Fleming Florey Moyer and Me

In 1943 my grandmother was living in Alabama with her parents while my grandfather was engaged in Top Secret War Work (in Michigan of all places; the following year they moved to Los Alamos - ahem.) That winter my father - who was two at the time - developed pneumonia and became sicker and sicker over the course of a week. Eventually the doctor told my grandmother that he feared the child was dying and that she needed to call his daddy if he was going to make it back before the end. It was thirty-five years later as she told me this story and obviously there was a happy ending but my grandmother would still lower her voice to a whisper when she got to that part.  

"However," the doctor added, "there's a new drug available. I've never tried it and I don't hold with these things in the general run but... well... at this point it certainly can't hurt."

"So I agreed to try the new drug," my grandmother would finish the story, "and do you know what that new drug was? It was..." (dramatic pause - she was a great one for the dramatic pauses) " PENICILLIN!"

And that was my cue to cheer, which I always did.


That was my earliest salute to antibiotics but this week was marked by a couple more:

1. Three days of azithromycin (yay! azithromycin! yay!) and a repeat check with the pediatrician and Edward's lung are now crackle-free. I think we caught his pneumonia early and I am very glad that we did. So heads up, my fellow sufferers, if you get the flu, get better and then get a cough and a fever several days after recovering get thee to a physician.

2. By Thursday night I was so desperate to clear my sinuses I actually resorted to the irrigation technique that so many of you were urging. I admit that I have a dread of snorting water up my nose that dates back to unfortunate childhood swimming pool incidents and I have steadfastly refused the whole idea of a saline nose flush on principle alone. However, needs must and after two weeks of not being able to taste or smell anything I was getting really depressed. Thus, I mixed salt and warm water and found a suitable squeeze bottle and commended my soul to the nose gods and... nothing happened. I was so congested that - apart from a very wet and salty shirt - I couldn't even tell that I had just snuffed 5 fluid ounces of saline into my head.

So I gave up on the garlic and the mentholatum and the hot compresses and the elevated pillows and the salt watery deluge and I went to the urgent care on Friday. The guy said, wow, do you have infected sinuses or what, and I said snuh, and he gave me a prescription for amoxicillin (yay! amoxicillin! yay!) and it took several days but I no longer feel like my head is muffled in a burlap sack and I am pretty sure that I was able to taste a little bit of tea essence this morning.    


The pediatrician's office called on day two of Edward's pneumonia to say that they had reached his name on their seasonal flu vaccine list; did we still want it? I said yes I suppose we do; so we waited until after he was done with antibiotics and then got Edward's lungs checked before both he and Caroline got vaccinated and as an extra-special bonus Edward's pneumonia and Caroline's previous RSV issues bought them an H1N1 vaccination as well. I worried that the double vaccine whammy would fell them but they were fine. The nurse said that they will need an H1N1 booster in a month so I should call for that appointment soon. Today I did but was told that they are unable to schedule it after all since they do not know if they will have any booster shots in December.

Ai yi yi.

I am not so worried about the lack of boosters for Caroline and Edward or any vaccine at all for Patrick (whose advanced age of seven did not qualify him for any flu vaccines yet) since I am 1000% positive we have already had a visit from the H1N1 fairy but now I feel guilty for bogarting the vaccines we just got. If I had realized they were running out again I might have said no. It's a tough year for parental decision making.


I didn't get a chance to mention this, what with the pneumonia and my mother coming to visit this weekend, but I took Edward for a speech evaluation last Monday. It was low-key and fun for him, especially since she started the evaluation by handing Edward two toy cars. Edward will pretty much tolerate anything provided he has a car in each hand. She sat there and asked him to identify different pictures and then they did a little role-playing and then she said that they like to be able to understand about 80% of what a child says by this age and when Edward spoke she was able to understand... nothing. Zippo. Na Da, as Patrick used to say before speech therapy when he wanted a strawberry.

And I said, "Yeah, well, there's that" because, really, in a clinical setting it was hard to ignore that Edward gabbles.

So the pathologist is putting her report together and will request services through our insurance company who theoretically covers these things but who might balk at the fact that he is less than two and ask that we repeat the evaluation in six months. Personally I would find that sort of.. well, silly... since I called them before the evaluation was done to ask if we are covered and to talk about this very issue (his age) and they told me to go ahead and have him checked so... we'll see. I cannot say I am looking forward to the logistics of getting Edward to twice weekly speech therapy but I *am* looking forward to his not running over to slap my face when he feels like he is not being understood by someone. Also, it might be nice to know what he is talking about without Caroline's somewhat dubious translations:

Edward, tears streaking down his face, runs toward me, jabbering incomprehensibly. Caroline - in the other room looking nonchalant and grasping one of Edward's cars - observes, "Eddybear's SO SLEEPY."


Without getting into it too much, Patrick is not having a great year at school. I had a meeting with the teachers a couple of weeks ago and failed to get much accomplished and - although I think it is a good school - we (meaning Steve and I; Patrick LOATHES change) are wondering if he, personally, would be more productive elsewhere. Last week I talked to the woman who runs the magnet school for kids who test as X and she is willing to make a space for him in their second grade classroom as soon as we would like it. If we would like it.

Pros: challenging work that Patrick would probably wallow in like a happy swine; small class packed with kids who probably share many of Patrick's interests; funded out the gazinga due to a grant they just received     

Cons: 30 minute drive (each. way) carpool possibilities questionable; does one just pull a kid out of his setting in the middle of the year; did I mention that Patrick is happy at his current school in a lazy kinda way and he LOATHES change?

I know I haven't given a lot of details but I would love your thoughts in general. What do you do when your child is having a not-so-good year at school and a better but less convenient option exists? Do I go back to our school and try to be more aggressive in getting his needs met? Do we go with the school that sounds - on paper at least; Patrick and I are going to visit on Wednesday - as if Faberge might have designed it just for him? If it were about my needs I would leave him where he is. I like it and I love our carpool. Of course if everything were about my needs I would be sitting in my bathtub right now eating fudge instead of sneaking in a blog post while I use the high speed internet offered by the library to try to upload files for Steve's work.  

PS I taught Patrick chess on Saturday and we have played a dozen games since then. In, like, five minutes he became one of those crazy chess obsessed people in the Park. Every time I turned around this weekend he had set up the board again and was waggling a white pawn at me. Do you recommend any computer chess games? I, uh, hate chess and I am terrible at it and... let's just say that Patrick needs a robot chess buddy before I start disappearing the pieces, you know?

PPS Edward's speech report just came in the mail and somehow he's in the 47th percentile for expressive communication. What the..? Damn it, there's no way my insurance company is going to pay for speech therapy for a kid who is deemed average. How can he be average? She says in the written section that he tends to use only vowels when communicating. Vowels! How is that average? 

PPPS Patrick hates to spend money and has thus amassed the small fortune of $211 in his piggy bank. Last weekend he decided that the $11 was untidy enough to bother him so when I took the kids on a run to Target he brought it with him. Possibly to spend. Maybe. He saw this inflatable bouncy thing marked down to $22 and pleaded with me to go halves with him, noting that he could use it to practice his trampoline and tumbling. Since we had to leave his last T&T class early due to extreme lip-splittage following an ungainly connection of knee (his) and face (also his) I was not unmoved by these entreaties. Frankly, any practice he can get would be a good thing. So we bought it and lugged it home and unpacked it and... I don't know what Patrick and I were envisioning but the box seriously mislead us as to the dimensions. We were picturing something that could hold an average sized boy and instead


Edward has a new favorite place to read.

I gave Patrick back his $11 since it didn't seem fair that he had unintentionally used his money to buy Edward a bouncy slice of paradise. 



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