Saturday, May 21, 2011


From Christmas lights 2009

So... we have this theory: Evelyn Anders is a miserable lady because she was never named Miss Chick at Poultry Days. What do you think?

In a high school class of 119, there is no great honor in winning Homecoming Queen. Who was she competing with? Evelyn Anders needed a win from a larger pool. Miss Chick? Everyone would say she had the hometown advantage. She cast her view more widely.

She flat-out refused to consider even entering the queen pageant for the Eaton Pork Festival. Miss Piggy? Queen Sow? Similarly, she ruled out Bradford’s Pumpkin Show- too easy for the comments to turn ghastly.

Annie Oakley Days. Only at the last minute did Evelyn understand that SHOOTING was part of a winning package… and that didn’t include shooting the team that was setting up the next target. Eliminated.

Minster’s Oktoberfest. Her place in the finalist group was snatched away thanks to some unspeakable accident involving massive quantities of beer.

Nearing the end of senior year came the big county-wide senior dance at Rossburg Chevrolet: The Rossburg-a-go-go. Certain she would win, Evelyn was crushed when a ballot box stuffing scandal (her words, not mine) awarded the price to the bitch (her words, not mine)from Russia. No prize. No tiara. No Chevette.

So, Evelyn deigned to enter the Miss Chick Contest. Designed her poultry themed dress. Practiced her wave. Arranged with her uncle, the squirrelly one, to borrow his convertible. And………

Maybe she won. (Still it was a year with a lot of hate and the win a cheap, no pun intended, hometown honor. Everyone said that!)

Then, again, maybe her crown was pulled at the last minute when it was revealed that she was far too closely related to the very vociferous group of radical vegans who were at the time of the crowing, defacing the world’s largest omelet.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

50 Reasons I Love You #1

PhotobucketYou were born! (And thus Love entered the world (again) and, eventually, my life.) Happy 50th Birthday!

Friday, May 06, 2011

The Size of Babies.

From Zuperfliegen
While describing a photo of Zuperfliegen, my friend Christine recently made a comment that I've heard before...something to the effect that she'd forgotten how small newborns are. I suppose in 6 months or 2 years or a decade, I might feel the same way. Right now I'm struck by how BIG he is. All of THAT was inside ME?

I found this statistic on the adhesive protector from a sanitary napkin: "When a woman is pregnant, her uterus expands to 500 times its normal size." (See photo from March 30 - you'll be convinced.)

And, while Zupe at birth weighed only about 6% of my weight, he was over 34% as tall as I am! Of course, that 54 centimeters wasn't stretched out in my abdomen, but curled up in what is so appropriately called The Fetal Position. In the photo above Zupe is a bit more than 1 week old. He's actually lighter than he was at birth - so this is mini-Zupe.

I knew that and I knew he was head down for the last 4 to 6 weeks. But, it wasn't until he was born and I was looking at his body that I understood that the "foot" I was always shifting off my midline was more likely a knee. I never even considered that I was being "elbowed" by elbows and knees. I was only thinking about hands and feet (while still puzzling over why his feet would be so low - just under my umbilicus. Perhaps I spend too much time looking at and thinking about dog feet?)

OMG - this is so funny - I just looked at that photo and thought, wow! he was so little. That didn't take long!

Zuperfliegen: Held Hostage

From Zuperfliegen

Let's see. This post should be dated April 15 - Happy 1 week old, Zupe!

We were supposed to be discharged from the hospital on Day 5 - April 13. My obstetrician came by and signed me out and then Zupe's pediatrician came in and did the same. The midwife staff, like Kevin and me, was concerned that there was something not right about Zupe. We discussed the possibility of getting a second opinion.

About that time the ped came back in to recheck Zupe. He wasn't so happy "about his color". He did a second physical exam and ordered some tests: a CBC, pulse oxymetry (measuring oxygen saturation of his blood), and blood gas analysis (oxygen, carbon dioxide, pH...). I watched the saturation values on the screen. His average was in the mid to low 90's. I wouldn't have been happy with those values if he'd been my patient - but I only measure saturation routinely during surgery when my patient is inhaling 100% O2 (well, except for the bit that is isoflurane). The nurse wasn't overly concerned. The ped. wasn't either. Nor was he bothered about the lower than normal O2 and higher than normal CO2 on the blood gas - but he did call in for a Respiratory Consult. (That is Resp- ear- a - tory with the accent on EAR.)

Those doctors were concerned and requested that Zupe spend the night in the Special Care Nursery getting an overnight saturation study that would be analyzed in the morning. And, so, we spend an extra night.

Then, Zupe spends an extra 15 nights.

He had a chest xray, a cardiac ultrasound, a brain ultrasound and numerous blood gas studies. Everything was normal with the exception of the blood gas studies that were done when he was NOT receiving supplemental oxygen.

My observation which I shared with the respEARatory doctors on their first visit to the Special Care Nursery was that his oxygen was good (98% or more) when he was awake and feeding, less when quiet and awake and damn scary (mid 80's) when deeply asleep. Still, it took almost 2 weeks and both the ped and them saying that everything looked OK, until he had a "Sleep Study".

SLEEP STUDY: Photo see below "Onion Head" April 27 post.
Lots of wires and probes and sticky pads. It is a wonder anyone can sleep. During the study a continuous stream of data are collected for later analysis: EEG, ECG, oxygen saturation, chest excursions... Initially this is done while the patient receives oxygen (at the level they've "been on" - for Zupe that was 100 ml.) Then, the oxygen is turned off and this data collection continues. Then, well, then, if you're Zupe, you scare the nursing team so badly they crank up the oxygen a mere 7 minutes later to 250 ml!

So, by the next morning (Thurs 21 of April) the gods have spoken and the word is "Zupe needs to go home on continuous oxygen therapy at 250 mls." Also, that "It will take 24 hours to complete the necessary paperwork and then up to 3 days to get the oxygen in place in your home so he can be released." And, "Hey, tomorrow is Good Friday and this year Anzac Day falls on the Easter weekend so no one will be able to even START the paperwork until NEXT WEEK Wednesday."

An earlier enquiry of the sleep study nurses suggested that once oxygen is requested it takes 3 days to get delivery.

Thinking here: request filed on Wednesday. Plus 3 days: Thursday, Friday, Saturday.

"Will oxygen be delivered on a weekend?"


And, that following weekend is ANOTHER holiday weekend - Labour Day - so that would set us up for delivery on the NEXT TUESDAY!!!!!

Because you are living in a non sequential universe, you know that we got delivery in 1 day and brought Zupe home on Friday.


Once home, we removed our "bands of solidarity".

(Photo above...taken when we first learned we'd be in for a long haul in the SCN.)

Water expires precisely in Qld

From Singles 2011

Maybe because it came from the hospital, but can you imagine that this water is "good" until a specific MINUTE in 2012. Sort of makes me wish I had kept it unopened so I could watch what would happen on July 1st at 5:16 PM. Does it turn color? Is there a puff of smoke? Does it bubble? or, do you just curl up your toes and die if you drink it?

Recorded from a bus in Brisbane

Really. I can't make stuff up this good.

Bus operators are now equipped with DNA kits to assist with the apprehension of offenders.

How is it possible that I resisted the urge to spit? Do you think the driver slams on the breaks? Then, marches down the aisle swabbing the buccal mucosa of each potential spitting passenger?

Spitting is gross - but could this be over-reacting? How often is spitting an issue? Will the fines pay for the cost of buying the equipment for each bus?

Oh, and on an unrelated topic - yet still a sign. This time in the hospital.

Abusive behavio(u)r will not be tolerated - including "excessive intoxication".

Good to know that "just right intoxication" will not be a problem.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Reading to Zuperfliegen

From Singles 2011
Let me begin by saying that I love Kevin. Sometimes, well, rather commonly, we have different ideas about things. For example, I think we should read children's books to Zupe and Kevin - well, Kevin thinks he doesn't understand anything yet, so we should just read OUR books to him.

A rather unromantic idea - but I can understand his logic. So, since I've been struggling to finish Joyce Carol Oates' "Little Bird of Heaven", I picked it up and read to Zupe after his lunch. I had only a page and a half to finish a chapter. I won't put it all here, just a sample.

"In these last staggering minutes of his life my father did not speak, he did not speak to me as if in the urgency of the moment he'd forgotten me, a kind of oblivion had washed over his soul, his hard-as-steel soul and he'd forgotten me, he'd forgotten his wife whom he had so desperately summoned to his side. He'd forgotten his family, his life that had gone bad. For it was his secret knowledge that death is easy, death is so much easier than life. ..I saw Daddy crouching, his shoulders hunched and his head lowered, now his face was turned from me and I could not see if he was smiling, I would never see Daddy's face again and must surrender him now, in his shaky right hand the revolver to be identified in the media as a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson in the illegal possession of Edward Diehl, I saw Daddy step confidently into that blinding light and lift this gun as if about to fire it in a seemingly spontaneous mocking gesture that would be the final gesture of his life."

I don't think it was a good idea.

Attention: We are leaving the linear time line.

I've been gone for a while: weeks if not months. For my own reasons, I want to catch up here. I want to maintain a record of some of my thoughts and experiences. I imagine they won't be particularly meaningful for anyone but myself - and maybe Kevin. And, maybe Zupe, should he ever learn to read and is bored enough to wonder what his parents were up to at the dawn of time. There is some very, very, very small chance that after I catch up - assuming I catch up - I will go back and order these posts.

Yeah. Like that's going to happen.

Monday, May 02, 2011

The Zupe-bird has landed!!

From Zuperfliegen
Defying predictions of another weekend in the hospital, oxygen was arranged and Zuperfliegen came home on Friday!

Finally we are ALL at home! We were concerned that it wouldn't happen until next week . "Tues the 3rd at the earliest"- we were warned on Wednesday of last week. But, we got the paperwork done by Thursday morning and the magic woman at the hospital along with her secret contact at the social agency in charge of the "health card" program pushed everything through so we could get our oxygen and bring him home on Friday.

From Zuperfliegen
Zelda was VERY excited about Zupe. I was a little nervous about how desperately she wanted to get up on the bed so she could inspect him. (Throwing herself up onto the bed which for at least the last 6 months has been too high a jump for her. She made it - without first landing on her back.) I knew she wouldn't bite him - but I thought she might paw at him, scratch him. Because I was getting so anxious, Kevin said he'd take Zelda out for a walk while I fed the baby. She walked for about 2 blocks then turned around. Kevin thought she needed to sniff something she had passed, but she didn't stop. In fact, once she was within sight of the house - she ran! She ran for the a block - pulling Kevin along!

Zupe is on oxygen all the time. He'll have additional sleep studies every 12 weeks. In the history of the sleep clinic, they've only had 1 infant go off oxygen at 3 months. The best case scenario is he'll change to only night-time oxygen at 3 months and then come off at 6 months. Most babies are on oxygen for 9 to 12 months. (I hope he's off as soon as possible, obviously - especially before he decides he wants to be mobile - or start smoking. Damn these baadasssss babies.)

For a full account of Zupe's arrival and subsequent incarceration, I mean, hospitalization, please see my husband's blog, here.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Still singing to Zupe

Welcome here from outer space
The Milky Way is still in your eyes
You found yourself a hopeless case
One that's seeking perfection on earth
That's some kind of rebirth, so