For my regular visitors, if you find that this blog hasn't been updating much lately, chances are pretty good I've been spending my writing energy on my companion blog. Feel free to pop over to Home is Where the Central Cardio-pulmonary Organ Is, and see what else has been going on.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

First physio...

Finally, finally, finally!  Dh had his first physio today.  We weren't sure what to expect. 

We discovered a couple of things.  First off, Dh no longer seems to have any reflexes whatsoever.  The physiotherapist tried various reflex tests and got NO reaction at all.  Nothing.  Weird.

Second, Dh really misses his old TENS machine.  We got one back when he was heavy into martial arts training (during which he injured his back the second time), but had passed it on to his instructor.  The physiotherapist used one on Dh's back, together with a heating bad, and it was a huge help. 

Being the first visit, they didn't do a whole heck of a lot.  Dh is back early next week.  For now they're working on relieving the pain and trying to get the muscles to stop spasming.  Eventually, they'll move on to figuring out what he can safely do to rebuild his core muscles, without exacerbating the injury again. 

Dh also got some acupuncture in his ears.  Dh doesn't think much of acupuncture, though he doesn't reject it.  He's trained in Shiatsu, which is based on a similar principle.  The physiotherapist started telling us how he was going to put more needles in the right ear to treat the left side of his back (he did do both ears), then made a comment about "I know it sounds backwards.  I don't know how it works ... it just does."

Uhm... that didn't really instill much confidence.  We haven't studied a whole heck of a lot about meridians, etc., but even we knew enough to know why it works (well... why it's supposed to work.  Dh didn't feel any extra benefit due to the acupuncture).  It didn't help that the guy didn't seem well versed in inserting the needles.  Done right, you're not really supposed to feel the needles going in.  Dh certainly did feel them, and I could see why.  At one point, I actually saw the needle bending as he was trying to insert it.  Which meant he was hitting cartilage.


I really would have expected a bit more training.

The whole consultation and treatment took about an hour.  When we got there, Dh was using his cane and took the wheelchair ramps up most of the way to get to the doors.  When we left, he was carrying his cane and took the stairs all the way down.  He was still in pain and it was difficult to get on and off the table for treatment, but he was already moving better.  He's been warned that he'll stiffen up and feel sore for about a day or so from the treatment, but we were expecting that.  We've got an electric pad we can use for heat treatment at home.  He's got instructions on things to do at work to try and keep things from getting worse again - sitting at a desk all day is certainly not helping anything.

It's so good to see him moving around so much better after a single treatment.  He's going to have to watch he doesn't repeat his pattern, though, of getting too active too quickly.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Still chugging along...

The last couple of weeks have been pretty mixed up.  We've had some good stuff - like Eldest successfully grabbing a spot for an upcoming, local 3 day art festival, where she'll be setting up a display to sell her art for the first time.  Our co-op is having a spring garage sale, and we'll be having a table.  I've had quite a few people telling me I should sell my crafts, so I'll have a few things I've been crocheting for sale to sort of test the waters.

Youngest has had her last voice lesson for the school year.  She's done well and learned a lot, but she's decided not to continue the lessons.  She says she wants to do something like mechanics, instead.  Need to figure out how do arrange that for her. 

It's been an incredibly rough time for Dh.  His back gave out on him again.  For a while, he was in so much pain, he was nauseous and dizzy.  It's hard to imagine how frustrating it must be for him - too much pain to stand up straight, lie down, or even sit down, for any length of time.  He missed a lot of work because of it, then the dr. wrote him up for medical leave to give him more time to heal.  He's gone for another round of Xrays, and he has his first physio this week.  I'm really hoping his current insurance plan covers the physio.  The plan he had with his last employer didn't cover mine when I injured my arm.  The initial consultation is covered by medicare, but not anything beyond that.  At least in the next little, the taxes taken off his pay will max out, so he take home pay will increase.  Whether or not it'll be enough to cover the cost if insurance doesn't cover it will depend on just how often he's going to have to go in for treatment. 

Meanwhile, he's still struggling.  The painkillers don't seem to be helping much.  He's a bit better than before - he's no longer fighting pain-induced nausea, at least.  Or he's just not telling me about it anymore.

I wish there was something I could do to help him out, but there's really nothing.

So we're all just chugging along.  What else can we do?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Just a quick note...

Folks, I welcome intelligent discourse in the comments.  I'm even okay with the sharing of links promoting personal blogs in the comments.  But if you're going to share a link in the comments, at least let it be to something that actually has something to do with the post you're responding to.  Which would probably be easier if you actually *read* the post you're responding to.  Otherwise, it's just spam.  Spam gets deleted. 

At this point, I do not have moderated comments.  I haven't seen the need for it, and I'd really prefer not doing it.  So please; if you've got nothing to say on the post and just want to promote your own blog that has nothing in common with mine, don't.  Just don't.  Okay? 


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Trying to understand.

After a couple of decades of doing everything possible to avoid it, our politicians are starting to talk about the abortion issue, and it's been fascinating, if disheartening, to watch it unfold.  The trigger was when our federal government announced funding for mothers' and childrens' health in disadvantaged countries.  The Liberals immediately insisted that these monies had to include funding abortions, making access to abortions out to be the thing that's most important in maternal health.  Never mind that it's no where near the top of the list when it comes to improving the health and saving the lives of the women in these countries.  Adequate food, clean water, shelter, medication and sanitation are all considerably higher.  But hey, the Liberals have been trying to pin anything and everything on the Big Bad Conservatives, and the evil, kitten eating Harper, so playing fast and loose with the health and lives of women and children in foreign nations to further their political goals doesn't seem to bother them very much.

Yeah, I'm getting rather impatient with the Liberals these days.  Does it show?

It took some doing, with plenty of help from the MSM and the usual elements in the far left, but they've managed to keep it in people's minds and force it onto our political agendas.

The weird part is that, even though it's been the Libs pushing all this and doing everything they can to turn it into some kind of scandal, it's been twisted around to being the fault of the Conservatives, our PM, and the always evil and draconian "religious right".

Now, I'm not going to delve too far into this subject at all.  I could dedicate this blog entirely to the abortion issue, and likely find fodder to talk about the issue daily for years. I don't have that kind of time to waste on a subject that is so divisive.

As I look to the subject, however, I am finding it increasingly difficult to understand the pro-abortion view.

The pro-life side is pretty easy to get.  In a nutshell, pro-lifers believe that the fetus is a unique human being, separate from the mother, and deserves the same protective rights as anyone has after they've been born.  There may be some quibbling over whether that is right from conception, zygote, or embryo.  There may be disagreement on whether abortion should be outright illegal, or if there should be limits based on trimester.  There is disagreement on whether or not exceptions should be made for cases of rape or incest, or if it's found the developing fetus is severely damaged or disabled in some way.  There may be other disagreements as well but, at the core, they all view abortion as the killing of a baby that just happens to not be born yet, and that it is every bit as abhorrent as killing a baby after it's born.  Whether or not one agrees with the various positions, one can at least understand the foundation of their position.  It's pretty clear cut.

The pro-abortion side is harder to pin down, and the current wailing and gnashing of teeth against the Conservatives, the right, Christians, etc. isn't helping to clarify things.

Here are two recent examples.

The first I read in the comments of a blog I visit.  This particular gentleman repeatedly stated that "an embryo is not a baby.  A fetus is not a baby."

This is a rather clumsy and meaningless appeal to logic. Embryo and fetus are specific stages of prenatal development.  They are even used for egg laying creatures.  Baby is just a descriptive word for the very young of a species, and is frequently used in reference to the pre-born.  After all, when a woman discovers she is pregnant, she doesn't go around announcing that she's going to have a fetus.  No one gets invitations to a Fetus Shower.  People don't ask, "when is the fetus due?"  When mothers talk to their growing bellies, they're not talking to a fetus.  Even though, from a technical standpoint, "fetus" is the correct term, "baby" is the term that's used.

Perhaps the commenter was thinking along the lines of the claim that the fetus is not a person, therefor it has no protection under the law.  This is another meaningless argument.  Until not that long ago, women in Canada weren't allowed to vote because we weren't recognised "persons" under the law.  Enslaving blacks was justified because they weren't considered real humans, either.  Similar arguments have been used to justify the killing of Jews, Native Americans, Australian Aborigines, etc.  Clearly, whether or not the law or a culture recognises a group as "people" can be at odds with reality.  Laws can, and do, change.  Women didn't suddenly become people because the law said so.  It just took an awful lot of struggle to change laws to reflect reality.

A related argument is that, because the fetus is completely dependant on the mother, it cannot be viewed as being separate from the mother.  This doesn't pass the logic test, either.  Genetically, the fetus is a unique individual from the mother at the moment of conception.  Once can argue that the zygote, for example, isn't a person because it's just a couple of cells, but by the end of the first trimester, the fetus has all its parts, right down to the fingernails and eyebrow hairs.  Currently, with our medical technology, a fetus is viable by 24 weeks, and who knows how much farther we'll be able to push that back as our technology continues to develop.  A fetus at 24 weeks gestation within the womb is no different than one that's been born prematurely and relying on medical technology for survival, except that it has a better chance of survival.

At what point does the fetus magically become a baby?  If a fetus is also a baby, when does it also become worthy of the same protective rights as any other child? 

As far as the developing fetus is concerned, the mother is a life support system.  Looking at it that way, aborting a baby isn't much different than, say, pulling the plug on someone who's in a coma and dependant on machines to stay alive.  Well, except that the coma victim has his or her machines shut off and remains otherwise intact, rather than that whole being torn apart by a vacuum thing.  Pulling the plug to allow a coma patient to die would be like killing the mother to kill the fetus.  Which happens.

I've also seen the arguments that equate abortion with miscarriage, which I find downright silly.  It would be like saying tripping and falling down the stairs is the same as being pushed down the stairs, because both resulted in death.

I'll leave off that train of thought for this next one I read recently.  A woman I know, upset because some MP said something about how we're going to have to talk about the abortion issue now, wrote that she didn't want things to go back to the way they were in the 50's, and that she'd never want one of her grandchildren to be forced to have a child she didn't want.

I'll give her props to at least acknowledging that she's talking about a child.  Even many staunch pro-abortionists know that the pre-born are babies; children that are separate from, though dependant on, their mothers.

This woman's statement is purely from the emotional point of view. Her wording, however, is perhaps the most confusing to me of all when it comes to trying to understand the pro-abortion point of view.  Aside from portraying the 50's as some sort of bizarre dark age (which shows a significant lack of historical, or even modern, cultural perspective), I am flummoxed by the image of a woman being forced to have a child she doesn't want.  It brings to mind visions of someone shoving a baby in her arms and demanding she raise it (which is not without historical precedent).   Except she's talking about an unwanted pregnancy, which brings to mind the image of a woman who's been artificially impregnated against her will.

One can bring up the usual claims of pregnancy due to rape or incest, but less than 1% of all abortions are ending pregnancies due to rape or incest combined.  So all those other women having abortions because they don't want to have children (I don't know how many are preformed for valid medical reasons; I'm not sure that data is even kept here in Canada) had to have participated in the creation of that pregnancy.  A developing fetus didn't spontaneously start growing in their bodies, like some sort of tumor, or an immaculate conception.  I find it difficult to think that women are so totally and completely unaware of where babies come from, or that they're so completely incapable of controlling their sexual desires, that if they really, really didn't want to have children, they couldn't just... you know... not have sex. 

Of course, the mere suggestion that abstinence might do a better job of preventing unwanted pregnancy than having sex and really hoping the birth control works (if any is used in the first place) has become taboo.  Quite frankly, I think this shows a rather insulting opinion of women.  Do those who reject abstinence really believe that we are too animalistic to resist our hormonal urges?  Or that we're too stupid to understand the consequences of our actions?  Or is it that "if it feels good, do it" mentality, that rejects the notion that maybe, just maybe, we should be responsible for the fallout of our behaviour?  I regularly hear the "just made a mistake," argument, but that doesn't really wash, either. It's a bit like saying you "made a mistake" by marrying the wrong person, then killing him or her instead of getting a divorce.

Right now, Canada has no abortion law.  None.  Zip.  Nada.  Contrary to current mythology, in the dark ages of the 50's, we did have legal abortions.  One could rightfully argue that these were far too difficult to acquire, and that it left women helpless under the control of men, since almost all doctors at the time were men.  Abortions could only be obtained if there was a medical need, and only if 3 doctors agreed that there was a medical need.  In the length of time it would take to get the approval of 3 doctors, the pregnancy might be too far along anyhow.  (Plus, the numbers of women back then that died because of back alley abortions were greatly - and deliberately - exaggerated, but that's a whole other issue.)

While it's generally assumed that only pro-lifers want to revisit the abortion issue, and that they all want to make all abortions illegal, this is not the reality.  There are plenty of pro-abortionists that want to revisit the issue, believing there should be limits on abortions based on how far along the pregnancy is.  Others believe that women should be free to have an abortion at any time and for any reason, but that our medicare system should only pay for medically necessary ones.  Likewise, there are pro-lifers that believe abortion is morally wrong, but don't believe they have the right to force others to abide by their beliefs - in other words, one can be both pro-life and pro-choice at the same time.

There's really only one thing for sure about the abortion issue, and that it's not a far right/far left issue, but one that's extremely complex, with people all over the spectrum, and no easy answers.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Ready for summer... Ow!

Today, Dh and I headed out to do some price comparisons.  We need to get a new mattress for Youngest.

We came home with a BBQ.

We weren't intending to get one yet.  Our balcony still needs to be renovated, for starters.  But it was a great deal, and we were in the unusual position of actually being able to take advantage of it.

Getting set up was a whole 'nother story.

First, there was getting it out of the van.  Dh, who was banished from touching the thing, considering how badly he injured his back the last time he helped carry something up the stairs, parked as close as he could to our door.  The weight wasn't an issue, but the size sure was.  I couldn't get my arms around to pick it up.  I was able to flip it on its side - after checking to make sure there were no "this side up" signs - and got it off, but just barely managed to keep a grip on it.  I got Eldest to come out and give me a hand, but discovered it was far easier - and more stable - to just keep rolling it on its side.  So up the stairs I went, with Eldest hovering around to make sure I didn't miss a step or something.  Flip, push, flip, push, flip, push, all the way up the stairs.  It wasn't until I got to the very top, where Eldest went the rest of the way to hold the door open for me, that I caught a corner on the hand rail and almost dumped myself back down the stairs again.  Just a moment of imbalance, but enough to make me quite uncomfortable! *L*

Then it was time to maneuver it through the door, where one of the cats was waiting with her crack eyes, looking ready to pounce at any moment.  I kept on flipping it through to the balcony, with Eldest ahead of me every step of the way, making sure I had a clear path.

Any bumps, bends and dings on that thing are purely my fault!

Once out on the balcony, both girls came out to put it together.  Youngest was right at home screwing all the parts together.  After a while, Eldest headed back in to see what we had in our freeze to BBQ and start them thawing.  Then she went looking for our old BBQ utensils.

That's where things got really fun!

First, there's getting to the storage closet, which is under the stairs.  Getting to the door first requires moving the coffee table, couch and armchair.  I knew the utensils were in an open box near the front, but Eldest couldn't find it.  I left the BBQ half done to see if I could spot the box.

Oh, Lordy, lord.  What a mess!

It seems that, in between putting away the AC from last summer, then taking out and putting back the Christmas stuff, everything's been completely switched around in there.

First order of business.  Move the coffee table farther out, so we could move the couch farther out, so we could open the door wider.  Then I start grabbing boxes and handing them to Eldest.

Then we fight with the Christmas tree box, which had popped open, trying to get it out without having more fall out than already had.  Meanwhile, one of Dh's roller blades kept falling down from where I'd put it.  After the third or fourth time, I gave up and handed them to Eldest.  I wonder if these would be garage sale material? *grumblegrumblegrumble*

Then there were more boxes, the hand truck, and the package of foam sheets I use for blocking large crocheted items.

Then we had to get the AC out, which is in several pieces.  Thankfully, the main body of it is on wheels.

Finally, we lugged out two boxes of boxes - remnants of the U-haul boxes we'd used during the move - plus several larger, cut down boxes.  I spontaneously decided to beat my inner packrat into submission.  Those will be either passed on or recycled.  Either way, they're not going back into storage.

Finally, I'm at the very back of the storage closet.  Just a few last boxes under the lowest part of the stairs.  The utensils weren't at the very back.  Just second from the very back.  On the bottom, under another box, of course.

All that for a few pieces of stainless steel!

Then we had to put it all back in again.

Throughout this process, I bashed my head on the underside of a step, smacked it again on a bike helmet hanging from under the stairs, and stepped on the hook end of a bungee cord.

Did I mentioned I was bare foot?

While maneuvering a box back in, I slammed my hand against the door handle, right on one knuckle and the adjoining finger.  Not badly damaged, but that hand was rendered near useless for the next while.

Oh, and I stubbed my baby toe on the couch, too.

Great fun!

The good news is that not only do we have our BBQ utensils again, but there's more room in the storage space, and the AC is right by the door, ready for when it gets hot enough to break it out for the summer.

After all that, it was time to continue putting the BBQ together.  Youngest had done a bit, but the pictographic instructions really needed two people to translate. Some of them made very little sense at all!

At one point, I squatted down to hold something while Youngest screwed it in place, and I couldn't do it.  My knees simply couldn't handle the position.  So I warned her that I was letting go and tried to get up, only to find my knees wouldn't straighten, either!  After some creative maneuvering and much pain, I got them straightened out.

That was just one of the times I had difficulty with my knees.

By the time it was all together, I was aching from top to bottom.  There was no way I was going to be doing any cooking!  I even left hooking up the propane tank - still nearly full from our old BBQ - for someone else.  Dh ended up putting it on for me.  He and Eldest ended up going to the grocery store to pick up hoagie fixings, which she cooked for us for supper. :-D

I'm still hurting, but as badly anymore.  I gotta say, though, I'm not looking forward to lugging those boxes across the street to the garbage/recycling room!  Just thinking about it is enough to make my knees tell me to f*** off!

We're all set for the summer, though.  I'm really looking forward to trying some new techniques on this Q.  It's got three burners, which means I can do off-heat cooking of larger items, like whole roasts.  It's got the side burner, too.

This is going to be a tasty summer!