The Texture Of Things

I can’t help it. This is really cool.

September 25th, 2008

Have you seen this? It’s a retro, 50’s style diner/kitchen play set for the stylish and young at heart.

If we didn’t already own a play kitchen, I’d pawn something to buy this for the tot.

Srsly. “…[A] bell lets the server know when kitchen orders are ready for serving”?
So. Much. Awesome.

Shrapnel: It’s a Good Thing

September 10th, 2008

When I was pregnant with the tot, I was diagnosed with Pregnancy Diabeetus. I had to go on a special diet and I had to check my blood sugar four times a day. I think I started this around 25 weeks and did it until she was born, so – what is that? 10 weeks?

Ten weeks of finger pokes. Seventy days of finger pokes. Two hundred eighty finger pokes. Roughly. Because who’s counting?

Courtesy of HG’s job, I had some supah-awesum health insurance, but it would not cover Diabeetus testing supplies. Figures. So, I went to my pharmacy counter, showed them the glucometer the dietitian had given me. In the little black case was the finger-poker-thing. (Sadists and those in the medical community call them “lancing devices”, I believe.) They looked it over and said, “Here is what you need,” and they pushed a box of test strips and a box of lancets across the counter at me.

I had no idea about the wide array of products available for finger poking, so I accepted the name brand lancets, paid the fortune that they cost, and went home to test my blood sugar.

Let me take this moment to clarify my state of mind at the time. I was bent on doing exactly what the dietitian told me to do for the sake of mah bay-bee. When she said, “Set the lancet depth at 5 or 6,” I did it. I set it at 5 and proceeded to suffer as the narrow lancets pounded deep into my flesh.

By the time the tot was born (mercifully early, if you ask my hands), my fingertips were freckled with small red dots and they felt like I had gotten them caught in a meat grinder. Both the left and right sides of all four fingers and one thumb on my left hand were abused to the point that at least once a day I tried to do the blood test left-handed in order to give my right hand fingers a taste of the torture. I developed some serious empathy for my husband’s grandmother, who tests her blood 4-6 times a day on her papery-skinned fingers. Oy, the poor woman.

Cue the passage of time and the change of insurance companies. For those of you not in the know, diabeetus testing supplies are expensive and are, at least in the States, quite a market. I mean, have you seen the 800 glucometer commercials that run daily on just about any television channel? Not to mention the radio ads and magazine ads and – oh my god the money the companies spend on advertising. Markup on test strips must be all right.

But! But this time, my joe-schmoe insurance covers testing supplies! Hooray!

And then the pharmacy filled the prescription with generic lancets.

Anyone who wants to say that generics and name brands are the same needs to take a look at these things. No picture I take of them does them any justice. The gauge on the name brand lancet is probably something like 1000 and the gauge on the generic is, like, 8. The night I used the first one, I yelled back at the “lancing device”. I told HG it felt like getting hit by shrapnel, AND I MEANT IT.

But there I was. I had paid for them. Well, I had paid the copay and I sure as heck wasn’t going to drop a single dime more on these miserable things because I am determined this diabeetus is a temporary condition, and I am nothing if not a cheapskate. (Do you hear me, pancreas? TEMPORARY.) So I had to figure out how to keep my fingers from turning into ground beef again, especially since I am also determined to get to full-term this time. The first logical step was to dial back the “lancing device.”

I dialed it back and back, and with some experimentation, I think I’ve found the perfect balance. The lancet pops forward juuuuuust enough that it feels like it’s actually bouncing off my skin, and about 98% of the time, it makes a hole that is, with a squeeze, big enough to produce enough blood for the test.

So successful am I that I often can’t tell or remember which finger I poked last.

And so the moral of the story is to not let cheap materials get you down. Cheap materials can help you find agency in a situation that is, for the most part, out of your control. They can teach you to think more critically about the instructions handed down to you by The Man. They can end up being more worth the money than those pesky name brand, high-fashion ones.



September 1st, 2008

It seems kind of unfair to the tot that I haven’t written any updates on her progress with textures here on the blog, a blog whose purpose was designed around such updates. I should rectify that.

Way back in the day (like, April or May of this year?), I took the tot for an evaluation by an Occupational Therapist. This was not the first time we had been to this center. About a year before, I took the tot for an evaluation for Sensory Integration – an eval the tot pretty much passed. The OT indicated she had some delay in Gross-Motor development and, yes, some tactile hypersensitivity and auditory hyposensitivity. Basically, yeah, eating is a problem, she’s a klutz, and she’s the kind of kid/person who loves music and needs it in the background all the time to help her focus. We all know a person like this or close to it, right?

At the time of the SI eval, they recommended weekly therapy, including body brushing (still not sure what this is or how it works) and Therapeutic Listening (still not sure how this works; more on this as soon as I know more). I opted to continue working with our Food Friend (S.), for more reasons than the simple fact that something about the therapist just didn’t feel right to me. And it was not free. And I’m bad at “breaking up” with people. And I didn’t want to break up with S. anyway because the tot loved/s her and I rather did/do, too.

But the respite from transition was short-lived. The tot would “graduate” out of the Food Friend program at her fourth birthday (in the summer) and, we learned, shortly before that date our Food Friend was leaving that clinic to take on similar work with another foundation. So. A transition was necessary, and while S. would not say outright what she thought we should do, she did suggest two possible paths, if we wanted to continue working with a professional. One was Occupational Therapy at the center that did the SI eval and one was an eval at an Anxiety Disorder clinic at a nearby university – although S. was clear that she only saw that as a resource if things took a turn for the more anxious/phobic.

I struggled with whether or not I should take the tot for an eval, but I ultimately did, and this was our visit earlier this year. What the OT (not the SI eval OT) found was, I think, worth the tot’s and my time.

K., the OT, revised the previous diagnosis of Gross-Motor Delay to Motor Planning Delay. She didn’t outwardly agree or disagree with the auditory hyposensitivity, but she did suggest that we might try Therapeutic Listening at some point to see if it would help the tot regulate herself. The biggest revelation, however, was that the tot has an Oral-Motor Deficiency. As in, she can’t lift her tongue up, either inside or outside of her mouth.

Imagine taking a bite of a chocolate covered doughnut and getting chocolate frosting around your whole mouth. You begin licking your lips to get the frosting. The sides and the bottom are easy, but you can’t lick your upper lip. (For the purpose of this example, it does not occur to you to use another method of removing the substance.) Emotionally, you go from alert (“Ah! There is yummy frosting on my face and I will lick it off and get to enjoy it”) to anxious (“There is a something on my face and I can’t seem to get it off – WTF is up with that?!”) to panic (“Get it off! Get it off! Get it off!”).

What would this do to your relationship with eating? Particularly if we change the example food to a bite peanut butter sandwich that is stuck to the roof of your mouth.

Suddenly, the crunchy-only-or-liquid-only diet is making a lot of sense, wouldn’t you say?

more on the therapy and advances later – must wrap this up for now.

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