Cause and effect and a lack of consideration

Everything we do has consequences. I think most people grasp that, and generally try to take later possibilities into account when decision-making. But sometimes an ill-considered or spur-of-the-moment action has consequences far beyond what we might consider at the time, more serious and far-reaching.

Mike Tyson & Evander Holyfield
image from http://www.rhymeswithsnitch.com/

Yesterday at work, in the course of his duties, my husband was bitten by a woman. Ow, you might think, or, How weird. Ow indeed. Here is something you might not know: when a person is bitten by another person, the victim is immediately assumed at risk of HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, Tetanus, and a range of other diseases transmitted by bodily fluids or close contact.

Here’s something else you might not know: the incubation period for some of these diseases is as long as sixty days.

That means that the victim – my husband – can’t be certain if he’s contracted a disease until a test is conducted at least sixty days from the date of the bite.

It follows that, for that sixty day period, he has to be exceedingly cautious around people if he should happen to get so much as a minor graze; any blood could potentially carry infection to somebody else. It also follows that we have to be cautious in our personal relations; a cut in his mouth would mean we couldn’t kiss, and obviously other precautions need to be taken too.

Fortunately in my husband’s case, as the bite did not actually break his skin, the risk is extremely minimal, and we are not overly worried about the long term. But the risk is still there, and we are still taking all possible precautions, preferring to be more careful than necessary rather than risk anything being transmitted to either myself or our daughters.

I very much doubt the biting woman considered the effects she might have on our family when she clamped her jaws around my husband’s wrist. She acted in passion, without consideration, and all of our family and friends now pay for her thoughtlessness with sixty days of pain-in-the-arse precautions, and the fortunately remote possibility of much more serious consequences. I can only be glad that her teeth weren’t sharper, or her jaw stronger. If she’d succeeded in her aim, we’d be in a right pickle and no mistake.

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“Do not feed doughnuts to your obese children”

(Quote from Tim Minchin’s Fat Children)

This is what I wanted to say to a mother the other day

What the hell are you doing? Look at the size of your son, he’s about eight and he weighs, what, nearly sixty kilograms? That’s about my weight, and I’m an adult. Why are you feeding him KFC? Do you have any idea what you’re doing to him?

He’s going to have difficulty with movement, getting in and out of cars, walking up stairs, getting through check-outs at supermarkets. Everyday things that everybody needs to do, he will struggle with for his whole life.

He will have an increased risk of a variety of health problems, including heart disease and diabetes. Those are very serious problems which will require life-long monitoring and care. He’s also likely to have problems with joints like his ankles and knees; they weren’t meant to carry that much weight around long-term.

And then there’s the bullying and teasing he’s going to suffer because of his weight. He may be psychologically scarred by some of the things done to him by cruel schoolchildren.

So basically what I’m saying is: you’re causing illnesses and injuries to your son, you’re lessening his lifespan, and what life he will have will be miserable. Now go buy him a fucking salad.

Going gluten free

 

I’ve been eating gluten free for several years now – on and off, since I can still handle small amounts of gluten occasionally. So of course I am familiar with the gluten free products available, and I know which are nice and which are not. I hope this information will be of use to people just beginning a gluten free life! Just so you know, most of the below recommendations are regularly eaten by my husband, who is not gluten intolerant, without complaint.

Disclaimer: Brands can change their products and ingredients without notice. To the best of my knowledge all this information is accurate at the date of publication, but always be sure to check ingredients before buying.

Bread

For pre-made breads, you can’t go past Zehnder. I’ve never seen it in Coles or Woolworths, but many IGA supermarkets and Foodworks stock it in their freezer sections. They have many different varieties of bread, all of which are very nice. Their bread rolls aren’t so great, but they’re probably the best of the commercially available brands.

If you want to make your own bread, Laucke Easy Baker’s bread mix, available from Coles, is quick and easy (mix with water, allow to rise, bake, eat), and turns out very tasty with a good texture. They also give instructions for making bread rolls with the same mix, but I haven’t tried it yet.

I have not yet found good gluten free crumpets in a store, but I do have an excellent recipe for them here.

Flour

For baking your own goodies such as muffins, cookies, breads, and so on, I find White Wings gluten free flour – both plain and self-raising – to be the best. They turn into tasty goodies that aren’t too crumbly. Orgran flour is also reasonable, but can sometimes result in slightly stodgy or doughy baked goods.

Pasta

San Remo is definitely the way to go! Many other brands go soggy when cooked and can be bland, but San Remo closely replicates the real, gluten-filled pasta experience!

Pizza

Freedom Foods do a thin pizza base which is very nice. I use it often, and always enjoy my pizzas!

Pizza Hut also do gluten free pizza bases these days, but be aware that almost all of their toppings contain gluten or are contaminated through production processes. If you’re ok with small amounts of gluten, though, the base is surprisingly nice. A bit hard around the edges, but the bit where the sauce and toppings have sogged it up a bit is good.

Processed meats

I have found that most Coles brand meats are gluten free, including sausages, sausage mince, salamis, and sliced hams.

Beer

There are a couple of gluten free beers available. O’Brien Beer is Australian, and reasonable, but if you’re willing to spend a little extra to get a really nice gluten free beer, Dan Murphy’s carries one imported from Germany called Lammsbrau. It really does taste like real beer. Expensive, but well worth it if you can afford it!

Biscuits

The best biscuits to have cheese or spreads on are Eskal Deli crackers. They do tend to crumble a bit, as gluten free products do, but the taste is very nice.

For sweet biscuits, Macro Wholefoods Market (a brand only available from Woolworths, I think it belongs to them) has a good selection of delicious gluten free goodies! They have one that is like a Kingston biscuit, which I adore.

Cakes

Basco do a few cake mixes. I’ve tried two: their chocolate cake is excellent and I highly recommend it, but steer clear of their carrot cake! It’s dry and crumbly and not very nice.

Spreads

You don’t expect to find gluten in jams, but believe me, it’s there! Once again, Coles brand comes through and is gluten free and delicious! (No, Coles aren’t paying me; maybe they should be.)

Vegemite is out, of course, which I find terribly depressing; a substitute simply called Vege Spread is available but frankly it’s awful. Best to avoid it.

Condiments

Most things like soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce contain gluten, however gluten-free alternatives are readily available in the health food aisles of most supermarkets. Most are just labelled as “gluten free [whatever]”, but there is also tamari, a gluten free soy sauce.

A relieving anti-climax

People with long memories will recall that a couple of healthcare professionals have pointed out Evelyn’s small anterior fontanelle with some concern. Today, at last, we saw a paediatrician about it. She was a very nice lady, very friendly and competent, and inspired far more confidence than our regular GP. And she says she has no concerns at all about Evelyn’s fontanelle or her development in general. Everything is fine.

I know I’ve been Little Miss No-Blog lately; I’ve been quite busy and tired, what with the two kids and uni, but I promise I’ll be better.

One thing I do want to note excitedly is that I got my DLSR camera for my birthday! A Pentax K-r. Very happy.

Bye bye tooth

A molar - not mine

After suffering toothaches for many months, they finally got too much for me. I went to the dentist yesterday. One of my molars, which I knew was not doing so well, was actually dying. I had a few options: I could have a root canal, or have it crowned, if I wanted to spend $5000. Peanuts, said I sarcastically, and asked for the cheaper option: extraction for $200.

“It’ll all be over in a minute – not even that!” the dental nurse assured me. “It’s normal to be nervous, but it’s really nothing to worry about.”

Turns out I have stubborn teeth. My dentist pulled and wriggled that damn thing until his own wrists were hurting so badly he couldn’t continue. He had to call in another dentist to finish the job.

After a brief struggle, but avoiding injury to herself, dentist #2 completed the extraction.

And I’m left with a gaping hole where a tooth used to be. It hurts. It has stitches in it, and a sort of false blood clot thing. I’m limited to eating “soft cold foods”. I wasn’t allowed to drink alcohol or tea until this afternoon. At the moment I’m finding iced water nicely soothing. I hope this goes away soon and starts feeling normal!

Saga

Child health nurse: That small fontanelle will need to get checked out, I think they usually do an ultrasound. Talk to your GP about it.

GP: Yes, we can organise an ultrasound, no worries. Here’s a referral.

Radiologist at hospital: An ultrasound is pointless, we won’t learn anything from it, we’re not going to do it. Talk to a paediatrician.

 

So now I need to find a paediatrician.

Does a small head make one modest?

Shortly after Evelyn’s birth, we were told by the hospital paediatrician that she had a small anterior fontantelle. This, apparently, was nothing to be overly worried about, but we should keep an eye on it. Accordingly, it has been checked by her child health  nurse at each appointment.

On Wednesday, at her four-month check-up, the nurse mentioned that the fontanelle is now worryingly small and we need to get an ultrasound to have it checked out.

The anterior fontantelle is one of many soft spots in a baby’s skull which exist to allow the skull to grow and expand. If the spot is too small, the concern is that it may be closing, or ‘fusing’, too early. If that happened, the skull may not grow, and therefore of course the brain could  not grow.

I’ve been assured that the chances of this small fontanelle really being a big problem are really very small. But it does need to be checked, just in case. So I now have a referral from my GP to get an ultrasound, and the results of that will determine our next course of action. I’ll keep you updated!