The Fred Rogers’ quote “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping'” has been used often to try to help with recent global events. I know I have spoken to Biscuit and Cracker about this, in an attempt to stop them being so scared by the news images which have tragically become part of our everyday lives.
Rest assured, those helpers are always there; whether that’s our amazing emergency services, individual helpers who go over and above to help others or whole communities coming together to provide support/shelter/etc. Those helpers are there after terrorist incidents, natural disasters or events like the Grenfell House fire. They are both visible and working behind the scenes (let’s not forget our 999 call handlers who got Police to the London Bridge area in order to neutralise the terrorists within 8 minutes of the call to them). But can we all be helpers?
Of course we can. I don’t mean that we should all metaphorically don capes and throw ourselves in to potentially dangerous situations, but knowing that we can all help in our own way. We can be kind to people. We can treat them with respect. Rob and I are raising Biscuit and Cracker to be tolerant, to listen to other people’s views and to respect them (VERY different from agreeing with them btw), by understanding that if it doesn’t directly impact on you then your opinion is limited and by being kind. This means remembering that words have a huge impact, that your actions/inactions can hurt people, and that empathy is one of the most vitally important skills you can ever use.
I am always honest with Biscuit and Cracker with what’s going on in the world (it’s their world too after all). They are aware of who Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Jeremy Hunt are and what their views are (if you’re wondering; “he’s a silly man who doesn’t like people who have different colour skin than him”, “he’s mean as he doesn’t think boys and boys and girls and girls should get married” and “he’s a stinky poo-poo head because he doesn’t think paramedics and nurses are important and do a brilliant job” respectively). I admit I struggled watching the DUP politicians (with their anti-LGBTQ, anti-choice stance) being given such airtime on TV and such power in Westminster. I respect that they have different views to me, but I severely dislike their damning words regarding things which are so personal and their judgments on people (nothing wrong with the saying “if you’ve got nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all”). There’s no kindness in what they say.
One final thought, before my random ramblings come to an end (thank you for putting up with a slightly different post from Biscuit and Cracker today); be kind to yourself. Sometimes we find it easier to be kind to others, but we shouldn’t leave ourselves out of that.
Look after yourselves and I hope to see you again soon.
I love Christmas, I love food and I love baking and, although this blog is not primarily about me, these are things I have spent more than an ordinate amount of time thinking about in recent weeks.
The Christmas ads are out; cosy, happy ads showing us all the delicious family foods we could spend our holidays tucking in to. Normally I watch these salivating and planning which foods to buy and which foods I would want to try making. This year I am watching them with different eyes; eyes which are starting to understand the magnitude of someone not being able to eat what most other people can.
As of October this year, Biscuit was diagnosed as having Coeliac Disease. This was after years of being convinced that she wasn’t absorbing her food properly, months of toileting troubles (leading to embarrassment and a dip in her confidence) and goodness knows how long of discomfort, cramps and tummy pain for my beautiful little red-haired girl.
For those of you who are not ‘in the know’ about Coeliac, here is my little run-down; Coeliac disease is an auto-immune condition, meaning that the immune system mistakenly see substances inside of gluten (the protein in wheat, barley and rye) as a threat and attacks them. This leads to damage of the villi (finger like projections in the small intestine) which affects the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food ingested. It is not an allergy or an intolerance.
When Biscuit eats gluten she gets very constipated, with a bloated and uncomfortable tummy. She also feels very tired a lot. There are lots of symptoms (it’s worth checking out Coeliac U.K. for a list of symptoms) to watch out for, as some of them can seem quite non-specific. That’s why it can sometimes take a long time for a diagnosis to be made. It is important that a diagnosis is made as potential long-term complications of untreated Coeliac disease include osteoporosis, anaemia, vitamin deficiencies and it can lead to certain types of cancer.
The treatment of Coeliac disease is the following of a strict gluten-free diet. This is done with the supervision, support and advice of a dietician.
So this is where we currently are. We have decontaminated the entire kitchen (cleaned it for top to bottom, sterilised the chopping boards and got a new toaster), got rid of all food containing gluten and refilled the cupboards after visiting all the free-from sections in our local shops. I have spent time with the school inclusion officer (and provided her the Coeliac U.K. school pack) to help the catering company support Biscuit to eat gluten-free school lunches). I have become militant at checking labels!
It has been a tricky year for us, and I have neglected this blog but we are back and we will be showing you all the gluten-free goodness (and not-so-goodness) we have managed to find during our Coeliac journey.
Thank you for listening
2016 so far has not been kind to us. In the past 5 weeks we have visited 2 hospitals and 2 GP practices on 7 separate occasions; my mum has broken her femur (thigh bone), Cracker has had 2 anaphylactic reactions (to, as yet, an unknown cause) and is currently battling a 40oc fever (again of unknown origin) and Biscuit has been struggling with more viral-induced wheeze.
The majority of these illnesses, and the subsequent doctor visits, have taken place in the evening or at the weekend. As parents we know that our children are more likely to need a medical assessment on a Friday evening, after a full 45 hour week at work, or on a Sunday of a Bank Holiday weekend. NB: if Jeremy Hunt doesn’t believe that doctors work at these unsocial times, let me tell you that they do. I have yet to walk in to an A&E department and been unable to see staff there. These unsocial visits have an impact on who looks after the other twinkle, work, family get-togethers, catching-up with uni friends (sorry girls) and, trust me on this one, family weddings. I know if you’re not living it, it is hard to believe how many things get cancelled or missed due to your little ones being unwell. I know where I’d rather be just as much as I know where I’ve got to be.
Then there’s the stress of it. I have been nursing for 10 years now, but nothing prepares you for when it’s your baby sick and needing help. Rob always says that, in fact, it is worse for me as I have knowledge of the worst-case scenarios. I’m sure that the stress alone is enough to make parents sick, but you have to keep going for the child who is poorly (as well as the children who aren’t, but still need you). It doesn’t make you want to do anything bar relaxing at home (obviously whilst listening intently to the monitor for the slightest cough or sniffle)
I wish I could make Biscuit and Cracker 100% healthy, but until they get a bit bigger and hopefully a lot stronger we are going to have to deal with just how inconvenient ill health is. I only hope that our friends and family are patient enough to still be around when that happens….!
As you all start preparing for your weekends, please let me tell you our story.
This time last Friday my beautiful little man suffered his first anaphylactic reaction of the weekend. He was first assessed and treated by amazing paramedics (including one who managed to get a cannula in to a 3 year old’s veins whilst in the back of an ambulance speeding down Tottenham Court Road), then taken straight through to resuscitation before going to paediatric A&E and then spending the night on the paediatric ward. The same thing happened to us again after discharge on the Saturday.
Our nightmare weekend started on Friday evening and ended on Sunday lunchtime; trust me when I tell you how unsocial these hours felt to me, let alone to the people working their shifts. During this time we were treated (because, yes, they looked after me just as much as him) by paramedics, consultants, registrars, junior doctors, nurses and student nurses, not to mention the porters, domestics and countless other people involved in hospital care. We experienced expert care, amazing treatment, and outstanding compassion.
I have worked for the NHS for the last ten years (as well as 3 years previous as a student) and I know how hard we work. I know what is it like to be there at someone’s first breath and to hold someone’s hand at their last. I know what it is like to miss Christmases and birthdays (and countless family dinners). I have done 12 1/2 hour shifts with no time to eat, drink or pee.
So Jeremy Hunt, I dare you to look at the story of how the NHS saved my son’s life (at a weekend) and the story of my working life and say that the doctors are “greedy”, that the paramedics are “ambulance drivers” and the student nurses don’t deserve a bursary. In fact, I challenge you to look me in the eye and tell me that the NHS is not worth fighting for.
#JuniorContract #NotFair #NotSafe #BursaryOrBust
On Thursday 03/09/2015 the world woke up to pictures on the front page of most newspapers which I know I will never forget (and which I’m not sure we ever should).
I have read discussions on social media about whether we needed to see these pictures. They are horrific to see and have caused heartache across the globe. However, it is undeniable that the world seems to have stepped up and started caring since we have seen them. The Independent reports that it took the decision to publish the images of Aylan Al-Kurdi on its front page because
… it is all too easy to forget the reality of the desperate situation facing many refugees.
The original article can be found here (warning: the images are very distressing) and led to the Indy’s Petition calling on David Cameron to accept more refugees in to Britain (I urge you to join the thousands of people who have already signed up).
Today is the last Saturday I will have with my own three-year-olds (they are the same age as Aylan was when he stepped into the dingy with his parents and brother) before they start school. We have had a lazy morning watching Postman Pat and having cuddles on the sofa. Sitting there as a mass of limbs and kisses reminded me (as if I would ever forget) how lucky we really are. Lucky to have a roof over our heads, lucky to have food in our cupboards, lucky to have freedom of speech and lucky to have each other.
I can’t imagine leaving behind our home, our friends and our family (those who are left after the near-total destruction of the town) and taking my two small children on a dangerous journey to an unknown land in the hope of safety and security. Yet this is the situation facing hundreds of thousands of people. Refugees don’t need to imagine doing this, they don’t have a choice. To me, the quote which Warsan Shire, the Somali-British poet, wrote in her book Long Journeys. African Migrants on the Road has really stayed with me;
“no one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land”
Please remember that there are many things we can do to help the refugees. Please search for them and see what is in your power to do. A great example is my school friend’s gorgeous son who was so touched by the pictures of Syrian children he saw on the news that he set up a Just Giving Page to purchase sleeping bags for them (and if a 5 year old can think like this, I know we all can).
As a human I know I have grieved for all the senseless loss of lives. As someone lucky enough to live in a free and safe country I know we could, and should, do more. And as a mother I know I have hugged Biscuit and Cracker that little bit harder and tighter since I saw poor Aylan lying on that beach.
I don’t know if anyone was wondering why we missed last week’s Trendy Tot Thursday, as we have been involved every week since it started back in July 2014.
I am normally a little delayed in posting our entry due to work commitments etc so they come out at the weekend.
Unfortunately last weekend was spent with little Biscuit being very poorly and getting admitted to hospital with pneumonia. And whilst she looked incredibly cute, I don’t think a cannula for antibiotics could be classed as “trendy”!
I have previously posted that Biscuit had been ill before, but even that coupled with years of experience on the other side of the uniform will never prepare me for the horrible feeling when one of my kiddies is poorly. Combine that with the worry you have leaving another at home with friends or family and you have a very stressful time.
Thankfully, after a weekend of strong antibiotics and regular pain relief, Biscuit was well enough to continue her recovery at home and she is much, much better. Cracker also needed lots of TLC after Biscuit was admitted as he was worried about her, and also had his schedule disrupted. Cuddles all round this week!
Anyway, thank you for baring with us. Hopefully normal service will be resumed this week, although we haven’t really been anyway so we’ve been trendy at home.