Health & Body

So the thing with the current infection.

I was brushing Allie’s teeth last Thursday night when I noticed a weird shadow cast over the front of her gums, right above the broken left front tooth. That was the worse break of the two, the one closest to the nerve, and the one in which Allie’s pediatric dentist observed, at Allie’s last checkup a couple of months ago, what appeared to be a pinhole opening from the back of the tooth into the nerve. Ever since we’d gone to Dr. Wu after Allie’s fall last year, he’d told us to watch for discoloration of the broken teeth, abscess on the gums, and something else that I can’t remember (probably pain or redness in the gums). I’d THOUGHT her front left tooth looked a little dark in the center on the inside for a few weeks, like it was slightly gray, but Mr. W said he didn’t think it was gray, so I’d let it go. And suddenly, that Friday, her gums abscessed. It was a huge bump. Like, almost the size of her remaining partial tooth huge. It cast its own shadow, for gosh sakes.

I’d never seen an abscess on gums before, and just that week, my judge told me a story about how HIS gums grew an abscess after a root canal had gotten infected, and that was the first I’d heard of anyone having a bump grow on the gum. Thanks to his description, I knew immediately what Allie’s giant bump was, and that it’s an internal infection at the tooth’s root, growing outward. Thankfully, we already had the next day (Friday) off for the stepkidlet’s graduation from college. I called that Friday morning on the drive to the graduation and got squeezed in for an appointment that afternoon. Meanwhile, Allie was her usual cheery self and still hasn’t complained about or seemed to even know about her infection, which I already knew was going to lead either to a baby root canal or a tooth extraction.

After Allie’s nap, we were off to the dentist. Allie was super-duper cooperative with the medical procedures, as she usually is at any doctor’s office, and even held her own x-ray “film” (in quotes because it’s all digital imaging these days).

Said x-ray revealed that the bump is not a random coincidental unrelated gum blister, as I’d been hoping for, but is indeed a pretty significant infection at the tooth’s root. One-third of the root was already missing, and the dentist, Dr. Wu, explained that the tooth was basically already dead. The infection has to go somewhere, so it’s pushing out from the side of her gum. He was surprised and impressed that she’d shown no signs of pain. He said that given the severity of the infection, a baby root canal’s efficacy isn’t great, so our best shot to prevent damage to her adult tooth sitting right above the infection site, and to properly clean out the infection and prevent its spread (so her system doesn’t become septic), is to have that tooth pulled. The consequences of losing a baby tooth this early is that for the next 5-6 years, she’ll be missing that tooth, so it’s likely that the other teeth would collapse inward without that space holder especially since she’s a thumb-sucker (at bedtimes). That would lead to insufficient room for her adult tooth/teeth to descend, so they may be pretty crooked, and that would likely lead to needing braces when she’s older.
All this from a FALL when she tripped over her baby gate threshold last year!
Dr. Wu said he could put in a “flipper” as a space holder for the tooth, but it would force Allie to sit still for much longer, going through the tooth molding and installment process, and it would only be cosmetic (and poorly so), anyway, as far as its effectiveness. He said if it were his daughter in Allie’s position, he’d unquestionably pull the tooth and kids tolerate this very well and are just fine. He’d dope her up a little with laughing gas, put a numbing gel on her gum, give her a shot of Novocain, then pull the tooth out, the entire process taking about 2 minutes, he explained. We agreed to the treatment plan.
He went on to say that in the realm of kid issues and medical concerns, this is a “nothing.” After it heals in a week she’d be as “normal” as can be and we’ll worry about crooked teeth way later. I know that’s more likely true than not, since I had both my front teeth knocked out as a preschooler and I have no memories of difficulties or trauma. It just WAS and I didn’t think or care much about the space in my gums. My permanent teeth grew in just fine and I had perfectly straight teeth. But then I wasn’t a thumb or pacifier sucker. Speaking of sucking, it’s one thing to keep Allie from using straws and sippys when she’s healing (sucking would pull out the blood clot from the gum hole), but quite another to keep her from sucking her thumb as she falls asleep. No idea how that’s going to work.

Meanwhile, Allie is on a week’s worth of liquid Amoxicillin antibiotics to clear her abscess/infection before the dentist goes in to mess with it and create an open wound. I was nervous about medicating her, since college roommie’s daughter Alexis so loathed her antibiotics that she would run and hide behind furniture when she saw the medication being taken out, and just that week, I read this status message posted by a jujitsu friend who has a <1 year old daughter and a 4 year old daughter:

Anybody know how to get antibiotics into very small children without them being vomited right back up? The pharmacist said don’t mix them with anything, but so far, both girls have gagged and spit up at least one dose, and I’m sort of dreading 10 days of being covered in white, chalky, crud that smells like fake strawberries and quite clearly tastes awful.

Allie’s dentist said kids tend to like the antiobiotic liquid (Sandoz brand) he’s prescribing and it’s pink and tastes like strawberries. So I started prepping Allie ASAP. Leaving the dentist, we drove to Kaiser to fill her prescription, and in the car, I told her she’s getting her very own medicine, and it’s her favorite color of pink, and it’s yummy. She badly wanted her very own medicine. After receiving it from the pharmacist, Allie desperately wanted to hold the bottle, so we let her, and she was delighted to see that it is, indeed, pink. “Can I twy it? Can I taste it?” she asked. We told her not yet, and the entire car ride home she was begging, demanding, asking to “twy” the medicine, “dwink” the medicine, she wants it “now, not later.” “I want my medicine. Can I have my medicine? I just wanna hold it. Can I have it? I wanna drink it. Can I taste it?” At home, we filled the dispenser syringe with 5ml (1 tsp) of the pink stuff, I told her this is going to be really fun because she can suck on the syringe as we push the meds in her mouth, and she sucked it all up (we tried it with water first so she knew what to expect) and demanded more. She has SO taken to this medicine that we’re now using it as a bribe for her to finish her dinner. Just tonight…
Allie: I don’t wanna eat the gween thing.
Me: That’s spinach. You like spinach.
Allie: No, I don’t want it.
Me: Do you want medicine?
Allie: *face lighting up* Yeah!
Me: You have to finish the spinach to get to the medicine.
She ate all her dinner, including all her spinach, and she got her dose of medicine very happily. I don’t know what I’m gonna do after we’re done with the bottle. Guess I’ll have to go back to bribing her with multivitamins.

Tonight, after 6 days of antibiotic treatment, the abscess bump finally looks smaller, altho still present. Allie’s appointment for the tooth pull is on Monday. I keep thinking about how I should be taking photos like crazy of her adorable smile now, because after Monday, all her smiles will be with a crooked gap for the next 6-7 years. And after that, who knows what her adult tooth would look like coming in to a possibly crooked environment. But I am, however, comforted by the fact that we did wait about a year before having to do any medical intervention on the broken tooth, so that Allie doesn’t have to be put completely under for a procedure, like the first dentist wanted to do. And having found this 2nd dentist whom we love, we also got to save Allie’s other broken tooth, because even now, not one word was ever said about baby root canals or tooth extractions on the other broken tooth which is still asymptomatic. I think I’m pretty well-adjusted about the situation now, but I was seriously, seriously bummed on Friday after the return from the dentist. I’d posted then on the social networking site:

Cindy has never in her life cited scripture, much less purchased scripture jewelry, but this morning at Mariner’s Church for [the stepkidlet’s] graduation from Vanguard University, I happened across inscribed rings at the gift shop as I walked from the restroom to meet Allie and hubby at the campus cafe. Uncharacteristically, I bought two rings because they spoke to me (although almost all of the 30+ designs were beautifully done with a wide variety of touching scripture). This was before Allie’s dental appointment and the heavy feeling I now have knowing what she would soon endure. With all the healthy kids around me, I feel sad that Allie has to endure patching daily for many years until she has eye surgery, and has to endure the same number of years of being without a front tooth which would obviously affect her eating, her bedtime thumb-sucking (until the extraction wound heals), the ability for her adult teeth to come in easily, and both may get her made fun of in school when she starts attending. Why her? I wondered sadly. What lesson or purpose will reveal itself later?
I’d almost forgotten about the rings. I just pulled them out of my purse, and read the two inscriptions.
“I know the plans I have for you.” Jeremiah 29:11
“Fear not, for I am with you.” Isaiah 41:10
I was pre-fortified, and wasn’t aware of it. This status message was created with fingers dressed in His earlier and daily message to me. I hear You, and am grateful.

This status message garnered a lot of support, comforting anecdotes, reassurances from friends, for which I am also very grateful. Keeping fingers crossed for next Monday.

Allie had her pediatric ophthalmology appointment today, as a follow-up to her diverging eye issue. Ever since out-of-network vision therapy failed as a viable option (Allie being too young to meaningfully participate) and Allie’s first follow-up with her pediatric ophthalmologist showed her not getting better, we had all been faithfully following the patching prescription. 6 days a week, an eye is patched for 2 hours, one eye on one day, the other eye on the next day, and so on. Allie is an amazingly good sport about it. She has occasional special requests, such as “I want Daisy Duck!”, which we try to oblige.

But generally, she picks out a patch that matches what she’s wearing for the day from 2 boxes of adorable pre-printed colorful designs, she closes her eyes as the patch is applied, and she goes about her day. 2 hours later, the patch is removed, and she goes about her day again. She went thru a brief bout in which she refused to have the patch removed because she said it would hurt. (The adhesive on the Master-Aid brand designer patches was much stronger than on the flesh-toned Nexcare patches.) We resolved that problem by sticking the fancy patch on our forearm lightly two times before affixing it to her eye, to weaken the glue a bit. Now she can remove the patch herself when time’s up.
Her eyes seem to both focus well, and the turnout is much less common, only when she’s tired. She even stopped turning out when she was spaced out and daydreaming. And it was easier to bring her eyes back to center. I was hoping that she’d be out of her patches by the time the next follow-up happened, but she was still having occasional turn-outs, so I knew she’d likely have to wear the patch just a bit longer. Another 2 months, maybe. I anticipated the pediatric ophthalmologist giving me the good news of her progress.
Instead, I got the shock of my life. He was really happy, it seemed, because she hasn’t gotten worse. What? You mean she’s gotten so much BETTER, right? No, he said the degree outturn measured the same, and there’s no cure and improvement at a “30” outturn is rare. If she had “10” outturn (degrees, maybe?), there may be the possibility for a return back to normal, but not “30.” No, this patching thing is just to prevent her from getting worse until she could get corrective eye surgery. WHAT?! Yes. And if she got worse in the meantime, we’d switch to over-under glasses to force her eyes to work harder to see, and if that doesn’t help, then early surgery. WHAT?! What’s meant by “early?!” Kids’ eyes, muscle growth, control and coordination are still changing and developing until about age 8, so to do any surgery before that would be akin to putting braces on a 6 year-old. So we’re looking at closer to 7, 8 for surgery.
Eff, eff, eff. Wait. Does that mean we’re going to keep PATCHING DAILY for the NEXT 5-6 YEARS?!
Apparently so. Unless she gets worse, in which case, glasses is Plan B, earlier surgery is Plan C.
Eff. I am going to re-enroll her in vision therapy when she’s a little older as a last-ditch effort to avoid cutting her eyeball muscles.
My poor baby.

Allie got her first haircut last weekend (aside from the one bang trim her Dada did). $20 for snipping baby hair seems a bit steep to me, but it was a nice experience. Allie was very cooperative, and did look cute afterwards. The straggly bottom now looks more uniform.

College roommie Diana, along with her hubby Eric and their daughter Alexis came to town in the past week. Diana attended some work-related functions and seminars while Eric and Alexis went to Disneyland. Allie and I joined the three of them at Disneyland one morning. Allie got to meet Buzz Lightyear, something she’d never done before, because we’d never looked into where he makes his appearances. Since Alexis is a fan, Allie went along for the ride, so to speak.

I didn’t even realize we didn’t have a photo with Diana until I came home and reviewed the photos. =/
Allie was rather quiet there, not her usual adventurous spritely self, but I figured it may have been because she and I were by ourselves and she wasn’t overly familiar with Diana & family. Also unusual, though, on our drive home, she fell asleep. She didn’t sleep well or long, but it’s not like her to be so exhausted that she actually completely falls asleep in the car. Normally she holds out for her crib.

Unfortunately, the nap ended with two waterfalls of vomit. 🙁 She ate her scrambled eggs and waffle fairly well for breakfast because I told her we weren’t leaving for Disneyland until she was done, but had little appetite for her lunch, which was mainly fingerfoods she ate as we sat in the shade of a tree near the Disney gate. What came out was everything she had for lunch, and a lot of the egg she had for breakfast. She didn’t digest much of anything the entire morning. And then Allie cried because “I got it all over everything. I got it on my pretty dress. It’s everywhere.” She was definitely sitting in a vomit lake. We were blocks from home, fortunately, so I was able to get her in, cleaned up, and while she napped, I took the carseat apart and washed everything. That night she had a fever of 102, as well as the entire weekend.
Over the weekend, she vomited another time after complaining “my tummy hurt, rub it, rub it!” and when her fever rose to 103, we took her in to Kaiser. I was mainly worried because that entire day she hadn’t peed much and I wasn’t successful in getting much nutrition or fluids into her.

The doctor’s visit was horrific for me and Mr. W. After not being able to get into her regular nearby Kaiser, we took an available appointment at a farther office in Anaheim and was seen by, coincidentally, the head of pediatrics from our hospital who was there for the day at that hospital. He was not happy to learn that we could not be seen at the regular hospital and wanted names and exact wording told to us, etc. I wasn’t of any mind to file a complaint, I was just glad she was getting seen. Anyway, he felt her abdomen and ruled out bowel obstruction, but wanted to run some tests on her. They involved drawing a lot of blood. (He also wanted a urine sample, but Allie had no pee, altho she’d sucked up 2.5 glasses of her favorite grape-flavored Pedialyte by then that Mr. W picked up in the hospital lobby.) So I told Allie as we sat down at the phlebotomist that she was going to put out her arm, and the nurse was going to put a little needle in, and she’ll feel a little prick, and she needs to stay still. Allie was SO GOOD. The nurse had a hard time finding a vein and felt around inside both of Allie’s elbows. I thought, “Oh, no.” Then she tied up one arm, instructed Allie to pump her hand on a cardboard tube (which Allie did), then they went in…and not a drop came out. The nurse wiggled the needle around inside Allie’s arm and I of course could not watch and tried to distract Allie as she sat unmoving in my lap. And then she tried it again on Allie’s left arm. Fruitless. Allie was still cooperative and really, really good. Another nurse came by an offered to try, and did the same thing on Allie’s right arm again, wiggling and pushing the needle. Finally, Allie whimpered, staying still, “It hurts, it hurts.” Then little tears rolled out. We stopped that attempt immediately. The lab called the doctor for the update and we returned. As soon as Allie was safely in the privacy of the small doctor’s office, she let go and sobbed. It was so sad. The doctor reluctantly let us take her home with instructions to bring her back if the vomiting continues (she’d only vomited once since the 2 times in the car) or if her fever goes higher. She didn’t vomit again and her behavior wasn’t too different that weekend, although her fever made me very nervous as it hovered near 103. But she was drinking a lot, peeing, and eating in bits and pieces, so we just monitored her. Mr. W just wanted her well before we left for Hawaii the following Tuesday.
This is Allie the next morning after the doctor’s visit, sipping on more Pedialyte while she hung out on our bed.

We were concerned that this experience would now traumatize her from her happy doctor visits, but Allie still says she likes the doctor and would like to go back. She did get a slew of Hello Kitty stickers from the traumatic visit. Allie’s fever broke after the 3rd day, much to our relief, altho other little symptoms set in. A phlegmy cough, a runny nose after coughing fits. Nothing that slowed her down, though.

I’ve been sick. I’m pretty sure I was exposed to coworkers’ ailments (they’re dropping like flies around work) mid-week 2 weeks ago. Then that Friday, I went for a run at 8:30p which ordinarily would’ve been fine, but it was so cold that night out that I considered turning around about a mile in. I didn’t; I pushed it the full 4.5 miles, and when I came home, instead of jumping into the shower right away, I played on the computer until I was actually cold. Bad idea. Dropped my body temperature enough for the vicious bug to take hold.
So the very next day, I had a sore left tonsil. It was a Saturday. And the day after that on Sunday, major swollen tonsils on both sides, raging fever, body aches and pains, skin pain, scalp pain, bone and joint pain, eye pain…everything hurt. But we had a belated Chinese New Year dinner planned at my parents’ and I know they were looking forward to it, and my grandma was going to be there, so after hitting Disneyland in the morning, after Allie’s nap we went to my parents’.
I was pretty useless at my parents’ and spent the evening on their living room couch incidentally watching a crappy Super Bowl game because I was too weak and in too much pain to change the channel that Mr. W turned on. I didn’t have dinner, but I did have a couple of bowls of soup. Everyone else took care of Allie so I even got a nap in. That was nice.
Here’s Allie with her po-po and gong-gong, double-fisting homemade rice cake.

And here she is with tai-po, her great-grandma.

The next day, Monday, the fever was gone so I went to work. But my throat was still killing me. Tuesday, the coughing set in. Wednesday, same but worse. I would’ve called in except that we got some new-fangled type of trial (an expedited civil jury trial) that I didn’t trust a relief clerk to handle, knowing how exacting my judge is. But it was bad enough for me that I called and got an appointment with my primary care doc for the next morning.
My primary, Dr. Ta, said it was an upper respiratory infection at this point but that the virus just had to run its course, which would take about 2 weeks, and until then there’s not much we can do except symptom-control. I turned down his offer for a codeine cough syrup, saying I had to be able to drive and can’t be drowsy at work. I brought up coworkers’ recommendation of over-the-counter Mucinex. He said what’s better is Dayquil, since it already has Mucinex in it plus other good stuff. So I got the drugs, took 2 doses of it over the course of the day…and it made zero dent on my symptoms. The stuff I was blowing out of my nose was still brown-green-yellow. (Sorry for the visual.)
The next morning, my left eye appeared to have pinkeye. It was bloodshot and was draining sticky mucus. (Sorry for the visual.) It didn’t feel any different, wasn’t itchy or irritated, but pinkeye is very contagious so I figured I picked it up while I was at the doctor’s the day before and need meds for it pronto. I went back and since my regular doc wasn’t available, took an appointment with a new doc, Dr. Abarca.
Man, was that experience different. He ran a throat culture to rule out strep throat and personally ran it down to the lab, returning in about 15-20 mins with the results. Not strep throat. I’d told him my concern was the eye and I’d already seen the doctor about the illness the day before, but he rechecked me anyway. He said the eye was the same infection spreading upward. Listening to my lungs, he explained that he wasn’t x-raying me for pneumonia (I didn’t even know that was an option) because the human ear can pick up the pneumonia giveaway of the fine crackling sound of the lungs 2 days before pneumonia is severe enough to show up in a chest x-ray. That being said, he diagnosed bronchitis and said my lower lungs are clear so it wasn’t pneumonia…yet. But because I’m not getting better, and this was day 6-7 of the disease, he doesn’t want to sit around and watch to see whether I was getting better or worse, whether the infection was on its way out or on its way into the lower lungs to become pneumonia. He wrote me prescriptions for antibiotic Amoxicillin, which in the past has only given me yeast infections (sorry for the visual), for Benzonatate, which he said was like Mucinex but better, and for the Cheratussin, the codeine cough syrup. I was instructed to take the tiny Benzonatate gel caps in the day (non-drowsy), and Cheratussin at night for symptom control. He said I should be having a better weekend. He also directed me to get an eyewash from the pharmacy and rinse out both eyes with the borate/sodium-chloride solution 3x/day, which turned out not to be as freaky as I thought it was going to be, when used with the eye cup. It wasn’t until after I got home and read his typed-up after-care instructions, that I saw he had a lot more stuff that he didn’t even talk to me about (probably cuz it’s not Western medicine and some patients may have issues with it): 500 mg Cayenne capsule supplement, one daily; 10 drops oregano oil in a warm cup of water, gargle and swallow 3x/daily; zinc lozenges, one every 3 hrs; 2000mg vitamin C daily. I’m doing it all, plus extra vitamin D. So this doc’s having me hit the bugs from the outside with drugs, and from the inside with natural immunity boosters.
3 days later now, I’m still coughing, but whatever I’m spitting up is lighter, both in color and consistency (sorry for the visual). Beginning issues in the right eye has gone away, and the left eye is 80% better. Thank goodness I’d decided the day the eye thing first happened (without knowing it was happening) that Allie is now old enough to not grab my eyeglasses and I can not wear contacts for the first time in almost 2 years. I can’t tell how the other symptoms are going, because I’m perpetually drugged up. I have no problem with that for now, altho I’ll have to put the probiotics back in after the antibiotics course is done.
I’m considering switching primary care docs.

I had my annual exam with my ob-gyn yesterday. I was a little intimidated going in, because this is the guy who gave me a few mini lectures about gaining too much weight during my pregnancy, and how OC women overeat and the myth of doubling calories to feed a pregnant body. I only blew his maximum pregnancy weight gain by 5 lbs (I think I gained like 35) which he actually wasn’t that concerned about toward the end, and he was happy with my weight loss and all that in the post-pregnancy checkups, so I don’t know why I was still that concerned. He didn’t mention weight at all, and just asked how I was generally feeling about everything. I told him that I feel like after I stopped nursing, the fat just flew on. I now have fat rolls where I’d never had fat rolls before. He smiled and said that there is nothing disconcerting about my current physical state, and that he considers me “skinny” (which is WEIRD). He said, “You are probably the last patient that I’ll see today to whom I would say, ‘We need to talk about your weight.'” He said the difficulty I’m having in losing weight is more in my head than actuality, and that if more patients had my BMI (he’d guessed 20, but turned out it was a little over 22), the medical industry would save a lot of money. He said my only issue is a body image issue.
I did finally take my stats yesterday after Mr. W replaced the batteries in our Tanita scale. I was thinking that I need to drop 15 lbs before mid-March (we’ve got a Hawaii vacation planned), expecting my weight to be in the 130s. I weighed in at 120. My hydration was low, at 55%, and my body fat was at 23%. That’s just 1% over my old goal, so I couldn’t understand why I was looking at such grossness in the mirror. Then the lean muscle mass measurement came in at 38 pounds. THAT makes sense; at the peak of my fitness, I had more like 43 lbs of lean muscle, so of course I’d look less toned. I need to put 4-5 lbs of muscle back on and drop my fat a few percent, which would probably only end up being a net loss of 4-5 lbs on the scale. I’d be okay with that.
So my new theory is that the body DOES add new fat cells in places fat cells had never existed before, but that this LOOKS worse than it had before because the skin’s looser, so things aren’t as compressed.

After the doctor’s, I went to a hair appointment. This guy was recommended by my former court reporter, who had been going to him since something like 1991. The salon was only a few miles from my house. It was interesting having a tattooed Harley-Davidson enthusiast do my hair, and he was very nice, detailed, patient. I basically went in and said, “You’re the expert. I look like a cavewoman. Do whatever you think is good.” He was all happy he got to pop my cherry, as he put it, in getting a color weave done. It was a painstaking process in which he brushed on highlights in select strands of hair throughout the top half of my head and then wrapped it in foil.

After the color developed, he suggested long layers, and I said okay, fine, whatever. Then he changed his mind and asked if it’s okay if he did a clean blunt cut. I said okay, fine, whatever. As he approached the front of my head during the cut, he asked how I feel about bangs. I said okay, fine, whatever. So here’s what happened after being there over 2 hours:

At first I was like, “This looks like Cleopatra.” But I guess it’s not THAT short. And the color will take a little getting used to. People seem to like it. Either that, or they’re just being nice. Here’s a close-up of how he did the coloring.

I love the honey color of the streaks, but I wondered if it looked too much like I had a bunch of silver hairs that didn’t quite take to color just right. My roots are still black, tho. As we finished up, he teased, “So am I gonna see you in another 3 years?” Yes, yes, the color he cut off the bottom was from the frustrating dye job(s) I got for college roommie’s wedding in January 2011. My exterior maintenance is pretty neglected. I asked him ideally, how often would I need to come back? He said if I want to maintain the look, every 3 months. Otherwise he’d have to start from scratch if I don’t return for another 3 years. If I return regularly, he just touches up the roots. 3 months isn’t bad; I was thinking he was gonna tell me 6 weeks or something. I thought his prices were a steal at $120, so I tipped him $25.

Funny thing about the below photo. I thought we were sitting in the correct section because of the “Well Child Waiting Area” sign, and we were there for Allie’s Well Child 2 Year Appointment. And then I turned at some point and looked at the adjacent waiting area and saw that the sign there read, “Sick Child Waiting Area.” Oh. But we were in the correct area anyway, just for a different reason.

Turns out there were no vaccinations needed at Allie’s appointment, yay! She’s all up to date with her shots, and her next vaccination is at age 4. Aside from the flu annual flu shot, that is.

Her stats:
Height – 3 feet 0.81 inches (93.5 cm), 99th percentile
Weight – 27 pounds 6.6 ounces (12.4 kg), 59th percentile
Head circumference – 18.5 inches (47 cm)
Shoe size – between 7.5 and 8 toddler (I know this isn’t a doctor-related measurement, but she’s got big feet!)

The doctor said her weight is above average, but because of her towering height, she looks slim. However, he’s convinced she’s a healthy child. On nutrition, he’s happy with her continuing ability to eat her veggies and fruit and not candy and junk food, and warned me that most 2-4 year olds are dairy and carb fiends, so to watch out for that. I’m to switch her to 2% milk now, we’re done with the whole milk.
She’s well ahead in her speech (they’re looking for a 20-word vocabulary and the ability to put 2-3 word sentences together, and Allie was telling her doctor about the log ride at Knott’s she went on and how there were lots of people on the ride) so he’s not concerned about her mental or oral development. (She currently pronounces her “v”s like “b”s, i.e. “I neber neber go in there.” I wonder how much of that is because she’s compensating for the missing pieces of her front teeth. But then she also pronounces her “r”s like “w”s. “Mama’s puwse is hebby.”)
I asked him about some dry patches on her scalp that she occasionally scratches, and he said it’s just seasonal dryness and to use Neutrogena T-gel shampoo if she continues to be itchy, but it’s not eczema or I would’ve seen it start behind her knees and in her elbows (at which point in the exam Allie pointed to her knees and inspected the crook of her elbow).
Apparently I’m to start a pea-sized dot of fluoride toothpaste with her brushings now. He didn’t seem concerned that I wasn’t using toothpaste. We still brush morning and night, and floss nightly.
It was a pretty quick appointment, and Allie got a big princess sticker at the end that she correctly identified as Belle from “Beauty and the Beast.” We spent more time waiting than actually getting examined, and it helped that Allie was, as usual, super-cooperative at the doctor’s office. The nurses are always happy to work with her.
Since we’d spent so much time waiting, we sang songs together, one of which was Jingle Bells. I was surprised that she sang the entire song with me at the same time, which means she knows all the words. I whipped out my cameraphone and tried to capture this, and of course by now she had lost interest in repeating the same song. So this is what I got instead.

I would’ve preferred more Allie and less me, but oh, well.

On our drive back home, I handed Allie one of her little plastic bowls with a handful of cashews in it. (She LOVES nuts and will ask for cashews specifically.) She munched on her snack while I drove and sung and hummed along to Christmas music on the radio, and pointed out things outside the windows. I don’t drive my sports car very much these days, so I forget how much torque that thing has compared to the Prius V that I’m used to driving daily. While Allie was happily eating cashews in the backseat, the light turned green and I stepped on the gas to go, and I was more heavy-footed than I’d intended. The car surged forward and I heard the bowl hit my leather seat and sounds of many lighter objects raining on the seat immediately followed. Oops.
From the backseat, a little voice. “I spilled it…I spilled the bowl, mama.”
“You spilled it? Uh-oh! You dropped the bowl?”
“Yah. Nuts all over place. Allie’s all messy.”
I marveled at how Allie didn’t blame me for that, but it really was my fault.

Mr. W and I left early from work yesterday to pick up Allie and take her to her Vision Therapy evaluation. On the way to the appointment, Mr. W drove and I sat in the back with Allie. The setting sun cast some pretty rays directly into the back seat and onto my face. Allie and I had this conversation:
Allie: Mama’s orange.
Me: I’m orange?
Allie: Mama’s face is orange.
Me: What’s making Mama’s face orange?
Allie: The light.
Me: The light? Where does the light come from?
Allie: From sun! From sunset.
Me: Oh! The orange light comes from the sun?
Allie: Yeah!
Me: Where does Dada come from?
Allie: Um…Dada come from work.
Me: *laughing* Where does Mama come from?
Allie: Mama come from friend.
(I can’t believe she still remembers the one time 2 Saturdays ago that I wasn’t there when she woke up from her nap because I’d gone out with Gloria to see Rebecca. When she’d asked if I had gone to work, Mr. W had said no, I was with a friend. Every so often after that, when I would go into Allie’s room in the morning to get her, or get her up from her nap, she’d say, “Mama came back.” I reassured her that I would always come back.)
Me: No, mama came from work, too. Where does Allie come from?
Allie: Allie come from…Auntie Jayne.
(Haha, that’s true, we did pick her up from the care of her nanny Jayne at home.)

Allie was pretty well behaved during vision therapy, but it was obvious that she’s still a little too young for it. She wasn’t able to control her green flashlight beam to chase the therapist’s red flashlight beam against the wall (while wearing red/green glasses). She also wasn’t clear on her feedback of whether one side or the other was blacked out on the red/green-covered TV when we were showing a movie while she was wearing her red/green glasses. So there are some exercises we can do at home to help strengthen her eye movements and increase her brain’s awareness of her eye movements, which we’ll try to do (such as patching or covering one eye and having the other eye follow a toy in figure 8s or up/down left/right movements without moving her head, then doing the same with the other eye). Hopefully this will improve her on our own.

Right now, Mr. W is at home with Allie because Jayne thinks she has the flu. We all got flu shots about a month ago and even tho people at work have been dropping like flies with fever, abdominal pain, headaches, vomiting and/or diarrhea, we’ve so far dodged the bullet. Mr. W was hoping that whatever is in our flu shots this year covered the nasty bug going around. Jayne texted late last night and is apparently at home with a fever and pretty severe body and joint pains, and she is adamantly against getting the flu shot, so she may have the flu. The afflicted people at work I’ve spoken to have said they also did not get the flu shot. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we’re protected.

To address Allie’s eye issue, Mr. W and I took Allie to her first pediatric ophthalmologist appointment yesterday. The doctor was a young(ish) Indian guy and I liked him. Could’ve been one of my UCLA friends. By that I mean he seemed cool and was one of my generation. Allie did really well, was cooperative, even with the dilation eye drops. The nurse was expecting a full-on fight and tantrum but the most Allie did was whimper, and even held the Kleenex to dab her own eyes after each of the drops (3 in each eye, 30 secs apart). So here’s the diagnosis.

Like I thought, Allie has intermittent exotropia. This only happens when she’s tired or otherwise not “feeling it.”
Unlike what I thought, the doctor says it’s alternating, meaning both eyes turn outward, and that it only appears to me like only her right eye turns out because Allie favors her left eye. So she’ll fix on the image with her left eye and let her right eye do its own thing.
He also found some mild hyperopia (far-sightedness) in both eyes. This could be due to her difficulty focusing inward (converging).

He said her intermittent exotropia has good control and good recovery, and that he measured the degree of outturn at 20 degrees.
Also interesting, he found no amblyopia.

His treatment plan: alternatingly patch both eyes for an indeterminate amount of time. Followup visit in 3 months.
So basically, I cover her right eye with a patch 4 hour a day on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Then I cover up her left eye with a patch for 4 hours a day on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays. She gets a break on Sundays.

We bought a box of patches on the way home and Allie allowed us to put one on her in the afternoon, and she asked me to do one, too. So I did. She kept hers on for 20-30 mins before taking it off. I was nauseated and had a headache within the first 5 mins, started to feel edgy, like I was on the verge of a claustrophobic panic attack, and my patched eye had an over-sensitivity feel going on. I wanted to rip it off immediately but kept it on cuz Allie still was going around and playing with hers on. My headache and nausea persisted the rest of the night. I still have a headache now.

Mr. W and I also spoke with 3 people who had patching done in their childhood. It didn’t correct anything for any of the 3. Two of the three, however, didn’t have what Allie has (drifting eye), but instead had what used to be referred to as “lazy eye,” where one eye’s vision was just a lot worse than the other eye. Allie’s eyesight measured at good and even between the two eyes, altho the doctor wasn’t able to tell us in the quantitative measurement of the 20/20 scale because Allie wasn’t cooperative in identifying the Allen pictures (which are used in place of letters) on the chart. At home, however, I could ask her what each image in the Allen pictures are, and she would tell me, “Birdie. Hand. Bike (it was actually a stick figure of a car, but I can see why it looks more like a bike with a steering wheel). Telephone (this surprised me cuz it was a rotary phone and she’s never seen anything but cell phones in the house). Happy burday cake. Horsey.”

Christi also asked her pediatric ophthalmologist friend about Allie’s treatment plan, and the response was she would’ve done corrective eyeglasses, and that alternate patching wouldn’t have been her plan because it discourages the eyes from working together. I agree; since Allie’s problem only occurs infrequently and the eyes get a chance to cooperate most of the time, why would we make the brain separate the eyes and take away that benefit? Yeah, it’s a separate muscle training thing, but still, there’s gotta be a better way.

I’m still interested in vision therapy. Allie’s pediatric opth does SOME vision therapy, but only for older kids (age 5+) and doesn’t think it’s effective for Allie’s condition, and he pretty much said what I’d expected a Western doc to say about it, i.e. there’s no conclusive evidence it’s more effective than traditional methods, such as patching and surgery. He said he’s conservative in his approaches, so he would only do corrective glasses that force Allie’s eyes to work harder at convergence if Allie were already wearing glasses, and would only recommend surgery if her eyes were turned out more than 50% of the time. We’re at less than an hour a day of outturn presently. Probably less than half an hour. So I’ve called 2 local pediatric optometrists who do vision therapy already. One said they don’t do it for kids this young because they’re simply not old enough to follow instructions, which I understand. But the suggestion was to bring Allie to them for an evaluation in a year, since if she’s ahead of the curve in her abilities and understanding, she can start this earlier, too. The second office is going to have their vision therapy coordinator call me back and discuss. I expect this call some time today.
Earlier, a coworker came in and told me that her younger sister had much more severe exotropia in her childhood, and that instead of patching, they were recommended to take her to vision therapy in a local college of optometry/ophthalmology. It worked. The sister isn’t completely cured, just like Allie’s ped opth said she wouldn’t be, but it’s well-controlled to where the sister’s eyes are cooperative and straight all the time unless she’s exhausted, and she has no issues with 3D vision. Allie, btw, tested fine on 3D so her eyes ARE able to work together. (Doc put 3D glasses on her, showed her a picture of a fly and said, “Touch the bug’s wings.” And she swiped 2 inches above the picture.)

I have other things to blog about, such as our trip to Dallas a couple of days ago (Allie’s first plane flight, first stay in a shared room with us, first stay in a different time zone), but here’s a quickie about something else cuz I’m SO EXCITED ABOUT IT.

Every so often, I try to do the Crow Pose. Just to see if gravity still applies to me. It always did, and I would quickly, sometimes slowly, roll forward face-first into the floor. I usually catch myself before my nose makes actual impact, though. Tonight, I thought I’d try again, fully expecting the reaffirmation that yes, I am not impervious to the laws of physics.
Only…I WAS. In disbelief, I did it again. And again. And again. There were a few times I couldn’t get up because I rushed it too much, but mostly, I got up. I don’t know what stars aligned themselves tonight, how it is that I’m exempt from Newton’s principles, and this will probably never happen again after tonight, but it almost doesn’t matter, because I set up my phone’s camera timer and I GOT PROOF!

I love my yoga photos. 😀 Here are the other ones I have, in reverse-chronological order.
9-25-13, with our yoga instructor, at work:

7-4-13. I think this is some sort of Pigeon Pose variant.

6-29-13. Elephant Trunk Pose. I have short arms so you’ll have to take my word for it, but I’m off the ground.

Christi sent photos of Allie with my description of Allie’s eye symptoms to her pediatric ophthalmologist friend, who responded:
“sounds like intermittent exotropia which can manifest around that age. Doc will monitor to see if affecting visual development and frequency.
Not urgent but don’t want to wait a year either, like some of my pts wait for years…?!?!
Many reasons for eye to start wandering. Amblyopia, structural…etc. need to start with complete exam with Peds opth”

So I emailed Allie’s pediatrician at Kaiser, with a description of the symptoms and the 2 photos in the previous post. He responded within an hour or two saying that he has already put in the referral for Allie to see a pediatric ophthalmologist and that I should be contacted by the office of one in the next 2-3 days to set up an appointment. Wow, that ball got rolling faster than I’d dreamed. He recommended I see the specialist sooner rather than wait for Allie’s 2-year birthday. He also said that he believes Kaiser does offer some vision therapy, but thought that it was limited to kids age 5 and older. Bummer. So I may still need to go to an outside therapist and pay out of pocket, unless I can figure something out with insurance.

Some levity is needed…
Allie: Dada, why pee, why pee?
Dada: Huh? Why pee?
Allie: Why pee? Why pee? Why pee?
Dada: *blank*
Allie: Towel. Towel?
Dada: You want a towel?
Allie: Yeah!
Dada: Sorry, I don’t have a towel, but I have a wipey — OH! WIPEY!

I guess dada not speaking fluent Allie is forcing her to expand her vocabulary.

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