Hospital Visit

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This post needs a little bit of history before I start…

Back in January this year, Liam fell rather ill with a water infection. The doctor told us that they are rare in children and could be related to the fact that he holds his wee in for as long as possible; I suppose when you are 3 there is always something better to do than go to the toilet! While the doctor was performing his checks, which finally led to Liam’s water infection being diagnosed, he heard a heart murmur when listening to his chest. This was the first we had ever heard of this, it had never been picked up before. The doctor suggested it could be because of the high temperature; Liam was burning up and we had to keep him dosed up on paracetamol to keep the fever down. Therefore, we were advised to take Liam back once he had finished his antibiotics and was completely well again. (I can’t remember the name of the doctor as he was a locum doctor and we haven’t seen him since. However, I’d to thank him for discovering the murmur and advising us to come back)

A few weeks later when everything had cleared up and Liam’s temperature was back to normal, we took him back. The murmur was still there and just as loud. We were then referred to the hospital (not our local hospital, of course, as they can’t deal with anything there, not even sure why it’s still open…). The appointment finally came through the post and was on 15th March. So we took him to hospital and Dr Harry went through some more thorough checks (Dr Harry was a woman, by the way). She also wrote a brilliant report back to Liam’s GP with what she found.

Firstly, we advised Harry of the only persistent symptom that may be loosely related; Liam seems to cough a lot if he runs around for a long time or does more physical play (jumping, dancing, etc.) than usual. He has been prescribed an inhaler in the past for suspected asthma but this has never helped. Anyway, the main paragraph in the report which sums up Harry’s checks is below (and may mean more to a medical person!)…

“Liam looked very well on examination. He was pink and well perfused. There were no dysmorphic features. His blood pressure was 114/68. His heart rate was 112. There were no signs of respiratory distress and his chest was clear. Heart sounds were normal with a grade 3/6 systolic murmur, loudest at the left sternal edge but audible all over the precordium and radiating to the back. There were no palpable thrills and he was not heard to cough in clinic. The apex beat was normally located. His peripheral pulses were normal and there was no clubbing. Femoral pulses were palpable with no radial femoral delay. His abdomen was soft with no masses felt.”

They also performed a standard 12 lead ECG which was normal and Harry did reassure us that there are no signs or symptoms to suggest an underlying heart problem. However, while the report was positive, the bit that stood out was that Liam did indeed have a heart murmur and as a parent this was still worrying. We were then referred to the cardiology clinic and therefore had to wait for another appointment through the post. This did come through fairly quickly although the appointment wasn’t until 25th June.

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So, yesterday, we went back to the hospital. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the name of the doctor we saw this time even though it was only 24 hours ago (I’m not very good with names!). Anyway, he listened to Liam’s heart but said that he couldn’t hear the murmur so he got Liam to lie down and listened again, there it was. Next the doctor moved on to the ultrasound and a look at Liam’s heart.

I have to add to Liam was so brave and was very well behaved. He lay there completely still, occasionally looking at us with a smile, and chuckling saying, “that tickles”, when the doctor moved the transducer over any ticklish areas.

After about 10 minutes of looking at the ultrasound of Liam’s heart (which probably felt like a life time to Liam) the doctor concluded his findings… As he suspected from the sound of the murmur, there appears to be a narrowing of the pulmonary artery which takes blood to the lungs. Again, he did reassure us not to worry because there are no other symptoms and Liam is otherwise healthy. But he’s our son, of course we are going to worry! I later wondered if this explains Liam’s coughing but unfortunately not in time to mention to the doctor. The doctor then advised that he would be referring Liam to the nearest children’s hospital where they have better machines and equipment to look at his heart more closely to either confirm his findings or write them out.

So we have now got to wait for a third appointment to come through the post, but no matter how fast it arrives it will never be quick enough. Nothing ever is when it makes you worry like that. I suppose we have got to take the doctors advise and not worry about it because they are right; Liam is otherwise very healthy!

Lastly, while on the subject of hospitals, my (older) brother spent most of last night at one although I didn’t find out until this morning. I haven’t got time to go in to the history with my brother now and this post is already too long so it will have to wait for rainy day. Anyway, he was beaten up last night and got it pretty bad as he came out with a broken shoulder (ouch!). Today they checked him over and said he is going to need it wired as it will not heal on it’s own.

He has now also got to wait for an appointment through the post!

Impulse Buying… From Fish to Sofa

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Well it all started on Saturday…

Liam’s goldfish, Sonic, fell ill. He was drifting around on his side and looked like he was gasping for air. I know that sounds silly for a fish but it’s the only way I can describe it. I went to our local aquatics shop to explain the issue and they said it sounds like he’s oxygen starved. The pond weed in Sonic’s tank obviously wasn’t enough. I don’t like to see anything suffer so I was happy to buy the air pump that was recommended even though it did seem complete overkill for a tiny plastic goldfish tank.

While I was there, however, I got a good look at all the tropical fish and how beautiful they are. This just brought back memories of when I was a little boy and we had a fish tank at home. Mind you, back then, who didn’t? I then thought it would be a brilliant idea to have a fish tank of my own again and fill it with lots of these stunning tropical fish.

I took the pump and my brilliant idea of buying a fish tank home with me presented both to Holly. The pump was fine, she loves animals more than me so was happy to try anything to keep Sonic alive. I was then pleasantly surprised when she thought my idea of buying a fish tank was ‘cute’. So much so, in fact, that she said we had enough savings to go and look at buying one!

So, yesterday we went looking for a fish tank. We both agreed on keeping tropical fish, despite the added expense of a water heater, because the fish are far better looking (no, not in a weird fish-fettish kind of way). We then found out that you have to let your new tropical fish tank settle for a week before adding any fish to it. This put me off a little as when I want something on impulse, I usually want it now. The thought of having an empty fish tank in our living room for a week was not very appealing. Therefore, we bought Liam a new goldfish (which he later called, Knuckles!) and decided to go away and think about it first.

After thinking about it for a while, we realised that we didn’t really have anything suitable to put the tank on and the tanks that come with a cabinet/stand are considerably more expensive. So we went to a local pet ‘Superstore’, as you may call it; basically they sell everything to do with every pet you can think of. There they sold smaller but more desirable fish tanks. The one that grabbed me instantly was the Fluval Chi. If you’ve never heard of or seen this tank then you need to…

It is truly beautiful and would look stunning in any modern living room. I had my heart set on this and was ready to buy it until the lovely shop assistant asked me, “Do you have any cats?”.
“Err, yes we have a cat. Why?”, I replied, not realising that this tank was about to be taken from me before I’d even had it.
“Because it doesn’t come with a lid, it has an open top.”
“Ah, I didn’t realise that”, I said, thinking more about what the kids would put in it more than what the cat would fish out.
She then said something that made me wonder why she was working in the aquatics section of a pet shop as she clearly had no regard for the lives of little fish. “It would be a rather expensive toy”!
What’s worse is that she said it with a smirk on her face. An expensive toy? Maybe it’s just me, but it’s not nice to think of my cat pulling fish out of the tank to either play with on the floor until they’re dead or eat them. I’m not sure which is worse but I wouldn’t class either scenario as a toy for my cat.

So with me feeling depressed, we left the pet shop without a fish tank. However, we still had some savings to spend! Now, a sensible person would go home and keep the savings for another day or something they genuinely needed, but not us of course! Instead we moved on to an even bigger shop, a huge department store that sells literally everything you can think of. I was determined to go home with something for my living room, whether it be a new lamp, a new ornament, a new picture or something cool and futuristic looking that’s lights up blue!

Unfortunately, because they sell absolutely everything, we wandered upstairs and stumbled into the furniture section. It was there that Holly spotted a lovely corner sofa and a matching swivel chair. She ran over and sat in the chair with Liam before spinning round in the huge, comfy looking arm chair.
“SOLD!”, she shouted with a massive smile on her face as if completely forgetting where she was for a second.
To be fair it was pretty awesome and the grin on Liam’s face told me that he enjoyed it too. It was at this point that I felt the smile growing on my face before I too forgot where I was and ran over (leaving Laura behind sat in the trolley) shouting, “let me have a go!”.
After remembering I was 26 and surrounded by strangers I stood up and composed myself. Unfortunately, our living room was nowhere near big enough to house a corner sofa that size with the spinning chair, and it would look a bit odd on its own. So, yet again, we left empty handed.

Once home, however, we both started looking on the Internet for a nice corner sofa that was small enough to fit in our living room without overcrowding it but big enough for a family of 4 to comfortably sit on. We did manage to find a suitable candidate, and it really was a nice sofa, so at 22:30 last night I was on the phone placing the order. Can you believe that this company is so desperate their phone lines are open 24 hours a day? And can you believe that we were so desperate to get a new sofa that we were on the phone ordering one at nearly 11 o’clock on a Sunday night?

So there you have it! That’s how we ended up going from spending £100-£200 on a fish tank to spending nearly £2000 on a new sofa. I suppose Holly has wanted a corner sofa for some time now and our current sofa is a bit stained and starting to fall apart so I guess it was more sensible than buying a fish tank, just considerably more expensive!!

Motion Sensor Light Switches – Good or Bad?

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I understand that they can be useful and save money if they are positioned well and in the right rooms. Why wouldn’t they? Lights switch on when there is someone in the room and switch off when it’s empty.

My experience, however, says otherwise…

Personally, I think they are a complete waste of time and pretty pointless. At least in my place of work! Let me explain what triggered this venting post…

As you have probably guessed, we recently had motion sensor light switches fitted in our offices (although, funnily enough, the senior management offices were omitted from the scheme). This includes the toilets. Now, without going in to too much detail, I’ve had a slightly dodgy tummy for the last week or so and to be honest, I’m not the fastest on the toilet at the best of times.

Anyway, I had to go today. Nothing like being paid to poo, eh? You know toilets often have two doors (to prevent people from seeing in when the first door is opened), well that is where the motion sensor is, between those two doors. The light switch, which no longer works, is also situated here. I, and everyone else, used to simply flick the lights on when going in and flick them back off when we left. We have now had this privilege taken away from us.

Whoever set the timer on this sensor must be the fastest defecater in history, because today the lights kindly switched themselves off before I had finished my business. Actually, this isn’t the first time this has happened but today it was extremely dull and cloudy outside so not much light was coming through the window. Couple this with the fact that I was sat in an enclosed cubicle and, as you can imagine, it was pretty bloody dark. I was, however, grateful that it wasn’t a late winter afternoon as I would have been sat in pitch black. Now, is it just me, or does it make sense to put a sensor above the one and only cubicle that resides in this toilet? Clearly not!

This now meant that I couldn’t really see what I was doing. I needed that light back on. I waited a while hoping that a fellow colleague would need to relieve themselves and enter the toilet, triggering the motion sensor. This did not happen. The only way that light was coming back on was if I triggered it myself…

So there I am, trousers around my ankles unlocking the cubicle door. Luckily, the second main door to the toilet is literally two metres away from the cubicle door so I only had to venture out for a couple of seconds. I pulled the door open, half expecting someone to be coming through the first door, and the lights flickered and jumped back in to action! To my amazement, I managed to get back in my cubicle, lock the door and reseat myself without anyone coming in and witnessing the act. I can’t even begin to imagine what I would do (or what they would do for that matter) if someone had.

So this is the main reason I really hate motion sensor light switches.

Another reason, which actually costs the company more rather than saving them money, is that when I pop into the kitchen, which has its own window by the way, to put my lunch in the fridge, the lights come on and stay on for about 10 minutes. How is that more efficient when before we had motion sensor light switches I would have just walked in and put my lunch in the fridge without even turning a light on!! This is also the case with many other rooms, I really can’t see the point…

Anyway, that is enough ranting from me, I think you get the idea that I don’t like motion sensor light switches!

I will just have to remember to take a torch with me on my next toilet break.

‘I wanna quit the gym!’

I’ve just finally quit the gym!

I’ve been a member since January 2011 and have probably been around 30 times. I was paying £25 a month to sit on my arse and not go to the gym. I don’t even want to add up how much I’ve wasted, I’m depressed enough about it.

For months, no, a year, Holly has been on at me to either go to the gym or cancel the bloody thing. I’m afraid to say that this time, she was right. Damn you, Holly! I didn’t keep it up and I have yet again failed at something.

Let’s just hope this blog doesn’t go down the same route…

Getting Used to Blogging… I’ll Get There in the End!

Today my man flu is still in full swing. In fact, my nose is worse. My wife, Holly, seemed to be convinced that it was hay fever and made me take antihistamines, which surprisingly enough… did absolutely nothing! This did make me feel temporarily better as it proved that she is not always right. Just most of the time! I soon deteriorated when I remembered that I was still suffering from man flu and it was nothing to do with the pollen floating around in the atmosphere.

Work was a bit better, however, as I was able to lock myself away in an unused room with the excuse that I don’t want to infect everyone else. The fact we all work in an open office made my boss happy to oblige. This meant peace and quiet, no phones or people popping in with computer problems and I could actually get a lot of work done even though I felt ill.

I popped home during lunch to see the family because the kids are also a bit poorly and my 4 year old son, Liam, had his first visit to the ‘big’ school that he’ll be starting at in September. Luckily, the nursery is on the same site and literally next door so it wasn’t too much of a change for him and he said he loved it. He had to go back to nursery in the afternoon too so it was a long day for him as he’s only used to half days.

My 15 month old daughter, Laura, however, was not so happy. She was sat in her highchair, having thrown her lunch all over the floor, and was now crying. No, not crying; whingeing and moaning, loudly, with a face full of snot. I picked her up and she stopped. After Liam had gone to nursery I had a short 15 minute playtime with Laura, the usual stuff; tickling, throwing her about, chasing her around, and she was happy and laughing. After being back at work for 30 minutes I get a text message from Holly…

“What the hell is wrong with this child?”

To which I reply, “She wants me!”

My poorly little girl wants her daddy. At first this made me smile but unfortunately I was stuck at work and Holly would have to persevere. I suggested taking her out for walk so she would hopefully fall asleep in her pushchair. Almost an hour and a half later I get another text telling me that she has finally gone to sleep!

I love my family more than anything, but I don’t think I could cope with being a househusband! I don’t know how Holly does it. Coming to work is like an escape for me, and even though sometimes I feel like putting my head in my hands and crying, or smashing something (or someone!) up depending on the day I’ve had, I’d still rather be there than at home all day.

Once I did finally get home, all was ok again but it was about to change… We have a small tactic we play with Liam where we say we are going to beat him at doing something when he doesn’t want to do it. Whether this be running up the stairs to bed, going to nursery, or going to the toilet. This evening it was eating our dinner. I was, of course, the winner; Holly came in a close second while Laura came third (although half of her dinner was on the floor). This meant that Liam was going to be last. What a mistake it was to point out this fact. We had to listen to half an hour of screaming and arguing that Laura was the loser and he was the winner. I think we need to revise this tactic and use it wisely in the future!

Luckily, however, by bed time he had calmed down and did go straight to sleep. Laura did not! I tried walking her to the shop but she sat bolt upright in her pushchair and refused to go to sleep. I did get a tub of Ben & Jerry’s out of it though so it wasn’t all bad! She has now finally gone to sleep and with the way I’m feeling, I’m going next.

So that was my second post, rather long and detailed when reading it back but I’m sure I’ll get better with time!

Good night…

My First Post (how original!)

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Maybe it’s because I’m new to blogging, maybe it’s just my inability to plough right in to things, either way I really felt like I needed an introductory post despite reading that it’s actually more popular to just start blogging as if you’ve been doing it for months. So here it is! Unfortunately, however, after spending so much time thinking of a blog name and choosing a theme and adding a picture (why do they give you so many options!?!) I am going to have to keep this rather short as it’s late and I feel pretty crap. I have a cold, a sore throat and a headache. Basically, I’m on the way to being hospitalised with the deadly man flu any day now.

I’ve been wanting to start a blog for almost a year now but I never knew what to write about. I still don’t really but I thought ‘what’s the one thing I know more than anyone else about?

My life…

It will probably be rather boring but at least I’ve started the ball rolling and have accomplished one of my ambitions; to start a blog. So it’s here that I will write about my everyday life, the events that happen – good and bad, my job, the joys of parenthood, the joys(?) of marriage and, from time to time, my thoughts and opinions on things I feel strongly about or happen to be on my mind as I blog.

Anyway, short and sweet I know, but it’s nearly midnight, I’ve got work in the morning, both kids are a bit ill (not as bad as me, of course, nothing is worse than man flu) and my eyelids feel like they have glue on them. I promise to write a more lengthy and (hopefully) interesting post tomorrow.

Night night