tried – again and again. And I got a personal trainer to try to show me how to ride the bike. And I fell off – again and again.

And eventually even she said, um, this is just not working. Which, in hindsight, perhaps I should have expected. Given that I can fall off an exercise bike.

So I gave the bike to Fraser and I think he used it twice. And it has languished, ever since, under our carport. Because the girls need bike riding practice, but Fraser gets frustrated when they get frustrated, and it all ends in tears. Often mine, because I have to pick up the pieces after the explosive expeditions.

And meanwhile, I have no bike. And Otto likes to ride her scooter to school, which means I trot along behind her carrying her bag, while she spends more time waiting at the crossroads than actually riding her scooter.

And then I had a brilliant idea.

A pink tricycle

Tricycle image from Flickr: earlycj5. Creative Commons licensing.

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Posted by on April 24, 2012 in bike, grand plans, health, weight


Milking my family for sympathy (NOT)

More mentions of vomit within. Also a cat poo reprise. You have been warned.

After being told that I had fractured a rib just from vomiting I was, well, spewing. But I figured that I should at least get one night’s sympathy from my family. And I would milk it for all it was worth.

I started via SMS:

Me: Hope your day went well especially the Latin test. I went to the Dr and it turns out I vomited so badly 2 weeks ago that I FRACTURED A RIB omg!! See you when you get home xxmum

I was pleased with that. Caring loving parent who thinks about what is going on in her child’s life and then WHAM! FRACTURED RIB! and then caring loving parent again. Maybe she would bring me chocolate?

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Lessons in Medicine. Which gets a little gross.

I learned all sorts of interesting things today.

For example about parts of the body.

Here is a diagram of some parts of the body that I know. (I do know some other ones but it would be pretty dull if I listed all the tarsals and carpals and things. And much more interesting if I listed some of the others but I strive to keep things PG here).

ankle stomach ribs humerus ears etc

It gets icky behind the “More” link, if you are still on the homepage of my blog. Consider yourself warned!

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Obsessing about Teeth

How much do we all hate going to the dentist? I am completely useless about it and generally end up curled in a little semi-catatonic ball under the doona afterwards, even when the trip was just to have my teeth cleaned and checked.

My kids mostly don’t hate it, which is great – ever since a cock-up with the Bigster’s teeth when she was 6 or 7, I have taken them to a specialist pediatric dentist. They’re up to an hour’s drive away, which is not so great, but the dentist we see is so lovely and reassuring for the girls that it is worth the hassle.

We had their six-monthly checkup this morning. No fillings required, which is great, especially for the Bigster who has “poor quality enamel” and needs to take special care of her teeth. But Otto has an abscess that is going to require removing an existing filling, treating it and then re-filling it (ugh). And Bigster may need braces.

Now this is weird. We had thought / hoped that the plate she wore for nearly three years would stop her from needing braces. And she does in fact have a lovely smile. All straight and even – the issue is actually at the back of her mouth. When she bites together, her lower teeth are in front of her upper teeth. This means that over time (and we are talking decades), her back teeth will wear at the front rather than at the back. Which is apparently a line-call sort of thing.

We’re getting a referral to an orthodontist who will be able to give us the big picture. Lovely Dentist wasn’t sure that she DID need braces, but she was sure that we need to have the conversation.

If she does get braces, it will apparently mean 6-weekly visits for 18 months or so.

I will not let that influence my decision.

I will not let that influence my decision.

I will not let that influence my decision.

But yeesh.

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Posted by on July 20, 2011 in children, health


Bigster’s foot*: The true story.

* not to be confused with Bigfoot, please.

Cast your minds back a week or so, to last Saturday. The one before last, actually. The 13th of November. A fateful day. Bigster has returned from high school orientation camp and is hanging with a friend.

"I am happy. I think I will ride my scooter."

Ouch! I fell off my scooter! My foot hurts!

OK I can hobble on it. That's not so bad.

Some hours later …

Umm, oww

Bigster and Fraser go to the Children’s Hospital and return in the astonishingly short time of around two hours.

They think it might be FRACTURED!

These crutches will take some getting used to

And they do.

And we wait to hear from the hospital about our follow-up appointment.

We have to wait a WEEK to see the Doctor?

Finally, the big day comes, and the cast is cut off.

Believe it or not, I am now LESS swollen and bruised. I promise!

The Doctor is not sure. He even fetches a colleague, who is also unsure.

Well, we still don't know. Blah blah CT scan blah anaesthetic and tests blah screw in ankle blah my sonic screwdriver will do the trick

OK maybe without that last bit. But that would be REALLY COOL.

And so, the cast is replaced and we begin our sacrifices of large amounts of cash to the parking company at the children’s hospital. Because it’s all very well to socialise medicine, but you can’t socialise parking.

Not loving my new, bigger but still temp cast.

And we return, and have the scan, and make an appointment to return again tomorrow, no wiser.

Yah. So we still don't know what I did or how they will fix it. Sucks to be me this week!

The end … for now …


Posted by on November 22, 2010 in children, health