# Thursday, 05 March 2009

Goodbye syringes, hopefully forever

Some syringesIt's funny (as in odd, not amusing) how you get used to bizarre things. We have lived with a cupboard full of syringes for the last five months, we've kind of got used to them. Chaya Devoira was being fed through a syringe (down the tube), and she had her medicines from syringes as well.

The NHS has been very forthcoming in its supply of syringes, and we ended up with quite an impressive (and space-consuming) collection. Coupled with the fact that they brought us a whole pile just before she went into hospital the last time, and the fact that they don't normally take them back once they've been in someone's house, we had enough to start a modest medical facility.

I had been contemplating what to do with them all. The nurses said that they couldn't take them back, and we should throw them away. This seemed somewhat wrong to me, but who am I to argue with the wisdom of the NHS?

Therefore, I was mildly amused to discover that there is a fair trade in sterile syringes on eBay! Whilst the proceeds from selling them wouldn't be enough to fund the aforementioned modest medical facility (which we wouldn't open without the syringes), it would have been quite a nice little bonus.

To my dismay, our friendly local Community Nurse decided that she was going to risk sneaking them back in, hoping that no-one would notice. They are all sealed and sterile, so it's not really a problem.

So that was it. They came today, and we piled up her groaning car with boxes of syringes, and away drove my beer money!

At least I have the satisfaction of having saved the NHS a modest amount of money. I hope they are grateful :-)

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# Tuesday, 03 March 2009

Revealed: The secrets of belly button fluff

In what must be the ultimate exercise in navel-gazing, an Austrian scientist has solved the mystery of belly button fluff

After three years of research, Georg Steinhauser, a chemist, has discovered a type of body hair that traps stray pieces of lint and draws them into the navel.

Dr Steinhauser made his discovery after studying 503 pieces of fluff from his own belly button.

Chemical analysis revealed the pieces of fluff were not made up of only cotton from clothing. Wrapped up in the lint were also flecks of dead skin, fat, sweat and dust.

Dr Steinhauser's observations showed that 'small pieces of fluff first form in the hair and then end up in the navel at the end of the day'.

Writing in the journal Medical Hypotheses, he said the scaly structure of the hair enhances the 'abrasion of minuscule fibres from the shirt' and directs the lint towards the belly button.

"The hair's scales act like a kind of barbed hooks," he said. "Abdominal hair often seems to grow in concentric circles around the navel."

The researcher, from Vienna University of Technology also asked friends, family and workmates about their own belly button fluff.

Dr Steinhauser established that shaving one's belly will result in a fluff-free navel - but only until the hairs grow back.

Other suggestions for keeping the navel fluff-free include wearing old clothes, as they tend to shed less lint than newer garments, which can lose up to one thousandth of their weight to the belly button over the course of a year.

A body piercing can also be used, with belly button rings particularly effective at sweeping away fibres before they lodge.

Dr Steinhauser, whose other projects have included monitoring the erosion of his wedding ring, said: "The question of the nature of navel fluff seems to concern more people than one would think at first glance.

"We hope we have been able to provide information for doctors when they are next confronted with the simple question of 'why some belly buttons collect so much lint and others do not'."

An earlier, Australian study of samples from 5,000 people concluded the typical carrier of navel fluff to be 'a slightly overweight middle-aged male with a hairy abdomen'.

Researcher Karl Kruszelnicki said: "The reason it is usually blue is that we mostly wear blue or grey trousers, often jeans, and when these rub against the body, the fibres often end up finding their way to the navel."

Not all belly button fluff is blue however. In the curious case of Australian hospital worker Graham Barker much of his fluff is red, even though he rarely wears the colour.

Mr Barker has been collecting his own navel fluff in jars every day since 1984. The achievement has won him a place in the Guinness Book of Records for the world's largest collection of navel lint.

Reprinted without permission from The Telegraph web site.

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# Sunday, 01 March 2009

Chaya Devoira smiling

Boruch Hashem, following her operation, Chaya Devoira now smiles quite a lot. They are often fleeting, but there are more and more of them. Hopefully they will last longer too, which should make for easier photography!

Anyway, I managed to capture two smiles, and couldn't decide which to put on here, so I put on both!

Chaya Devoira smiling

More smiles as I can grab them :-)

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# Monday, 23 February 2009

Finally home!

I am typing this blog post with Chaya Devoira on my knee :-)

They arrived at around 6:30pm this evening, well, tired, and free of wires and tubes. The Boss worked out that Chaya Devoira has only spent four more days at home than she has in hospital in her entire life. Let's hope that's going to change from now on.

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# Sunday, 22 February 2009

Ooh-err, they could be home tomorrow!

Having blogged this morning about how they might be home on Tuesday or Wednesday, the Boss rang before to say that the doctors had decided that they were being overly cautious when increasing Chaya Devoira's medicine, and they had done two increases today.

They need to take a blood sample in the morning, and wait for the results, but assuming that it is clear, they should just discharge her immediately. This means that they could be out by lunchtime, and maybe home by early evening!

Yippee :-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-)

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I came home, but they didn't!

After all the build-up, we woke up on Friday morning to be told that Pendlebury had had an emergency admission at 5am, and there wasn't a bed for Chaya Devoira. After some discussions over the telephone, it became clear that she wasn't going anywhere that day. As the following day was Shabbos, and they don't normally transfer non-urgent cases on a Sunday, this meant that she wasn't going anywhere until Monday at the earliest.

We were now left with the difficult decision of what I should do. On the one hand, the children were all safely staying with friends, and the Boss needed me with her. On the other hand, we had told them all that we were coming home, and we were concerned about the effect that not coming would have on them.

After some lengthy discussion, we decided that I should come home by train. The hospital in London said they would keep in contact with Pendlebury, and see when a bed became available.

So, it's now Sunday morning, and they are still there. There is an ambulance booked for tomorrow morning, assuming that Pendlebury can find a bed.

The good news is that Chaya Devoira is doing great, putting on weight nicely and behaving herself. She is totally tubeless, wireless and not connected to any machines at all. You can actually see her pretty little face for the first time in months!

They increased the medicine again this morning (see the post from Thursday about that), and have only one more increase to do. This means that they may be discharged completely on Tuesday or Wednesday - hurray!

Thanks to everyone who sent such lovely messages. We appreciate every one, even if we didn't get chance to respond individually.

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# Thursday, 19 February 2009

My observations on life in London

I have spent a fair amount of time walking the streets of London, or sitting on tube trains below those streets, and I have come to several conclusions, two of which are...

  1. There are an awful lot of people in London, and
  2. Most of them do not seem to check their appearance in the mirror before leaving home!
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Looks like we're going home tomorrow!

The doctor came round this morning, and said that he had spoken to the people at Pendlebury, who are ahppy to take Chaya Devoira back tomorrow (Friday), as long as they can find a bed. An ambulance is being arranged, which will leave fairly early in the morning. I will stay in the hospital tonight, as it's very unlikely I could get down to the hospital early enough. We impressed upon them the importance of going early, as it is Friday tomorrow.

Chaya Devoira will need to stay in Pendlebury for a few days, whilst they wean her off one of the post-operation drugs, and monitor her weight. This means that she will be in hospital over Shabbos, but at least she will get loads of visitors as soon as Shabbos ends!

So, we just have to daven that there is a bed available.

Chaya Devoira continues to feed well B"H, so it looks like the feeding tube may soon be redundant - Hurray! The nurse took off the nasal specs that were used to feed oxygen into her nose. When she has come off oxygen before, they have left the specs on in case they were needed. It seems that they are satisfied that she isn't going to need them again. This is great news.

What's even better is that you can see most of her pretty little face now. The feeding tube is still there, but that's all. Hopefully that will be gone soon :-)

Update later that day...

It's official, we are being transferred back up north in the morning. They want to keep an eye on her for a few more days, partly to make sure she puts on enough weight without being fed down the tube, and partly because they are giving her a drug that she will need for a few months, and they need to increase the dosage gradually, checking her blood pressure every 15 minutes for the first two hours after each increase.

However, being in hospital in Manchester is defintely better than being in hospital in London. At least the other children will be able to visit.

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# Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Hey, grizzly bears can dance!

Just found a great article on the BBC web site. They managed to film a grizzly bear fishing, from underwater. Watch the first video on the page to see some fancy footwork as the bear tries to kick the fish into water shallow enough for it to grab it.

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Good news about Chaya Devoira

Boruch Hashem, Chaya Devoira continues to go from strength to strength. They took her off oxygen completely this morning, and she stayed off it until around 5:30pm.

When they did the surgery, they attached wires to the electrical control centre of her heart (no, I didn't know it had one either until the other day), in case there were any problems with heart rhythms. If there had been, they would have been able to attach a pacemaker to the wires and regulate her heart. As this hasn't been necessary, and the chances of it being necessary are now vanishingly small, they removed the wires. This is another step towards home :-)

However, the best bit of news altogether was that the doctor decided that Chaya Devoira can start feeding properly, instead of using the tube. They are leaving it to the Boss to judge if she is getting enough milk at each feed, and will monitor her weight to make sure that she is taking enough. Although she is going to need some time to build up her strength fully, she did well today, and scoffed a lot!

We are hoping to get some decision tomorrow about when we can go home. As they still need to wean her off one of the medicines, and they want to keep an eye on her weight, it is unlikely that they will let her leave hospital before Shabbos, but it does seem quite likely that they will try and transfer her to Pendlebury before then. This will be a great move for all of us, especially the other children, who haven't seen the Boss or baby for a week now. We'll have to see what they decide in the morning.

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