Monthly Archives: April 2007

the viking at the hospital, in pajamas

We arrived at Children’s Hospital at 6:40, 5 minutes ahead of schedule. I was carrying Ben in a fleece blanket; Henrik carried everything else.

I think the people who work there are screened for heightened kindness.

From the time we walked to the greeting desk, to every pa, nurse and MD we met, we heard soft voices and laughter. Gentle smiles. Encouragement. And Ben’s surgery was one considered to be routine.

We hadn’t been in Children’s before, and architecturally, I have to tell you it is stunning. Open spaces, high ceilings, colorful representational art, aquaria everywhere. Henrik was impressed with the facilities and staff as well.

What wasn’t routine: the pre-anaesthesia medication they administered to sedate him may as well have been kool-aid. It had no impact, as a stunned anaesthesiologist returned to our room to find Ben with full motor coordination and playing a normal game of hide and seek with the privacy curtain. As a result, I had to walk to the OR with him, and hold the gas to his little face. I didn’t cry until I got back to our little waiting room and told Henrik about his resistance.

How it went: swimmingly. ENT came to speak to us immediately after surgery. Benjamin did very well. The ENT found “a great deal of thick mucus” in his right middle ear (mama bolts up in her chair for that one), and less in his left. (It’s gone now, as part of the procedure involves cleaning out infected fluids from the middle ear.) His adenoids were “quite large, infected, and there was much infected mucus.” He reminds us to make a follow-up appointment, then we wait for him to be brought to us from the recovery room.

I hear a cry of “mommy!” and say “That’s him.” The nurse has me return to the big chair and sets him in my lap with a warmed blanket. He is very groggy, and I notice how he curls up with me. He is still in the little yellow polyester johnnie, and asks for the big fleece blanket he wore into the hospital instead of a coat. True to the ENT’s remarks, there are bits of dried blood on his outer right ear, and from his nose. He sits curled up while we follow the instructions of the post-op nurses – not too much fluid, little bits at a time, watch out for nausea. (His appetite is ravenous. He wants a box of popsicles, I think.)

One nurse is particularly kind, as I was the first to recognize the pin on her namebadge as “grateful dead bears”. (Later, I had to break the news to her that I was the only person at UMass in the 80’s who was a liberal and couldn’t stand the Dead. I was forgiven, particularly when I told her about working the Stevie Ray Vaughn show in ’86.)

Including a stop at a grocery store to get some basic foods (and, omg, jello, for Ben), we were home before 11am. There were some prolonged hugs, where Ben would come up to me and just lay down. Then there was some regular 2 yo behaviour. And a demand for more food. And one vomiting episode, a technicolor orange masterpiece, thanks to a dangerously colored popsicle.

This morning, when he woke up, he wanted toys. And his meter-long fire engine with migraine-inducing sound. He was so active, so energetic, that I couldn’t see keeping him home. My pajama-ed viking set sail today in big boy clothes, asking “what’s that” about sounds previously were mired and now float along into an open ear.

Thanks to BlueMilk, the dilettante and Koalie for their kind wishes and support. It helped me a lot.

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Filed under adenoids, anaesthesia, calmness, hospital, keeping it together, morning, mother, Motherhood, mothers, myringotomy, news, parenting, personal, sick day, son, support, surgery, toddler, Toddlerhood, women, worry

parents helping each other

Yesterday, in the surgery reception area, Ben met a little girl at the fishtank. She explained to me that Marlin was in fact the name of Nemo’s daddy. (I had thought Marlin was the name for Dory, silly me.) Ben decided that this was the kind of person he would want to play with… a smart older girl.

I chatted with her mother in good humor, and learned that the little girl had a hole in her heart and was there to have it patched – a successful technique pioneered in the last 9 years. You could have knocked me over with a feather.

She was positive, with a warm smile and let me know that yes, she was just holding it together, just as I was, because that’s what moms do. I wanted to hug her, but was afraid I would cry. Her husband came back to the waiting area with coffee, and was met with a hearty “I love you” – another personally connected truth about the sustaining power of java. If all goes well, she and her daughter go home today (yes, the day after surgery), whole. My heart is with them.

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Filed under children, coffee, compassion, courage, hospital, keeping it together, Love, Motherhood, parenting, support, surgery, women

toddler surgery tomorrow

Tomorrow, Ben goes to Children’s Hospital for day surgery. He’ll have a tiny grommet put into each eardrum, through which will be threaded an even more slender tube. He’ll also have his adenoids removed, in order to reduce blockage of his eustacian tubes.

I’ve read all the “Weekly Reader” level materials provided by the ENT’s office, as well as more detailed papers I was able to find searching the Web with medical terms. I’ve prepared Ben as best I can, explaining that we went to this hospital before, when he was a little baby. I told him that when we go, the doctor will give him some sleeping medicine with a mask, and when he is sleeping, he will fix his ears. He seems to be taking it in, noting that we’re not going to the hospital today – not yet.

But internally, and through little uncontrolled seepages, I reveal myself to be a complete wreck about it. Mostly, the going under.

I understand now the nature of my calm under pressure. I take surprises well. That’s not to say I don’t plan or research things, but given lots of time to consider bad outcomes, I have some trouble. Particularly if I have to hand off taking action to someone else.

Wish us luck. And medical competence. And calm awareness.


Filed under anaesthesia, anxiety, calmness, ear infections, eartubes, ENT, hospital, mother, Motherhood, son, surgery, toddler, worry

dic – desert island cookbooks

A good friend has recently taken up cooking as a new hobby, and his revelation prompted me to think about what books I’d want as my starter set. My top 5:

  • How to Cook Everything, by Mark Bittman
  • Verdura, by Viana La Place
  • Rosie’s Bakery All-Butter, Fresh Cream, Sugar-Packed, No-Holds-Barred Baking Book, by Judy Rosenberg
  • Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, by Marcella Hazan
  • Biscuits and Scones by Elizabeth Allston

Other authors would finish this off at a tight 9 – Madhur Jaffrey, Paula Wolfert, Richard Sax, and the world that is the Molly O’Neill “New York Cookbook”. And while none of these are strictly vegetarian tomes, they have already provided me with years of wonderful ideas and meals. And for number 10, I’d pick the epicurious search engine.

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Filed under cookbooks, cooking, home cooking, kitchen, kitchen companion, recipies, Uncategorized, vegetarian, yummy

sandwiches in paper

We’re spending most of our “evenings out” at Red Robin, in part because they offer two different varieties of veggie burger (standard gardenburger and boca patty), and as they have many foods for small fingers. The young staff is both professional and patient.

And so this ends up being the first time in a long time I’m eating “burgers” in public. The sunny, humble presentation of a burger, wrapped in paper and nestled into a basket with fries makes me remember my days as a little tyke, when it would be a real treat for my mother to take us out to McDonalds, or perhaps Friendly’s, for dinner. (Friendly’s had the bonus of real ice cream.) Crinkly paper, licking salt and ketchup off my fingers, all of the sounds and habits come back, in the presence of my son (self proclaimed to no longer be a baby, but vacillating between little and big boy).

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Filed under childhood, eating, family, fast food, Food, fries, ketchup, memories, memory, toddler, vegetarian dining, veggie burgers

candy for breakfast

One of Ben’s first phrases was “Mommy’s coffee,” said with clarity and a hint of reverence. Ben has yogurt or waffles, Far has oatmeal and juice, and Mommy has, well, coffee.

Recently, a wise woman from the blogosphere mentioned an Italian drink that combined coffee and bubbles, with not a small amount of burnt sugar, called Bibicaffe. I couldn’t resist trying it. The smell is heavenly  – caramel and espresso. The taste doesn’t quite meet the smell, but holy cow! Candy for breakfast! I may need to keep a stash on hand for those special Erasmus B. Draggin mornings.

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Filed under Blogging, breakfast, candy, children, coffee, comfort food, Erasmus B. Draggin

when typos reveal underwear biases

marathong – any amount of time I’d have to wear one.

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Filed under funny, typos, underwear

gringa salsa

Almost 20 years ago, I began making my own salsa from the center of innovations of Mexican cooking – my mother’s kitchen, Dedham, MA. It was inspired by as likely a source as the kitchen – a recipe in the Boston Globe for “Chunky Corn and Tomato Salsa”. (Don’t chuckle too hard about the latter; the sunday Globe magazine was a treasure trove of really great food.)

Over the years, I made some adaptations. This recipe, though, is an evergreen, since it uses canned tomatoes. I drop the corn now more often than I use it;

  • One 28 oz can diced or chopped tomatoes in juice, drained
  • Juice of one juicy lime
  • one small bermuda onion, diced
  • one minced jalapeño pepper (optional heat)
  • 3 small garlic cloves, minced or grated with a ginger grater
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • pair of comfortable stretch pants

Combine all * except pants * in a non-reactive bowl. Let stand for 2 hours to let the flavors blend. Put on your stretch pants in anticipation of emptying a full bag of chips to accompany the delicious salsa. Serve salsa at room temperature with lots of chips. Enjoy.

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Filed under appetizer, Recipes, Recipes for the Soul, Recipes yummy!!!, snacks

on online anonymity and its price

I’ve been thinking about the issue of anonymity as I wade more frequently into the comments tributaries that grow from the various rivers of the blogosphere. Anonymity provides an essential shield for people in a world where stalking and retribution are commonplace and not effectively curtailed.

Unlike many free speech absolutists, though, I’m not comfortable when enabling  criminal behaviour (threats of sexualized violence, assault and battery, and murder) is the price for protecting the vulnerable. Some big rivers in the blogosphere carry some particularly noxious pollution on strong currents, saying that the targets of these threats, largely women, need to get tough enough skin. And take it. Perhaps the reason women bleed when struck is another weak skin issue.

I don’t propose to have an answer to the anonymity issue. I do know that condoning threats and actions of violence, especially sexualized violence, is not an acceptable compromise. Joan Walsh does a better job than I of putting anger, frustration and exhaustion over this issue into words, though the comments devolve into chest-beating defensive blather.

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Filed under accountability, ambivalence, anonymity, Blogging, disconnect, Feminism, men, misogyny, protection, sexual harrassment, stalking, surveillance, violence, violence against women

was I ever that young? nah, just green.

I was watching Tantek’s vlogs from sxsw when it dawned on me. I don’t think I have ever been young.

I have spent more than the average amount of time green, and in some areas deliberately. (Still do.) There is no question that I am of the dork persuasion, if occasionally relatively well attired. (The fact that I thrill at others’ stories of the awkward moments in dating, and can remember which items I bought for which first dates should tell you something about me that is, well, embarrassing.)

But young? Not really.

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Filed under dork, green, single, young