Archive for August, 2012

Oh how I loathe viruses!

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We’ve had a distressing past couple of days here. On Tuesday, I took Nathan with me to the gym and dropped him off in childcare. He was perfectly fine; he was energetic and happy to be there to play with some kids and the toys. After my workout a short time later, I came to pick him up. To my surprise, he was just laying down in the floor, which is uncharacteristic of him. I called him over to me, but when he got up, I noticed he had a hard time walking. He had a stumbling/lurching gait. I asked him if he was okay, and he said his tummy hurt. At first, I thought he had overexerted himself and was tired, and I attributed the tummy ache to being hungry since it was past his dinner time. When I gave him a hug, however, he felt hot.

As soon as we got home, I knew something was amiss. He normally loves to help me carry stuff inside, but this time he was too weak. He said he couldn’t do it. When we came in, I took his temperature and he had a fever of 102.1. And things just escalated from there. He kept complaining of his tummy hurting and barely ate any of his dinner. We gave him some medicine for the fever and decided to call the doctor if he wasn’t feeling better the next morning.

He woke up multiple times throughout the night and Paul and I would find him curled into a ball, crying that he was hurting. Morning could not come fast enough.

So the next day, it got worse. He was very weak and had no appetite, still had a fever, and his stomach pain was so bad that at times, he was unable to stand, walk, or sit up. All he could do was curl into a ball and cry, pleading with me to help him in between sobs. I called his pediatrician, but they couldn’t get him in until the next day. I felt this couldn’t wait, so I took him to a walk-in clinic.

By that time, the little guy was screaming in agony. The doctor said that she wouldn’t even waste my copay- he needed to go to the emergency room. She said the thing with young kids is that abdominal pain could be anything from a stomach bug to a bowel obstruction to appendicitis; since a youngster can’t communicate very well exactly what’s hurting and where, there was no way to know unless he had some tests run and she didn’t have that kind of equipment at the clinic.

So off to the hospital we went. I was a wreck. I tried in vain to be brave and not cry in front of Nathan, but I was so scared. With the way he was acting, I was certain it was something serious. Then I had flashes of horrible images race through my mind… I had flashes of us getting to the hospital only to discover he had to have emergency surgery for a bowel blockage, and then he got an infection with (MRSA, Staph, or some unknown pathogen), then the infection overtook his little body and he went into cardiac arrest, they tried to rescucitate him but failed… as these unwanted images flew through my mind, I became very nauseous. My heart dropped into my stomach and I had to consciously keep myself from puking. I felt like I ate a twenty pound brick and it was sitting right in the pit of my quivering stomach. I had to fight the urge to turn around and not take him to the hospital. At the very least, I was worried he would pick up another bug and come down with something else on top of what he had already.

So we arrived to the hospital and little man was feeling just awful. He had a fever of 104.0 and I couldn’t get him to calm down and stop crying. Fortunately, we didn’t have to wait long before we were taken back to a room. After a while, we saw the doctor who ordered some x-rays to check out his tummy. Come to find out, she said he had nasty, fast-acting virus causing his fever and body aches, an inflamed (sore) throat, and was incredibly constipated, which was causing his severe stomach pain. I asked her if she was sure that’s what the problem was, and she said oh yeah. The x-rays showed he was clogged up with a ton of poop!

Apparently, constipation like that is quite common in kids his age. Especially when they’re potty training, because the child typically doesn’t want to take a break from playing to go use the potty. And as for the fever, that explains the weakness and trouble walking. The doctor said when a fever hits a child really fast (especially a high fever), it will definitely make the child act different. They could act confused, shaky, and even start hallucinating.

So when she told me his diagnosis, the relief I felt was exhiliarating. It felt like a thousand pounds had been lifted off my shoulders. I was so afraid it was something major by the agony he was in. Oh sweet, sweet relief. I can’t even adequately articulate just how sweet that relief felt.

So anyway, they gave him some medicine to help de-constipate him (is that even a word?) And it worked! With some medicine to control his fever & virus symptoms and his bowels cleaned out, he was like a whole new kid.

The next day, his fever broke and he was back to his normal little self. And let me tell you, he was as sweet as he could be. He kept wrapping his little arms around my neck, calling me his sweet little mommy. When we sat down for breakfast, he pulled my chair out from under the table and once I sat down, he even helped me scoot forward. After we finished, he helped clean off the table and then ceremoniously picked up his juice and told me he was going to drink it “for Mommy.” All day long, he sat with me, adorned me with kisses, and told me how much he loves me. I think he was making up for being a bit grumpy (understandably!) while he was sick. I was sad that my husband had to work and couldn’t experience this with me!

I tell you, being a parent is hard. Not just the parenting aspect of it, but all the worry it entails as well. Especially when your child’s hurting and there’s nothing you can do to help. I wouldn’t trade being a parent for the world, but sometimes I wish I could be Superwoman and save him from every little hurt. I’m willing to bet that most parents feel the same way.

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Gym woes

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Many of you already know I’ve lost quite a bit of weight. (40 pounds, 44 inches, and 6 dress sizes!) I’ve been working out really hard to get to the point I’m at, and I’m not at all unhappy with the results. My only gripe, however, is that I’ve been on a plateau since January. January! I’ve tried changing up what I eat, working out even harder, you name it. No luck.

So the gym I’ve been going to is an all-women’s gym. It worked great to get me to the point I’m at now, but not so much once I hit the plateau. You see, there are only 12 or 13 machines there. You work each machine for 30 seconds and then you jog (or whatever you want to do) for 30 seconds on a recovery pad stationed in between each machine. I worked out hard, so hard that sweat would spray off me and the machines would sometimes come off the ground with all the effort I put into it! But then I think my body got used to it. Since there was no variety at this gym, (no classes, no additional machines or anything), I hit a plateau that wouldn’t budge. I only need to lose about 10 more pounds and tone up, but I was having no luck.

So for months, I kept asking the owner what I should do and she would always respond that she was on a plateau too and she didn’t know what to tell me. I would tell her the things I was doing differently but that nothing seemed to be working. She told me to Google it. That really rubbed me the wrong way. SHE is the owner of a health club, not me. That’s what I pay her for, to help me with my questions. She should have all kinds of resources and reliable information since she’s the owner. Not everything on the Internet that you Google, however, is reliable and accurate.

So finally, after eight months of not getting any help from her, I told her I was becoming uphappy there. I told her that at over $40 a month, I had paid over $300 for nothing. You know what she said? She said, well at least you have your health. I responded that I could have my health by going to another gym for the same price with better hours, more machines, cardio equipment, pool, showers, the works. Heck, I could have my health by working out at home or taking walks- for free. She became irritated with me and once again told me to Google plateaus.

That’s not all she’s said that’s rubbed me the wrong way. Back in November of last year, my weight loss started slowing down. When we were doing my monthly weigh-and-measurement, I expressed that I was saddened by that. She told me that I didn’t need to lose any more weight and that I needed to slow down anyway. (I was only losing 4-6 pounds a month, so there I was perfectly within range of healthy weight loss.)

I have a problem with people telling me I don’t need to lose more weight when, in fact, I do. Ironically, the only people who have ever told me that I should be happy where I am at and should stop trying to lose more weight are overweight people. (The owner of the gym is about 100 pounds overweight.) People who are a healthy weight tell me that I could indeed use some toning up (and they are correct.) I’m not unhappy with where I am, but I know I could do better. Look, I get that many people are striving to be the size I am at right now. But this size I am is not my optimum. I’ve been at my optimum before and there is nothing wrong with me wanting to be there again, and I find it rude when someone says I should stop trying to be the best I can be just because it makes them feel bad that they can’t or won’t do it themselves. I’ve come such a long way. When I first started working out, I was obese (I had a BMI over 30.) I’ve put in so much effort and so much work to get to where I am- why in the hell would I stop now when I am so close to reaching my optimum?

Also for a number of weeks, I started developing severe abdominal muscle cramps while I was working out. I couldn’t figure out what the problem was. I tried talking to the owner about it and she said to drink more water while I was exercising. That made it worse. So when I told her it didn’t help, guess what she said? To Google it because she didn’t know. Nevermind that she’s a health club owner. So one day I mentioned it to one of my friends during a conversation and she said she knew exactly what was causing it. I was dehydrated. She suggested I drink a large glass of water 30 minutes before exercising and to frequently sip (not drink or guzzle) water while working out. It worked.

The owner also kept it really warm in there. The thermostat was in the back room, but all the machines were in a large front room that opened directly up to the outside. So in the summer, all the heat and humidity cascaded right into that front room. She had the thermostat set to 72, which is fine. But the front room where you actually exercise was a good 3-4 degrees warmer than the back room where the thermostat was located. And I am being generous when I say 3-4 degrees… it very well may have been even hotter. There were a few times that I got so overheated that I saw black spots and almost fainted. When I told the owner, she bumped the thermostat down to 71. Five minutes later, she asked me if I could feel a difference. When I said no, she replied that she was freezing and she then put on her jacket. I told her that she should come work out with me as hard as I do and she wouldn’t be cold anymore.

So anyway. About a month after I had mentioned to the owner that I didn’t like spending over $300 on nothing, and she still wasn’t helping me any, I went to the gym and told her that regrettably, I needed to cancel.

“Okay, that’s fine,” she said. She didn’t ask me why, didn’t ask me if there was anything she could do, didn’t try to keep me as a customer. Seriously, our tv satellite provider has better customer service than this lady. At least they try to work with us and figure out how they can help us so they don’t lose our business. So anyway, I said that it sucked that I had to cancel and she said, “Yeah it does but I’ll move on.” Well, allrighty then. That made me feel really unappreciated and unimportant and solidified that I was making the right decision.

The next day, I went in and asked her for a copy of my chart with all my measurements from the time I joined.

“Well, that’ll take a few days,” she told me.

“It’ll only take a minute,” I replied with a smile. She swiveled around her chair to face her computer.

“I don’t know where it is on the computer,” she complained.

“I can wait,” I responded. I watched as it took her a whole thirty seconds to pull it up and press the print button. When she handed it to me, I looked at it and noticed it didn’t have all the information I needed. And it was only from the last nine months instead of the whole time I’d been there.

“I need an actual copy of my chart,” I said.

“Well, I’ll have to find your chart. I put it away yesterday.”

“Oh you’ll find it,” I said with a smile and a nod.

“Well, its going to take a while,” she grumbled.

“I have time.” With a grunt, she slowly meandered to the side room, a whopping three feet from her desk. Less than thirty seconds later, she emerged with my chart. All my measurements were on two pages, so it was a cinch to copy. It took all of maybe two minutes to get it all done.

So all that just makes me glad I cancelled. I don’t want to give a passive aggressive person who doesn’t appreciate me, has little to no knowledge about fitness, and who is severely lacking in customer service skills my money. So I joined a nearby gym that has childcare, showers, a pool, treadmills and all the gym equipment, hot tub, sauna, etc. And its the same price I was paying at the other gym. I’ve been working out at the new place for about a week and have already lost a couple pounds.

I think this is a much better choice for me. At least there, the staff are trained, knowledgeable, and helpful. And the person I talked to at the new place regarding memberships told me that I all I needed to do was tone up (which, according to the previous gym’s owner, I shouldn’t even be doing that and should  just be happy where I’m at.) And the temperature is much cooler in the new gym. Now that is money well spent.

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Bounce House mayhem

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I took Nathan on his very first visit to a bounce house the other day. For those of you who are unfamiliar with bounce houses, it’s basically a bunch of really large inflatable houses (and slides) that kids can jump and bounce around on. I thought that all that bouncing activity would get some of his energy out.

I thought wrong.

The bounce house we went to was pure mayhem. There were probably 75 or so kids there. Ever one of them seemed to be loaded up on chocolate and sugar. They were running amuck, screaming, crashing over each other, kids were getting injured, it was a mess. The parents all sat dumbly at tables, engrossed with their phones or staring emptily into space. There was no adult supervision. None. There weren’t even any attendees. My friend (who brought her two kids) and I were the only adults following our kids, keeping an eye on things.

It was hot and loud. Shrill screams echoes angrily off the concrete walls. Giant fans blew warm air throughout the room, but it wasn’t enough to help Nathan’s flushed cheeks or alleviate his dripping perspiration. Plus it smelled like feet.

There was a giant inflatable slide that Nathan wanted to go down. Seeing the maelstrom of overly hyper kids clamoring all over the slide had me on edge, so I told Nathan we would slide the slide together. Seriously, these kids were like monkeys on crack. It was distressing.

So I grabbed his little hand and we slowly started up the inflatable stairs/ladder. The stairs/ladder were so narrow that I pretty much filled the width of it. And I’m not fat… it was just that narrow. So Nathan started getting a little scared because of the violent bouncing from kids hurling themselves down the slide. He clenched the rail (rope) tightly with both hands and imploringly asked to go back down. I looked over my shoulder. We were halfway up and bottle necked- the entire “stairwell” behind us was packed with little monsters who were pushing and shoving each other to steal spots in line. What a bunch of brats.

“We can’t go down, sweetie,” I said. “You can do it! Almost there! Just hang on tight and force your legs to keep on moving!” I tried desperately to keep my balance while simultaneously keeping a calm, reassuring hand on Nathan’s back. Right at that time, a kid behind me slammed his or her head into my butt and screamed “GO!” I didn’t look behind me to see who it was. Without meaning to, I instinctively kicked at the kid to get their head off my ass. I was in full-on Protect Mode. I knew that if I got trampled or knocked down onto Nathan, he would get hurt.What the hell is wrong with this kid- who slams their head into someone’s butt? Seriously.

As I was trying to reclaim my ass, another kid squeezed his head in between my left leg and the wall, his spindly arms reaching for the stairs and clawing at Nathan’s foot. I leaned to the left to counteract him as he struggled to push me out of the way in an attempt to get in front of us.

“STOP,” I commanded as he attempted to burrow past us. He ignored me. “Hey, dude. CHILL OUT.” I wasn’t ging to let any of them pass because letting one by would open the pushing-and-shoving floodgates. The kid still kept trying. Finally, clinching my teeth and hoping no one else butted my my rear, I bent over to his face. “I SAID STOP. WAIT YOUR TURN, YOU’LL GET TO GO SOON ENOUGH.” Finally, he looked up at me with a completely dumb, maniacal look on his face. I couldn’t help but think he’d have a perfect expression to be the zombie apocolypse spokesperson.

After what seemed like an eternity, Nathan and I made it to the top. We held hands and zipped down the slide together. Before we had time to even get up, the kids behind us hurtled down, crashing into us. By this time, I was furious and on the verge of having an anxiety attack.

“What’s the matter with you?” I barked at them. “Wait for people to get off the slide before you go down! You’re going to hurt someone!” They all looked at me with that dumb, blank look on their faces. Like they were unthinking robots. Or maybe they just weren’t used to being reprimanded. There were a lot of older kids there, like ages 9-14. They were the worst. They crashed around like a bunched of cracked-out maniacs, falling over the little kids while all the parents continued their listless stupors at the tables.

What a mess. Don’t get me wrong, the concept of a bounce house is really cool, but there NEEDS to be some sort of adult supervision. I don’t understand why the parents just checked out. I could and would never, ever allow my child to behave in such a discourtious mannor. Maybe I could try another one at a different location or perhaps go in the morning when (hopefully) less older kids will be there, but for now I’ve had my fill of bounce houses. Just… wow.

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