Sepsis and beyond

By | December 7, 2018

When I published this picture a couple of weeks ago, I was in hospital, thinking I’d gone in with a hefty bout of Cellulitis, I didn’t realise amidst my drowsiness that it was sepsis.

The doctor who made a house call arrived within about 20 minutes after we called and he phoned an ambulance, which arrived within ten minutes, I was too drowsy to register the speed of response and it was only a few days later that Hubbie said the doctor and paramedics were saying it was sepsis.

Scary stuff, eh?

I’m very lucky. I went home after 3 days of intravenous medication, with hefty antibiotics, with the proviso that I had to seek assistance if my symptoms worsened.

Sepsis (do you know, I couldn’t bring myself to type that word for a while) is extremely serious and fast-spreading and I want to help raise awareness of it, in any way I can.

I couldn’t fault the treatment I received at the hospital, it was fast, with blood, xrays and intravenous drugs all being administered very quickly. I was moved from a&e, to acute monitoring to a bed in a ward and then finally to a side room, all within 12 hours, I remained in the side room with IV every two hours at first, diminishing to (I think) every four hours after the first day.

I am extremely grateful that I am a tad dis-organised because I had had an agreement with the GP a few years back that, if cellulitis occurs, I could treat it at home with anti-biotics. Those antibiotics were out of date, hence our phone call for a house call. If we hadn’t done that, I might not be typing this. I’m lucky.

Two weeks on and I’m not feeling 100%, I can feel a bit “scatty” and it’s like my brain wants to say a particular word, but my mouth can’t and I get tired quickly, I’m also tearful too, researching for this post made me cry, with relief.

As you can imagine, D was greatly affected by the sight of her mum heading off in an ambulance and the massive routine changes that brought. She’s had separation anxieties ever since and has found it difficult to deal with any planned changes and needs constant reassurance and cuddles.

Sepsis can occur in babies and children too, below are the signs to look out for (from the NHS website):

“Sepsis symptoms in children under five

Go straight to A&E or call 999 if your child has any of these symptoms:

  • looks mottled, bluish or pale 
  • is very lethargic or difficult to wake 
  • feels abnormally cold to touch 
  • is breathing very fast 
  • has a rash that does not fade when you press it 
  • has a fit or convulsion 

Get medical advice urgently from NHS 111

If your child has any of the symptoms listed below, is getting worse or is sicker than you’d expect (even if their temperature falls), trust your instincts and seek medical advice urgently from NHS 111.

Temperature

  • temperature over 38C in babies under 3 months 
  • temperature over 39C in babies aged three to 6 months 
  • any high temperature in a child who cannot be encouraged to show interest in anything 
  • low temperature (below 36C – check 3 times in a 10-minute period) 

Breathing

  • finding it much harder to breathe than normal – looks like hard work 
  • making “grunting” noises with every breath 
  • can’t say more than a few words at once (for older children who normally talk) 
  • breathing that obviously “pauses” 

Toilet/nappies

  • not had a wee or wet nappy for 12 hours 

Eating and drinking

  • new baby under 1 month old with no interest in feeding 
  • not drinking for more than 8 hours (when awake) 
  • bile-stained (green), bloody or black vomit/sick 

Activity and body

  • soft spot on a baby’s head is bulging 
  • eyes look “sunken” 
  • child cannot be encouraged to show interest in anything 
  • baby is floppy 
  • weak, “whining” or continuous crying in a younger child 
  • older child who’s confused 
  • not responding or very irritable 
  • stiff neck, especially when trying to look up and down 

If your child has any of these symptoms, is getting worse or is sicker than you’d expect (even if their temperature falls), trust your instincts and seek medical advice urgently from NHS 111.”

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Storage and organisation for the home from Addis

By | December 7, 2018

Addis have been a household name for as long as I can remember and they are the go-to brand for household items.

They have recently launched a Made For Life range and I was asked if we’d like to take a look at a couple of items.

We are mega fans of recycling as much as we can here and have a compost bin in the garden. Our bunnies enjoy vegetable and fruit scraps but anything else (previously edible) heads for the bin, via a (seen better days) container in the kitchen.

We were sent a couple of compost caddies to try (which meant the shabby container can be recycled, yippee) and are very pleased with them, the black or white alternatives complementing any kitchen decor.

Addis compost caddy – £14.99
Sleek and discreet, this compost caddy comes complete with a removable inner bucket that can be washed in the dishwasher or by hand. Complete with carry handle, the Addis compost caddy can hold up to 2.5L of waste. 

What I like about the caddy is its discreetness and that it has a lid, the cover can also be kept open if there’s a lot of food preparation being undertaken and that the inner bucket can be removed for washing.

The carry handle is useful for our (as we call them) “Farmer Giles’ moments”, when carrying bits over to the compost bin.

And an iron tidy:

6 arm iron tidy £34.99 – currently £20 via amazon.co.uk 
This 6 arm ironing tidy will make light work of laundry as a landing place to hang freshly laundered shirts, or clothes that have just been washed to help save time ironing by reshaping when wet and allowing creases to drop out.

This will be used as more than an iron tidy here, I’m lucky that Hubbie doesn’t wear shirts for work, but both T and D have shirts for school uniform and it’s a handy accessory for them to be stored on hangers and kept neat. It’s also going to be very useful for use as an airer for, for example, hand-made jumpers and cardigans that need re-shaping after washing.

When not in use, it dismantles for storage.

Disclosure: we were sent these items to review, our words and opinions are our own.

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Introducing D to classic children’s stories with Wordsworth Editions

By | December 6, 2018

I’ve mentioned before how pleased I am that D shares my love of reading, it not only serves to calm her if she’s feeling stressed (she will always have at least 3 books in her bag if we go out) but it also introduces her to imagination and provides communication prompts around the stories and the characters.

It also gives me a chance to tell D about when I’d go and stay with my grandparents in the school holidays and avidly read the books in their collection, some dating back from when my grandparents were children. Obviously there weren’t mobile phones or tablets then so it was either a walk along the beach or a read, weather dependent!

To date, D has mostly favoured books by Enid Blyton, but there comes a point when the (for example) school days series stop and I feel that she could enjoy the classical stories that I did.

I was therefore really pleased when Wordsworth Editions sent us their Collector’s Edition series of classical stories to take a lot at.

They are wonderful!

As you’ll see from the first picture above, there are 12 books in the series, all in hardback form (we both much prefer books to electronic format) and beautifully illustrated on the front, back and on the spine.

There are also illustrations in some of the stories too, my favourite character from “Alice In Wonderland” has always been the Cheshire Cat:

Part of me wants to show these to D right away, to find out what she thinks of the stories, but we’ll be popping these under the tree for her, to read at her own pace.

I can’t wait for snuggly post-Christmas afternoons, onesie time and D with the book of her choice.

More details of the books and where to buy them can be found here, what’s your favourite childhood read?

Disclosure: we were sent the books to review, our thoughts and words are our own.

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Making Your Motherhood Over 40 Dreams Come True – Guest Post

By | November 27, 2018

There are many reasons women may want to start their family later in life. 

It’s common to wait to have children for educational, professional, or personal reasons like finding the right partner. Whatever your reason may be for starting your family later, once you start trying to conceive, you may encounter complications. Rest assured, despite the concerns and myths that accompany getting pregnant at a later age, many women are healthy enough to carry and deliver a baby with the assistance of donor egg IVF. 

 

It’s Complicated

If it’s natural, then it must be easy. That’s not always the case! It may be natural for women to become pregnant, but it’s also natural for women’s eggs to deteriorate in both quality and quantity as they age. Over time, women produce fewer eggs and the eggs they do produce tend to be of lower quality than those produced in their 20s and 30s. Women in their 40s typically enter a stage known as perimenopause, when their hormone levels that are essential to a successful pregnancy begin to decline. Although it’s becoming more frequent to see older women have children, it’s unlikely for women over 40 to get pregnant without medical help – it’s simply not discussed publicly.

 

Donor Egg IVF – What to Expect

Before you begin any treatment, youll undergo testing and receive counselling from medical professionals.

Youll be evaluated to ensure you’re as healthy as possible for pregnancy and you’re able to meet the optimal conditions to help make future implantation successful.

Youll be counselled to ensure you understand and are comfortable with the procedures, risks, and mental and emotional aspects of egg donor IVF. Often the greatest risk to you as a donor egg recipient is the increased likelihood of having multiple children when more than one fertilized egg is transferred to your uterus.

 

Another important decision you’ll have to make is the type of donor egg that best suits you.

Donor eggs are either fresh or frozen. There are a number of factors to consider between the two options. In general, frozen eggs are often significantly less expensive, more readily available, dont require a synchronization process with the donor, and have a national donor pool to choose from. 

 

Once you’ve decided the egg type, you can select your egg donor. You’ll want to consider if you’d like to know your donor or prefer them to remain anonymous. Then, you can refine your selection according to any additional criteria you may have based on physical and personal attributes. 

Frozen egg banks have the most diverse donor databases to choose from based on eye colour, hair colour, height, education level, and personal interests. 

You can expect all donors to typically be younger than 32 years of age and tested to meet fertility, infectious disease, psychological, and genetic standards.

 

If using fresh eggs, your next step will be to prepare for your IVF cycle by synchronizing your cycle with your donor. However, if you choose to use frozen eggs, you can begin your IVF cycle when your menstrual cycle creates the most optimal implantation environment. Eliminating the synchronization requirement can shorten the IVF timeline by several months. 

 

Once your donor eggs are retrieved (and thawed, if frozen), theyll be fertilized with your partner’s sperm or donor’s sperm(if you’re using a sperm donor) to create embryos. After the embryos are transferred to your uterus, youll take a pregnancy test to determine the results of your IVF cycle. 

 

Control What You Can

Turning a certain age doesn’t automatically exclude you from motherhood. While you can’t control your age, you can positively influence your chances of success with donor egg IVFand by establishing healthy habits as early as possible and maintaining them throughout the entire process. 

 

Follow your intuition and take initiative to explore your options. Control the things you can, like making informed decisions, especially when selecting your egg type and donor. Knowing what your options are will empower you to make the choice that’s best suited for you and your family.

Remember, even if youre in your 40s, your motherhood dreams can still come true. 

 

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Wellbeing, poppies and a request from me #BAPs

By | November 15, 2018

We all have differing ways of coping with whatever life throws at us, don’t we? Little strategies that help, whether it be something that can be dipped in and out of, or a specific.

For D, it’s her Art, it always has been, I love how, with a few strokes of a pencil, her picture takes shape and (proud mum moment here), she has started an Art GCSE course at her SN school. Her drawings are always positive too, mostly with a nature slant and incredibly detailed, below is one she made whilst I was in for my April operation:

For me, it’s my crochet habit, I’ve mentioned before how the fact that you have to concentrate on the stitches and the gentle way that something really pretty can be created from a hook and a bit of yarn really relaxes me, takes me away from the thoughts buzzing around in my head .

It produces nice results too, apart from when D requests a slug!

The past few weeks have been taken up with making crochet Poppies and selling them in D’s SN school and our local Costa.

They were sold on behalf of a crochet group I attend, all proceeds go to the Poppy Appeal and my sales totalled £301.60, which I am absolutely delighted about, that my little hobby can help in some way.

The picture above is from one of the staff at D’s school, her horse proudly wearing his poppy on his bridle, wonderful!

Once I have all the “foot stuff” rectified, I’d love to try out Yoga or Pilates but at the moment I can average 3 hours sleep some nights (due to aforementioned “stuff”) so that will be another wellbeing tool to look forward to.

One consequence of the foot operations is that I haven’t been able to attend the first two BAPs events, which are the blogging awards specifically for the SEN community – there are quite a few of us around!

With blogging in general, I can never quite see where my blog fits in, yes I’m a parent blogger but with a difference, my instagram isn’t full of happy trips out because of anxieties and as D has a set list of foods she’ll eat, we don’t do foodie pictures either.

With the BAPs, I can see where I fit in, there is a “Wellbeing” category which would suit me fine!

The link is here and whilst I can’t promise cake, I would absolutely love a nomination before tomorrow evening please!

The form will ask for my URL, which is http://AutismMumma.com and my email address, autismmumma@aol.com.

I will admit that blogging has taken a bit of a back seat through my “foot stuff” but I think I’m getting there and as Howard Jones would say “Things can only get better!”

Thanks x

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PCOS, hopes for D and me #NaturesBestPCOS

By | November 15, 2018

When I was growing up, I guess because of a fractured childhood, all I wanted was to have my own family and a little house, somewhere I could feel secure and watch that family grow.

We had D’s Annual Review at school recently and she expressed the same wish, but added in the fact she wished to live close to the family home, it’s where she was born. Obviously with her autism and anxieties, there is a doubt as to whether that would actually happen but… who knows, certainly as her parents, Hubbie and I want to see her happy.

However, there is a shadow hanging over that request as it’s likely that she would have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS, which tends to run in families and can inhibit a woman’s ability to conceive.

Here’s some details from the NHS website of the symptoms:

“If you experience symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), they’ll usually become apparent in your late teens or early twenties.

Not all women with PCOS will have all of the symptoms, and each symptom can vary from mild to severe. Many women only experience menstrual problems and/or are unable to conceive.

Common symptoms of PCOS include:

Symptoms can obviously vary from woman to woman, with some experiencing many more than others. My overriding symptom, when trying to conceive C, was the irregular periods and I was diagnosed via a blood test.

Not what a newly married woman wants to hear!

I’m lucky, I had a live birth with the assistance of Clomifene, a fertility medication that stimulates the ovaries into producing eggs, I also overhauled my lifestyle and tried to get myself into the best possible pre-pregnancy shape I could. It worked, but for many woman, there is the prospect of further, invasive treatment which may or may not produce that longed-for baby.

Another option would be to look online for hints and recommendations, naturesbest.co.uk is one such site, with pages of suggestions for living with PCOS, dealing with the many symptoms that can manifest and how to improve your wellbeing whilst coming to terms with the unexpected.

As mentioned above, I was lucky that I received treatment and had my first child. My body seemed to receive a kick-start after C was born, my periods became regular and eight years later, after telling my new Hubbie that we may not be able to have a family,

T was born naturally and at home, followed by D, 18 months later!! Two very unexpected and extremely happy accidents!!

Not the most glamorous post birth picture but our family was completed and, as we’d moved into our new home six weeks previously, D’s (planned) home birth felt very right.

Nature’s Best asked me if I had any advice for women who suspected they might have PCOS or are living with the symptoms and mine would be:

“Ask your doctor for recommendations around diet, lifestyle and supplements and make sure you are taken seriously. PCOS was hereditary in my case so I shall have to discuss any implications with my daughter if ever she plans a family.

Join online groups and support forums where you can share your hopes and fears, knowing that someone else has the same condition can really help.”

Disclosed: this is a collaborative post

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Short Term Care Options – Guest Post

By | November 1, 2018

There are nearly always occasions when you will need short term care or some extra support for someone you care for.

Sometimes this may be because they require additional input for a short period of time (for example following a hospital stay or for holiday care); in other cases, your own well-being or that of other family members may mean that it’s not physically possible to provide the amount of care that you usually do.

In these circumstances, there are a number of options possible to ensure that the person you care for continues to receive the level of support they need, without putting undue strain on the rest of the family.

Read on to discover some of the home care options out there, along with some ideas on what may work best for you.

Residential care may be the best option:

Occasionally, a short-term stay at a residential facility may be best for the person you care about. Many local councils have respite care available in exceptional circumstances, or it is possible to obtain a place in a privately-owned unit.

Short-term residential care can be helpful where there are extensive needs which must be met or where you are unable to carry on caring for a few days.

The main issue with residential care (leaving aside the expense, which can be prohibitive), is that particularly for people who are neurodivergent, the change in routine, surroundings and other familiar things that comes with moving to a residential facility can be particularly difficult to deal with.

Care At Home:

There are a number of different options when it comes to home care including a sessional carer or a live-in carer.

A sessional, or part-time carer, comes in as and when required. In contrast, a live-in carer resides with the family on a full-time basis. Day or night, your live-in carer will be there.

Clearly for many people, being able to stay in their own home, in familiar surroundings and with people they love, is very important. Especially for people with mental health issues or those for whom change is an enormous challenge, having the comfort of a familiar individual who is there to help as and when needed can really make a difference.

Besides the obvious advantage of being able to stay at home, a home care service usually works out much cheaper than staying outside the home.

Adaptable, versatile home care could work for you:

When you opt for home care assistance, you can control exactly how things are done and what care is received.

The work done can be tailored to meet individual needs, allowing the client to do what they can themselves at the same time as having access to the support they want.

Home care is especially appealing for clients who may require some attention during the night, as the carer is there when needed.

If you want to enjoy cost-effective, professional care that’s customised to meet your needs, for many people a home carer is the best solution to their requirements.

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Being Quiet Is Okay, Isn’t It? 

By | October 23, 2018

I know I haven’t blogged much about school life for D and T recently but something said at D’s parents evening at her SN school last week has stuck with me.

Our girl is doing okay, more than okay at the moment, she’s started a GCSE course (we are so proud) in a subject which she enjoys (more of that in another post) and is coping – on the whole – with the challenges this new school year has brought.

D is kind and polite in school, she will happily say “Good Morning” as she goes in after our walk and has been described as a “role model” by her Head Teacher, which is wonderful! She is most definitely in the right setting for her.

Monday’s though, present a challenge as the curriculum has a “carousel”, which according to D means they go into different classes and it’s all a bit unexpected.  She doesn’t look forward to Mondays and my hand is always gripped soooooooo tight on the walk but it’s part of preparing her for beyond school, I guess.

Back to the parents evening, it was all going really well until we came to this point:

  

This was raised as an issue, as during “choosing time” (which means they can CHOOSE what they’d like to do), D prefers to read a book and not socialise.

They also said that they would like D not to read during “Choosing Time” but talk to her classmates.

Well, apart from the fact that D has chosen to read and enjoys reading, it calms her and I don’t feel anyone should be discouraged from reading, there is the very obvious point that why should she be forced to make conversation when she’s meant to be self-regulating?

What is wrong with being quiet? She’s not a “hello, I’m here!” person, nor am I but, she will sing on stage after gentle encouragement and preparation.  

Why be forced outside her comfort zone and  start a conversation  (and they didn’t have an answer for this) when it is very likely that any response to her questions would be “closed” answers? (her classmates are all SN too)

I know she has to be prepared for life beyond school but FGS  if she is in a period of “choosing time” and she chooses to spend that time reading and self-regulating, let her!! 

Today, being Tuesday, was crochet group for me.  I asked D if we could go and she answered politely whenever spoken to.  She was the lovely polite young teen that she is, when she wanted to, she choose to sit and read and that was fine by me. 

It meant that she could tolerate being in a library where there were quite a few crying children.  

It meant she tolerated the bus journey home with various smells that she very quickly picked up on, there was no way I was going to force her to start conversations if it meant she wasn’t comfortable.

So, just what is wrong with choosing to be quiet?  Wouldn’t life be boring and really quite exhausting if we were all extrovert?

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Me And My Inner Princess 

By | October 21, 2018

Have I ever mentioned how much I love going to Windsor?

We’re about half an hour away by train and, as the little two carriage shuttle train from Slough pulls in (runs every ten minutes) I always have a little surge of excitement as I see Windsor Castle come into view from the windows, there’s no escaping it, the town seems to be built around the castle after all!

  
I guess it’s my childhood inner Princess bursting out and after the two Royal weddings held there this year, I can imagine the town has been absolutely be-decked in bunting.

Windsor is very proud of its Royal connections, of course there is an element of souvenir shops, which hilariously sell waving Mr Bean figures right alongside those of our Queen and there are also a fair amount of tea cloths, commemorative crockery and slogan baseball caps.

The shops nearest to the Castle cater mostly for touristy bits and little tea shops but venture further down one of the many side streets and you’ll find the usual High Street chain stores, the difference being that there will invariably be a flag or bunting outside.

But back to my childhood Princess leanings for a moment, which have been topped up quite nicely by the two Royal Weddings this year, both managing to generate the pomp of such an occasion, but also at times, feeling very intimate with the joining of two people who are in love.

Because that’s what a wedding comes down to, isn’t it? The bride and groom/groom and groom/bride and bride. Two people pledging their love for each other will mean the same, however large or small the congregation or the venue is and of course, the majority don’t have the added pressure of dress analysis, tv cameras and a world-wide audience!

If we’re talking dresses by the way, I much preferred Eugenie’s, the classic lines suited her very well and the fact she celebrated her scoliosis scars as opposed to hiding them must have been a great boost to others affected by the condition.

  
(I did have one objection to both events though, in these budget-conscious times, that the bill for policing both events was huge and should have been met by the Royal Family and not tax payers, i doubt any of the Windsor roads on both carriage routes had any potholes in either!)

As the “big day” should be purely about the happy couple, the venue shouldn’t really make too much of a difference – unless you do have the pressures of the afore-mentioned worldwide tv audience (!) and the vows made will mean just as much said in a Bijou Weddings setting as those promised in a castle chapel!

We are very lucky in Berkshire and bordering Surrey and Hampshire to have many potential large and smaller venues for ceremonies, some offering a historical backdrop, others are more modern, all having great photo opportunities. 

Oh well, I’d better confine my Princess leanings towards these, quick and easy to make and a lot more durable!! 

  

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My Scheepjes Whirl Hexagon cardigan – tah dah!! @scheepjes

By | October 21, 2018

Occasionally my crochet and autism pages collide, they’re bound to as crochet helps my wellbeing so much, both from a parenting and a post foot operation complications viewpoint.

One particular pattern has been my go-to for cardigans made in chunky, super chunky, double knit yarns and now in a Scheepjes Whirl.

If you haven’t heard of Scheepjes Whirls before, they are 1000m of loveliness! Similar to 4ply but it’s the subtle colour-changing aspect that made these so, so wonderful to use.

Just look at these colours 😍

  
So, I thought I’d combine the Whirl with the Hexagon cardigan (pattern here) to see how I got on.  The Whirls I choose (one for each side) were Woolly Whirls in Sugar Sizzle.

I’m a tight crocheter apparently, so used a 3.5mm hook.  The beauty of this pattern is that the cardigan is made in two halves, working from the under arm out and you then simply sew the halves together along the back seam and the top seam, the pattern does the rest.  Also, the pattern can be made as large or small as you wish, just make sure you finish on the same row number! 

Each half of the cardigan took a week to make and here’s some progress pictures: 

A teeny mouse-sized start!  
Reaching that first proper colour change:  
 First side done with a tiny bit left over! 
When both sides were finished, it was button shopping time, I found these in John Lewis which complement the greens and purples in the Whirl beautifully:  
And the finished and blocked cardigan:

The front:  
The back, the vertical line down the middle is where the two sides meet:

  
And showing off those fab colour changes:

  
I have plans to make another one or two as they are so lovely as well as child-sized ones in DK to go into my crochet page’s shop.  The link to my page if anyone would like to visit and give me a like/follow, is a click here.

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