Taking control

With my mother-in-law’s cancer we have been spending a lot of time at the hospital, mostly in waiting rooms. Usually these long waits are because of the hospital or doctor, and there isn’t much we can do. However, sometimes it is because we forgot an exam result, or misunderstood a telephone call. There are so many things to remember and understand, on top of all the stress and fear, that sometimes we make mistakes.

Luckily there are some things that can help, like a healthcare binder. Here is a link with great advice on how to make a binder for a patient.


And here is one I made earlier for my mother-in-law.

BinderInside the binder there are different sections with small pockets,



Binder3and clear plastic pockets.


I had to improvise because I couldn’t find all the type of “pockets” I wanted, but I think it will do the job just fine.


Once de Septiembre

Today is the 11th of September, and it has been a long week.

Here in Chile most of the country has been in mourning after a plane crash killed a well loved celebrity along with 20 other people.  The plane was lost at sea near the island of Juan Fernandez, where it was trying to land.  We have had a week of almost 24 hour news coverage as they find parts of the plane and parts of the people.  The accident was even sadder because all the people were going to the island to help with the rebuilding that has been going on since the earthquake last year.

Then comes the weekend, and programs of the Twin Towers have been on the TV.  The whole world remembers this date because of the attack, sadly Chile has been remembering this date for almost 40 years.  The 11th of September 1973, the Presidential Palace was bombed with president Allende inside.  This began the 17 year dictatorship of Pinochet.  Like the Twin Towers, my husband remembers watching on TV as planes bombed the palace and fear became the common feeling across the country.  Should I mention the irony of the United States’s involvement in Chile during the 70’s, and the date of the Twin Tower’s attack?

And, most painful for my family this week has been my youngest feeling sick again.  She has been suffering with severe stomach pain and nausea, which has meant more visits to the doctors, abdominal scans, and blood tests.  The general opinion was that it was colic, because she is eating a more varied diet a month after the operation.  But we were also told that she may have problems with her intestines “sticking” at any time in her life.

She is feeling better now, and we have had a restful weekend, trying not to watch the TV, or think about all the sad things that have happened on this date.  We have to take a moment to remember these things that are so terrible; to remember how we were effected…so that we don’t repeat them.

Unfortunately, you would think after “witnessing” so many atrocities we would have learned.

Hospital knitting

When I started this blog, I thought I would only write about spinning and fibre joys, and not about my personal life.  But some times there are events in our lives that effect us so totally that they become a part of us.

Just over two weeks ago my youngest daughter stayed home from school with what I thought was a stomach bug.  However, 24 hours later it had turned into a ruptured appendix and peritonitis.  I am still horrified that I didn’t see how much pain she was in; she wasn’t crying or doubled over, which is what I would have expected with appendicitis.  She told me later she didn’t want to say it hurt a lot because she was scared to go to the doctors.  (Although, many of the nurses were amazed by her calm attitude during everything, including changing her intravenous drip six times.)

When I did realise it was something much more than a “bug”, we went straight to the ER where they prepared her immediately for an operation.  My husband collected our oldest daughter from school and brought her to the hospital.  Then we sat and waited for the operation and for her to wake up and be transferred to the children’s ward, where we could all see her for a little while.  The children’s ward at La Serena’s hospital allows parents to stay with their children 24hrs, but because she was pretty sleepy we left her alone for the night.

When we got home I realised the quickest way to tell my family what had happened was through Facebook.  Not something I really wanted to do, but with family and friends scattered across the globe, it was the simplest.

The next day we were at the hospital early.  The hospital only allows one parent at a time, so I went and sat with her.  My husband, his sister, or his mother sat with her to give me a break for lunch, but basically I was at her side all day.  We had planned to leave her alone during the night, (she is 7, not a baby), but when the evening came and she said she was scared, it broke my heart.  However everyone who knows me, knows I suffer from very bad migraines, and sitting at the hospital for 24 hours would not be good.  So my mother-in-law said she would spend the night with her.

And so started our routine of me sitting with her during the day and my mother-in-law during the night.  The first week was the hardest.  She vomited the first four days then got a fever.  The doctor’s said it could be her intestines had folded over and not unfolded after the operation, which would need another operation, or it could be an abscess forming because the antibiotics weren’t working.  They thought the latter so they changed her antibiotics.  The fever came down and she began to eat, a week after her last meal.

The second week was spent playing the card game Uno with the other kids in her room, and slowly getting better.  The change of antibiotics meant she had to stay in hospital to complete the whole dose.  I sat with her knitting when I could, crying when she was asleep or when I arrived home at night, and telling her constantly that she was getting better, (she didn’t feel like she was getting better).

Now she is home with a post-operative diet and rest.  She won’t go to school for at least another week, so will have missed a month of school.

I still can not believe this happened to my baby, and happened so fast.  My husband was doing everything to care for me while I was with our daughter and I knew he was suffering too, but seeing your child so sick makes you feel very alone, very helpless.

Hospital knitting

I know they will never read this, but I have to thank the nurses and doctors who cared for my daughter.  And especially thank my mother-in-law for sitting every night for almost two weeks with her granddaughter.  And I hope all the children we met during our stay are getting better, and the families are as lucky as we are to have our baby home again…

…already fighting with her big sister.