Scary Socialized Medicine

The Amazing Barking Bean

Bean hasn’t been very well this week. She seemed a bit low at first, sleeping more, playing less, regressing in some of her behaviors. Then the coughing started– deep, wet, angry coughs that leave her exhausted and whimpering. That wake her (and us) up at night. That make us both stop what we’re doing when we hear her, to make sure she won’t vomit anything up.


This morning, the fourth day of the Cough, T. took her to the doctor’s office. The kindly pediatrician asked Bean how she was feeling. T explained that Bean isn’t super-verbal, owing to the autism, and the pediatrician looked at her notes, flummoxed. There was nothing about autism in E’s notes at our GP’s office. That could be read as a sign that:

  • The Worcestershire authority that evaluated Bean did not communicate with the Birmingham authority in which we live;
  • Bean has hardly needed the doctor in her five years of life (at least not since her debut).

We’ll focus on point two, because we like to stay positive around here. Anyway, she now has an updated file down at the GP’s and an amoxicillin prescription. She went to bed with much less barking tonight– though she had lost her voice, and sounds like she’s been smoking 20 a day since she was capable of holding her head up. We’ll prop her up outside tomorrow and see if the sunshine helps the healing process.


If that doesn’t work, there’s always ice cream.


On Second Thoughts, The Waybuloo App Was A Bad Idea

And we’re back. Wipe the dust off your corner of the blog and stay a while, won’t you?

I won’t try to catch you up too much. Since March Eve has been easing into nursery, growing her feet in spurts, and learning to boogie. We’ve had some visitors– Dunka Dave!– and gone to stay with lovely friends, including a trip back to Kington, where I broke my leg last year. (This year I only left with a bit of a hangover after celebrating with others who were observing the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. I don’t truck with monarchy, being in favor of small-r republican government, but any excuse to drink Champagne is a good one.). As you can see, Bean enjoyed herself there, what with all the balloons:

Jubilee Balloons

Because a tot whirling balloons is what Her Majesty wants.

Also, there was plenty of cereal to eat, cereal being one of Bean’s dietary staples:

Two Spoons

Double spoons: double tasty.

Over this period of, oh, ten weeks since our last update, she’s been coming on strong in the language department, which is important. Because, you see, she’s way behind where she should be.

This is something immediate family members will know, but extended family might not. The Bean’s language development–expressive language, at least, her speech– is so far behind that of her peers that she is more like someone just turning two than someone who’s 3 1/4 years old. Our nephew can hold a conversation with you, and he’s 10 months younger than Bean. But Bean can’t. She can rarely answer a question with “yes” or “no”– well, okay, with “yes”. She’s got “no” down pretty cold.


He can also scare you in the pub.

When I was Bean’s age, I was reading books. And her Dad wasn’t far behind when he was that old, wayyyy back in 1971.

It is concerning enough that multiple professionals have now expressed interest in the Bean. Initially we found this very anxiety-making, as my friend Yelena, who bears the brunt of my whining and nail-biting, will tell you. But now we find it rather reassuring. There’s a pediatrician and a speech therapist. A child psychologist and nurses.

Tiny Dancer

“It is a flower. A ORANGE flower.”

Whatever it is that’s holding Eve back isn’t dire, even if the “A-word” has been floated by a few people.  It’s  just a hurdle to be overcome, and she has an entire team of people interested in working out what extra help she needs to stop sounding like these guys when she talks:

So she’ll be going to some extra playgroups, and getting some exercises to do, and whatever else, in advance of her entry into the UK school system in 2013 (or US in 2014, not yet decided on that).

Now. The App I mentioned in the title. I recently bought an iPhone, and in my MummyMania I began researching things I could download to it to keep Bean busy/ reinforce her language skills. On a whim, I picked up the Waybuloo app, which includes some basic games starring our favorite football-headed freaks.

I showed it to Eve. I let her play with it for what I foolishly thought would be about 10 minutes.

This was a mistake. It’s now “her” iPhone.  She goes hunting in my bags and coat pockets for it, hollering “Where Evey’s phone?”

If she sees it, or even something of a similar color to the case I’ve put it in, she begins squawking: “WAYBULOO! I WANT TO PLAY ONNA WAYBULOO, PLEASE, YES MOMMY! OH MY GOODNESS!” and then begins howling the names of the characters, as if they have all been taken from her in the dead of night by secret policemen.

Sorry, kiddo. Mommy’s held off buying herself one of these toys until after the age of 30. You can wait, too.

Not Out Of The Woods Yet

Never turn your back on a stomach virus. Just when you think the kid seems chipper, and prepared to handle some bland oatmeal cooked in water, three hours later that stuff will come back at you with a vengance. Seriously. It was like action painting with gruel. 25% of the living room was coated.


Now that it’s out of her system, she seems a lot happier, and there’s no fever, but if she’s no better tomorrow, back to the doctor for us.

On The Mend

Rough night. I don’t think anyone had more than an hour of solid sleep. Fortunately, stomach bugs are short-lived. While she’s hardly her sparkly self, the Bean is able to eat bland foods again.


Biscuits: For Health!

Being terrible parents, we are spoiling her with digestive biscuits (translation to Yankee: a heavy, slightly sweet cookie made with graham cracker flour) and toast, mostly. She has been napping a lot, has still had a temperature, and spent a solid hour strapped to my chest in the sleepy wrap, whimpering. Poor darling.


"At least I get biscuits."

But now and then we get a bip-bop, or a smile, or a feeble wave. She’ll be much better tomorrow, most likely.

Someone Isn’t Feeling Very Well

The invalid with Murdoch

The Invalid, with friend Murdoch

We were wakened this morning by the sound of Eve vomiting. Amazing how that makes you focus.

We got the Bean cleaned up and took her downstairs. She seemed all right, other than the puking thing– was playing and bip-bopping to music. After an attempt to give her toast went wrong, though, she became increasingly fractious and listless. We passed her back and forth for snuggles and wiping (when necessary). T and I both had to change clothes once.

It is a bright, sunny day, but when I took her outside, she had no interest in anything. I showed her a Muppet video, and she cried. I took an axillary temperature, which was elevated, but not feverish.  She had a nap, during which I tried to work but was really only able to read parenting sites about fevers and rehydration. When she woke up, she vomited up the water T tried to give her, and her temp had climbed over 100.

So off to the doctor’s it was (at 4 pm; they took her right away. Thanks, NHS!), where the lovely pediatrician confirmed our thoughts: it’s a nasty old stomach bug. Now, when I have a stomach bug, I buy some ginger ale and keep a bucket handy and try not to complain. When Bean (or T!) gets a stomach bug, I get all pouty and want to fix it for them.

Whenever I was in this state as a kid, Mom would say “I wish I could take it all away from you.” I know how that feels now, Mom! Though we are very lucky as this is the first time, other than the odd sniffle, that there’s been anything to fix.

Sleep seems to be fixing it right now. It’s her normal bedtime; she’s dozing on the couch nearby with her cuddly fox, Murdoch. Poor kitten. It’s not easy being a sick baby.

But They’re Couuuuusins…

Stenaphie Fwaaaah

Aunt Stephanie and Eve on 3/3/09

Just an update: Eve’s Aunt Stephanie was due to have her baby on the 17th. As she or he is 12 days tardy (must run in the family!), Steph went round to the hospital this morning. They checked baby’s vitals (all’s well),  and administered some induction drugs. Steph and Simon are relaxing at home now, spending a few last quiet hours together.

Things should kick off this evening, and baby will most likely join us before the old year passes on. Perhaps it will be a girl, and she and the Bean can have a sitcom:

Here is best wishes for an easy, quick labor and a healthy newborn. We can’t wait to meet Eve’s cousin.

Ask The Baby: US Healthcare Reform

Healthcare Expert E. Judson

Healthcare Expert E. Judson

This week, Public Health Expert EAA Judson answers your questions about HR 3200 and other health care reform proposals currently before Congress.

All answers to questions are transcribed verbatim.

Dear Ask The Baby: I am a retiree. I am terrified that the President wants me to be subject to a Death Panel to decide whether or not I am still productive enough to be left alive! I am also terrified that he will take away my Medicare and force me into a government healthcare program! What can I do?

–Glenn Beck Fan

Dear GBF: [sustained, high-pitched screeching]

Dear Ask The Baby: I’m a Republican. I’m terrified that in a government healthcare system, President Obama will use our party registration to deny us healthcare since we’re members of the “wrong” party! What can I do?

–In a Rush to Listen to Rush

Dear Rush: [sustained, high-pitched screeching]

Dear Ask The Baby: I’m a conservative voter. I’m terrified that under a government healthcare plan, the President will require me to give my tax dollars to fund contraception and abortions. What can I do?

–Pro-Life, Not Pro-Death Panel

Dear Pro: [sustained, high-pitched screeching]

Dear Ask The Baby: I voted for the President. Why isn’t he doing a better job refuting all these lies about death panels and denying service to Republicans and … and… I can’t take it. It’s insane. Health care costs are bankrupting families now and will bankrupt our country in the future, and when the President calls for some modest, incremental reforms, all of a sudden you’ve got people bringing assault rifles to town hall meetings and US Reps calling for revolution and evidence that most people believe every stupid myth debunked in this article here and I’d really like reform to pass so I can move home and have my pre-existing conditions covered. ARRRGH!


Dear Mum: [sustained, high-pitch screeching] [bursts into tears]