Saturday, July 02, 2011

3297 SIDS

Saturday, July 2. 2011

I shot an arrow into the air. It's still going - everywhere!
-- L. Long --


The previous post got me thinking about SIDS. About how "they" insist that babies must be put down to sleep on their backs, never on their bellies. The Wikipedia article is interesting. There are many many advantages to putting babies down on their bellies, including that babies who have "bubbles" are more comfortable (Nugget is much happier on her belly), their craniums develop more evenly, and they develop physical and social skills faster than back-sleeping babies. The ONLY advantage to back-sleeping is that it has reduced the incidence of SIDS (and, by the way, they still don't know what exactly goes wrong in SIDS) by like 50%.

What IS the incidence of SIDS? It's fewer than 1 in 1,000! Fewer! (Actually it's .73 per 1,000, which is 1 in 1370.) So if back-sleeping reduces it by 50%, that means that 2,738 babies will be developmentally delayed to save one baby and lose one baby.

(Well, "delayed" might be changed. "They" are considering pushing back the developmental guidelines so it won't be considered a delay any more. Sheesh. There's a name for that kind of thinking....)

Also there's a list of risk factors (from Wikipedia) that nobody ever mentions.

Pre-natal risks

  • teenage mother (SIDS rates decrease with increasing maternal age)
  • lower maternal education (SIDS rates decrease with increasing years of schooling)
  • lack of prenatal care (SIDS rates increase with increasing delay in starting pre-natal care)
  • exposure to nicotine by maternal smoking (SIDS rates are higher for infants of mothers who smoke during pregnancy)

Post-natal risks

  • mold (can cause bleeding lungs plus a variety of other uncommon conditions leading to a misdiagnosis and death). It is often misdiagnosed as a virus, flu, and/or asthma-like conditions.
  • low birth weight (in the US from 1995-1998 the rate for 1000-1499 g was 2.89/1000 and for 3500-3999 g it was 0.51/1000)
  • exposure to tobacco smoke
  • prone sleep position (lying on the stomach)
  • not breastfeeding
  • elevated or reduced room temperature
  • excess bedding, clothing, soft sleep surface and stuffed animals
  • co-sleeping with parents or other siblings may increase risk for SIDS, but the mechanism remains unclear
  • infant's age (incidence rises from zero at birth, is highest from two to four months, and declines towards zero at one year)
  • premature birth (increases risk of SIDS death by about 4 times. In 1995-1998 the US SIDS rate for 37–39 weeks of gestation was 0.73/1000; The SIDS rate for 28–31 weeks of gestation was 2.39/1000)
  • anemia [NB: per item 6 in the list of epidemiologic characteristics ..., extent of anemia cannot be evaluated at autopsy because "total hemoglobin can only be measured in living infants.]

Nugget and her parents don't have a single one of the long list of risk factors. In fact, in age, education, and environmental conditions, they reduce the danger significantly.

Ok. So they tell you that you must put your baby on his/her back. If you point out that the risk to Nugget is so low as to be almost non-existing, they'll respond, yeah, and what if your baby is that one in a thousand. Huh? What then? Huh? Huh?

Sigh. Guilt trip.

Let's apply that thinking to other issues. Let's be Mr. Spock instead of Dr. Spock.

The incidence of fatal automobile accidents among drivers younger than 35 is higher than the SIDS incidence. Much higher. Much much higher. Therefore NO ONE under the age of 35 should be allowed to drive.

What's wrong with that logic? How is it not the same thing? Oh, I forgot. There's no one to send on a guilt trip because they didn't listen to us.

3296 Nugget Report

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat.
-- L. Long --


Yup. The kid definitely was not switched in the hospital. True to her mother's genes, she picks a long holiday weekend to get sick. She's got thrush. With her mother it was ear infections.

So her mother and I spent a portion of this afternoon trying to find gentian violet, the old tried-and-true topical cure. NO drug or herbal stores around here seem to carry it, although they all are willing to order it, "...will be here Tuesday". Tuesday will be too late.

All the drug stores were going to close early, so at 4:45 Daughter was on the phone to the doctor's covering service to get a prescription called in so we could pick it up today.

After all that, after we got home, I suddenly realized that on my last trip upriver I had cleaned out the medicine cabinets at the old house, and I'll bet I have at least two unopened bottles of gentian violet in the "to be unpacked" boxes upstairs. Jay'd had thrush when his immune system had crashed, and the prescription made him violently ill, to where he was throwing up. He had so many medicines on so many different schedules, and I was worried that with all the vomiting I wasn't sure he was keeping down his more important meds, so I used gentian violet on his thrush and it worked with no side effects.

So Daughter will try the prescription, and if the Nugget has any trouble with it, we'll try the GV.


Photos. Forgive a first-time Gramma. Nugget has the most beautiful wide open-mouth smile, but it's near impossible to catch with a camera because she WANTS the camera. This is close as I could get to a smile. A small flirtation. (06/27/11)

Tears coming because I won't give her the camera.

Full belly; nap time. (06/30/11)

This was today, 07/02/11. Nugget was asleep in the bouncy chair. Daughter and I stepped outside (for three seconds! I swear!) to measure Hal's back seat, and we didn't belt Nugget in. Hey, she's only a hair over two months old. She's not going to climb out of the chair, right? Right. The following is what we found when we came back in (still sound asleep). Please don't call child protective services on us.

We were afraid we'd wake her if we tried to move her, so Gramma insisted on protection.

Hal has lost some of his sex appeal. It's a little hard to carry off "prowling platinum cougar" with a green plaid baby seat in the rumble.


Major developmental step - day before yesterday, while she was visiting with me, she discovered her feet. She was sitting sideways on my thigh and looked down and saw them moving. She spent, honest to God, a good half hour watching her feet. She practiced making them move. She'd stare at the right foot, and wiggle it, curl and uncurl the toes. Then she'd turn and stare at the left foot, and wiggle it. It was pretty amazing.

I was worried about her being all bent over like that right after eating, that she'd spit up or get a belly ache or something, but when I tried to straighten her up she fought me, waving her arms and fussing and throwing her head forward and down. She's very strong.

When I took her back across the street, I told Daughter about it, but Nugget wasn't interested in feet any more. She wanted booby.

Later I went over to visit, and the instant I put her on my lap she threw herself forward and worked on foot control again. Daughter laughed that Nugget seems to think Gramma brings feet.

She doesn't have control of her arms and hands yet, except when reaching for her face and mouth. She's very accurate at getting fingers into her mouth. Otherwise her arms kind of just wave around. I doubt there had been anything else she wanted to grab, requiring hand-eye coordination. The feet seem to have provided incentive. She'd been trying to reach for them since she discovered them. Yesterday she caught one, and looked very surprised. She's better at catching feet today.

And I think she's figured out they're hers, not Gramma's.


Looking at the pictures of Nugget in the bouncy chair. We had left her on her back. So I think that may have been her first rolling over, too. Given the cradling shape of the chair, that couldn't have been easy. I wonder how she did it. You're not supposed to put infants to sleep on their bellies any more (SIDS). I wonder how you prevent belly sleeping once they learn how to roll over?

3295 Bits

Saturday, July 2, 2011

There's no reason to waste a creative thinker on an implementation task.
-- Dilbert --


When the Nugget got her first immunizations, Daughter had been worried about how she would react when the nurse hurt her baby, and she didn't want the Nugget to think her mommy had done this terrible thing to her, so she asked me to go with her. Well, when the time came, Daughter did take over, and talked to Nugget. Nugget startled, the lower lip came out, but she recovered quickly and smiled at her mommy. All was well. Daughter picked her up, held her in her arms, and told her she was a good girl, very brave. And I put my arm around Daughter and told her she was a good girl, very brave.


I'm reading one of the free books that came with the Kindle, a collection of old fairy tales. Very bloody. They use a lot of old or unusual words, too. I have to look up words in every story, like "firmity" (a sort of a pudding-like glop made with soaked cracked grain, thickened with egg), "league" (the distance a man can walk in one hour, being farther on flat smooth ground and shorter on rough or steep ground), "cimeter" (a smallish knife with a curved blade shaped like a scimitar), "drest" (old adjective form of dressed), and so on.

I most enjoyed looking up "league". The first part of the Wikipedia article on anthropic measurements is very interesting. Ever wonder what a cubit is? Or a fathom? Furlong?

It struck me as odd that many of the measurements seem to assume an average human height of six feet. (On a well-proportioned body, the distance from the tips of the fingers to the opposite tips of outstretched arms should be equal to the height from the ground to the top of the head.) And yet I'd always heard that people in antiquity were much smaller than now. That David's giant was actually probably just a bit over six feet tall. I know that when you look at uniforms in Civil War museums (I lived in Gettysburg a few years) the uniforms seem tiny, too small even for me, and that was only 150 years ago. Same with Victorian dresses.

So it seems odd.


I'm thinking I can probably live with this kidney stone. I still have the other part of that double kidney functioning well. I believe the stones formed because I had the year-and-a-half kidney infection, and if I can avoid any future kidney infections, it won't get any worse.

The organism was the usual Escherichia coli (E. coli). "They" tell women that to prevent UTIs, we should wipe front to back, and piddle after sex. I don't know about the rest of the world, but I have great difficulty doing either. I have to wipe side-to-side, just being careful not to pull forward. And I can't piddle after sex because I have to piddle before, or I can't relax to enjoy it, so there's nothing there. Besides, I can't piddle that many times in one evening.

So I was thinking about that, and decided that I will have to use the Azo strips periodically. Check often, and insist that if something does show up, we cannot assume it's just a simple bladder infection.

That got me wondering about bidets. Um, wouldn't they contribute to UTIs? I can't imagine that the stream of water is very careful about where it carries and splashes and deposits stuff. At least then it's your own ickiness. Not like the automatic-flush toilets in public restrooms, like those along the parkways and throughways, that flush even while you're still on them and splash your bottom with God-knows-what left by God-knows-whom. Those things make me cringe.


I heard fireworks last night. I automatically got up and went to the window, and was disappointed to find that I could see nothing. The sounds were coming from the north and northwest, and from the southeast. North and northwest would be Brooklyn and Staten Island, and in the winter I can see them, but with the leaves on the trees now I can see next to nothing. Southeast would be along the bay shores or ocean shores, but being at sealevel myself and surrounded by trees, I could see nothing.

Disappointment. The old house is on a ridge with a view to the mountains, and I used to be able to see the fireworks from Bard college, Kingston, Rhinebeck, and Saugerties, and if Woodstock invested in the good stuff that would rise above the mountains, I could see theirs, too.

Tsk. I'll miss them.

Friday, July 01, 2011

3294 Dear Diary

Friday, July 1, 2011

How "good one is in bed" has more to do with the combination than with any skill.
-- Silk --


One purpose of this blog is to act as a diary for me, so I kind of know what happened when. I don't always remember what I did three days ago, let alone last month. Of course, I also often don't realize the significance of small things when they happen, so they get left out and lost. So the usefulness is often compromised. Eh.

I wanted to go upriver this past week, probably Tuesday evening through Thursday, and had told the Hunk I'd be up. But it didn't happen. And I'm already starting to forget why.

Nugget had a pediatrician appointment on Wednesday afternoon. Daughter had managed to convince the doctor to delay Nugget's first immunizations for a month, so she'd be getting them Wednesday, and Daughter was a nervous wreck. She asked me to go with her. She was so afraid herself that I think she was almost afraid she'd have to leave the room. Ok, Gramma can be the bad guy. So I didn't go upriver Tuesday evening. I can go Wednesday, and return Friday.... (Yuck. Garden State Parkway, Friday on a holiday weekend, heading toward the shore points?)

Tuesday afternoon Daughter and had I spent some time looking up baby carriers on the internet. She wanted one that could be used on the front with the baby facing in or out. I pointed out that Nugget would soon be too heavy for a front carrier, so maybe she should look for one that could also be used as a back carrier. We found a few that looked good. I emphasized that she shouldn't buy it online, though, at least until she'd tried one on for size and comfort.

So Wednesday after the pediatrician appointment, Daughter suggested that we locate a selection of carriers on Thursday. Wednesday, by the way, was a long day. Daughter is pokey anyway, but she stops dead every two hours or so for 20 minutes or so, to breastfeed the Nugget.

On the way home from the pediatrician we had stopped at a huge Target to see if they had any carriers (no, not a single one), and while I was standing at the counter in the Target snack bar a man next to me set a cup of coffee on a small bit of shelf set there to hold a debit card reader at the front of the counter, while he paid his tab. The unsecured shelf tilted, the coffee slid off and hit the floor, and the hot coffee shot straight up, a veritable volcano, and splashed my neck, tiny boiling droplets from behind my right ear to my shoulder.

No, I don't need 911. No, I don't need the store nurse. I would like a cloth with some ice, please. Now!, if it wouldn't be too much trouble? Yes, I would like to see a manager. Yes, I would like to fill out an incident report - for the sole purpose of bringing attention to that unsecured shelf, which should be removed or secured, because the next person burned could be a Nugget-type. Or a litigious type. Who would certainly have a case now that I am reporting it.

The manager removed the shelf immediately. Next time I'm in Target, I'm going to check.

Then Daughter asked me to watch Nugget that evening while she worked on some medical insurance problems** and wrote an article for an organization newsletter. So I didn't make it up river Wednesday evening, either. Ok, I can go Thursday evening, then return Saturday evening, and that's better for traffic anyway.

So Thursday Daughter, Nugget, and I headed for the largest Babies R Us in the area, south of here, just a bit north of Asbury Park. We tried on several carriers. Daughter ended up with a frame backpack - the Cadillac of carriers. Good for hiking with Nugget. By then it was close to 5:30 pm, and she suggested we visit the Asbury Park boardwalk, Hercules works near there so he can join us, and we can have dinner there.

Boardwalk? Yeah, ok. Asbury Park, by the way, has gone through about 50 years of depression, despite the ostentatious (and pretentious) mansions lining the roads in. The city and boardwalk are just now starting to sort of recover. The boardwalk is bracketed with buildings showing obvious decay, but also apparent recent attempts at restoration. We walked the full length and back, with dinner in the middle (overpriced and not that good). During a Nugget diaper change and feeding, I decided to walk down to the water. I'd forgotten how difficult it is to walk on soft sand, and with the dead nerves in my right ankle and shin, my foot dragged, and I ended up pulling something in the top of my right thigh.

We didn't get home until after 10:30 pm. Nope, not going upriver Thursday evening.

Now it's Friday and there's no way I'm going anywhere near the parkway or the turnpike today. Not to mention that the top of my right thigh clenches every so often.

Maybe Saturday evening? No, that would be returning Monday evening, eeeeek! Sunday evening? Returning Tuesday? No. I have a mammo scheduled down here for next Wednesday, and I need to pick up my old mammogram films (CD) up there, and they won't be ready until Thursday, so I may as well wait until then to go up, or it would be another week before I get the films.

I wonder why I never get anything done.


**The insurance problem. It's a lot more complicated than this one example, but I'll describe one of the problems that has me shaking my head.

When Daughter's water broke early in her labor, there was a lot of thick meconium, which is a bad thing. Then she didn't dilate beyond 9. Then she developed a fever, and they were worried about infection, both her and the baby. They actually piped saline through her uterus to wash out the meconium when her fever kept going up and the baby's heartrate increased. And Daughter's blood sugar was too high. She had poorly controlled gestational diabetes, so the Nugget was likely to be born with too much insulin in her system, which could result in hypoglycemia.

So finally there was an emergency caesarian, and the Nugget went into the neonatal ICU for two days while her risk of meconium inhalation infection and hypoglycemia were assessed and controlled. Daughter was breastfeeding, so she visited the Nugget every few hours. Then they had a day and a half of rooming-in, with both of them on IV antibiotics.

It was altogether, from the time Daughter arrived at the hospital very early in the morning until they were released, four days. (Or something like that. I forget and I'm not going to look it up now.) Anyway, it all sounds like medical necessity, right?

Surprise. The insurance company allows three days for a birth. Period. And they count the first full day as the day you arrive at the hospital, so if you arrive Monday night at 11:45 pm, that's the first one of the three days. They don't count from the birth, but from the mother's arrival. Duh? Does this mean that if you arrive late one evening, and are in active labor for two days, which is not unheard of, the hospital is expected to kick you out an hour before the baby is born?

I guess this is to discourage anxious mothers from arriving too early. BUT!!! Daughter's water broke early, and there was heavy meconium. ALL medical advice is that this is a concern, and to call your doctor, and then do as you're told. Daughter was told to go to the hospital immediately. Why is there no exception for emergency cases?

So, the insurance company is refusing to pay for the fourth day.

Second, although Daughter had originally wanted a home birth, but all kinds of obstacles were thrown in her way, she ended up with a hospital 40 minutes away, which is what the insurance company insisted on, because she was considered high risk. Got that? That the insurance company wanted this particular hospital because it was a high risk birth?

Surprise surprise. The neonatal ICU at this hospital is (for some unexplained reason) considered OUT OF NETWORK! The fact that Nugget ending up in the ICU was not exactly planned, but should have been a consideration, given that it was a high risk birth, and the fact that it was an emergency, doesn't seem to matter to the insurance company. When Daughter asked what else she should have done, she was told that she should have had the baby transferred to another NICU that was in network. The fact that Daughter was breast feeding was not a consideration. So no, they're not paying for two days of NICU since they hadn't given prior approval. Duh?

Um, why did they insist on this particular hospital again? When you say "high risk", doesn't that presuppose the risk of NICU? Wasn't that implied?

It sounds to me like the insurance company is giving them a hard time just because parents of a new baby are unlikely to pull out the big guns, being tired, depressed, and busy with higher priorities.

I say fight it.

This is stupid.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

3293 Social Security

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Virginity is important to men who fear comparison.
-- Silk --


Congress, those folks with the generous lifetime retirement and medical plans regardless of how long or short a time they HAVE the job, want to cut Social Security benefits and again raise the age at which people can collect. They seem to think that SS is going broke. Or something.

Not true. The real fact is that SS is fine and healthy as it is. The truth is that Congress has "borrowed" enormous funds from SS, which has caused a potential deficit, and they don't want to pay it back. Pure and simple.

For some reason, AARP has backed off their objections to the plan.

From an email letter and news release from the National Retiree Legislative Network (NRLN):
The NRLN maintains that Social Security is not a welfare program paid for by the U.S. Government. Social Security beneficiaries and their employers have paid into the Social Security Trust since 1937. And every year since 1983, the payroll tax for Social Security has generated tens of billions of dollars in surplus, every dollar of which was borrowed by Congress to cover other federal spending.* In the future, the Social Security Trust should be insulated from access by Congress and never again be loaned out as a piggybank to cover other government spending.
[* Emphasis mine. That sum "borrowed" and never paid back amounts to something like 1.8 trillion dollars.]

Not a welfare plan. It's more like insurance, an annuity, and those deductions from your paycheck are the premiums. Then if you manage to live until retirement, you get to collect from the retirement insurance you paid for.

Well, yeah. If Congress gives you back your money and stops taking it away from you, that is.

For more information about the NRLN, visit their website at And write your congressional representatives, the ones who don't understand the financial uncertainties faced by real people.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

3292 Exhibitionist

Sunday, June 26, 2011

“Ever try to order the panda at Panda Express? Boy, those people need to get a sense of humor.” -- AndrĂ© at --


Last Monday I walked all over the nearby business district (and the neighborhoods on the way there and back) in an ankle-length, brown, yellow, and orange gauze dress with a full skirt. I usually wear that dress (any dress) without a slip. Slips are hot. No breeze. Defeats the purpose of gauze.

It was Oprah who started this "no slip" business many years ago. On her show one day she said that her "people" had wanted her to put on a slip with her dress, because "you can see through it". She refused, saying so what? All anyone can see is the shadow, the shape, of her legs, and they'd see more if she were wearing shorts.

Women all over the country agreed and threw their slips away. Tucked them in the back of the drawer with the girdles, garters, stockings, pantihose, sanitary belts, camisoles, and underarm shields that no one wears any more.

(Man, when I think about all the undergarments we wore only 40 years ago...!)

When I look in the bedroom mirror in this dress, I see only the outline of my legs, and then only if there's a light behind me. Fine.

Today I put the dress on, looked in the mirror, nodded, went downstairs, and opened the front door. The bright morning light shone in. There's a mirror next to the door. I saw not only the outline of my legs, but also some spider veins. And some leg hair. And my underpants. I could tell my panties were black, and I could almost count the stitching in the embroidered rose. Ack!

Last Monday, starting out on our walk, Daughter had said, "Mom, that dress is pretty transparent. It needs a slip. [...pause...] Oh well. Some of my friends wear stuff like like that." (The implication being of course that SHE wouldn't.) I walked all over downtown displaying my panties. Ack!


I bought an eyeliner pencil. On the box it says, "Finished product not tested on animals."

Huh? What is one supposed to conclude from that?