Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Hangover

Christmas Hangover: The period of time immediately following Christmas where all you seem to be able to do is sit on the couch and stare into space towards the mess of stuff that needs to be cleaned up, and the only food there is to eat is turkey and chocolate.

See: Arrogant Worms - Christmas Hangover

It wasn't actually that bad.....
We start the season with the season, on the Solstice. I had decided years ago that I wanted to have a Solstice dinner as a family, so that Christmas could be spent at my parent's, or wherever, and we wouldn't be trying to be in 3 places at once. The last couple years I've been so preoccupied that we havn't done anything, but I actually had the foresight to think about it this year. We had a clove ham, potatoes, sweet potatoes and broccoli. SO yummy, and very 'wintery'.

     I remember last Christmas Toby really had no idea what to expect, and each time he opened a gift he played with it for 20 minutes and didn't really care to open anything else. After Christmas he was a tantruming two year old for weeks from being so overwhelmed even though we play Christmas pretty quiet here.
This year he knew what to expect. Every morning for two weeks he asked if his stocking was full yet.
I keep trying to emphasize the GIVING and CREATING of gifts FOR people, but his one track mind keeps going back to asking how many presents under the tree were for him.
I was expecting the same mess-of-a-post-Christmas-kid as last year, but he's actually been really good so far. He got a lot of books and PJs and things and only a couple really cool toys, so he's been playing with them and not seeming overwhelmed.

Before Christmas, however, was when he had the big meltdowns.
We woke up at 5 am Christmas morning because he had a nightmare (I'm assuming due to the yelling and thrashing in his sleep) and he wouldn't settle back down. He kept demanding I get up and he didn't want to be in bed anymore. I don't even think he knew it was Christmas, he just didn't want to be there. I kept saying we weren't getting up until the sun was up, but he never went back to sleep, just yelled and hit and kicked and sobbed all over me. A couple times I said that he needed to chill out and I was trying to help him and that if he's getting to overwhelmed then we're putting all the gifts away and we're not going to have a family Christmas time if he's being rude. I got hit some more and yelled at some more and sobbed on some more. I was, at this point, not in the Christmas spirit at all. I was completely prepared to pack up the gifts and only let him open his stocking, MUCH later after he calmed down.
I think at this point he started realizing it was Christmas morning and further demanded to go downstairs. I made him wait til 7 and then carried his sobbing overtired self down to the couch where he immediately demanded to nurse while I had a melt down. *Yaaaaaaaaaaaaay Christmas*
He eventually got very quiet and was being very deliberately polite...
"Ohh, mummy look how pretty our tree is"
"And there's a note pinned to it!"
"Can we read it?"
He turned on our tree lights and 'ooh'd' and 'ahh'd' at it again before bringing me the note from Santa. We read all about what a GOOD boy he'd been this year and how SMART and HELPFUL he was.... I was still half debating just telling my family to put off presents for another day.
He opened his stocking and then ran up to show stuff to Grampa. They had breakfast and read some books while I grumbled away on the internet trying to cheer myself up.
A few hours later everyone was up and the mood was better and we started opening a few things. He actually handled it all pretty well. The day ended up pretty good.
We Skyped with family in Holland.
Turkey dinner.
Lots of chocolate.
Not too bad.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Today was the day.
Toby's teeth are fixed.

I think I blogged before about the decay on his front teeth, but this time I'll add pictures.

It started when he was about a year old. I tried to scrape some yellowy gunge off his front teeth only to discover that they were tiny holes and not just 'gunk'.
I panicked, but at the time I felt he was far too young to undergo what needed to be done. He was and still is very clingy and high anxiety and I didn't want the lasting stamp of 'dentists shove needles in my mouth and it hurts and therefore I hate them'.
When he was a few months older we went to our family hygienist for checkups. She's known our family for years and has her own natural dentistry practice in Barrie. Toby wanted absolutely nothing to do with it.
We said that was fine, he got a seashell and a toothbrush anyway, and we went home.
She recommended that I try brushing his teeth with a mixture of clay and xylitol, which is a plant based 'sugar' that actually repels sugars from the teeth. The clay absorbs and neutralizes the acid. I was also told to cut down on, or remove rice from his diet because the starches turn to sugars when they mix with the acid in your mouth.

Well, Toby's entire diet was rice because of keeping him away form gluten. So we substituted with a lot of corn products and quinoa, but it wasn't the same.

The decay was under control for quite a while, but I was slowly realizing that the area had darkened and gotten bigger. At this time Toby began to put up an enormous fight about teeth brushing. He never liked it to begin with, but now he was learning to fight back. Not wanting to turn teeth brushing into a negative thing, we let it go for a while. He always drank lots of water and I still packed the clay/xylitol mix on his teeth.

We tried for another check-up the next year, but his perception was better and he knew exactly what we were doing and fought every step of the way. He wouldn't even sit in the chair with me this time.
Our hygienist referred me to a dental surgeon for a consultation about what to do.
A few months later we finally got an appointment. Toby again screamed blue murder when we tried to take him into an examining room. We had been taking pictures of his teeth for a while now so I presented the dentist with those while Toby ran back to waiting room to play with Grama.

He told me they would have to be pulled. I asked if they could just be filled. He shrugged and said he wouldn't know until they did x-rays and he wasn't going to be able to get x-rays unless Toby was under anesthetic. Then he mumbled something about this is commonly what happens when you breastfeed too long. I asked if we would be able to nurse the day of. He said no food or drink for 12 hours before. I asked what I has supposed to do about the fact that I'm not going to get him out of the house without him wanting to nurse. He said if he ingests anything they won't operate on him because if he throws up in his sleep he could drown himself.
I was not happy.
They said they would contact me in a few days with a quote for the procedure, but an anesthetist probably wouldn't be available for several months.
I talked to them the next week about what needed to be done, and 4 extractions with anesthetic, plus x-rays, plus fillings,  plus 'whatever else we find that needs to be done' was going to be over $2000.
I wanted to throw up.
I asked if replacement teeth would be put in because he can't exactly go around with no front teeth for the next 3-4 years. She almost laughed and then said no, it would be to expensive and pointless because they were not permanent teeth.
They told me to call the Simcoe Muskoka Health unit about the CINOT program (Children In Need Of Treatment) to receive financial assistance if I had no insurance.
I don't like calling people and was too annoyed at the whole thing to want to do anything else. I also didn't want to subject Toby to another screening appointment so soon after this one.

A month or so went by and we almost forgot about the whole thing. Then one days they called and I was almost terrified that they had found a date for Toby to go in. Instead, they informed us that they had decided to no longer do treatments that required anesthesia on-site, and they referred me to yet another dentist.

Kids Dentistry in Barrie.
They have a website. I read over everything and immediately felt better about the situation.

We were doing a lot over the summer so it wasn't until a month ago that I got a chance to call. I got an appointment a few weeks later.
The place is awesome. The staff are awesome. The whole waiting room is decorated to look like you're under the ocean, and back in the clinic it's decorated like the jungle.

(Panorama of waiting room from my phone)

Dr. Goralski was quiet and patient through Toby's sobbing, and eventually did get a good look inside his mouth. He went to check for a date to bring us back for surgery. He came back and said they actually had an opening in a week and a half.

Well. This is great. Except. It's happening like. Now.

*Insert previous blog post about anxiety attack*

The dentist office sent their own message to CINOT and said because it was a referral I probably wouldn't have to go in for screening. I got approval right away, which waved the cost of the anesthetic (about $700?) and all I had to look after was the down payment and a couple hundred for the full-bonded crowns they would be fitting him with.
Tres awesome.

Toby wasn't allowed to eat after 10PM last night. I asked about nursing. They said 4 hours before was fine, but nothing leading up to the appointment.
Well fine, he wakes up once early in the morning and asks to nurse and then goes back to sleep, instead of the 5 times a night that was happening before.
A week they called and said I had to be in the office at 7:45 am.
My stomach was in knots all night. I barely slept. Toby woke up right on time at 4am, nursed for 10 seconds and dropped of to sleep again.
I never went back to sleep.
I eventually got up just before 6 to eat something and get my stuff together. I hoped Toby would sleep till 7 so I would just have to grab him and put him in the car.  However we woke up just after 6, asking to nurse.
I diverted the attention by looking at the moon out the window, which was still shining brightly. I picked him up and we looked out the window for a while before he asked to go downstairs. As soon as we got downstairs he asked to go back up and nurse. I said I know, and then headed for the computer room to watch some Bob The Builder.
He was entertained but he kept shivering on my lap out of exhaustion and adrenaline. He knew something was up.
I turned off the computer and went to put shoes on. He asked where we were going. I said we had to do some stuff, and then we'd be home later.
We got out to the car and he asked again where we had to go. I said we had to go to our appointment at the place with all the fish and the rainbow bubbles.
He didn't say anything. You could see him processing it. He knew what I was talking about, but he didn't kick up a fuss, and amazingly he didn't ask for anything to eat on the way in.
We drove into a beautiful Barrie sunrise. I wish I had stopped to take a picture, but I was too focused on getting there on time.
We stopped outside the building and Toby asked if they were going to clean his teeth. He knew exactly where we were.
We had talked about putting the crowns on his teeth, he knew they were being fixed, I just didn't draw much attention to the 'when' because he's still really sensitive on the issue.
I eventually said, yeah maybe, we'll have to see what Dr. Mike says.
He was shaking in my arms on the walk up, but ran right over to play with the train set when we went in. We were the first ones there so he had the run of the play room.
When it was time to go in he said 'no' a couple times, but then just hugged me when I picked him up.
I was expecting a screaming match when they tried to put the mask on his face, but they let me hold on to him on my lap and he just teared up a bit before being knocked out. We were all surprised at how well it went.
I couldn't help but have a huge grin on my face as I went back to the waiting room. It was done. I didn't care how miserable he was going to be or how many times I get thrown up on, because this was over.

They called me back when he woke up and he was a sobbing disoriented mess on the bed. I picked him up and he fell asleep again for a few minutes. Eventually we realized his eyes were actually open, he was just really calm. They moved up to a different room until he got his bearings again. He slowly began to talk to me instead of just staring off into space. I carried him around and looked out all the windows. He nursed for a minute. He was offered a popsicle which she shyly refused, then asked for again as soon as the nurse had left. He seemed to feel a lot better after that and they let us go. He never threw up or seemed nauseous which was surprising for me, because he usually throws up easily if anything is 'off' about his tummy

(Eating popsicle with numb lips. He's never been able to actually eat one before because his teeth were so sensitive)

Toby wanted more popsicles so we stopped at Zehrs on the way home and got some popsicles, yogurt and apple sauce for him to eat today.
We had pasta, watched Cars, and had a reluctant nap.
When we got up again i asked if he wanted to see his teeth in the mirror. He said no. I went over and pulled his lip back anyway so he could see the broken teeth were fixed. He tried to hide a smile from me by burying his face in my shoulder.

I am amazed already at how well he seems to be coping and how 'himself' he is already.
Here's hoping to no more procedures until much much later!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Suckiest Day That Ever Sucked

Toby had a doctors appointment today for a pre-op physical so he can get anesthesia next week for his dental work.
The plan was: Appointment, Lunch with Jeff downtown, Zehrs, home.

What actually happened was this:
Show up at appointment EXACTLY on time, not earlier because I know they usually get behind before lunch, and this was my small attempt to minimize wait time without being 'late'.
Toby is delightfully springy and goes right over to the books and toys (we haven't been to the doctors in well over a year, since he had his last shots, but he still seemed comfortable enough).
I hand over Toby's health card and go to sit down when the girl at reception goes "Umm... this is expired."
"Uhhhh, what?"
"His card expired in November....2010...."
"Seriously??!!! I never received ANYTHING in the mail about renewing it... I didn't even think to check.."
"Hold on we'll call OHIP and see if he's still in the system. Otherwise he's not going to be covered for his appointment today"


So we read books. And they made some phone calls. And I was informed that Toby was no longer covered by OHIP. And that the appointment should be less that $75 because that was the adult rate...
I asked if they took Mastercard.
They said that they could only take cash because usually they don't deal with payments directly at the office.
I said oh.
They said I could run to the bank or something after, they'd trust me for it.
I said I didn't even know what I had in my account and I might have to go find my mom downtown.
They said that was fine, I could come in later this week too if I needed. I should get reimbursed once his health card was renewed.

I'm nearly in tears at this point and my heart rate has skyrocketed and the pain in my chest that never really went away from last week is now threatening to make a comeback.
I sat down and read to Toby, trying desperately not to make my voice show how frustrated I am for the rest of the waiting room to hear.
We read.
And read.
And read.
And read.
It's now been an hour beyond our appointment time.
We read another book.
They finally called us in.
Toby now wants nothing to do with being here. We had talked about standing on the scale just like at home, and seeing how tall he was, just like at home.
Except the scale in the doctors office has a big stick thing coming out of the back, and thus is NOTHING like the one at home. Toby screamed. Toby sobbed.
I'm beyond pissed now, and just want to get this over with so I force him back on and beg him to just stand still for 30 seconds. He leeches to my leg.
The girl quietly says that she can weigh me and then I can hold him for the difference. So I stand on the scale and Toby screams like I've just jumped off the side of a boat. He thankfully doesn't try to climb on me, so they actually got a weight. I then picked up Toby and he sobbed the whole time they weighed us.
Then they had to see how tall he was. I had to pin him against the wall with my leg.
Then they had to take his blood pressure, except now he's completely worked up.
So I had to let him nurse to calm down so they could velcro the cuff around his arm.
Then the doctor came in, and he seemed just as tired and hungry as us. He tried to listen to Toby's heart, which is hard when the person you are trying to listen to is screaming MUMMY PICK ME UP, even though he's already in my lap.
Finally we got out of there.
At this point it was now too late to meet Jeff for lunch because he had to work, but we went to Brewery Bay anyway because we both needed a break. I called my mom when we were there and vented my anger at the day and asked if she could go to the bank so I could take money back to the doctor's office.

After lunch we went to the licencing office to get Toby's card renewed.
We didn't have to wait long, thank goodness.
The lady asked if I had filled out the forms. I said no, because I was just sent here from my doctor's office.
She gave the form to me, I filled it out, she asked for two pieces of ID... and...oh.... Do you have his birth certificate on you?
Um, no.

To quote Homer Simpson: "These guys are the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked."


We went back to the doctor's to give them the money.
We went to Zehrs to get groceries.
We spent way longer and way more money than anticipated, but now I hopefully won't have to do a major trip until after Christmas.
We picked up some empty cookie tins from Grandma-Net and Opa's, and had a nice break looking at their tree and light-up village.
Then we went home. In the dark.
4 people passed me on the way home, one tailing me for an unnecessary amount of time. (I'M SORRY FOR ONLY DOING 95 IN AN 80 IN THE PITCH DARK).
And upon getting home I realized I had forgotten to give the Christmas card to Grandma-Net and Opa that I had placed in my purse three days ago in anticipation of going there today.

I asked Toby if he wanted pasta or pizza for dinner.
He said pizza.
I made frozen gluten free pizza.
He came to the table, said 'No, not that' and began to pout.
Whatever. Don't eat. I'm hungry.
He eventually ate half a piece and some carrots and dip.

#is it bedtime yet?
#end rant

Friday, December 2, 2011

Stress Test

As mothers, you would think we are indestructible, but then often find out that this is not the case, and often too late.
Staying up late to finish cleaning, blogging, or catching up on TV shows; eating less healthy food and less of it than we feed our kids, taking advantage of kids no longer napping by spending longer shopping just to come home and non-stop make dinner etc. And add to it the mental stresses that we don't always consider. Things as simple as being behind on laundry or dishes, up to  legal and medical concerns.
It's like stacking triangle blocks on top of one another. It's barely possible, we feel like super-geniuses when we get it to work, and it's only a matter of time before it all comes crashing down.
My tower fell down on Thursday.

Toby had a dentist appointment. Previous experiences had not gone well.
Toby has very badly decayed front teeth from lack of brushing at an early age (due to breath holding and screaming blue murder when the mere suggestion of shoving a fuzzy stick in his mouth was brought into the room.) Also we believe he is like me in that there is a high rate of acid in his mouth naturally, which likes to go after starches and turns them into sugars against the teeth.
Brushing has since gotten a lot better with the implementation of a sticker-per-brush system on a calendar. We've gone from brushing maybe 5 times a month, to only about 5 missed days a month.
But, needless to say, tooth brushing does not 'cure' cavities. It's clear he's in pain when he's brushing and his gums were becoming swollen.
He had seen a few dentists and had several screaming matches before being referred to Kids Dentistry in Barrie.
They are awesome. I love it there.
Toby still didn't want anyone to come near him, but because they are used to having kids in there, we got around it. They talked about capping his teeth instead of pulling them, which was a huge relief to me. Then he walked out of the room, came back, and said "We actually have a date to do this in about a week and a half."
My first thought was 'Good, get it over with. No more waiting'.
But then when they started getting me to sign ten different pieces of paper granting permission for the procedure, and telling me that I had to get him to a doctor for a physical as soon as possible, and all the requirements for bringing him in the morning he's scheduled, I could feel myself taking slow deliberate breaths as my hands started to sweat.
We went to the health food store in Barrie and got a snack for Toby for being 'good' (meaning he allowed me to enter the building with him and didn't cry the WHOLE time) and a gluten free pizza kit for dinner because I knew I wouldn't be able to think when I got home.
On the way home I kept sighing and muttering "ooooh booooy" to myself, seemingly an involuntary outburst.
I felt lightheaded and my stomach grumbled. I ate one of Toby's crackers and found a mint in my glove compartment to eat.
We got home, and inside, and my stomach was feeling more 'pit like'. I ate a handful of almonds but it didn't help. I turned the oven on for the pizzas and started cutting pepper to go on it. Toby climbed up on his chair next to me and nattered away while I figured out pizza stuff. I was frustrated that eating and drinking wasn't helping my stomach, and I was finding it hard to concentrate and the zillion things Toby was telling me. I rubbed my stomach and wondered if the mint I had in the car was reacting weirdly with my empty stomach.
Then the pain got sharp and tight all at once. It moved up the left side of my chest and shot across my back. I was leaning on the counter breathing slowly and deliberately, telling myself that as soon as I got something good to eat I'd feel better.
Toby announced that he pooped right as i was getting the pizzas in the oven. I fumbled my way, hunched over, to the couch to change him. My dad came home in the middle of this an asked if I was ok. I said no.
I asked if he could find me some Tums, and I made some chamomile tea.
The Tums didn't do anything.
The pizza was finally ready, but eating it didn't help, although it didn't make me feel worse or nauseous.
I have had chest pain like this before. In college my teacher panicked when she saw me rubbing my chest and all but laying across the desk and sent me down to the college clinic, which when sent me to the hospital to get a heart monitor. I felt better about an hour after all that and of course the heart monitor didn't pick up anything.
I've had little jabs of pain that feel like mastitis, although it's always the left side. My heart flutters occasionally, but I've been told that that's normal.
But this, this was lasting for up to two hours now, and I was finding it hard to do much of anything. My dad took Toby upstairs and I had a hot bath. I immediately felt better, though still dull pains everywhere. My stomach growled again and felt like it 'settled'.
I would have just wrote if off ad indigestion if it hadn't been for the chest pains.
When I stood up out of my bath my heart started pounding again and I was light headed.
I didn't want to go in to Emerg at 9 at night, because I was exhausted and just wanted to sleep, and it would have messed up Toby's sleep schedule too.
I talked to my mom who said it was probably an anxiety attack, and that she's had things like that before, and it just takes a few days to go away.
I've had panic attacks, but not in this manner. I"m usually an out-of-control hyperventalating mess, but I felt pretty calm, aside from my skyrocketing heart rate.
In the morning I was still exhausted and still had dull chest pain. I tried calling my doctors office but they are on vacation until next week. The after hours clinic wasn't open on fridays. I finally convinced my mom that I wanted to go to emerg, just to make sure things were ok.
Toby went to work with her and I got dropped off at the hospital. My mom does picture framing, so she works with pliers and screwdrivers and eyelets and wire and stickers all day, which was right up Toby's alley. Apparently he was the perfect little helper all morning.
I didn't take long in the waiting room because it was still early and not many people had piled up.
I got led to a private room, instead of the long curtained hall way with all the beds where 'simple' problems go. So right away I'm thinking 'oh great'.
It took another half an hour for the doctor to come, so I curled up on the bed and slept.
I was expecting an abrupt male doctor like I had last time I was in for mastitis, but I ended up with a very motherly female doctor who was patient and listened to what I had to say and I felt really comfortable with. After talking to me she said I had none of the triggers for blood clots or heart problems, but the fact that the pain was lasting so long was a concern so she ordered blood tests, ECG and x-rays. The blood tests take 45 minutes to get results to I was to expect to be there for over an hour. Fine by me, I'm gonna sleep.
Everything actually went pretty fast. I got sent to a couple different rooms, donning my glamorous hospital gown. A nurse even came in and asked if i wanted a blanket and the lights off, and I said better not because then I really will fall asleep and probably shouldn't at the moment.
Finally the doctor came back and said that everything was returned normal. There's a possibility it would be a lasting pulled muscle, although I hadn't been very active the previous few days. Then she said that stress can do a lot of funny things to the body, even if we don't think that's what it is. I had told her about all the things piling up, and now this sudden major dentist trip, and she said that it could have been stress that brought on the upset stomach, on top of being hungry, and causing a muscle spasm that ran across my chest.
I said I just wanted to make sure I wasn't having a heart attack and going to die tomorrow. She assured me again that they didn't see any blood clots or fluid in my lungs and that ti should be just muscle bruising.
She prescribed me some anti anxiety medication for 'just in case'. I still am debating whether I actually go get them. But it's good to know I can I guess.
I watched movies with Toby the rest of that afternoon and snoozed on the couch for about two hours. I went to bed with Toby and 8 30 and didn't get up until almost 9 today because Toby actually slept in.
Today I've been better, but now in the evening I'm feeling the tightness in my back and left side again.
There's still a lot to do and a lot to get ready for and a lot of phone calls to make.
But I'm moving at a slower pace.
And maybe that's a lesson for all of us to just take the time to sit down, close our eyes and breathe.
Before it's too late.