Swine flu update (or, the miraculous neti pot)

November 4, 2009 at 11:20 am | Posted in little bug | 6 Comments
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Little Buggy and I are both considered high risk for the H1N1 virus. Tuesday morning, she was vaccinated. We were the first ones in line – at 9:10 a.m. – for the 10 a.m. flu clinic, and were out the door again by 9:30, before all the sick kids and impatient parents arrived en masse. Her eyes widened in surprise for a moment when the nurse stuck her with a needle, but she got her Tweety Bird band-aid and a princess sticker and was fine.

I am not fine. I am a paranoid wreck about this flu. Every other pregnant woman I know – literally, I am not exaggerating here *– has received the vaccine from her ob. Mine – yes, I’m calling you out Harvard Vanguard – claims not to have it yet. They claim this every time I call, which is three times a week. I’m seeing practitioners at two different offices, too (alternating appointments between my regular ob at one location and a midwife at another, closer to work), so I call both offices. How can Harvard Vanguard, one of the biggest practices in the state, not have the vaccine for their pregnant patients? I just don’t believe what they are telling me over the phone. “If you get sick, we’ll give you Tamiflu,” they try to appease me. I don’t want Tamiflu, the effects of which are unknown on the fetus. I want the vaccine, and I don’t care if it has trace amounts of mercury or whatever.

Lindsey had it; Pax Arcana had it, and they lived to tell the tale. And I’m so relieved that Little Bug has been vaccinated. I just don’t want to put myself or my unborn child in danger. A partner at my firm, with whom I work often, is greatly concerned for my well being. “Have you had the shot yet?” he asks, every time we meet. “Maybe you should stay home until you get it.” Agreed. Although impractical. Instead, I am following the old wives’ tales on how to keep the flu away by gargling twice a day with salt water (although I use Listerine, since I’ve also read that that works too) and using a netti pot to flush my nasal passages and sinuses with saline.

What is a neti pot, you ask? I’m so glad you did. In short: it’s a miracle. If you know me, you know that I have allergies. And I sniffle. All. The. Time. And even this is an understatement. I wake up in the middle of the night with a stuffy nose and itchy ears and throat. It takes about 10 minutes every morning for my sinuses to drain and clear. My husband often turns to me in bed and says, “This sniffling. Must. Stop. Now.”

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This is not me, by the way.

A neti pot (or netti pot) is like a little tea pot. I’ve been aware of it for years – it’s a common Ayurvedic remedy (I used to be really into Ayurvedic remedies) – but have never tried it myself because the concept seemed so strange. You fill it with lukewarm water and salt. You pour it in one nostril and tilt your head down and to the side until the solution comes out the other nostril. It feels really weird and uncomfortable at first, like when you are in the ocean and get hit with a wave that goes right up your nose. I’ve been using it twice a day, and by day two my endemic, low-grade sniffles were gone.  FOR REAL. Let me re-emphasize: I do not sniffle anymore. I don’t wake up in the night with a stuffy nose and itchy throat and ears. I don’t sniffle in the morning, nor all day long at my desk. I am a new person, truly. And if you are familiar with my sniffling (and for that, a lifetime of apologies), you know what a big deal this is for me. Hopefully this will keep the pesky flu away, to boot.

*Update: Okay, I might have been exaggerating a bit, as it was just brought to my attention that two pregnant friends — physicians, no less — have not yet been vaccinated (pregnant doctors? Are you kidding me? One of them is an infectious disease specialist, too!). And more absurd than that is news that a friend in Ohio has had her whole family vaccinated, including her non-high risk husband. Not that I don’t want him to get the vaccine, of course, but what is up with the geographical distribution so that there’s plenty of vaccine in Ohio but not enough in Masschusetts for pregnant infectious disease doctors?

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Happy Halloween: Weekend in the ‘burbs

November 2, 2009 at 9:14 am | Posted in little bug, the 'burbs, weekend | 1 Comment

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I loved Halloween in Back Bay — the big party at Clarendon Street Playground (complete with hayrides), the spooky front yards, and the kids running up and down the brownstone steps. Halloween in the suburbs proved to be very similar to the Halloweens of my childhood — jack’o’lanterns, dads herding kids up and down the street while moms stay home to pass out candy, and the two waves of trick-or-treaters — the little kids shortly after dark, the older kids showing up after you thought you were done for the night (with questionable effort put into their costumes — a t-shirt and mask just doesn’t cut it, kids…) 

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Little Bug — little ladybug! — wasn’t so sure of the whole routine at first. “I want to go to my home,” she said at one point. But then we ran into our neighbors Kate and May (two other two-year-old girls) and their parents and hit a couple of houses with them, and she started to get into it. As we were walking home, finally, her pumpkin bucket full of candy that she’d never eat, she said, happily, “I’m in Halloween!” 

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Fortunately, what she remembered about Halloween night was the costumes (she woke up this morning saying, “I want to be a witch! I want to be a scarecrow!”), and, so far, not the candy. 

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This weekend also was spent raking and jumping in leaves. Tim raked the whole yard on Saturday, only to have to re-rake Sunday after Saturday’s wind and late-night rain. Buggy is a big help.

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SAHM for a Day

November 1, 2009 at 8:02 pm | Posted in little bug, Starbucks | 1 Comment

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At the last minute, I decided to take a vacation day on Friday. Initially I thought to have our babysitter come for a few hours in the morning anyway so that I could “get stuff done,” but then I realized that since I was taking an actual vacation day I wouldn’t feel as tied to my Blackberry, and also — I really didn’t have much I had to “get done.” So Janet got the day off and Friday was just the Little Bug and me. And it was great.

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Breakfast of champions at Starbucks.

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Playdate with our friend Ella.

We also went to the grocery store, ate lunch together, and made cookies with Ella and her mom, Egan (my coworker — and neighbor! — who is home on Fridays). While Buggy napped I made chili for dinner and did laundry. Would every day be this nice were I home full-time? Probably not. I would have “stuff to do,” and would not, of course, be able to be so totally focused on her. Would I like to work four days a week? Undoubtedly (and, I’m sure Tim would like it, as well, as he came home to a dinner of chicken chili and fresh cookies). But I have a ton of vacation days to use up before the end of the year, and hopefully we’ll have a few more mommy-daughter days before Little Buggy’s little brother arrives and turns things upside down again!

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