Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Lord is my Shepherd

Maud (11) suffers from obsessional separation anxiety. She worries constantly that Nick or myself will be killed in a car or an aircraft - leaving her to cope alone with her Type 1 diabetes which has her walking a knife edge between life and death every day.She copes with her anxieties by comfort eating - which is probably the most dangerous thing a diabetic can do... (Diabetics who cannot control what they eat go blind and have feet amputated.)
I believe in seeking professional advice.
I sought audience with our minister.
I explained Maud's dilemma.
I asked him for help.
I hoped he might offer to speak with Maud.
Instead he referred me to Psalm 23 which starts: The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.
I went home to the children. I said: "The reverend says if the Lord was my shepherd, I wouldn't worry so much about Maud..."
There was silence.
Then Bea said: "How can the Lord be your shepherd, Mummy? You are not a sheep."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Dyslexia Does Not Mean Stupid

My son Rex is a bright little boy - articulate, intelligent, and a born leader. He also suffers from mild dyslexia and receives learning support at his school in Bahrain.
Should we have to move back to live in Northern Ireland I'd like Rex to go to the grammar school I went to. To get into the school requires the passing of an entrance test. The school has many pages on its website devoted to the admissions procedure - and the 'access arrangements' which ensure a child with mild dyslexia (like Rex) are given 25% extra time in the test - the same as he would expect to receive if sitting state exams such as GCSE or A Level.
The school (naturally) requires an Educational Psycologist's report stating that Rex is dyslexic before they can give him the 25% extra time.
The school has made it clear the assessment done on Rex in Bahrain is not enough to convince them my son is genuinely dyslexic. However, mysteriously, they have also said Rex cannot be assessed by an Educational Psychologist in NI just so he can sit the transfer test. (Why?)
I phoned Education Board to seek their advice. The woman I spoke to suggested that if Rex was dyslexic he was probably too stupid to go to grammar school.
Induge me with this list of Famous People with Dyslexia
Mohammad Ali, Hans Christian Anderson, Beethoven, Alexander Graham Bell, Orlando Bloom, Napoleon Bonaparte, Sir Richard Branson, Erin Brockovich, George H.W. Bush,
Julius Caesar, Prince Charles, Cher, Agatha Christie, Winston Churchill, Tom Cruise
Charles Darwin, Walt Disney, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Michael Faraday, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Henry Ford, Benjamin Franklin, Zsa Zsa Gabor,
Galileo, Danny Glover, Vincent Van Gogh, Whoopi Goldberg, John Grisham, Woody Harrelson, Steven Hawkings, Tommy Hilfiger, Dustin Hoffman, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Magic Johnson, John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Keira Knightley, John Lennon, Jay Leno, Carl Lewis, Steve McQueen, Michelangelo, Mozart, Jack Nicholson, Louis Pasteur
General George Patton, Pablo Picasso, Edgar Allen Poe, Nelson Rockefeller, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Rodin, George C. Scott, Steven Spielberg, Sylvester Stallone, Jackie Stewart, Quentin Tarantino, Thomas Thoreau, Mark Twain, Jules Verne, Leonardo da Vinci, Robin Williams, Woodrow Wilson, Orville Wright, Wilbur Wright and William Butler Yeats.
The only other thing these people have in common is that none of them has ever been educated in Northern Ireland.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Diabetes Math

Maud (11) has been learning how to manage her diabetes - the Northern Ireland way.
First we assume everything Maud eats comes out of a packet. She weighs the food she wants to eat. She reads the nutritional information on the side of the packaging to find out how many grams of CHO are in 100g of the foodstuff - then she calculates how many grams of CHO are in the bowl on the scales. (CHO is an abbreviation for carbohydrate)
Then using her ICR (Insulin Carbohydrate Ratio) she calculates how many units of insulin she needs to digest the CHO.
She checks her blood sugar (BS) by pricking her finger and feeding the blood into her blood sugar meter.
If her reading is higher than the recommended range she must calculate how much insulin she needs to bring it down - using her personalised ICF (Insulin Correction Factor).
She adds both insulin requirements together and shoots up before eating.
Good job Maud is good at maths.
Compare this to the Middle East way:
When Maud was diagnosed she was told: "You have type 1 diabetes. You will be given two injections a day. You will eat a low fat diet. You will eat organic wholewheat pasta and rice. You will not eat sweets or processed food."

Monday, August 1, 2011

Slieve Gallion

Another fun day out in Northern Ireland and this time we're climbing Slieve Gallion. Such a lovely walk past foxgloves, ferns and fir trees in Iniscarn Forest Park, turn right at the pylons and climb, until we reach the heather on top. Hurrah!