Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sylvia Update

Sylvia is doing well but the last few days have been interesting to say the least. She leaked some 'water' from her ear which prompted us to get back to the hospital where she was admitted for observation and thankfully did not repeat any leakage. So we had a nice boring night at the children's hospital, watching the snow storm from the fifth floor window. I was happy with boring.


We got sent home with a long list of things to look out for. She has been doing well. Still pain but no more worrisome fluids from her ear. She still is quite deaf though.


She has increased her inventory of stuffed animals which is an unexpected fringe benefit of cracking your skull I guess ^^
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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Skull Fracture (she is ok)

Last Friday Sylvia went out sledding in our front yard. She was accompanied by two siblings and two friends. The sun was shining, spirits were high, they had a great time. Until Sylvia fell off her sled at the bottom of the hill and landed in the ditch. Ouch! She got up and started crying which is always a good sign since at least she wasn't unconscious (although later it turned out that she didn't remember the actual accident).

Kate was close to her, saw it happen and came over to console her. Together they walked up the hill to get back to the house and find me. Sylvia was crying a lot.

I was hugging her and holding her and we were using ice packs but she kept crying and crying. I still didn't realize that anything more was wrong than 'just' a fall on the head. Her ear had hit a rock, so even when she said she felt like her ear was bleeding I wasn't too worried. I had been checking out her ear and her head and everything seemed fine.


Until I started seeing blood in her ear. Given the fact that she had hit a rock I still wasn't too concerned, but my alertness level increased. I cleaned her ear out to try to figure out whether there was a scratch or a wound in her outer ear or maybe something else innocent.

More blood kept coming and I couldn't find the source which prompted me to call the pediatrician. I told her that I had no idea how bad it was or whether she needed to be seen at all. She gave me very short and simple instructions 'Bleeding from her ear? You need to take her to the Emergency Room.'


That was unplanned. I already had a list of fifteen things I needed to do in the next few hours and I had to go to the ER? I had two kids with strep throat and had been to the pharmacy too many times this week already. I was supposed to get ready for Christmas. I had no time for this!

Of course I had time and I crossed out all the things on my list and replaced it with 'spend day in ER' and off we were to the ER. Still hoping that they would find a superficial scratch, one of these which bleed a lot but is harmless and we would be out in no time at all. Heck, I was hoping they would laugh at me and say 'You took her in for this???? How silly!'


We were checked in and she got a stretcher with her very own personal tv. Now that was an unknown luxury. Watching Nickolodeon as much as she could. Not having to fight with her siblings. Cool!

The ER doctor came in to check her and she got scheduled for a CAT scan. The wait for the CAT scan was amazingly short and Sylvia did a great job lying still while the pictures where being taken. I was able to stay in the room with her during the scan.

Back to the room, back to more waiting and watching Nickolodeon. Another ER doctor came in and told us that they did see a small skull fracture on the scan. YIKES. They were going to get a neurosurgeon in to assess her. I was sitting there repeating in my head 'SKULL FRACTURE? SKULL FRACTURE??!!!' which was a totally new word to me in relationhip to my kids. Sylvia was more interested in Nickolodeon than in skull fractures.


Waiting, waiting, waiting. Finally we saw a neurosurgeon who discovered that she lost hearing in the affected ear. Which necessitated seeing another neurosurgeon and consultation with and assessment by an ENT doctor.

The ENT first vacuum cleaned her ear and did a thorought examination followed by another ENT who decided that her ear drum was ok and that the hearing loss was related to her fracturing a bone in her ear channel (temporal bone? My anatomy knowledge is increasing but not totally up to par yet). There was no sense in doing a hearing test right now, but she will have a full audiology exam in two weeks. He expects that her hearing will come back and that the current loss is related to lots of blood behind the ear drum.

By now it was many hours later. She was totally bored of watching Nickolodeon. She had been seen by lots of doctors and we had learned a lot more about skull fractures and concussions like the fact that skull fractures usually come with a free concussion because of the force that is needed to fracture the skull. Her condition was good enough though that they felt comfortable sending us home.

As an after thought they did a strep test which came back positive, so she is the second of my children to go to the ER to get her strep throat diagnosed. We spent at least seven hours in the ER and another two hours going to McDonalds (no food all day) and the pharmacy.

So much for my list of 'Things to do: Urgent'.


She is doing well, although her head is still hurting on and off. She is supposed to take it easy for a few weeks. It is not easy to keep a 6 years old child quiet so I spend a lot of time saying 'Sylvia! Remember your brain!'

She got a pink doggy (Hermione) in the ER, the blue doggy (Voldemort) at the ENT and the pink doggies (Mama Dog x 2) at McDonalds.

I am still in shock and very grateful that she is mostly ok and that the hearing loss hopefully is only temporary. I am also watching her like a hawk for any warning signs for complications.

By now five of the kids have strep throat so I also make sure that 14 daily doses of antibiotics and other assorted medication get dispersed timely and appropriately.

Not a boring life it is.

Erik and Sylvia on Stage

Just before everyone got sick, Erik and Sylvia were on stage during their 'Morning Sing' at school.


They sang 'Sinterklaas Kapoentje' and did a great job.


Happy winter solstice to y'all!

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cats, Ducks and Ipod Touch

I often use my ipod touch as a timer, and lately have been using the quacking ducks sound to signal the end of whatever I am timing.


When Haze was close to the ipod she was totally ignoring it. Until she heard a DUCK! a DUCK! In the middle of the living room! This needed to be checked out.


She spent quite some time trying to figure out this duck thing but never actually caught any of them.


Maybe next time.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

It's That Time of the Year

Time for the holiday concerts and performances.

We had a concert last Thursday and Friday, we have another one today followed by three more this weekend.


Here is Jane singing in her high school chorus. Both Dawn and Jane are really enjoying their chorus experience and the house is always filled with singing girls.


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Sunday, December 12, 2010



Even although we have lived here for many years, I am still holding on to the Dutch tradition of Sinterklaas. We keep it pretty 'small' with mostly chocolate and books. We also still put out our shoes the nights before December 5th.


Every morning the kids will find some candy in their shoes. It is a tradition they really do cherish. I wonder why ^^


Now I guess we should get out the Christmas tree and get ready for the solstice and Christmas. This week I got my winter's firewood for the fire place so we are all set for snow storms.

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Wednesday, December 08, 2010

They Left!


I still miss them every day. We had such a wonderful time together. Even if my mother kept complaining about the number of dishes to be done. I think she tends to have less dishes to wash maybe because she lives on her own?


They took the bus down to Boston. The bus which managed to break down on the way there. Stories about yellow smoke and a flat tire, I am still not sure about the exact details but they did make it in time to the airport.


Now the house is empty, or maybe empty isn't quite the right word ^^. I hope they will be able to come visit again next year. Which technically is only a few weeks away, right?

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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Just Do It

My life is not boring and I never run out of things to do. We all know that when we are busy, it is the best time to add new commitments. Right? A few years ago I decided that I wanted to make meditation a part of my daily life. Shouldn't be hard, should it? How hard can it be to just sit still for a limited period of time?


It has been a journey with ups and downs. It is amazingly easy to play the 'No time to meditate' card. Until I thought more about it and realized that that wasn't the right answer at all. Mind you, I was still playing the time card, but I was vaguely aware of the silliness of that excuse.


Many things happened, many little nudges about meditation came my way. I realized that I could just be mindful and focus on my breathing any time of the day, I didn't need to actually have an official time to do it. Which meant it was easy yet again to blame my busy life for lack of formal meditation.


I turned to my friends and asked their advice. There must be a magic secret for sure, something that they knew and I didn't. How did the meditators manage to fit it in their life? Their answer was a simple 'Just do it.' I see.

So much for magic mushrooms and interesting incense. So much for elaborate rituals increasing the number of hours in the day. And what about dancing around the fire during the full moon? There really wasn't a secret? Just do it, eh?


I am happy to report that there are days that I actually just do it and it works! I could kick myself for the many days that I don't just do it, but instead I am celebrating my achievement on the days that I do.

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Saturday, December 04, 2010

Friday, December 03, 2010

Thannksgiving Pictures


Erik and Sylvia made welcome signs. We ended up with fourteen people, an excellent Thanksgiving.


I even made a turkey! Which is quite amazing since I have been vegetarian since before I was pregnant with Erik.


Tons of good food, including Russian honey cake which my friend made for dessert. Very delicious.

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Thursday, December 02, 2010

Last Days with Visitors


Bittersweet pictures. Good times, but they have left now. I hope they will be able to visit again soon!



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Sunday, November 28, 2010



Usually I see woodpeckers on the feeder, but this one had to check out my deck railing first.



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