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November 2011
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December 2011


Sorry to leave the lungs as a cliffhanger but for what it is worth my own mother had to ask me today whether I had ever heard anything after my chest xray. Because a mother WORRIES. I was, like, ohhh, sawry (I love how Canadians say this word) did I forget to tell you... ? Anyway my lung nodule is gone and the radiologist said that a follow-up CT scan would only be necessary if I had been a heavy smoker; defined as a person who smokes a pack a day for thirty years (nope) or two packs a day for fifteen years (nuh-huh.) Steve suggested that this defintion could be expanded to include seven thousand cigarettes in a single day and I hesitated because I went to a Fiji islander once and drank approximately 400 beers so it is possible my concurrent tobacco consumption skewed similarly high but... I think I am ok. I probably stopped smoking that day some time between losing one of my shoes and being fireman-carried home by old whatshisface. Probably.

Over at Rancho Sinus, the Mayo guy clicked his tongue at me when I called about Patrick. He said it was possible, even probable, that Patrick's infection is getting worse rather than better with the augmentin. He said the problem with long running infections (exhibit A: Patrick) is that the germs involved are generally varied and stubborn. Ideally we could culture him to figure it out and treat exactly what he has swamping around up there but the minimally invasive options to do so are nil. So, trial and error it is. He has switched him to sulfamethoxazole, for which I have high hopes. First, Patrick has never been on a sulfa drug before; and second, sulfa is not only an antibiotic it is an antifungal. While we have no specific reason to believe that Patrick's infection is caused by a fungus... why not? 

I just received the written report from the Mayo yesterday and while it did not add much to my general understanding of what is going on inside Patrick's head it did contribute a few specifics, like my new word "pansinusitis" (meaning all four - four! google tells me that the sphenoid sinus does not usually develop until adolesence but Patrick has one. two? dunno - sinuses are diseased.) Oh and the fact that Patrick has them in the first place; that his maxillary sinuses are the most affected by disease of the four and that the only part of his head that ever hurts (just above his right eye) is adjacent to the only sinus he has that is healthy. Go figure.

Anyway, I am watching him like a white sauce over high heat and I think (think? think) he is improving. I think.

Someone in the comments asked (I will assume sincerely) why we are treating something that does not have discernible symptoms. If he don't feel broke why fix him et cetera. This seems like a reasonable question so the short answer is: the longer the air pockets known as Patrick's sinuses are filled with pustulent swamp fluid the more likely it is that it will seep through the bones of his skull and eat his brain.

Speaking of which, THANK YOU for recommending Jonathan Coulton on the strength of Patrick's fondness for the Portal/Portal2 closing music. I listened to snippets on itunes and promptly bought one of his CDs for Patrick for Christmas. It has "re. Your Brains" on it (a zombie song featuring the line "we're not unreasonable/ I mean no one's going to eat your eyes") and it is literally the present I am most excited about giving him. And speaking of thank yous, a big one for the book recommendations and Terry Pratchett it is. Wee Free Men is sitting on the counter waiting for us to finish the last disc of Darke.

Someone in the comments mentioned the challenge of finding good books for...

...holy cats. Patrick just walked into the room and asked me if I have a copy of "that poem" about Hiawatha and if so will I read it to him. I must seize this moment before it is gone forever but I swear by all that is good (like cheese and the second half of the second Lord of the Rings movie) that I will return tomorrow when the twins are at preschool and pick up again.

Hiawatha! Not my favorite, of course. I mean it's no Highwayman but still! Patrick! Asking me! To read him a poem!

Outta here.

Oh! In the meantime please consider this question - Patrick's best friend is a girl. She comes to our house to play about once a week and we are very fond of her. She's a sweetheart and they get on very well together (they disappear into his room for hours where he plays Minecraft and she builds with Legos and then they switch - it's like big kid parallel play.) Since they are fourth graders and best friends they have talked about having a sleepover and...  help me out here. I know you embrace a wide range of experience and I am firmly convinced that collectively you not only know everything but you are always right. So boy/girl elementary school sleepovers with or without guest bedroom usage: please discuss. 

PS Patrick and I used a random number generator and selected the winners for The Golden Ball book giveaway (I didn't hear back from one person - probably a rarely checked email, alas - so we did 11 in total) If you heard from me congratulations and I hope you enjoy the book. If not thanks for your interest and maybe Patrick will be willing to raffle off some tie-dyed socks next time. He loves to do them but we're running out of feet.

PPS When I was growing up we had Spooky on the top of our Christmas trees. Spooky started (I believe) as a Mexican Day of the Dead hand puppet... anyway. Last year my friend Julie knew how much I wanted to recreate this beloved childhood memory so she surprised me by creating and sending a lovely angel of death (complete with a skeletal hand holding a plateful of cookies upon which is also perched a dove with x's for eyes - I'll post pictures again. it is made of awesome) for the top of our tree.

We were talking about decorating our tree tomorrow (guess who forgot they had thrown out the broken tree stand last January 1st? Us! Guess whose freshly cut tree is currently in a bucket on the front porch? Ours! Guess who is out of stock on Christmas tree stands? EVERYONE LOCAL! Guess who saved Christmas? Amazon Prime, naturally) and Steve and I got enthusiastic about getting Creepy (aka Spooky II) out again. Tis the season after all. Patrick, who disapproves heartily of Creepy, channeled his inner old guy and said that we really need to get a nice, appropriate star for the tree this year.

Steve and I said no way, we love Creepy.

Patrick insisted, we resisted, dinner progressed.

Eventually Patrick said the only thing for us to do is to divide the tree into five segments with masking tape so we can each decorate our own section. Every time I think about this idea I start laughing again. It's like the perfect background for the definitive dysfunctional family Christmas card.

I think we'll do it. And I get to decorate the top.

PPPS Not that it matters (I have just come downstairs to get the Highwayman. I'm on a roll here people) but I saw Corie's comment and wanted to mention that Patrick's friend is being raised by her dad. So the mom to mom talk thing is not possible. Steve could do the dad to dad talk thing but I'm not really sure how a discussion on whether the current Vikings' quarterback has two to three year potential is going to further things. Steve has set up several playdates with this guy and it never ceases to amaze me that they can spend ten minutes on the phone without ever establishing: a) what time she will arrive; b) what time she needs to be home; c) whether we need to drive her; and d) whether she has any life-threatening food or pet allergies.

PPPPS I'm not really sexist. I'm teasing. Steve is a fully actualized and equal co-parent and the friend's father is amazing.

PPPPPS Although they were in charge of trick or treating and none of the children wore jackets.

That Uncomfortable Hugshake

Starting a blog post after a prolonged and unnecessary (it's not like I was doing anything wildly interesting that prevented me from reaching my keyboard) absence is always awkward for me. It's been over a week... do I mention the morning that Caroline projectile vomited all over the couch and Edward spent the rest of the day doing an excellent impersonation of Steve's reaction?

["And then Daddy said, 'Aaaaauuuuugggghhhhh!'"]

We had a weekend guest. Steve turned 44 and I threw a birthday dinner for him. Patrick seems exactly the same after two weeks of Augmentin (maybe even a little puffier around the eyes?) so I have a call into his doctor at the Mayo to get instructions before I refill the prescription.

Patrick's sinus infection epitomizes my parental worry that something will be wrong with my child and I won't know it. I mean, obviously I know it on some level or we wouldn't be treating him at all but it really chops my onion that I have to guess all the time. His nose never runs and he never sounds congested. He never runs a fever. His bloodwork looks normal. When a practioner pokes a scope up his nose they never see anything concerning. Most frustrating of all when I ask Patrick how he feels he says, "Fine" unless he is curled under a blanket with his fist pressed over his right eye in which case he says, "How do I look like I feel?" And I can't even descend upon him with maternal wrath for the sassmouth because clearly he's ill and he probably doesn't realize how annoyingly preteen he sounds.

Where was I?

Right, wringing my hands over the fact that the only time we are able to absolutely confirm that he is still swimming in infection is when he gets a CT scan and unless he wants to pursue the supervillian career we discussed as Day-Glo Boy I would like to try to limit his xposure-eay to all that adiation-ray. But if the antibiotics aren't working at all then we need to stop them and figure out what to do next but it is impossible to know if the antibiotics are working... see above.

I am biting my thumbs waiting for the doctor to call back. I am also biting my thumbs because I had my repeat chest x-ray this morning and even though I am fairly sure the lung nodule is gone and/or nothing to worry about I keep remembering my childhood in the asbestos mines of Brazil and by "childhood" I mean "high school/college/ several years post college" and by "asbestos mines" I mean "Camel Lights." Yes I was stupid and yes I regret it but there you go.

Change of subject and tone: books. Books books books. Books!

Patrick and I finished listening to the Keys of the Kingdom series by Garth Nix. I confess I was a little disappointed by the end. Without spoiling it for you I got all excited by the last book trying to figure out how he was possibly going to resolve the arc and... huh. I suspect he wasn't totally sure how he was going to resolve it either.

We are now on the latest book of the Angie Sage Septimus Heap series (Darke) and all I have to say is... swoon. I really really really love this series. I had been thinking of audiobooks mainly in light of the fact that they made commuting to school less boring but it recently occurred to me that listening to a story together is an experience unto itself. Patrick and I and the characters kinda hang out for the duration of the book and my reactions and his reactions get incorporated into how I feel about the book. It's a nice bond.

I have Eragon set to go next but I am hesitating. It is massive and that's just book one. Is the series good? Is it worth it? Will we like it? Anything else to recommend? I am contemplating the next whatever it is by the guy who did Percy Jackson but just between you and me I thought those books were dopey. Patrick liked them (which counts) but Greek mythology was My Thing in elementary school and I cannot help but feel it could be done so much better. Also, forgive me, he's not that great of a writer. Decent storyteller, yes, but meh on the prose. 

So book recommendations, please, for Patrick and me (yeah I know, AGAIN) and for you and the younger set I have something special. For the first (and probably last) time ever I am facilitating a book giveaway. And not just any book, but one which has been written, illustrated and self-published by one of my readers. It is a retelling of the princess and the frog and it is called The Golden Ball by Katelyn Sinclair.

To be honest I would probably give her a plug regardless because she leaves me helpful comments and I am supportive like that but it's nice that I can do it without violating my strict ethical code because the book is REALLY GOOD. I think you and/or the smallish person in your life will really enjoy it and you can check it out in its entirety here (this links to a movie-let of the book being read - quite fun) or you can see the book on Amazon here.

She is giving away ten copies (eleven, actually, as Edward and Caroline are getting one too - apparently I can be bought with the perfect execution of kickass iambic tetrameter) so if you would like one just leave a comment to that effect along with an actual email address that will reach you. I will do one of those random number generating things to select the ten and that's it. Oh, wait, no, it isn't. If you get a copy of the book I'd love it if you would come back to my blog at some unspecified time in the near future so that we can have a little online focus group for the author. Give her some constructive feedback. Deal? 

To sum: I'll come back and let you know what the Mayo says. Ditto whether I still have my lung thing. You will let me know what Patrick and I should listen to next and whether you would like to be included in a drawing for Katelyn Sinclair's book.

I think that's it. I promise to write more often, even though it's just fiddling life stuff. Life is in the details after all.

PS Oh! Witch and Wizard by James Patterson. Patrick is reading it and he LOVES it. I haven't read it personally so I am not absolutely certain it doesn't contain illicit drugs, foul language and naughty sex but as far as I know it is appropriate'ish for a nine year old.

PPS Holy cats, I didn't realize I had so many book ads up. Please check them out, too.