Thursday, April 23, 2009

My Hot Legs

I thought of calling this post "My Burning Loins." That would have got your attention. But I looked it up, and found that technically "loins" means the lower back, and I'm writing about the region between the hips and the knees.

For various reasons I've been using laptops more often lately, usually balancing them on my lap because most tables are the wrong height, and a sofa or easy chair is more comfortable anyway. Isn't that the point of laptops, the ability to use them wherever you find most convenient and comfortable? The one thing the various models seem to have in common is that they get uncomfortably warm after a while. I tried putting a pillow on my lap, but it raises the keyboard too high. The local phonebook is a convenient height, and keeps my lap from reaching a painful temperature, but it's still a little warmer than I like. (It might be cozy in the winter, though.)

Has anyone found a handy solution (where I don't have to buy something or keep track of it) that keeps the keyboard at an ergonomic height and the lap comfortably cool?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Picture Day

It's hard with most kids, and especially GL, to get a natural smile when you tell them, "Look at the camera." With GL, "Look at me" is just as bad. He turns his head toward you and averts his eyes. If you tell him to smile, he puts on the goofiest, most unconvincing smile you ever saw. He usually has to feel his face to tell if he's smiling. And these are a couple of good photos; You wouldn't believe some of the ones I've deleted. Thank God for digital photography—I couldn't afford the amount of film it would take to get decent pictures of him, never mind processing.

At the January support group meeting, one of the families brought family pictures. They raved about what a great job the studio did with their autistic son. They even got him to smile at the same time as everyone else for a family portrait. Monday we got a coupon in the mail from the same studio. Tuesday we went in for pictures. They did a fantastic job. Of course we spent too much money.

What did the photographer do that got the boys to cooperate? They had one person posing everyone and getting them to smile, and someone else, who didn't talk or interact with them at all taking the photos. The "poser" or whatever you call her, told people where to sit, and then just talked and joked with them, not stopping to shoot any pictures. The photographer shot several frames in succession whenever she thought it looked good, and moved around to get various angles. She used a handheld digital SLR -- no tripod or other mounting system to move or adjust. She took 73 shots all together, so we were able to choose the most natural expressions. We walked in, they showed us to a room, took a bunch of pictures, sent us all to change clothes, took a bunch more pictures, downloaded them, put them on a huge monitor, we chose the shots we wanted, and the package we wanted, and how many sheets of each, paid for our order, and walked back out the door in just under an hour. We went to get a snack, and our prints were ready to pick up in 15 minutes. Easily our most enjoyable photo session ever. Even GL came out looking like Mr. Congeniality.

The rest of us came out looking better than a finger in the eye, don't you think?

And we got some great photos of BB, as usual.

Oh no, I hope that spot on his forehead isn't Scarlet Fever!

Scarlet Fever

We've all been taking turns being sick with one thing or another. We get over it, but never get back to 100% before something else hits. GL stayed home from church Easter Sunday because he was just getting over yet another bug. That morning, an unusual rash suddenly appeared near his right eye. By Monday, its appearance had changed. He seemed to be feeling better, but we called the doctor's office just to be on the safe side. They gave him a Tuesday appointment. On Tuesday, the doctor looked at the rash and said it was nothing to worry about—just an infected scratch—so put some antibiotic ointment on it, and it should be fine. Tuesday evening we had family pictures taken, rash and all. They came out great. More about them soon.

Wednesday, GL slept most the day, and when he was awake all he would do was moan and say, "No." No fever, no obvious symptoms, so what can you do? Today (Thursday) he woke up at 4 am with a fever, and in obvious distress. Tylenol allowed him enough relief to go back to sleep, but when it wore off, he began moaning again, and his fever returned. By 10 am, it was 104.8, and Tylenol only brought it down one degree. By this time, his rash had completely scabbed over. He's been known to run high fevers that turn out to be viral, and all we can do is ride them out, but we called the doctor's office. His regular doctor was out for the day, but another doctor from the clinic was able to see him at 4. He refused food and only took a few sips of water and a little juice all day.

She could see he was sick, and mentioned the possibility of IV hydration if he continued to refuse adequate liquids. Of course we'd do that if necessary, but I don't think she had any idea what the person giving the IV would be in for! Nothing definite turned up on his exam, but she took a throat culture—I had to restrain him—because strep has been going around. She said to give him Motrin and suggested a follow-up appointment with his regular doctor if he didn't improve, but we left without a diagnosis. I felt she didn't know what he had, but figured he'd either get better or show clearer signs of the particular illness.

Before we got home, her nurse called Mama Bear's cell phone. The strep test was positive. She went on to describe the exactly the original appearance of his rash. "Yes," said Mama Bear, "How did you know? Did PB tell you?" "No," said the nurse,"That's the classic appearance for Scarlet Fever. But don't worry. Nowadays it's easily treated with antibiotics. We'll phone in a prescription. He'll be contagious until he's been on it for 24 hours. Bring him in tomorrow if he shows any new symptoms, or Monday if he hasn't markedly improved by then."

GL, the way you worry your mama sometimes!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Not to be Trite

One of my favorite blogs posts this annually on Good Friday:
Happy Good Friday