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Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Did you know that salsa and babies go together well?

(This is really going to get me some weird searches. Almost as weird as “How do you make cookies from babies?” For real.)

Last week, in an effort to find something different to do, I signed up for a Salsababies class. That would be salsa, the dance, not salsa the stuff you eat on corn chips with guacamole and sour cream and melted cheese and taco meat.

Now I’m hungry. Dammit.

Where was I? I’m quite tired. I had my hamthrax and seasonal flu shots yesterday – one in each arm and dammit, my arms hurt a lot from that. I didn’t sleep well and then I went and learned the merengue and the salsa. Or I tried to. I’m not really that coordinated on land. Get me in the water though and I am Barishnikov. Except with less hairy legs, I hope.

Add to the lack of coordination an 18 lb baby in a carrier on my chest and it makes for a good workout. I went to Chapters afterwards, and was immediately accosted by two people wanting to help me – I think it was so I would leave faster; I don’t think I smelled all that great.

So yes. If you have a baby, go to salsababies (don’t go and get a jar of salsa and dump it on your baby though. He/she probably won’t like that). If you don’t have a baby, go to a regular salsa class.

Or you could take a cooking class and learn how to make salsa.

Last year, when I was pregnant, I signed up for a flu shot through my employer. I put a note on the form saying I was pregnant and could you make sure to provide the shot for pregnant women instead of the standard shot, please. I got to my appointment with the Public Health Nurse and she didn’t have it. So I didn’t get the shot.

I’m fairly certain I got the flu. It was miserable. Darren was about 10 minutes away from hauling me to emerg when my fever broke. I missed over a week of work.

Last week, Darren had some sort of illness and didn’t go to work. He had all the symptoms of the H1N1 flu. The Poptart and I seem to have escaped it.

So on Monday, I go to the doctor to get my H1N1 and seasonal flu shots. I fall into one of those priority categories at the moment – a caregiver of a child under 6 months of age. The Poptart will be 6 months old on November 17.  On November 24, she gets her 6 month needles.

And therein lies the issue. The original thought was that I would get the flu vaccines, produce antibodies (hopefully) and pass them on to the Poptart by breastfeeding.

Well, it seems the antibodies don’t transfer well through breastfeeding. And its only 80% effective; I may be part of the 20% of the population that doesn’t react to the vaccine.

So we’re leaning towards delaying the 6 month vaccines and getting her an H1N1 vaccine instead, and possibly a seasonal flu vaccine as well.

Leaning. Not 100% convinced yet. Mainly because we don’t understand what happens at the 6 month mark that suddenly makes this vaccine okay for babies.

So questions for the doctor on Monday:

  • should she get the H1N1 vaccine? should she get the seasonal flu vaccine?
  • should we postpone the 6 month needles to give her the flu vaccine(s)?
  • What happens at 6 months that makes the vaccine okay?

On the one hand, I’m kind of leery of giving her more needles than what she needs. On the other hand, I’d feel really terrible and guilty if she got sick and I didn’t do everything I could to protect her.

To all the people who are not:

  • pregnant
  • having a chronic health condition

And starting next week:

  • immunocompromised
  • healthcare workers
  • caregivers of children under 6 months of age or people with compromised immune systems
  • children aged 6 months to 5 years

And are sneaking in line and lying about one of the above to get an H1N1 shot early.

You suck. You taking that vaccine means that someone who has a greater chance of getting seriously sick or dying from H1N1 goes without. That’s pretty sucky of you. Instead, I offer the following suggestions: wash your hands, carry hand sanitizer, take your vitamins and be patient.

That is all.

Halloween post to come later. I just had to get this off my chest.

Edited to add: As of this evening, Alberta has shut down its flu clinics, except for target groups. If you queue jump in that case, you’ve escalated from being merely sucky to douchebaggery.

 The short of it is that everyday tasks have seemed herculean to me over the last month. Shredding was the last thing on my mind.

For the last month or so, I have been feeling…off. I have been angry. And when I wasn’t angry, I was anxious. And when I wasn’t angry or anxious, I was sad. Often, I was all three at once. Getting up was a daily challenge and I dreaded daybreak, which I saw more often than not. Every morning, I’d hope she’d sleep just a little longer, so I wouldn’t have to interact with her as much that day. Every day seemed longer and longer until 5pm rolled around.

Last week, I had an optometrist appointment – a follow up to last year’s laser surgery. The poptart screamed all the way home, a good 30-40 minute drive. The thought crossed my mind that it’d be better to just ram the car into the concrete median, because then someone else would take care of me and the poptart and I could get a break. We both arrived home in tears.

I pulled it together long enough to feed the poptart and then phone my doctor’s office.

It is vaguely ironic when you phone the doctor’s office for help and get a busy signal. It’s somewhat like calling 911 and being put on hold, I imagine.

I did call back and made an appointment for Monday.

There were several times over the course of the few days from Thursday to Sunday and even Monday morning that I almost cancelled. And except for the almost-panic attacks in Zellers and Superstore I might have.

Anyways, I went. And well. Zoloft. Generally, I’m not much for pharmaceuticals. But I can’t afford to have any more time where I’m not 100% there for this:

8 weeks

Last week, I was reading the Shredheads website and Kristen and Bill offered to partner people up to do some sort of exercise in August. So I filled out the survey and was partnered up with Samantha (who is divine, gorgeous and wonderful and very encouraging).

Then I was reading Mrs. Flinger’s site who has the “30 days of [blank]” challenge happening. And I thought to myself, because I am somewhat lazy, that I would kill two birds with one stone and do both at the same time. So I’ll be doing 30 days of the 30 day shred.

I also put in 30 days of learning CS4 in order to do up a proper baby book, but that went the way of the dodo before it even started. Or I can start later.

Maybe 30 days of procrastination is needed on that. Yeah! That’s it!

ANYWAYS.

I have done 2 days so far of the 30 day shred. And oh my lord. I am sore. But I feel good. I am following along with the beginner modifications mostly with a few of the more advanced moved thrown in for fun. And its an awesome workout. Pretty much anyone can carve out 20 minutes/day for themselves. Carving out an hour or more is more difficult. My only complaint with the 30 day shred is the jumping.

And no its not the aching knees (but God knows I have that sometimes too). It is the BOUNCING of the chestal region that is associated with the jumping.

Because the three on that video? Are the founding members, President, Vice-President and Secretary-Treasurer of the Itty Bitty Titty Committee. And I am not. Further I am lactating and (a) am somewhat larger than usual (see: 38C to 36E – yes E) and (b) cannot wear an underwire. One thing I wish Jillian Michaels would talk about is the necessity of wearing a good supportive sports bra when one is, uhm, well-endowed.

So I started this on Wednesday (yes, I know its two days late) so I’ll be providing an update on the progress every Wednesday. And moaning about how My Legs Ache and My Arms HUUUUUUURRRRRT on twitter in between. Look for the #shredheads tag.

PS – I will be doing measurements and before and after photos. I might share them here. I haven’t decided yet.

First, a word of thanks for all the kind words in the comments on the previous post. And Sunshine, we’ll see you on Saturday for lunch :) I wrote that in a fit of sleeplessness and the next night I had a motherhood fail of epic proportions: I nursed her down, put her in the bassinette and put the bassinette in the bed right next to my head (I slept downstairs so that Darren could get some sleep), then fell asleep. About an hour later, I woke up to Darren standing over me, picking up the Poptart because she was screaming (gas and she’d been a Screamy McScreamerson all day). And had been screaming for a half an hour and I’d slept through it. With her literally right next to my ear.

So yeah. FAIL. You can imagine how good I felt about that one.

I took her to the chiropractor the next day to piggyback on my appointment and he gave her a bit of an adjustment. She has been excessively regular ever since and my chiropractor is excessively proud that babies are excessively regular when they come and see him.

Speaking of, can you get fit (or fitter) in15 minute chunks? The Canadian Chiropractic Association (CCA) is issuing a challenge: do 15 minutes of some sort of exercise per day for seven days (okay so it started yesterday, but who cares? do it anyways). And Andrea at A Peek Inside the Fishbowl has a contest for it. So go over there and comment and commit.

Also, exercise = endorphins = opiates produced by your brain and body = TEH HAPPY.

Today I’ve committed already to go for a walk with a mommy group. Should take about an hour. With a 10lb weight in the stroller.

The last couple of nights have been a lot better mainly because I have finally figured out the benefits of nursing while lying down. Like sleep. And its at this point that I offer my arse for kicking because I was one of THOSE PEOPLE who scoffed at the idea.

I thought I should get this posted before I, oh I don’t know, go into labour.

anytime, kid, anytime.

One of the dilemmas I’ve been having is diapers. I’ve been reading quite a bit about cloth diapering here and here. And I like the idea of cloth diapering. I really like it. Its good for the environment. Its better for your baby. The diapers are cute beyond belief. But I am lazy and it just seemed so much easier to throw out a disposable diaper, than to spray down diapers, wash them put in any inserts and how to use the damn things. And I was overwhelmed anyways because of a various ISSUES that made me want to drink, but oh hey, pregnancy and CAN’T.

Ice cream is a good substitute, however. Until your intestines disagree with this.

Oh and the scariness of Braxton-Hicks contractions didn’t help.

But I digress. Sort of.

I went out and bought some diapers because hello, baby on the way and I had coupons.

And then I had a shower and got a diaper cake, lovingly prepared by Sunshine. Which leads me to the current stash of disposable diapers:

diapers-003

diapers-005

diapers-009

 

 

 

 

 

And I thought, that’s not too bad – should last awhile. And then I realized that newborns go through up to 10-12 diapers per DAY. And my inner green person started feeling guilty. Because all that plastic and shit (Ha! get it?!) equals billions of years of biodegrading. Or something like that to my pregnant brain.

And there’s an extra half pack of diapers in the hospital bag along with some loose samples I received from various companies.

And so cloth diapering reared its head again. But again I am lazy and cheap. And when you’ve got more than one kid who will be using diapers, I’m positive cloth diapering is cheaper when you buy your own diapers. One kid? Not so much.

I was at the doctor’s office. There’s this counter I go past on the way to the bathroom – and there was a pamphlet for a diaper service and a sample of the diaper they supply. So I took a flyer, fondled the diaper (soft, cute, yellow) and showed the flyer to Darren, who as usual was exceedingly helpful when it came to making a decision on diapering: “So how do you feel about cloth diapering?” “You’re the one who’s going to be home. Its up to you.”

Thanks, hon.

So I crunched some numbers: disposable diapers = about $20/week. Diaper service = about $25/week. Oh and they pick up and deliver clean diapers once a week. THEY CLEAN THE DIAPERS FOR YOU.

I think it goes without saying that it appealed to my inner green lazy person.

So I ordered the diapers. They have this pre-birth delivery that consists of this:

Reusable Diapers 001

Diaper pail with charcoal filtre.

And inside is a wetbag with diapers. You line the pail with the bag, put the diapers in your changetable and done.

 

Reusable Diapers 005And they’re yellow and adorable.

Now I just need some diaper covers.

 

 

This shipment arrived the day I was writing my last post about how adequate and accessible pre- and post-natal care for expectant mothers and their babies make for healthier communities.

In the industrialized world, we’re very much aware of the environmental impact of our actions. Its just unfortunate that the costs of making better environmental choices, community choices (and if you want to get all political-sciencey, choices in the interest of the public good) are a damn sight more expensive than the disposable choices. If you’re having to pay for medical insurance, or god forbid, medical care because you have no insurance, you’re not able to make those choices.

That $5/week difference may mean the difference between:

  • cloth diapers and food on the table
  • cloth diapers and medical insurance
  • cloth diapers and medical care.

This may be a bit of a weak link, but I can tell you now that if I had to pay for medical insurance vs. cloth diapers? I’d choose the medical insurance.

Because I don’t have to worry about medical insurance, I’m in a position where I can make the choice that is better for my community – I can afford that extra fee and make it easy on myself to make that choice.

There are many direct and indirect benefits of providing accessible medical care. And this might just be one of them.

Since I’ve been on maternity leave, I’ve fallen into a habit in the mornings. Darren wakes me up when he needs a ride to the train, I drive him there, come back and flake out on the sofa for awhile. From 10-11am the Space channel shows one of my favourite shows of all time: the original Star Trek series.

Yes, I know how much of a geek that makes me. And I really, really want to see the new movie that opens tomorrow, but I refuse to go to a movie on opening weekend. This means I should see it sometime around Christmas.

Today’s episode is called “Friday’s Child” and involves a very pregnant, alien (although human-appearing) woman, whose culture allows no man other than her nearest male relative to touch her. Of course the good Doctor McCoy ends up delivering the baby, yadda, yadda (click the last link for a full, painfully detailed synopsis). My point is: she gets medical care.

Over the last 6.whatever months I’ve seen the doctor more times than I ever have in my life. Because my pregnancy has been astoundingly normal, I’m on the usual schedule of once a month for the first two trimesters or so, then once every two weeks from 28 to 35 weeks and once a week from 36 weeks onwards. I expect if I go longer than 40 weeks, it’ll be once every couple of days until showtime.

Add in there a trip to the clinic when I spiked a fever, and a diagnostic ultrasound at 20 weeks and I imagine this is a fairly costly process.

Yes, I said I imagine. Because really, I have no idea how much each visit costs. I know the ultrasound, had it been performed in California, would have been in the $2000 (US) range. All of those visits have cost me not one red cent. And I could have gotten genetic testing as well.

What I paid for out of pocket: 3 months of prenatal vitamins (because my extended medical didn’t cover it) at about $35/month (or slightly more than $1/day – because I’m in a high enough income bracket that I don’t get government assistance and my extended medical doesn’t cover vitamins) and a 3D ultrasound at $185 after taxes (because it was for “entertainment purposes” and therefore not covered by either basic or extended insurance).

When I give birth, its at a hospital with the latest medical equipment. If I go into a ward, there’s no cost for the room – its billed back to the province. If I want a private room its $180/night (including meals of course!) – which I can claim back from the two sets of extended medical insurance we have.

I shouldn’t say that this hasn’t cost me one red cent. It has because I pay it through my taxes. Because I’m in a high enough income bracket, I also pay a premium to the province for my medical care – its around $60/month; when we become a family of 3, it goes up to about $130/month. This is for basic care. My employer pays 75% of that – even though I’m not working for the next year.

Yes, I have a really good contract.

My employer also pays for my extended medical premiums; Darren’s employer pays for his and between the two we have nearly 100% coverage on everything. I think my extended medical premiums for the two of us are somewhere around $15-$20/month. Those premiums are low because provincial medical care offsets the true costs of medical care.

My point: we don’t have to pick and choose what kind of medical care we want. We don’t have to worry about being bankrupted by medical costs by doing something that is absolutely natural for human beings: having a baby. Every time I go into the hospital or doctor’s office, there’s no copay.

This is because it is my right, embodied in Canadian law, to receive medical care. Put another way, I cannot be denied medical care because of an inability to pay.

Why does this matter? Well, because there are women just south of the 49th who are denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions – or what their insurance companies have deemed to be pre-existing conditions. Like pregnancy.

And all over the world:

Every minute a woman dies in pregnancy and childbirth. Each year more than 536,000 women die due to complications developed during pregnancy and childbirth1 and 10 million more suffer debilitating illnesses and lifelong disabilities. Seventy-five percent of maternal deaths occur during childbirth and the postpartum period. The vast majority of maternal deaths are avoidable when women have access to vital health care before, during and after childbirth.

The old saying: “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is worth listening to. With proper prenatal and postnatal care, you not only get healthy mothers and babies, but healthy communities.

The MOMocrats are asking for assistance:

MOMocrats support Mother's Day Every Day

High quality and accessible medical care for expectant mothers, mothers and their children make for less economic and social strife. Its pretty simple; Maslow said as much in his Hierarchy of Needs.

Except my story doesn’t stop there. The next post* will be about what extra benefit I’m able to provide because of the low cost of my extremely generous health care and my good luck in being Canadian.

*No promises as to when it’ll actually be up.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m really grateful to my chiro for making my back feel better than its felt in years. He, and his wife, are in every sense of the word, healers – they treat the mind, body and soul.

But it doesn’t mean they are without blame for my lack of updates. Particularly him.

Last Thursday evening, he asked me (right before he adjusted my neck), if I’d been having headaches. “Oh no!” I said. “No problems there. In fact, it seems to drain my sinuses.” “Good,” he said and twisted my neck which popped all the way from the bottom of my skull to the top of my shoulders. It felt pretty good, actually.

The next morning, I woke up with a headache. That took two days to completely go away. A cold pack on the back of the neck seemed to help and I sat at my desk with one tied to my neck with my scarf. That, I have to tell you, is an incredibly HAWT look.

Added to this, the previous Thursday (the end of my first week seeing him), he asked me if I’d been having problems sleeping. “Oh no!” I said. “Sleeping better than in a long time.”

I haven’t slept through the night since. I sleep for about 3 or 4 hours, then wake up at somewhere between 1 and 4am. And I can’t get back to sleep. For about the last 10 days. When I wake up at 3:30 or 4, its not worth it going back to sleep because the alarm goes off at 5:30.

I am so not answering his questions any more.

But don’t worry – I have a post in draft I’m working on that will be much happier than this one.

Seriously. I’ve been thinking about this. And had I been better at math I think I would have been a chiropractor. Think about it:

  • $40 a pop (and I don’t mean popping cracking backs; I mean per patient)
  • A job that lets you inflict pain in order to help people (seriously, only the Mythbusters have better jobs – they get paid to blow shit up); I imagine this is a great stress relief (although probably not as much as an esthetician who gets paid to spread hot wax on bare skin and then rip out the hair)
  • These guys have basically a double house; they live in one half and have their clinic in the other half (they’re kind of granola, but seem to know their stuff) – now that? Is a commute I could live with. Go over in your pajamas to open up. Geesh.
  • Work three and a half days a week.

At least that has been my experience over the last two days. And although my back and hips do generally feel better on a deep level, I am fucking sore tonight.

(For those that want to know, here’s the easy to understand explanation: my left hip is lower than my right; my left shoulder is higher than my right; I have muscle tightness in my lower and middle back, bottom and top of my neck. My spine is kind of fucked.

The technical explanation: sublaxation (misalignment of vertebrae) in C1-2, C6, C7, T1-2, T3-6, L3-5,  and Sacro-iliac joints.

And that, kids, is why when you hurt your back, GET IT FIXED RIGHT AWAY. Don’t wait 15 years or you’ll have to see your chiropractor 9 times in three weeks to start, in order to get a baby out of your uterus)


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