Monday, July 20, 2009

I can stand up straight!!

This morning I meditated on the goodness of my Lord.

This time last week I could not stand up straight. I was walking around bent over.

We figure it was my attempt to put the washing on the line first thing in the morning that did it. A basket of wet laundry is quite heavy after all, for me at least.

That is why I once went into an awful strop at Toddlers when there were effectively just two people putting out all the toys and equipment. I could not stand back and not help, but I knew that if I did I would have massive problems the following day.

For months we could not understand why I found it so painful to get out of bed on Saturday mornings. We decided that it was the lifting and bending over, etc, on Friday Toddlers that did it.

Any way, so I was at CenterParcs, OK with cycling bent over, but walking rather awkwardly.

We brought our microwave wheatbag/hot water bottle. It was there on my back pretty much the whole day. Then I slept on it.

Tuesday morning I had this fear: what if I put my feet on the floor and there is still massive pain?

I put my feet gingerly on the floor, and stood up, s-l-o-w-ly, and then shouted, "I can stand up straight! Praise the Lord!"

There was still some pain but I could stand up straight. I am not going to be the Hunchback of Nibthwaite Road. Yo! That's mighty good news.

Back home now and received a cc copy of my consultant neurologist's letter to my GP. He found that I was pretty much normal on most counts, but there was wasting of abductor pollicis brevis on the left, but weakness was worse on the right.

It's scary when your consultant says your muscles have shown some 'wasting'. Is it going to get worse? Could it get better? What has caused the wasting?

Also not very nice when he described that part of my palm as being 'podgey'. Me? Podgey?

In the end he tells me that he is almost certain that it was bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome. Most people have this problem on one side. I must be one of those he said are "wired differently" and have to have this on both left and right.

But he wants an MRI scan on the neck to rule out the worst.

Me: It's not a degenerative nerve disease then?

Consultant: I don't think so.

The letter tells me now that I am also required to undergo a neurophysiological study at Charing Cross. I feel like I had been scratched, poked and prodded quite enough. So not looking forward to another of those pokey tests.

Well I do have extremely tiny wrists. I think I have to lay off the dumb-bell work in my aqua-aerobics. (But how else do I get those toned upper arms???)

The thing is of course I do the aqua to reduce the creaking in my knees and to keep the arthritis at bay, not for vanity. (The creaking knees are from running and basketball in my youth, I think.)

So when you are skirting 50, different bits of the body call time, it seems.

Apparently Tom Watson nearly (nearly) won the (British) Open after a hip replacement. There is hope for me yet.

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Friday, July 10, 2009

She's only two (Part 2)

This blog post refers:

Last Toddlers session this morning for this school year. My son came along to help with the 'money-changing'. He's very good at this.

I was wondering if Mum-without-a-clue ("G") would turn up. Childminder ("J") was there and said, "O dear! Maybe she won't come again. But her girl needs to keep coming here."

Mum with blonde hair (let's call her "B") arrived. She told me that we have better watch out for "that little girl" ("M"). She could see her, she said.

"Where?" I asked. My responsibility was to check in parents and toddlers and any visitors. I need to account for every person who is in the building for health and safety reasons. In the event of a fire I am to blow the whistle, lead the folk to safety. Most importantly I must grab all the attendance cards with me so that I could account for everyone.

I hadn't seen M.

"There she is in that blue dress."

"That's not her."

B saw the back of a little Asian girl with jet black hair and assumed that that was M. Immediately a bell rang in my head: Wait. You did not even bother to see the little girl's face and you are making an assumption.

When things quietened down and my son and I had a breather from checking folk in, signing out parking permits, collecting money and giving the correct change, registering new families, etc. Mum G turned up with M.

I was really pleased to see her. But as usual, she did not wait for me to check them in properly and plonked down £1 coin on the desk. First of all it's £1.50 please. Secondly, please do not just slap the coin down on the desk. Please give it to my son, who's the 'treasurer' today.

Anyway I then talked to her about my plan. J has agreed to shadow G for the morning and quietly give her pointers on how to control M. That is, if G would agree to that.

She checked that it was to take place at the session, not at home, etc.

I introduced the two ladies and assured G that J will never touch her child and left them.

Some time later J came along and said "the mum's not listening", but proceeded to write her contact details for G to contact her, just in case.

On further probing it appears that the Mum IS trying. But she is totally unaware that she could use different 'voices' to indicate her feelings to her child. When J told her to say something to M, she did, but in a voice that does not reflect her own authority.

J was certain that little girl M is a very jealous girl and the mum would be in trouble when the baby arrives. UNLESS she gets some help. Mum assumes that she would be able to cope with baby arrives.

I was going, "O no! If she blows and the child is hurt Social Services will remove her, and the baby ...."

At the end of the session I was able to have a brief chat with G. She did not indicate any negative feelings about the morning except that "the other mothers angry".

I assured her that the other mothers are not angry with the child, but felt that for her own good, her own safety, she had to be controlled.

We were standing on the road. I said our children know, for example, to come to the end of the road/pavement and stop and not run off. For their own safety they must learn this. Her reaction seems to suggest that she had never even thought of this aspect of discipline.

I also noted that she could use a different tone of voice. I turned to M who was all smiles and friendly with me now. She waved goodbye to me.

I said, "Look, this is my son. Say goodbye to him." Mum translated. M waved another energetic wave. All smiles.

I was surprised. I could possibly be the first person outside the family who was firm with her, told her exactly what to do, etc., and today she was 'my friend'.

What was good to see was there was no argument between mum and daughter. I think G is making some progress.

The surprise of the morning really was J (the childminder) telling me that B (mum with blonde hair) is "not very nice".

Another sad observation today was that another mum told me that she discovered a mark on her son's chin and it appears that one of the bigger boys had squashed his chin last week. If these incidents are not reported to us immediately, there is nothing we could do.

This mum described the boy as "the foreign boy", to which B added , "that Somali boy?"

Today was the "that Somali boy's" last day and I did not want to make a fuss of it. He is actually one of our success stories. When he first came he could not sit still. Now he sits down to have his juice and biscuit as he is supposed to. He is generally polite to me. When I tell him off (eg 'driving' into the babies area), he responds.

Last week when I saw that he was very sad while his mum and sister were still at singing session I took hold of his hand and said, "Mum will be with you in two minutes."

Of course he had no idea what two minutes meant. "Count one to sixty two times and they will be finished. Could you do that?"

I sat him on a chair. He started counting, using his fingers. When mum and sister finished he was a happy bunny.

The big question is, why did mum not witness the incident herself? Parents are supposed to supervise their children AT ALL TIMES.

So I, foreigner #1, am getting nervous about people making assumptions about others on the basis of colour of skin, clothing, etc. It does not give me a good feeling.

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Sunday, July 05, 2009

Fourth of July

Hectic morning at Toddlers on Friday. Difficult mum did not show up so we could not put into action what was planned for her.

Back home I realized that in the hurly-burly of the week I had completely forgotten to buy HIM a birthday card for HIS 50th.

So having sorted out what I needed to sort out I hurried along to the shops thinking that I would just have time to buy the card and head back to school for the Leavers Service.

I rummaged for my purse as I entered the first card shop I came to and searched, and searched, and searched, and realized that I had forgotten to bring my purse in my distracted state of mind (having to switch TV on for mum-in-law for her to watch Wimbledon, eg).

There wasn't time for me to get home. I rummaged again and thankfully found some loose change I had thrown into the bag, and two plastic coins from my son's toy cash register.

In the end I was delighted to find a 'husband 50th' (not '50th husband, note!) card that I could afford. Yay!

Yesterday we had a little celebration with family and close friends at a very nice restaurant not far from us. That kind of restaurant where food comes in very tiny portions. In the end we did feel very full, however.

When sister-in-law gave husband his "50 today" badge son and I remembered what we forgot.

This morning, enroute to church, I ordered a balloon on son's behalf. This was duly delivered to son while I was at church.

Husband is now the proud recipient of a helium-filled balloon with the words, "Old and Grumpy" on it.

He's still smiling and we are still married. So he can't be that grumpy.

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