Saturday, November 21, 2009

Don't jump off!

Tobioricha dame!

The Pumpkin Princess went back to day care Friday. The rule is that a child with H1N1 must stay at home for at least five days and have a "proof of recovery" signed by his or her pediatrician. Since the Pumpkin Princess was fever free by day 2, we went to the doctor on the morning of the fifth day and asked for (and got) the necessary paperwork signed.

No one else caught it from the Pumpkin Princess. The hand washing paid off or the virus was a watered down version or a combination of both.

I understand that Japan is unusual in that we get Tamiflu so easily. And yes, I wonder if it is really necessary for basically healthy kids like the Pumpkin Princess. Giving the Pumpkin Princess Tamiflu was an interesting experience. It was the first time anyone in our immediate family had taken it. The pharmacist told us it was bitter when mixed with vanilla ice cream or yogurt, and suggested mixing it in chocolate ice cream or cocoa. The first day, while her fever was still quite high, she cried that it was bitter and didn't want to take it (even in chocolate ice cream). After some convincing (and threatening), we did manage to get her to take it, and went to bed. The next day, she was much better physically. However, she was even more prone to temper tantrums than usual, and when she was not throwing temper tantrums, she was constantly giggling and climbing on and jumping off the furniture. If she were a little older and if this strange hyperactivity were a little more severe, I can easily see her jumping off the balcony, like the teenage boy who took Tamiflu for his flu and died when he jumped off the balcony of his high rise apartment.

My friend's daughter who did the whole H1N1-Tamiflu thing 2 weeks ago was also jumping off the furniture once her fever went down and she was feeling better. My other friend's son couldn't take or keep down the Tamiflu because it was too bitter. His fever lasted for a couple of days, but he never had a "can we peel him off the ceiling" thing going, and now he's just fine. So I don't really know if the Tamiflu helps or hinders. I expect the authorities on the subject will put out a report of some kind at the end of the season. It'll be interesting to see what they say.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

For this, three wins, one loss (for now)

Kocchi ha (ima no tokoro) san shou ippai

H1N1 (aka swine flu) has struck the Pumpkin Clan, but so far, only the Pumpkin Princess has it, and even she is jumping around and asking for ice cream without the benefit of acetoaminophen (Tylenol to my American friends).

Sunday was pretty wild, though, since we headed to the Sunday duty clinic (in Pumpkin City, the city Physicians' Association designates a "duty clinic" where you go on Sundays. Clinics which belong to the association (OK, pretty much every single clinic in town) will see patients that Sunday. There are a couple internal medicine duty clinics, a GYN clinic, an ophthalmology clinic, an ENT clinic, and a pediatrics clinic designated as duty clinics each Sunday and National Holiday. For really serious stuff, you go to the Emergency Department (Ambulance Clinic to my Brit friends...I think) of a good-sized hospital, but some of the bigger hospitals (like the Red Cross Hospital and University Hospital) will fine you if you go in after hours for something mild like a splinter or a cold and tell you to go to the duty clinic next time if you don't like the fine, which is something like 7000 yen, or $80 depending on the exchange rate).

So Sunday morning, a whiny Pumpkin Princes crawled into the Pumpkin Mommy and Daddy's bed, and Daddy said to Mommy, "she's hot!" Mommy went downstairs to get the thermometer and confirmed that she did indeed have a fever. She took the Princess to the Duty Clinic (which was, fortunately, only a 5 minute drive from the Pumpkin Palace) and was told there was an hour wait, so as soon as the receptionist took copies of the health insurance card and the Pumpkin City medical care card, they went home and had a snack of Pretz and milk.

The tired looking pediatrician, who was a woman slightly younger than the Pumpkin Granny, took a nasal secretion sample (and gave the Pumpkin Princess a mild nosebleed in the process) and declared her positive for type A influenza, which, this early in the season, translates into "I'm pretty sure it's swine flu". She wrote a prescription for Tamiflu and Tylenol. We were told to wait in the car, and the pharmacist from the pharmacy conveniently (heh) located right next to the clinic brought the medications to us, we paid our 50 yen (for the container, the meds are paid for by health insurance and Pumpkin City because she's a child). We drove home, took the first of the Tamiflu and Tylenol, and the Pumpkin Princess went to bed.

Later that day, an unhappy Pumpkin Prince was discovered to have a temp of 38 degrees (100 or thereabouts). Pumpkin Mommy called the clinic and asked what the wait time was and was told it was an hour and a half. So she went alone, got checked in, went back home, waited around for about an hour, and went back with the Pumpkin Prince. The only problem was, the Pumpkin Prince was energetic and happy and smiling at all the harried looking parents in the waiting area who had brought their feverish kids too weak to move. We waited for about an hour (in addition to the time spent at home) to be told by the same pediatrician, who looked even more tired than she did that morning (I think she must have seen no fewer than 200 kids that day) that he looked way to happy to have influenza, took a nasal secretion sample at my asking, and declared him negative for type A flu.

I think we should have told the receptionist we were going home when he started smiling and making happy gurgling sounds at the sick looking 7 year-old girl who was carried in to the exam room by her dad.

Anyway...Monday, I took the day off work and took the Pumpkin Princess to her usual pediatrician. By then, she was fever free and chowing down custard pudding and strawberry ice cream like no one's business. However, the city day care system requires that once you are diagnosed with influenza A, you can't come to day care until you are fever free and have finished the required 5 day regimen of Tamiflu.

Tuesday morning, the Pumpkin Daddy announced he felt feverish and a bit achey, but so far hasn't been able to break the 37.5 degree mark (99 or thereabouts). The Pumpkin Prince measured in at 37.5, so we kept him home, and I stayed home as well (and cancelled a Wednesday work meeting just in case) but has been smiling and gurgling and crawling after the Pumpkin Princess (who is jumping off the sofa as she watches Cinderella II on DVD). I feel fine except for a runny nose I've had since early last week.

So swine flu vs. Pumpkin Palace is 1 to 3 so far. Here's to hoping it stays that way.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

1 win, 3 losses

Issho sanpai

Annie Cat (The Pea Mommy) sent me a card in which she had written the following:

I hope you have a wonderful birthday, with well-behaved children, an attentive husband, stressfree workday, and good food!

Let me see...

The Pumpkin Princess whined that she wanted to wear a short skirt to day care without leggings in late autumn temps, and threw a temper tantrum when told no. (The Prince was difficult too, but at not quite eight months, I don't hold him responsible for his behavior yet).

The Pumpkin Daddy presented me with a single red rose, even though he'd already bought me a very pretty handbag 2 weeks ago as my birthday present.

I was assigned to represent the department in a meeting where an outside organization comes to dress down the entire workplace, one department at a time.

Dinner was frozen chicken cutlets, leftover steamed nappa cabbage, miso soup with tofu and scallions, and rice.

So it was one win and three losses. (OK, dinner wasn't exactly a loss, the chicken was pretty good and I'll probably buy it again, and the miso soup and rice turned out just fine just like they usually do).

Where I would be without the Pumpkin Daddy, I do not know.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I can't keep up.

Tsuite ikemasen.

So the other day, I was working with my brilliant, cute, sweet, 20 something co-worker and noticed she had a red mark on her lovely youthful leg.

Then, I noticed a blue mark on her other lovely youthful leg.

Then, I realized there were a lot of red and blue marks, too many to count, on both her legs.

I took a breath as to ask her which of the two Karate black belts in our department I should send after the person who did this to her, but I noticed that the marks had awfully clear margins to be bruises.

Then, I noticed they were little hearts.

She was wearing patterned hose.

I really feel old sometimes.