Monday, February 7, 2011

MauldenNews January 2011

I find myself with a little bit of time right now, so even though I don't have pictures downloaded, I will at least get this month's news on the blog.

Sad but true: I got a new camera for Christmas, but have yet to actually use it. The old one still works. I guess it's just psychological inertia. In order to use the new one, I'd have to take 5 minutes to figure out how it works. OK, I officially make this my goal for the month. I'll post pictures from the new camera in February.

Alex is doing really well in kindergarten. Her social skills have improved compared to last quarter (much less hitting , though she still displays some "resistance to authority" - surprise, surprise). Academic skills are at the top 10%, not surprising. I am so pleased with her caring teachers and small class size of 14 students. Most important is the fact that she LIKES school and even admits to liking it. I'm grateful. Alex's most recent remarkable statement was this: "I don't mind Sam, and I don't mind singing; it's the two together I can't stand." Really, Sam's singing isn't so bad, but I can remember how irrititating my siblings were (I won't mention any names) so I kind of sympathize with her. But can't bring myself to ban Sam's singing. Alex can plug her ears.

Sam is doing well too - he has perfected his Curious George voice and mannerisms, which we are trying to cure him of, but to no avail. He enjoyed performing his gymnastics skills with his class this month and proudly repeats them at home (forward rolls off the couch! cartwheels off the couch! balancing on the couch!). He wakes us each morning with cheerful songs and lots of wiggly romping in our bed. Things I wish he wouldn't do: climb up on counters and steal candy from the top shelves where we unsuccessfully try to hide it; eat crackers at my computer leaving crumbs all over the keyboard; leave the toilet unflushed. Any hints for getting kids to flush will be welcome here.

Bryan's news of the month was the onset of repeated episodes of vertigo, a new experience for him. Luckily, his personal neurologist was close at hand; I decided his nervous system was functioning properly except for a consistent deviation to the left while walking with eyes closed. My prediction of a normal brain MRI was happily correct, leaving us with a probable inner-ear issue. Luckily he seems to be back to normal. His other adventure was a little sledding in his car on an icy road, hitting a curb and losing a hubcap in a snowdrift. The car had a wobble at highway speeds after this, which the kids enjoyed (they liked saying "ahhhhhh" and hearing their voices vibrate) but is now fixed after the bent wheel was replaced.

I actually have a career highlight to report this month. As a result of my project to implement standardized computerized order sets for stroke patients at the VA, I was selected to attend a forum on Patient Advocacy sponsored by the American Academy of Neurology. Although we had to do camera interviews, which are not my favorite thing nor my talent, I enjoyed being with a group of very dedicated, caring people who are doing interesting things to advocate for neurology patients. One example was a doctor who started an art therapy program for Alzheimer's patients. His father was able to express himself through art long after his ability to speak was gone.
While victims of Alzheimer's disease and other related dementias are losing their memories and ability to communicate, art can be their escape. “Art can often be a window to bypass the constrictions of dementia,” says UAB geriatrician Andrew Duxbury, M.D. “Their brains may be damaged, but the qualities present in children that allow them to express themselves are still there. It's a way for them to express what they're thinking and feeling.”
If you're interested, here is a news article about it.,0,3319637.story.

My other accomplishment for this month was running my second half-marathon! It wasn't an official race, just a solo "fun run" on a 40-degree winter's day. For my course, I chose the Porter Rockwell trail, a paved route with nice mountain views, bikers, runners, walkers, dogs, and the occasional horseback rider. I enjoyed it and finished without injury, but despite trying to speed it up a bit in the second half, I finished about 1 minute slower than my first half marathon time back in September. Maybe this route was hillier, and I was facing a headwind coming back, and I was getting over a virus...or maybe I'm just getting slower...?? but anyway, I did it! Next official race is set for May, the Ogden Half Marathon, but for now I'm going to take a break and relax. My inner runner is satisfied.

And that's all for this month's news. Hope all is well with everyone. Send me an e-mail - I'd love to hear from you!