Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Yuck! I've had enough of learning curves.

We are home and for the first night in weeks I can't sleep. There are no strangers coming into my room, no bleeps, no coughs, no panic jumps of awakeness, no soggy hospital cots to sleep in, no babies crying inconsolably in the next room, no electronic hums, and I am AWAKE!!! Lying in bed thinking about my blog of all things! Well, I have taken a bag of carrots from the fridge and I'm munching and typing and chomping and hopefully I'll get it all out in twenty minutes, fall into a beautifully restful slumber and be alert and astute in the morning.
(hmmm - fat chance).

But the important thing is that we are home after 15 nights. Alfie is much much better and we are all on the mend. Thank pants for that. I've learned so much recently that small bits of information are falling out of my ears.

Resilience. That's the most useful thing I've learned. We are resilient and we can cope with more than I imagined. It helps that everyone has been so kind and supportive - I'm in the kind of mood where I can be fine and strong and resilient when things are going well, but if someone takes my place in the queue I'm likely to throw my Tim Bits at them.

I've also learned that Alfie has an impaired immune system. And what this actually means is that it's easier for him to get very ill, and harder to get well. My friend tells me that she's got a really good naturopath and has helped her children (who have Ds) to stay well for a good while now. I shall wring her for information and share it with you too.

More stuff I have learned...
  • Don't hang out with sick kids if you know they are sick
  • Get a flu shot
  • Don't spray everything with anti-viral antiseptic spray because it actually impairs children's immune systems - lemon balm in a spray is better - as is a flu shot.
  • Give Alfie and Noah vitamin D
  • Wash your hands more
  • Get a flu shot! (Actually, Noah did have a flu shot and he still got ill - but I think it might have stopped Alfie from being so very precariously sick).
  • Chest physio is extremely effective for Alfie and if he gets pneumonia again I should make sure he gets it straight away - it's more important if you have Ds than for typical children.
  • Ear plugs are an essential item in hospital
  • Anti-biotics can cause runny stools which can cause weight loss, but pro-biotics from the health food store change this.
  • Hot steamy bathrooms help to runnify your insides and get rid of pneumonia. So do saline drops in your nose.
  • Lots of movement and activity is good too.
  • Nursing relaxes Alfie and opens up his airways (it also meant he didn't have to have his food via IV)
  • "Cough in the Trough, Sneeze on your Sleeve" - cough in the crease in your elbow and sneeze on your sleeve rather than on your hands so you don't spread your germs everywhere.
  • It pays to be interested and alert and take an active role in your child's medical care.
  • The nurses and doctors and students and therapists and physios and cleaners at the IWK hospital are very, very, very, good
  • It is good to be in a hospital where they aren't always short staffed
  • Going out in the cold doesn't make you ill as long as you are dressed up warmly enough.
  • Canadians don't put kisses on the end of their emails (x)
  • One of the hardest things has been helping Noah through this difficult time. The Child Life department at the hospital were incredibly useful. They brought toy medical kits and doctor and nurse puppets and just let him play. He worked through lots of his fears about Alfie and doctors and calmed down a lot. I'm going to do some more playing with him and Alfie now that we are home because he really isn't himself at the moment. Very tearful and upset. It's all so confusing having your mummy and brother away for so long when you are only three. And then having them back. I wrote a little picture book for him in hospital about Alfie and what was going on. I think I might do another one now for coming home.
  • If you eat too many carrots your tongue goes a bit numb. I'm off to bed. Wish me luck. x


Anonymous said...

You have uplifted me, all of us who follow your blog.
So you have resilience and you have admirers - the second not because of the first.
And you have inspired. Which is more than can be said for most of the world's "leaders".
I'm glad the spring is back - a new summer beginning.


L. Noelle said...

I am so happy to hear Alfie is doing better and so sad to see that I missed a heck of a lot being busy the last few weeks! Take good care! Noelle

Nicole said...

I hope you got some sleep! Welcome home. And I wanted to confirm that yes, both your boys are exceptionally cute. :) Hugs, Nicole

Catharine said...

I am so glad that you are all home! Enjoy, enjoy!

Catharine in Frederick, MD

p.s. Vitamins, especially with zinc per Dr Rosenbaum....

jennifer said...

These are all terrific things to know--thank you for sharing them. And I'm glad you're home!

jennifer said...

Hello! Me again! I thought this was such a terrific list that I linked to it from my website, and I added a few thoughts of my own, plus I'm hoping others post their thoughts, too. I don't think you can appreciate good health enough!

Sara said...

Glad to hear he is on the mend. Nice to be home eh :) lol Good list esp the 3rd last one :)

L. Noelle said...

By the way, I have a very informative post today about Nutritional Intervention and Down Syndrome, in case you are interested, I hope you stop by and read! Thanks.

jean said...

I was reading your post that Jennifer had put on Pinwheels when the letters 'IWK' jumped off the page. Aha! She must live in Nova Scotia, I thought. And so I've just been reading your blog and am glad to hear that you like Halifax and found that people were friendly. I'm married and live in Japan now but am from Halifax (my parents live right near Dal) and go back there every summer with my kids. Hope things continue to go well for you and your family (glad your little guy's over his pneumonia) in Halifax!

jean said...

P.S. My sister is married to a Brit and lives in London so if they're home in Halifax this summer I'll get her husband to give yours a call to be his 'drinking buddy'!

Michelle - Momma to 2 Muffins - Soon to be 3! said...

Welcome home, Alice! Must say, that is one heck of a list! Indeed, so much to "learn." On a learning curve myself these days.

Stay well dear Alfie!

rbach said...

Thanks for the blog & tips. The book sounds like a great way to explain things. Hope that worked well.