Sunday, January 31, 2010

Need an otorhinolaryngologist?

Nea's main doctor is an Ear, Nose, Throat doctor. You could call him an otorhinolaryngologist, but then you'd have to go lie down awhile with a cool compress to recover. So we mostly call him Dr. Schubkegel, because that's easier. We say it the German way, because we are unable to say it any other way. I should ask him sometime how he says it, and whether he speaks German. And what exactly is a Schubkegel? A push-bowling pin, sort of, it seems. I don't know what that is, either.

So. Back to what I was saying. There's several reasons why he is her main doctor. One of them is that she's had a lot of ear infections. Another reason is that we went to our main pediatrician's office three years ago when Nea was very sick, and the idiot (whose name may or may not be Dr. Jentel, for legal purposes) we saw missed her pneumonia. That doctor said she had an ear infection. Which she did, actually. We went to Schubkegel that same day and luckily he was paying attention. She was a very very sick girl.

I'm ashamed to say, the first time I took Nea to see Dr Schubkegel, I told him that I'd help hold Nea's hands down, so he could look into her ears. He pshawed at me and gained her trust instead. He's been our Main Guy ever since. If we bring in a teddy bear he offers to check the bear first. We don't even have to ask. The only thing he could do to be more perfect would be to quote a Sesame Street book we have (Farley Goes to the Doctor) and say, "Fuzzy. Normal for a bear." after checking Pink Bear, but, you know, he's a busy man. I'll let it slide.

We are currently on the fence about getting Nea's tonsils out. I'm not particularly looking forward to it, but I hear it'll cure her apraxia. Just kidding. But she has had multiple tonsil infections that have been slow to respond to antibiotics, she's missing quite a bit of school, and she's generally under the weather much too often. Also, it would help with the ear infections. On the other hand, um, surgery.

So, in summary, five stars: Dr Andrew Schubkegel: (630) 495-6000, Oakbrook Terrace, IL


Handy diet tip, in case you need one.
Step 1: Do a Google image search for "infected tonsils."
Step 2: Never feel hungry again.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Assistive technology for all ages

Apraxia occurs possibly more frequently with older people, as a result of a stroke or other neurological impairment. You'd think more communication devices would be used in those situations, but I'm not getting the feeling that they are. Wouldn't losing the ability to speak be even worse than not being able to speak in the first place?

Roger Ebert, the film critic, lost the ability to speak due to his surgeries. He says, "I would like a computer to provide me with my own voice." You'd think that would be possible these days.
Actually, part of what I enjoyed about this article is the sense of frustration he expresses. How much he misses being able to take part in conversations. A talker wouldn't help with that much, since they are labor-intensive. But many people can type faster than they can hand-write, so the lag would be smaller.

ASHA (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association) has a fascinating article about how augmentative communication can support kids facing the end of life, as they lose more of their ability to speak: Last Words, Last Connections.

On a brighter note, here's an interesting Reading Rockets article about including assistive technologies in your child's IEP.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Has anyone ever told you ...

Silence of the Lambs came out in 1991. In 1991, at least one person a day said to me, "Has anyone ever told you that you look like Jodie Foster?" and I would say, "Ha ha, I hear that a lot. Thank you." Because honestly, I could do worse, right? Anyway, since then I've been able to chart her successful movie releases just by tracking how often I was asked that question.

So, I ran across this photo the other day.

Hmm, I said to myself, I just don't spend enough time making up stories for my kids. At dinner I said, "Did I ever tell you about the time I met Oscar the Grouch?" They were surprised and asked several questions. ("Was Oscar mean to you? Did you meet Ernie and Bert, too?") I said, "Later I'll show you a picture!" I was convinced they would immediately call it a fraud. But no. Hook, line, and sinker. I guess my kids think I look like Jodie Foster, too.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Training after 40

What could possibly go wrong with my plan? I would go swimming after not doing so for 4 months. I would swim more than half a mile (750 meters), in a combination of breaststroke and freestyle, which would entail swimming for 35 minutes with only tiny short breaks to catch my breath.

Yeah. And then my back would go out. Who could have seen that coming?

I'm such an idiot.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Next book

Looks like a good one: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Free! Free! Free!

2010 is really shaping up to be a great freebie year. On January 1st a friend said, "My sister's boyfriend trashpicked these seeds. Would you like some?" And 20 seed packages marked "for 2009" were mine, bwah ha ha! Including cukes and carrots, which I needed. And some things I didn't need, but will use, like Golden Hubbard Squash ("up to 10 pounds each!"). And four kinds of lettuce, now that I'm a big lettuce-growing convert.

Then yesterday the in-laws said we could have their treadmill. We have been putting together a home gym on the cheap for awhile now, and this will complete our set-up. We have a recumbent bike from a friend (thanks again, Kate!) and a fancy weight bench with a bunch of big weights from Craigslist for fairly cheap ($150). N bought a couple of kettlebells
because he's insane. Meaning he has never thrown out his back and is willing to use those things.

And this is exciting because, well, I'm gearing up for a sprint triathlon this summer. "What?!", you say. Yeah, me too. The one I'm eyeing most seriously is a 750m swim - 22.8k bike - 5k run course. Oy, I'm sure I've never swum so far ever. The run and bike should be fine. Right now I'm running outside as weather permits (it was 6 degrees this morning. That's a no-go.), using the recumbent bike in the basement, and finding a pool locally that I can pay-per-use starting in March.

I will not be updating weekly (as I did last summer) as it is boring for all of us. However, if I fall off my training plan and/or don't actually do the race, I will certainly come here and confess. Here's to a healthy 2010! Not like those last few months of 2009! Which were sucky, health-wise.

Today? Nothing free so far. But there's a few hours left. And in a little bit another friend is handing off 3 yogurts they don't like. That probably counts. Free food, hurrah!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Golden Buddha Frog

Here's our New Year's Eve in photos.

Our family went and hung out with a family down the street with two girls the ages of ours. We called 9 p.m. the countdown, and had a wonderful time. The star of the party was definitely Golden Buddha Frog.

Note how he starts all laid back, but gets wilder and wilder as the night continues.

Yeah, baby! Shake it!

Then there's the other highlight: the updated Christmas tree revamped as a New Year's tree. Now that's entertainment.