Monthly Archives: August 2010

Tough Times

The lack of sleep, the constant whining and the clingy children are starting to get to me. I know its not their fault, they are really miserable. Max’s temperature tends to spike at night, last night was the worst, he just couldn’t get comfortable and fussed no matter what I did. The gloomy weather is just a reflection of the mood in this house. I’ve broken the house rules and deployed the television to entertain them this afternoon. Let’s hope that I’ll get my happy, healthy children back soon.

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Light At The End Of The Tunnel

The kids seem to be on the road to recovery, Ally’s temperature has stayed in the normal range today which is a big relief for me. Max’s temperature is still fluctuating but he is still in good spirits.

We’re having a real struggle with Ally’s antibiotics. She has to take them for 5 days post surgery and usually she has no problems taking medicine. Unfortunately, this antibiotic is really bitter and foul tasting. The first 2 days were fine, now that she’s feeling better, she’s protesting more and more. It brings back memories of my own childhood, I was a nightmare each time I fell ill. I hated any sort of medicine and my mother would be pulling out her hair trying to get me to take them.

If anyone has any suggestions on how to make it easier for her to take her antibiotics, please let me know.

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Double Whammy

Poor Ally has a bad case of flu, just as her body is recovering from surgery, now she has to fight the flu bug as well. Her temperature went up to 39.5 last night but thankfully I managed to bring it back down with some medication. As it turned out, Max started to burn up as well and has been feverish most of today. Needless to say none of us got much sleep last night.

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Day of nerves and post-op update

Ally’s operation went very smoothly. It was an early start for everyone, we had to be at the clinic by 7.30am. She had to fast 6 hours prior to her surgery so it’s a good thing she was the first patient.

We spoke to her very briefly about the surgery. All I told her was we had to go to the doctor to have her nose cleaned and that she’ll have to sleep in order for the doctor to clean her nose. I reassured her that we’ll be right there with her the whole time. Thank goodness she is used to most thing medical and accepted my explanation.

Matt and I weren’t too nervous, we knew it would be a quick procedure and that she was in good hands.

A sleepy Ally

I knew what to expect after watching her go through her first operation. I knew that she would trash around once they gave her the gas to sedate her. Some children wiggle or move around uncontrollably. I prepared myself mentally for the moment that she was under and I would have to leave her alone in that big scary operating theater.

All changed and ready, she's holding a gift from her doctor

I had packed her favourite book and of course, her beloved penguins. While we waited for everyone to get ready, I read to her to try to keep her ( and myself!) calm.

I thought I was fairly calm but once the nurse called out her name, I felt this pit in my stomach. As I carried her into the operating theater, I had to tell myself to remain calm for her sake. She took a good look at all the people in scrubs and all the machinery, but not once did she cry. I placed her on the table and held the mask for her while coaching her to inhale slowly. It took less than 5 minutes before she was completely out. As I walked away, I felt the tears behind my eyes but I held them back. Thank goodness for Matt’s company, it definitely made me feel more reassured.

Needless to say Ally woke up screaming. It took a while for her to calm down and luckily she didn’t feel nauseous from the GA. She would whimper, then cry and then scream for a few seconds and after that calm herself back down again. The IV needle disturbed her, she wanted to pull it out as soon as possible. I read to her, sang songs and played with the camera taking pictures of her penguin. The nice nurses offered her cold Ribena which helped as well.

Groggy and just plain miserable, poor girl

We took pictures of her penguin to try to keep her mind off the IV needle

Her nurse had a wonderful way with Ally, he even drew a little face on the bandage after removing her IV needle

As the effects of the GA wore off, she started to act more like the Ally we knew. She even requested a ride on the merry-go-round which we happily obliged.

We were just so relieved that it was all over. One of the first few things she said was that she was able to hear us more clearly. That was music to my ears and it made the surgery all worth while.

Today is day 1 post-op, there is some swelling around her nose and eyes and lots of discharge which we had been told is normal. Ally is handling it all like a trooper. No complains, no whining. It must be annoying to have tears running down her eye and mucous coming out of her nose constantly but she takes it all in her stride.

Having fun at the playground a day after surgery

The swelling should subside within 3-5 days. I already noticed a difference in her breathing last night, she slept with her mouth close and didn’t snore! I’m so pleased with the outcome of the surgery. Now we’re just awaiting the results of her allergy tests.

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More ENT Woes

We have had numerous visits to the ENT doctors since Ally was born. From day 1 she has had sleep apnea and struggled to sleep. When she did fall asleep, there was always the chance that she’ll stop breathing and turn blue. Luckily she outgrew those episodes but we’ve been plagued with various other ENT related problems through the years.

Her sleep apnea has never fully resolved itself and in recent months I’ve become increasingly concerned. Here is some basic information about the effects of sleep apnea in children

  • behavioural and mental effects
  • diminished growth
  • cardiovascular effects
  • bed wetting
  • hyperactivity during the day

At our last ENT visit, we were told that Ally is a “mouth-breather” which basically means, she breathes through her mouth instead of her nose. It may sound trivial but it isn’t. When we breathe through our nose, dust and foreign particles are trapped in the tiny hairs that line our nasal passage. When we breathe through our mouth, we are inhaling all those particles into our lungs. In growing children, mouth breathing affects their facial development and if left untreated, results in what is known as “long-faced syndrome”. There is a very comprehensive article detailing mouth breathing in children here. The first thing we need to do is to determine the cause of her mouth breathing. We know she has allergies, we just don’t know what exactly she is allergic to. Her nasal passages are extremely inflamed which makes it hard for her to breathe through her nose.

To cut a long story short, she is scheduled for surgery on Monday morning. Her doctor is going to use a non invasive technique to reduce the swelling of her sinus turbinates. We pray and hope that this is going to be the solution to her sleep problems. Due to her age, the procedure is going to be done under general anesthesia which carries its own risk in itself. Since she’ll be under GA, we’re going to insert a new set of ear tubes for her. I’m very excited about this prospect since it would mean she’ll be able to hear clearly! Her doctor will be taking her blood to try to find out what she’s allergic to. The lab results should come back in a few weeks since it’s going to be sent to a lab in Australia.

This time round we have chosen to go to a private ENT doctor.  The children’s hospital has provided her excellent medical care since birth and we have no complains about it. Sadly, their ENT department is severely understaffed and getting an appointment will take months. The biggest advantage in going the private route besides the short waiting time is that the procedure doesn’t need to take place in a hospital setting. This will hopefully be less traumatic for Ally even though she is used to hospitals by now.

Monday is going to be a big day for our family, I pray and hope that by putting her through this surgery, it will give her a more restful sleep.

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Baby led Weaning- Singapore version

When I was sourcing for information about baby-led weaning, I managed to find lots of tips and recipes. But none that really catered to our Asian way of cooking. Having to prepare to different types of meals for two children on a daily basis was tiring and a huge waste of time.

From my own trial and error, I’ve discovered a way to just cook 1 meal that both children can eat. One of my favourite things to cook is a double boiled soup with rice. It’s easy to do and everyone in the family enjoys it. I don’t own an electric double boiler, I just use a big pot filled with water and place a smaller soup pot inside. Put it to cook first thing in the morning and by lunch time, it’s ready to eat. The children love double boiled chicken soup with mushrooms and carrots. The meat and carrots are soft and tender enough for Max to eat on his own. I still feed him the soup cos I really can’t bear to clean up the mess.

Another method of cooking that I often use is steaming. With an electric steamer, it’s quite fool-proof. An easy and quick dish to make is steam fish with tofu. I add a couple of ginger slices to the fish and steam it in a home made chicken stock. Just add a bowl of rice/ porridge for a complete meal.

You can choose to braise meats to make them tender and easy for young children to chew. I’m definitely not a gourmet chef so if it’s easy for me, I’m sure anyone could do it. Nothing is more frustrating than slaving over a hot stove for hours to prepare a meal for the children only to have them push it aside after one mouthful. There are days when that still happens in our home, but at least I don’t feel such a heartache since it was easy to prepare and cook.

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Testing Limits

Max has reached the stage where he tries to test his limits. He’ll do something he knows he’s not allowed to do, then wait to see if you’ll react. For example, he loves to play with Ally’s Crocs even though he knows he’s not allowed to play with the shoes. Once he hears you say ” No!” he hesitates for a minute and waits to see if you’ll follow on or let him off.

Max decides if he should carry on playing with the shoe

He then tries to take the shoe again, this time, smiling away thinking its all one big joke. So a more sever reprimand follows and this is the result.

But I want the shoe!!!

It's not fair!

And of course he looks so cute and so sad that you can’t help but give him a big hug. Once he has calmed down, we will repeat what we had told him eg, ” No shoe!” I find that when they are pre-verbal, short and simple messages work the best, well at least with my children.

A hug to make it all better

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