# Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Chaya Devoira in hospital – a taste of times gone by (not a great taste either)

Ho hum, here we go again...

Just over a week ago (17th Nov for the date fans), the Boss took Chaya Devoira to the doctor as she had a temperature and was feeling under the weather. The doctor gave her some antibiotics, and told her to keep an eye on things.

Fast-forward to Shabbos, and Chaya Devoira hadn’t really picked up. If anything, she was worse than before. She still had a temperature, and was very listless and floppy. She hardly ate and just wanted to be cuddled (mind you, that’s normal!).

After Shabbos, we called the doctor who examined her and decided he wasn’t happy with her high breathing rate. He sent us down to the paediatric accident and emergency department of the local hospital for further investigation. A&E is the greatest place to be on motzei Shabbos, but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. As it was a children’s A&E, we were spared the drunken louts that populated the next door adult A&E section.

After connecting her to a SATs machine (see this old blog post for our first encounter with a SATs machine), the doctor decided that her oxygen saturation levels were too low. They sped her into a cubicle, and put her in an oxygen supply. This brought her levels back up to an acceptable level, and we all breathed a sigh of relief.

To cut an increasingly long story short, she was admitted to the hospital later that evening, and went into the high dependency unit (HDU), where she was plugged up to the old familiar monitors.

By morning, they had identified the problem as bronchiolitis (see this old blog post for more about bronchiolitis), which is pretty much the same as last winter. They administered antibiotics, and so began the old familiar routine.

On Sunday, she seemed a little better, and was even interested in playing a little. She sat herself up for the first time in several days, and we even managed a few giggles.

Yesterday (Monday) she was deemed well enough to be moved out of HDU, but as they had not yet identified which strain of bronchiolitis she has, they put her into a cubicle instead of on the main ward. This is good for the Boss, as the main ward was fairly full, and consequently fairly noisy. She was getting little enough sleep in HDU, and would have got even less on the main ward.

She was managed most of her waking hours off the oxygen, but still needed it for feeding and sleeping. She was still on an IVU drip as they were trying to reduce the amount of milk she had, as a full tummy presses up on the lungs and makes it harder to breathe.

Today she was off the IV, and back on full feeds. To our dismay, she had a harder time keeping her oxygen levels up, and we feared that this meant that she was struggling with the bronchiolitis. During the morning, a doctor popped in who was on the ward when she was born. He was actually the doctor who told us that she had Down’s Syndrome in the first place, as was very proud of the fact that he could pronounce her name correctly! Apparently there is a “ch” sound in Urdu, and he was going around correcting the nurses who were calling her all sorts of strange variations.

Anyway, this doctor sais that the lower oxygen levels today could be that the mucus in her lungs is detaching itself, which is blocking her up. Whilst this sounds like a bad thing, it’s actually a positive sign, as it is the first stage towards clearing her lungs completely. Apparently the mucus detaches, then either gets coughed up, or absorbed into the body (not exactly sure of the medical details here), so even though it’s causing her slight problems, it’s a first step towards getting rid of it.

It’s funny how we had put this whole part of her life out of our minds, and how quickly it all came back again. We had naively assumed that she wouldn’t have such problems after her heart operation, but it seems we were wrong. Here I am again playing Mummy (with a lot of help from Nechoma Bryna and my mother).

As usual, every cloud has a silver lining, and despite the fact that I’m run off my feet and exhausted, the extra time I’ve spent with the children has been marvellous. It’s also been quite cathartic being forced away from work and the computer. Apart from two e-mails, I think this is the first time I’ve used the computer properly since last Wednesday. On the one hand, my work is suffering, and I had things that needed doing, but on the other, I’m kind of enjoying ignoring it!

Anyway, got to go. A housewife’s work is never done you know :-)

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# Sunday, 15 November 2009

Pictures from our recent trip to Eretz Yisroel

As our dedicated reader will know, a subsection of the Smile Gemach recently returned from an all-too brief visit to eretz Yisroel. Here are a select few photographs from the trip.

The small pictures below are linked to larger versions, so if you would like a file suitable for printing, just click on the picture. They have all been resized to fit into a 6”x4” photo, which is a standard UK size. If you want a different size, let me know.

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# Monday, 09 November 2009

Happy birthday blog

I just noticed that my blog is four years, seven weeks and one day old :)

My very first blog post was entitled Brand new blog - will anyone read it?, and I think the answer was “No.”

Thank you for reading, if indeed you are. I may be typing to empty space for all I know.

Whilst I was perusing, I discovered that Geocities has finally given up and closed down, taking the original version of the PSG web site with it. last updated in about 1998, this was my first foray into the world of Internet self-publication (which is all that personal web sites and blogs are really). If you’re really bored, you can see an archive of the PSG web site circa 8th Oct 1999 on the Way Back When Machine, which is a great place to waste an hour or two, as it stores archives of web sites from years gone by.

I also discovered that the “contact us” page on the main PSG web site doesn’t work any more! Oh well, I guess those that know us know our e-mail address, and those that don’t are mostly trying to spam us anyway :)

See you in another four years, seven weeks and one day :-)

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If it says so in the paper, it must be true!

I have no idea if these are genuine, or done by someone with too much time and an image editing program on his hands, but they look fairly convincing, and are stupid enough to be true!

We present what might be some genuine classified adverts and “they didn’t mean that did they?” articles...

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# Monday, 26 October 2009

Chaya Devoira in a box of balls

On Chol Hamoed, we went to Gulliver’s World (family fun park) for a day out. Chaya Devoira went into a ball pool for the first time, and thoroughly enjoyed herself, bashing the balls and chuckling merrily. We realised that this was a very good developmental experience for her (good excuse eh?), and decided to buy some balls and a pool when we came home.

Having been amazed at the price of proper ball pools, we eventually found someone selling inflatable paddling pools for a few quid on eBay. We settled on one of these, and a separate purchase of balls. Having perused the offerings from both Tesco and the Early Learning Centre, who seemed to be about the only reputable people selling them, we went for the ELC balls, mainly due to the fact that the reviews there were good, whereas the reviews of the Tesco ones were largely negative, due to the soft and flimsy plastic used.

The balls arrived this morning. Not knowing quite how many we would need, we bought two hundred, which arrived in a large box. Much to the excitement of the other three little girls (and the complete indifference of Chaya Devoira, who was more interested in her breakfast), we opened them up. Not having the paddling pool yet, I emptied the balls into the box in which they had been delivered, and put Chaya Devoira inside.

The result? Total bliss for one little girl...

Chaya Devoira in a box of balls

For a girl who is supposed to have learning difficulties, she learned pretty quickly how to throw the balls out of the pool and across the kitchen floor! She then spent a very happy half hour bashing away at the balls, until the Boss removed her to get her dressed and off to school.

During the morning, the paddling pool turned up, and is now inflated in the kitchen, full of balls. Chaya Devoira is currently out at an appointment, but will presumably end up in the pool when she gets home. I reckon she will have until about 4:15pm, when the other little girls get home. At that point, she will either be removed to make way for someone else, or she will have company!

P.S. Just as an aside for those contemplating buying these balls, we weren’t hugely impressed with the strength of the ELC ones either. As you can see from the blue ball at the bottom right of the picture, they squash quite easily. I don’t know how well they will last when they get properly bounced upon. It may be that the squashiness allows them to pop back out again without splitting, or it may be that they’ll just split. We’ll see. If you are thinking of buying any, let us know and we’ll tell how these fared!

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# Thursday, 22 October 2009

Latest Chaya Devoira news

The exciting news is that Chaya Devoira has a tooth coming! You can’t see it yet, but you can feel it if you’re daft enough to put your finger in her mouth!

The other exciting news is that she sat herself up for the first time yesterday. She was lying on her tummy on the floor, and Aryeh Yehuda was making her giggle. She swung her legs out to the side (quite an amazing sight, I wish I was that flexible), round to the front and underneath her tummy. From there, she pushed herself up to a sitting position.

More news as events warrant. Watch this blog :-)

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# Thursday, 15 October 2009

Chaya Devoira on a swing

Had to share this picture. We went to Clifton Country Park the other day, and Chaya Devoira had a go on a swing. Apparently this was the funniest thing since Auntie Mabel got her string bag caught in the revolving doors, and spent the day doing the waltz!

Chaya Devoira on a swing

As she swung backwards and forwards, she kept laughing heartily. The above picture shows her mid-laugh.

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# Tuesday, 29 September 2009

My boys the builders

Well, to be honest I had higher aspirations for them, but I suppose it could have been worse!

Smile Gemach world headquarters is currently undergoing some expansion, which involves lots of chaps with names like Mike and Steve carrying bricks and wood around the remnants of our once-proud garden (currently a very impressive mud patch). As the walls have risen from the mud, our boys (and in truth, all the boys in the courtyard) have watched with great interest, analysing every new development.

Predictably, they wanted a go at laying bricks. I had a word with the head brickie, who seemed quite happy about the idea. And so, some 20 feet up in the air, we present Mr Aryeh Yehuda Silver, renowned talmid chochum and bricklayer in action...

Aryeh Yehuda lays some bricks

From left to right, you can see him mixing the cement, laying the brick and finally checking to see if it’s straight (aided by one of the Steves). Amazingly enough, he didn’t get his clothes dirty doing this!

Not wanting to be left out, ace apprentice, Mr Eliyohu Silver decided he also wanted to lay a brick, resulting in...

Eliyohu lays some bricks

Again, from left to right, he applied cement to the brick, checked it for being straight, and then whacked it with the trowel to move it into place.

Given that these bricks are part of our extension, I sure hope they did a good job! To my surprise, and their delight, the head brickie asked if they would like to do one of the red bricks. He said they could do one of the last ones. Aryeh Yehuda is already planning an even hapina ceremony :-)

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# Monday, 07 September 2009

Chaya Devoira’s first birthday

Amazingly enough, a year has passed since Chaya Devoira was born. In many respects the time has flown by, and it’s hard to believe she’s one already. Having said that, it’s been a long year!

Before I start waffling (common habit, as the regular reader of this blog will know), here is a picture of Chaya Devoira cutting her birthday cake...

Chaya Devoira cutting her birthday cake

Just before I clicked the button, she was actually looking at the cake, and could even have appeared to be interested in cutting it. Unfortunately, she got distracted by some interesting air molecules to her right, and that was that.

Her interest was soon rekindled when the Boss shoved some cake in her mouth though :)

The crown was made by the people in her school, and she wore it pretty much the whole day. For those curious, she does go to school, although only for two hours, three times a week. The school is for children with special needs, and they do all sorts of interesting and clever things with Chaya Devoira, including the obvious physiotherapy and speech therapy (which at this age is more to do with eating and drinking than speaking, but it all works towards the same goal), to the less obvious hydrotherapy (floating around in a bathtub) and weird massages in a multi-sensory room. This involves rubbing her down with a scouring pad, whilst pretty lights flash on and off!

We interrupt this drivel for a cute birthday picture...

Chaya Devoira cutting her birthday cake

Reflecting on the past year, we have learnt a lot, and grown a lot. Chaya Devoira has brought a lot of Simcha into our lives, as well as helping us get in touch with our own selves a lot more than we did before. We went through some emotional rollercoaster rides with her, but Boruch Hashem, we seem to have come out on top.

Happy birthday Chaya Devoira, we look forward to many more years of your smiles. I could write a lot more, but I think I might get a bit emotional for the generally irreverent tone of this blog!

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