Thursday, 29 September 2016

Medication - Word of the Week


I'm in the situation at the moment where my medication is ruling my life.
I had a new medication prescribed by my neuro consultant a couple of weeks ago. As soon as I started taking a very low dose I felt ill. I was told to keep on a low dose for 14 days and then increase it a little. That time has come but I'm worried because this medication is taking over.

This week I've done not very much at all. I did take the kids to school on Tuesday because I had a meeting with Star's counsellor. I will also be taking them to school this morning as I am going to a coffee morning with the Senco at Star's school. On Monday I went shopping at the supermarket for the first time this year, which is huge really...but that's it. I've done very little else. Not only have I not been out much I've not done much in the house either. I've kept up with the washing and cooked meals with the help of Graham. I may have washed up once or twice.

I've just been so tired and in pain that I feel like I've stepped back to how I was 9 months ago and I'm not happy. I know it's down to the new medication.

These new pills are popular with those who have my condition, Transverse Myelitis. They help to release the tension in muscles, reduce spasticity and muscle spasms. If they work it will feel like a miracle. I have to keep taking them and hoping that the side effects stop. I have to keep hoping they will work and give me my miracle.

In the meantime my week and my life is dominated by the effects of medication.

The Reading Residence

10 Steps to Giving Your Kids a Happy Childhood

3 happy kids, please pin this to pinterest


We went to speak to the school counsellor about Star and we were asked if she'd had any traumatic experiences...well, you know, just the usual, two lots of major surgery, constant pain, dislocations, broken neck, then there are the family problems including a mum that was paralysed in a day and is now mostly wheelchair bound. And her Grandad passed away suddenly at Christmas. I guess my child has had her fair share of traumatic experiences already.

Then we were asked, what are her happy times? 

Errrr, there has to be some? Pokemon, piped up Dad, she likes Pokemon. 
Holidays, I offered, we like to go on holiday and always have a fun time.

My 3 smiley happy kids on holiday

This made us think. Are our kids having a happy childhood? I know Star has had an usually traumatic time, and the other two have shared that too, but what about the happy times? Have there been enough, are we doing enough to give them a happy childhood, will they remember it being happy?

I've given it a lot of thought and come up with 10 ways you can make your kids have a happy childhood. 

  1. Love - has to be unconditional. It's important for a child to know that no matter what, you will always love them. They should not have their feelings belittled or their distress unheard. They will learn to love others. Love makes them value themselves and capable of valuing and loving others.
  2. Security - A child needs to feel secure to feel happy. They should always made to feel safe and protected at home.
  3. Play - It's not just about the latest toys and gadgets, it's about imaginative play and having fun with other children. Your child will benefit greatly if you play with them too.
  4. Boundaries - a child needs boundaries, you may think you are making them happy by letting them do whatever they want but they need to know that sometimes their parent has to get tough.
  5. Praise - gives them approval and lets them know that they are loved. It's always a joy to recieve praise from a parent. 
  6. Food and Exercise - a healthy child is a happy child that's simple.
  7. Wonder - A sense of adventure and wonderment triggers a lot of happiness. Learning new things can be fun, wanting to learn new things is even better. Fill your child with the love of learning and asking questions. 
  8. Practice Gratitude - Every day ask them what they have to be thankful for. Tell them what you are thankful for. Sometimes the good things pass you by, but not if you talk about them.
  9. Inclusion - Include them in your life, let them help you cook and do the housework. Let them see where you work. It's all one big adventure to them.
  10. Nurture Your Happiness - Be happy yourself and your child will pick it up. No-one can be happy all the time but letting your child seeing your happy side often will make them happy too.

A happy child doing something she loves, cooking at home with her sister
How much fun is cooking at home with your sister?

When I was a child I had some traumatic experiences too. My Dad passed away suddenly when I was young. My mum nearly died in childbirth with my younger brother. My younger brother nearly died. We had neighbours that blew their house up, literally, it was the biggest fire I've ever seen. I also had an operation and spent time in hospital. 

I survived all of this relatively unscathed. I look back at my childhood and I think of the fun and laughter that I had when my cousins came to visit, and that was often.I remember making mud pies in the garden and decorating them with worms. Although I was very young I still remember my Dad making up stories for me at bedtime and taking me to the Bluebell Woods at the weekend. I think of the fun holidays we had, mostly camping and with lots and lots of family coming along. I think of Christmas which was always full of fun, laughter and family. I think of running across fields with my cousins and walking all the way up to the Licky Hills to collect frog spawn for our pond. These are my happy things, these are the things I remember about my childhood.

happy kids playing in the back garden
Happy kids playing in the back garden


I hope that when my own children grow up they will remember their childhood as being happy. We don't have huge amounts of money, we don't go on exciting memorable holidays all around the world, we can't give them the amazing experiences that we think will make them happy. What we can give them is a rounded, happy upbringing full of love and laughter, wonderment and gratitude, boundaries, praise and security.

What do you think? Is there anything you would add to my list? Was your childhood happy, I'd love to hear your happy memories in the comments.

two happy children stroking guinea pigs
simple things like stroking a pet can make a child happy.

Monday, 26 September 2016

The Truth About Being In Hospital

At the start of this year, I was admitted to hospital as an emergency.
The only time I'd been in hospital for anything other than having babies was when I had a tonsillectomy at seven years old.
I was scared about what was happening to me and to be honest my fear overcome my worry about what was going to happen at home. This lasted a couple of days as I lay there barely able to move having test after test and hooked up to a drip for my drugs.

When I started to improve a little that's when I started worrying about home and missing everyone.

However, I was still really unwell and I decided that there was nothing I could do and they could cope on their own for a few days.

Those few days turned into weeks, but I was still unwell and they seemed to be coping well. I spent my time mostly in bed. They would get me out, shower me and make me sit in the chair next to my bed. After a couple of hours I would say I was hurting and ask to be put back into bed. There I would sleep, or read. Nothing more. I had blanked myself off from worrying about things I couldn't change and focused on feeling better.

Each day was the same routine, I had breakfast brought to me at the same time, I had my shower at the same time, I had lunch and dinner and in the evening a cup of Horlicks and a biscuit. I didn't have to move. No cooking, cleaning, bed making, washing up, laundry etc.etc. etc. Just me lying in bed, or sitting in my chair, reading whenever I felt like it.

In the evening more mobile patients would visit our ward and sit and chat. They may have been more mobile but their health was not so good. They had been through a lot and had a lot more to come. But still they visited and chatted and we laughed a lot too. I was lucky, I had hopes of getting better, I didn't have anything life threatening and I didn't need any operations. I was truly lucky and these amazing people showed me that.

Sometimes I'd have visitors come to chat which was nice. I'd say it broke the boredom but if I'm honest I didn't really get bored. I don't know if it was because I was so unwell but the rest and doing nothing was actually agreeable, not boring. I missed my kids but they didn't seem to be missing me much. They had everything they needed.

When I was able to I googled my condition and tried to figure out how long it would take to recover. My consultant was saying I would get better and Google confirmed 2-8 weeks. It looked pretty good, I would be back to myself in a couple of weeks....but I wasn't. Eight weeks seemed a long time to wait for recovery.

Then after two weeks my consultant decided I could go home. My feelings were so mixed up. I wasn't mobile and I knew I wasn't going to be able to do anything when I got home. I knew that things would have got bad in my absence, would the toilets have been cleaned, would the laundry be done, would the bedrooms be tidy. My other half is really good with looking after the kids and cooking, but his idea of housework is running the vacuum around the living room carpet and that's it.
Even more worrying was...had the Christmas tree been taken down, it was mid January now!

My other feelings were excitement of being around my family again, being in my own home and my own bed. It had taken me a while to get used to the hospital bed but fiddling about with the controls I'd managed to stop slipping off the end.

My house was adapted for me before I got home, I had aids in the bathroom, around the toilet, in the bedroom, in the kitchen, a new banister on the stairs so we had one on each side and, of course, my walking aids. Apparently my condition did not warrent the hire of a hospital wheelchair despite my not being able to walk very far.

By the time I had to go home again I was feeling very mixed up. My family were coming to pick me up but I was sat there in my pyjamas, unable to reach my clothes or get dressed, unable to pack up my things, unable to walk basically. It drove me mad. I like to be in control. The tea trolly came around while I was waiting and I suddenly felt so sad, I wanted to stay in the hospital where I had no worries and everything was done for me. I couldn't go home, I couldn't do anything for myself.

I was also feeling really excited at seeing my family and going home.

I was also going to miss the friends I'd made on the ward.

I was also going to miss the lovely nurses.

I went home, it was painful. Painful in the chair to the car, painful in the car, really painful getting into the house without a wheelchair. I tried to keep smiling, I was going home, back to my family.

When I got home and sat down I cried. I couldn't help it. I cried for lots of mixed up reasons.
I cried with relief at being home.
I cried because I'd missed my kids.
I cried because I was in so much pain.
I cried because it was obvious that the Christmas tree had been taken down in a hurry because I was coming home and that there were the kids Christmas presents all over the floor. Christmas had only just ended at home, despite everyone ending it nearly two weeks ago.

It was so hard being at home in the early days. I couldn't do anything and had gone from the one who did everything for everyone to being the one that had to ask everyone else to do everything. I couldn't wait to get better in eight weeks...well there was only six to go.

Then I started talking to other suffers and the truth dawned.
It seems that only a third of people with my condition, Transverse Myelitis, get better in eight weeks. Just one third. I was not one of them.

It's now eight months later (nearly nine) and I'm a lot better but I've still not recovered. In fact I think at least fifty percent of my recovery is just me getting used to my body being so useless and getting on with it. The pain, I believe, hasn't changed much at all, but I've gotten used to it so it doesn't bother me so much.

I still miss being in hospital. Life is so hard, everything is so hard, even the simple things. I'd love to go back to just lying there and not worrying about anything. Is that bad? I don't know why people hate hospitals so much, the truth is I quite like it.





And then the fun began...


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Pastry Week - No Soggy Bottom just Pleased Mouths

I didn't make a post about last weeks Great British Bake Off, I had been ill most of the week which I believed was caused by my new medication. Then I was off to London the weekend which took a bit of recovery afterwards. Also, it was batter week and I'm making pancakes and yorkshire puddings all the time. I did promise Boo that we would make some artistic pancakes, but we haven't got around to it just yet.

This week was pastry week, one of my favourites as I love pastry.

The Signature Bake was to bake Danish Pastries. I love making these although I do cheat a little and use ready made puff pastry..aint nobody got time for that!

The contestants in the tent did well, in particular Jane and Candice. Doing not so well was Benjamina and Tom.

Next up the technical challenge was a bakewell tart. I love Bakewell tart but I've never made one. I'm pretty good at shortcrust and I like frangipan, the problem is hardly anyone in my family actually likes jam! I do, but then I like most things.

Rav came last on the technical challenge with Val doing really poorly too, Jane got first place with Candice coming in second. It looks like it's a good week for Candice.

The showstopper was filo Amuse Bouche, or aperitifs. The contestants had to make 12 savoury and 12 sweet. Here Rav and Benjamina redeemed themselves a fair bit but it was Candice who shone and won Star Baker. It was Val who was sent home this week as the one with the soggy bottom.

Now the focus is on what's going to happen to the Great British Bake Off next year when it moves from the BBC without Mel and Sue and Mary Berry!

Back to baking though, this week I decided to have a go at making my own filo pastry.
It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. Here are my Rhubarb and Custard Amuse Bouches.

a photo of rhubarb and custard filo tarts
Pin For Later :)


Filo Pastry

This recipe is for a small amount of pastry as Amuse Bouches are tiny mouthfuls and I didn't really need much to make them. 

Ingredients:

200g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
15ml olive oil
About 160 ml of water
cornflour to dust 

Method:

  • mix the flour and salt in a bowl
  • add the olive oil and mix
  • add the water a little at a time while mixing
  • stop adding water when dough has formed a slightly sticky ball
  • knead together for a little while, the dough should be soft and pliable and not stick to your hands
  • separate dough into three small balls and put on a cornflour dusted tray
  • cover with cling film and leave for at least 2 hours before using
  • go watch a movie or something
  • roll out the dough on a cornflour dusted surface until it is so thin you can see through it.
  • cut into equal size squares
  • butter a cupcake tin
  • place one sheet of filo into each space and spread with melted butter
  • place another sheet on top at a slight angle and spread this sheet with melted butter
  • continue until you have at least four sheets of pasty in each space and each is spread with butter
  • bake in a pre-heated oven at 170C/ gas mark 5 for about 15 minutes, until crispy and slightly brown.


a collage of photos showing how to make filo pastry

Rhubarb and Custard Filling

As these where delicate pastries I used a pastry custard called Creme Patissiere.
The rhubarb I admit was from a tin. Again, this recipe is for a small amount.

Ingredients:

  • 125ml milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 5g plain flour
  • 5g cornflour
  • tin rhubarb

Method:

Place milk and vanilla in a saucepan and bring to the boil and take off the heat
Put the flour and eggs in a bowl and mix well into a smooth paste
Add about 1/3rd of the hot the milk to the paste and mix well until smooth with no lumps
Add the paste to the saucepan and bring back to the boil whisking constantly
Take off heat.

photo of a pan of creme patissiere


To Make Amuse Bouche

Put a little piece of rhubarb into each filo pasty case
Put the cooled creme patissiere into a piping back and pipe on top of the rhubarb.




a photo of finished amuse bouche.





Mummy Mishaps


Saturday, 24 September 2016

My Sunday Photo 25th September 2016


I took this photo on Friday while having a coffee outside the hospital. It's such an huge hospital, and pretty new as it was first opened in 2010. The old hospital is still used and you can get to it from the corridor leading out of this part of the building, the white corridor on pillars to the right of the photo. It's much nicer to just walk over the ground though. 

This is just off the main entrance, the A&E entrance is around the other side of the building. The whole hospital is based on a round theme and had three huge circles as you can see by this pic. which is not one of mine.


It's so large you can see it for miles. In fact you could see it from our back garden before we moved house. Behind this building is the Maternity hospital which is the only place I ever spent any time before this year. In fact the last time I stayed at the Maternity hospital was just two months after this hospital opened.

This week I've been here three times. The first with my eldest daughter after her sewing machine accident. Then on Friday for my physio therapy session. Finally yesterday morning to pick my eldest up after she had a check up to see how her recovery from surgery last month was going. 

In January I was confined in the first round building. They are called doughnuts because this is only half of the circle and there is a big gap in the middle. I didn't get one of the better views that I know must be on offer. In fact all I could see from my window was more hospital. Lucky me! 





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