knits & plants

aah, the simple life. almost.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Letters to Someone - Week 8

Dear LL,

Today, I am eight weeks pregnant with you. Remember how I just said you weren't making your presence very well known? Well bollocks to that, because I am sick. Sicksicksick. Called in pregnant to work yesterday. Murphy and I laid in bed all day, in between trips to the bathroom, and moaned piteously. And we napped. Until the power went out and killed the fan in the bedroom, at which point we went back to moaning. I finished Julia Child's autobiography of how she began her culinary career in France, because, you know, what better way to keep your mind off food and its nasty effects on my tummy than to read all about one woman's five-decade foray into French cuisine? Actually, it was a lovely book.

So this week you are the size of a kidney bean. I'm too sick to come up with a clever nickname incorporating kidney beans, so you are still Little Lentil. Every time I get a really strong wave of nausea, your dad and I joke that it's because you're growing a toe. Which is ok with me. They tell me this yuckky stage will pass, and I really hope it happens soon. I am v. cranky. Ooh, except that I've discovered that Megan is right, and crayola ice pops are indeed very delicious!

Also, I want to be not-sick for this weekend, because we're going to be spending the whole holiday at your Grandparents Murphy's house. In honor of your Grandad, whose birthday is on the 4th, the entire family is assembling from NJ, ME, MA, NH, and VT. Yay! And we get to tell everyone about you! I am so excited. My grandparents are going to become great-grandparents, and Nora is about to become an auntie. Am devising clever ways of inserting the news into conversations. I get a kick out of the double-takes. Since you're the first baby of this next generation, you should prepare to get continuous attention (and happy surprises, hopefully) from this point forward. I do hope you're more of an extrovert than I am.

I'm going to visit my favorite yarn shop tomorrow and buy yarn for your first project. Blanket? Sweater? Booties? Don't know yet, but am a little afraid of the tiny ply of baby yarn. And of the gigantic price tags on cashmere. Last time I was there, I saw this baby sweater knitted in lime green, 100% cashmere. Oooh, it was heavenly. At the time, I thanked my stars that I was a.) childless and b.) poor. Well, now I'm with child, and I've just made a payment on my credit card. Watch out world!

I should probably go back to looking like I am busy, and waiting for 5:00 to come around. I hate being non-productive, but this sitting-at-a-desk thing while trying not to vomit is for the birds. I need a popsicle.

Sleep tight. We're loving you!


Your Mama


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

finish line!

It what must be the most ridiculously late finish ever, I humbly announce that I have completed my Knitting Olympics project, the Galway Sampler Afghan:"I finished!"

"Finished what?"

"This effing blanket."

"Weren't you supposed to to have that done in, ummm, February?"

"Nevermind that. It's done!"

"I don't think you'll get a medal. They tore down the Olympic Village months ago."

"Shut up, and hand me my celebratory glass of seltzer."

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

anatomy of a pregnant lunch

I've been alternately relieved and annoyed that I haven't experienced any food cravings. I'm not really interested in food, full stop. But I've quickly learned that the only way to control the nausea is to keep something in my belly, all the time. So, out come the usual crackers, graham crackers, dried fruit and fresh fruit. Fruit seems to be the only acceptable food, no matter what condition my tummy is in.

Funny, then, how strange my chosen lunch seems to be. If these aren't cravings, what on earth will I be eating when they do manifest?

Monday, June 26, 2006

so long, farewell...

In honor of Jess, Bri, and baby Quinn leaving the Upper Valley, I'm titling this post in honor one of the worst musicals known to humankind. (And since Jess doesn't drive, she can't come hit me!!)

The farewell party at Casa del Ferriot went off well, although I was sorry that the Little People Heffernans couldn't attend. What on earth am I to do with a freezer full of ice pops shaped like Crayolas? Hmmm. Murphy, too, was downcast about it, until he discovered that seven-month-old Quinn adores puppies. She actually put up with having her face kissed, and squealed loudly every time Murphy's attention span sent him wandering off to someone else.

The original UPNE young whippersnappers club met together for most likely the last time for a long time. All original founding members were there: BLB, MF, RB, JH, and JS. Also present was BNSG, honorary member by virtue of being so laid back about our constant chatter regarding knitting, politics, books, and terribly cheesy movies featuring treacly moutaintop song and dance numbers, improbable plot twists and big, bad Nazis...where was I? Oh yes. For putting up with us for all these years. And we weren't shushed once, despite clearly being happy and enjoying the company of one another!

Will you just look at this child? I mean, really. RB, JH and I spent all afternoon scheming to steal her from one another. Except when she wanted to chew on a body part with her two adorable toofs. Then we gave her to Brian. All the same, I kept finding myself wanting to stick her ears, elbows and toes in my mouth. She must be eaten.

This is a great picture. Also, it is amusing, because I was telling Quinn to smile in time for the flash, and JH thought I was commanding her to smile. Kudos to her for not looking like someone was forcing her to smile, dammit. Had it been me, the picture would probably have looked like I was secretly suffering from raging nausea. Oh wait, I am secretly suffering from raging nausea. Damn this secrecy-at-work thing.

Jess, I will miss you soooo much. Promise to not fall off the end of the earth at that school, ok? The Upper Valley Kindred Spirit Club has been losing traitorous, escapist, valuable members in droves lately. BLB and I are going to have to resort to mail-order bosom friends. Or I'll have to develop a window friend a la Anne of Green Gables. And if you actually get that reference, welcome to the seventh level of geekdom.

It was great to see you all. I was v. sad to think of you all returning to your respective states of residence. None of which are VT. Sigh. Miss you and love you!

ps...Any pictures of adults in this post are entirely coincidental and do not reflect the intentions of this author, which were to take as many pictures of the babette as humanly possible in a six-hour period.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Letters to Someone - Week 6

Dear LL,

Today, I am six and a half weeks pregnant with you. It's been really hard to keep from announcing your presence to everyone in the whole world, but it won't be long now before your presence can't be concealed.

So far, you haven't really made your arrival known. My boobs are really sore. And I'm queasy, although thankfully not sick. You seem to appreciate bread and cold butter. And I'm really grateful you allow me to get home and still have some energy left to get out to the garden. You're going to be a veggie baby. All the plants are growing. I hope you like beans; we're going to have tons. And please let me continue to eat garlic. I think that's a fair trade for having to give up wine, don't you?

Your dad and I are so excited to meet you, but we'll have to wait until February. That seems like an eternity. Each week, we've been reading about what you look like, and what you're doing. Right now, at week six, we're told you're about the size of a lentil. Your dad went rummaging through the pantry for the lentils, and got one out. He placed it in the palm of my hand, and we stood in the kitchen, staring at the lentil. So tiny. I hope you get bigger soon. Big enough that we can't lose you in a jar of legumes.

And ever since that moment, we've been referring to you as "Little Lentil." Sorry about that; it just stuck. Once we can tell who you're going to be, I promise we'll switch to your name. But until then, you're still with LL.

Do you know you were conceived on the first try? Goodness. I hope everything you aim for is this easy. You can thank your mother's genetics for that one. We Irish peasant stock sure know how to populate. You Grandmother Ferriot has been torturing me with stories of twins in the family. And how she gained 100 pounds with your father. And how your father was so big at birth that the hospital didn't have any clothes that would fit him.

So, look, here's the deal. If you promise to be born singly, in the 6-8 pound range, and are happy with me gaining the optimum amount of weight, which is less than 25 pounds, I promise to never, ever make you look like Little Lord Fauntleroy. Which I can do. Because I'm the mom. Deal?

In all seriousness, please get strong and healthy and develop all your little insides. We're all getting ready for you. Oh, except that you might not be able to sleep in the bed with us. I've had a talk with Murphy, and he is unwilling to consider that he should remove from his accustomed spot between us, and on my pillow. We're working on it, though. Maybe you can switch off?

Take care of yourself; we're taking care of you. Sleep tight.


Your Mama


Friday, June 02, 2006

Chronic Renal Failure

Renal failure (kidney failure) occurs when kidney function has deteriorated to such a degree that the kidneys can no longer perform their normal functions of excreting wastes, maintaining water and electrolyte balance, and producing hormones. Renal failure occurs in acute or chronic forms.

Acute renal failure is of recent onset and is potentially reversible. In contrast, chronic renal failure has been present for months to years at the time of diagnosis and is irreversible. Dogs and cats with chronic renal failure cannot be cured, but their clinical signs can often be managed successfully.

Kidneys are composed of many small functional units called nephrons (approximately 190,000 in cats and approximately 400,000 in dogs). Dogs, cats, and humans are normally born with such an abundance of nephrons that signs of kidney failure do not become apparent until more than two thirds of the nephrons have been damaged. Because of this redundant kidney tissue, it is possible to donate a kidney for transplantation and survive. On the other hand, surplus nephrons make it difficult to detect chronic kidney diseases until they are well advanced. As a consequence, chronic kidney failure is often an insidious condition that remains unrecognized until it is severe.

Because kidney disease is often quite advanced at the time of initial diagnosis, the initiating cause of chronic renal failure can rarely be established. Although chronic renal failure occurs most often in older dogs and cats, renal failure is not simply a result of aging.

The earliest signs of renal failure are typically thirst (polydipsia) and increased urine volume (polyuria). These signs result from inability of the diseased kidneys to form concentrated urine. Other common early signs include weight loss, poor haircoat, and an increasingly selective appetite. Further decline in kidney function result in progressive inability to excrete waste products, leading to retention of toxic wastes in blood and tissues in the body. This is called uremia (literally, urine in the blood).

Prominent clinical signs of uremia include loss of appetite, vomiting, ulcers in the mouth, "uremic" (foul ammonia smelling) breath, weakness, and lethargy. Other important effects of renal failure include anemia (caused by inability of failing kidneys to produce erythropoietin, the hormone responsible for making red blood cells) and high blood pressure. Anemia worsens the weakness, lethargy, and loss of appetite of dogs and cats with chronic renal failure, and high blood pressure may cause sudden blindness, strokelike signs (such as mental dullness, sudden behavioral changes, coma, or seizures), or injury to the kidneys and heart. Diagnosis of chronic renal failure is confirmed by laboratory evaluation of your pet's blood and urine. A urine test can help determine whether the kidneys can form concentrated urine and provide evidence of other urinary tract problems such as urinary tract infections.

Blood tests used to evaluate kidney function include blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and serum creatinine concentrations. Because the kidneys excrete urea and creatinine, increases in urine and creatinine concentrations in blood indicate decreased kidney function. These tests are usually done together because they provide different information. The serum creatinine concentration is the more specific test for kidney function, and treatment and other factors may influence the BUN.

Fortunately, most dogs and cats can be treated, providing a good quality of life for months or years. Treatment for chronic renal failure is tailored to the unique clinical requirements of each pet but may include a special diet (e.g., limiting protein, phosphorus, and salt intake); hydration therapy; and medications designed to control clinical signs (such as poor appetite, nausea and vomiting), acid-base and electrolyte disturbances, anemia, and hypertension.

Consumption of excess protein may make some pets ill because the waste products of protein metabolism are excreted by the kidneys and are retained in renal failure. Dehydration (abnormal depletion of body fluids) is a special threat to pets with renal failure, and they may deteriorate if episodes of vomiting, diarrhea, or inadequate water intake are not dealt with promptly. Water should never be withheld from dogs and cats with renal failure.

In humans, renal failure is most often managed by dialysis (hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis) or renal transplantation. Chronic hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis have thus far not proved to be satisfactory options for dogs and cats with chronic renal failure because they are expensive and fail to provide an acceptable quality of life. Renal transplantation is an expensive but potentially useful option for selected cats but has not met with similar success in dogs. Renal transplantation is best reserved for cats that can no longer be managed by standard medical therapy.

-David J. Polzin

Thursday, June 01, 2006


I'm having a bear of a day.

For starters, work. My poster printer has ended it's championship Tent Sale run with a tortuous series of misfires, broken equipment, and general failure to print things the way I want them. Oh, and I have a day and a half to get out a print run that generally takes 4-5 days. Yay.

Secondly, it's hot. I got little sleep due to the humidity and the warming presence of a dog on my feet and a cat on my head. AND the a/c is broken at work. I work over a machine shop. It's at least 10 degrees hotter in here than outside. I'm wearing as little as I can reasonably get away with at work. Am considering sticking my head under the water fountain.

Thirdly, Murphy is in today for his final accident-related surgury. They're removing all the teeth that were broken when he got hit. That is actually good news (apart from the bill). What's not so good is the testing on his kidney functions. I have to leave early to consult with Dr. Christine over what to do. More meds and a prescription diet, I'm guessing. Also, she told me, "We want this dog to have as good of a remaining life, for as long as we can." Ouch.

Finally, I've got potatoes, garlic, onions and basil in the ground. This leaves about fifty items that should be in the ground, but aren't. I need a, whatsitcalled, a doppleganger? Or a personal assistant.