Mom blog: Because I Said So! Preparing the big ones for the hospital

Graydon at MTV shootHa! I’ll bet a few of the mums checking in here think today’s title refers to the biggest boys in the house—the husbands, dads and lovers. While it is important to get them to their doctors (you remind them, you make the appointment, you remind them again), I’m talking about the bigger kids, in my case, Graydon. This boy has been through a lot—leukemia and two and a half years of chemo is the highlight—and the crap just keeps coming. The cure rates of childhood cancer have soared over the last 30 years, but the late-effects are huge and even though they’re being aggressively attacked through research, kids such as Graydon and the sons and daughters of all my fellow cancer parents are the ones paying the price.

A new late-effect has cropped up, and what it means treatment-wise is that Graydon must self-inject medicine every day for at least one and a half years, maybe more. On one of the rare occasions that I don’t spill all here in the Mom Blog, I am respecting his privacy and not blabbing that diagnosis (it will likely kill me—the keeping it a secret part, that is).

So we had a grim appointment at the hospital: two hours of one-on-two to learn how to self-inject and mum-inject. I dreaded this appointment more than my root canals. In the full 30 months of chemotherapy, I’d never given a needle into flesh. Into tubing, yes, but not into flesh. In fact, I, to this day, cannot watch a needle go into me or anyone else. At blood donor clinics, I even ask for a paper towel to go between my arm and the tubing and another paper towel on top so I can’t see the whole thing.

So we come to the sad fact that I needed as much preparation as Graydon did!

• We had a serious talk the night before. “Are you up for it?” I ask. “Yeah. I’m good for it. I don’t think it’ll be a problem.” WHAT?!?!?! Apparently this appointment would only be a problem for me.

• We made a plan for getting to the appointment. One hour before the appointment was to start, the plan fell through. Graydon couldn’t get there. Curse working mothers! Curse convoluted busing systems! Graydon scrounged a ride and grabbed a subway. We were late, but we made it.

• We went through all the paperwork and information the hospital sent. Mind you, it was me reading out loud at red lights, since Graydon didn’t want to hear any of it until the very last minute. Check.

• At the appoinment, ask a lot of questions. I did. So did the nurse, who quizzed Graydon up and down on the diagnosis, history and types of treatment, his treatment and more. Because he’d heard it literally 20 minutes previous, he was all over it. The nurse was impressed.

Then, the final test, the first of some 550 shots, where Graydon just picked up the needle, positioned it, plunged it and counted until he could pull it out.

I WAS SO IMPRESSED. BEYOND WORDS. And let me tell you, if you don’t already know, I am very rarely beyond words.

• A reward. We had lunch in the cafeteria, which Graydon loves for the nostalgia of it all and the peirogis. My reward came in the form of a $4 coffee. We both survived.


Mom blog: Because I Said So! WFMW The perfect garden


It’s Works for Me Wednesday, the day of the week when Shannon hosts a blog carnival for bloggers to post and exchange tips and tricks of every kind imaginable. Once you’ve read mine, click through to her site to find several hundred more!

I love a good garden, but I’m a lousy soil conditioner, planter, thinner, weeder, waterer, even grass cutter. The best things I do in the garden are admire and harvest. You can see my dilemma.

Four years ago I got really tired of my north-facing front garden and front door and all the flowers and planters that failed. I love a hosta as much as the next girl, but pleeeez! I thought, “Why can’t I have a perfect garden like all my neighbours?” (forget about the I-can’t-garden part). So I fled to the fancy craft store and bought silk hyrangeas, the same colour as my neighbours’ because even I know the pH value of the soil determines the colour of the blossom, and I didn’t want to stand out. Into the urns they went, and the reception was good. I branched out into tiger lilies, phlox, tulips, glads, and plenty of grasses.

Am I silly? Is it tacky? I don’t think so. My mother-in-law wasn’t suspicious, people at yard sales complimented me on my lovely urns, the house looks pretty. I get my fill of admiring, my daughter and I garden at dusk, and “plant” when the street is quiet. The only flowers that appear are season-sensitive, which means the tulips are going back into storage soon. I do plant real perennials and some annuals—I had real orange tulips this year, which led the way for the white and pale green silk tulips. There are plenty of real ferns and hostas and greenery. I only purchase at the end of the season, when silk and silk-blend stems are marked down to 75 to 80 per cent off. My back and shoulders and knees never hurt.

It Works for Me!

Here is a couple of not very good pics, my apologies, but my staff photographer had to get to school early today. And since gardening is so not fun, I have sown beans and carrots and chives indoors to be transplanted outdoors later. Check in for ongoing reports!


Bye until tomorrow!

Mom blog: Because I Said So! Friday at the ER

Mom Blogger JacquelynIs there any experience more central to parenting than spending the day in ER? Notice I said “the day” and not “two hours”? When I was a child, it seemed you fell out of a tree, you went to the hospital, you came home two hours later with a cast and an ice cream. Now, emerg is filled with people without family doctors, or who had to work all day and can only afford to be sick at night, or who suspect their cough could be the next SARS.
What brought my daughter and me to to emerg? Stomach pains and nausea so intense she couldn’t go to school again. And it wasn’t a pressure-filled day, it was media day, her presentation was finished, music written, visuals completed, she’d even arranged for her youngest brother to attend her school for the day as a part of her project. It was Friday to boot (and why I didn’t post on Friday, sorry!). It was an excellent day, and yet she was sick again. The last time we’d been to her doctor in this state, the doc said, “Go to emerg next time.” The last time we’d been to the hospital in the same state, that doctor said, “Come to emerg next time.”

So, that’s why we came. Continue reading

Mom blog: Because I Said So! Root canals and raccoons

dscf2936-1.jpgIsn’t this pretty? I am trying today to focus on pretty, sparkly, pleasant things because yesterday I capped off seven days of increasing tooth and jaw pain with an emergency pulpectomy, which felt as horrible as the word sounds. This morning I am off the painkillers, hitting the ibuprophen, taking four horse-pill clindamycin HCL 300mg, my body aches, my jaw aches, and the Mastercard couldn’t hobble through Sobey’s last night for my “soft diet” needs. Oh woe is this mum.
On the happy side, we have a beautiful day here, my driveway is a blanket of electric green bud casings from the maple tree, which thrills Luka to no end, and the lilac trees are just starting to blossom. On the challenging side, the raccoons have figured out how to bypass a two-by-four and snowboard wedged between the garage door and the 400-pound basketball base and weighed down by two cast-iron Christmas tree stands. Which means we’ll be enjoying the wonderful long weekend by cleaning out the garage.

Made your weekend plans yet?
Have anything you’d like to share concerning:
a) garage cleaning and organizing?
b) planning for a garage sale?
c) how to fix scooters?
d) best incentives for kids to pitch in and help?
e) best refreshments for garage cleaning?
Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated.
See you tomorrow!

Mom blog: Because I Said So! WFMW faster, lower-fat sandwiches

Yes, it is time for Works for Me Wednesday, a blog carnival where bloggers offer tips and tricks that work for them. It is hosted by Shannon, so when you’ve read my offering, check out the several hundred bloggers’ tips there!

Shannon’s tip today is that she is on a diet—she calls it Changing and Reducing my Appetite Protocol—and has replaced her favourite Miracle Whip with a fat free version of her fave salad dressing and spreads that on her sandwiches.

spritzers125.jpgWe’re on the same wavelength, but in my never-ending crusade to avoid washing utensils (dishes, cups, clothing, cars, floors, etc.) and to save time, I’ve been using Hellman’s salad spritzers on my sandwich greens—1 calorie per spritz, 0.1 g fat per spritz, no dirty knife, super fast and tons of flavours (Caesar, balsamic, Italian, Asian, raspberry, red wine). So far, there is no downside. How weird. IT WORKS FOR ME!

Mom blog: Because I Said So! Mum’s Day presents

dscf2946.jpgI often say at the end of a posting, pics to come tomorrow, and then like the “I’ll call you! We’ll get together for drinks!” that never happens, so do my photos. But those days are gone. We now have a little light table and two lights, and for the first time in a long time, I’m feeling prepared for something other than disaster!

dscf2954.jpgHere goes:
I love having lots of fun, weird things at my desk to fiddle with and study while on hold, or waiting for a file, or so I don’t have to constantly doodle. Luka knows that, hence his “bought” present this year (as seen above), complete with a lime slice and strawberry stuck inside. He decorated his flowerpot with the mystery seeds with a series of Js so it would be “just for you and no one at your office can steal it.” (Such a suspicious mind! I’ve never even heard of theft at my three-day-a-week office, let alone brought home any stories.) Continue reading

Mom blog: Because I Said So! Mother’s Day

images-8.jpgI hope everyone had a great Mother’s Day, or Grandmother’s Day, or Auntie’s Day. Mine started with breakfast in bed (actually, mine started at 2:00 a,m. when Tessa came rushing into my bedroom in a panic over a fish-tank trauma, but I’m saving that for another day. This is an uncomplicated Mother’s Day post). I was served smoked salmon and capers with cream cheese on a lightly toasted sesame bagel, accompanied by a champagne flute with bubbly.

I got a hand-painted flower pot with seeds (not the original forget-me-not seeds, because Luka dropped his present on the way home and all the soil fell out onto the road and I’m told it as a very tearful time, but a friend helped get more soil and put in some seeds of unknown origin—could be cabbage, flowers, carrots, grass, my friend is no gardener and popped what ever she found in an unmarked seed envelope into the pot) and a pretty paper flower Continue reading