March 28th, 2007

cellulitis, sinus infection, potty-training, Belsky's latest, etc.

Last Wednesday, a bright red, itchy, hot patch showed up on my right cheek, along with spreading inflammation. This was weird. I found a doctor's office to call from a list R. pulled off the insurance web page, but it was after hours and didn't seem like that dire of an emergency. The next morning, however, I called and got an appointment for that morning. They did most of the new-patient crap over the phone, which was nice. R. and Teddy came with me to see the physician's assistant. I described the whole two week right cheek story (mumps, etc.). She decided that it had been bacterial all along and was callulitis. I agree that on Wednesday and continuing forward it was cellulitis, but whatever. I got a shot of rocefrin in the butt (and another on Friday) and a prescription for Ceflex and went home to chew my nails and watch the whole thing steadily deteriorate.

And my neck started hurting. Since I had heard that can't-touch-chin-to-chest + bacterial infection = meningitis?, I called the doctor's office. I did not get a call back until after hours. After some discussion (no, no fever, no rash) they decided I should still be looked at by someone and all their after hours appointments were booked so off I went to St. Joe's Urgent Care. Which is the all time best after hours/urgent care/emergency experience I've ever had or heard of. I retold my story, this doc came up with a couple of additional theories regarding where the cellulitis came from (PA thought a cut on my face; this guy suggested root abcess and sinus infection). He checked me out (but did NOT stick me with a horrible needle) and said I did not have meningitis. And I now have a solid understanding of what "stiff neck" means in technical doctorese terms.

Things actually started improving that night and have steadily gotten better. The swelling is almost entirely gone. The redness is mostly gone. The hot feeling is totally gone and it only itches occasionally. And I'm taking antibiotics through Saturday so I am optimistic that this really will wipe this puppy out, wherever it came from.

The PA was somewhat surprised that it got better as fast as it has. Which I feel supports my belief that the bacterial thing started comparatively late (no earlier than the Tuesday before I went in) and was largely opportunistic based on my exhaustion from the previous viral thing. (Speaking of which, she agreed the rash on Teddy's leg/chest looked viral. It eventually spread to his other side, and the first side is entirely gone, just a little dry, and the second side is healing well.) I mostly feel good about the timing on when I went in with it. I do not feel like I waited way-too-late.

On Saturday (Sunday? one of those), R. got an after-hours appointment (but had to go to Nashua) because he decided he really did have a sinus infection. His antibiotics are also working well.

And in the last few days, Teddy has sat on the potty post-nap and peed and pooped, after waking up with a dry diaper. We're still having major meltdowns over putting the diaper back on part of the time, which is kind of a bummer.

We called R.'s mother, C. on Sunday and asked her to come rescue us from our miserable existence. She came up that evening and left Tuesday morning. It was _enormously_ helpful to have her around to play with the kid part of the time. Even listening to the ongoing drama in her life was entertaining compared to what we'd been dealing with the few days/weeks prior.

R. took Teddy to laptime story hour at the library on Friday and then to lunch at Giant of Siam with friends. That was also a wonderful break for me (not for him!). I took Teddy (with C.) to playgroup on Tuesday where the hot topic of the hour was the latest from Jay Belsky and company, and which I have to say is getting just as lousy coverage in secondary media as you might expect. Here's the press release from the funding source. The original is in _Child Development_. What I heard during playgroup was mostly, but not entirely, incorrect.

Most coverage is not naming the lead author because he is persona non grata in the US. For the beginning of his career, he was gung ho pro-child-care, but as he did research and saw other people's work come in, he noticed that there were some Issues, and because he was so used to being Golden Boy, he foolishly pointed them out. While his work is not in attachment theory, his results are what one would expect based on attachment theory.

Judging by that summary, it seems to be that center care is to blame for most of the difference in behavioral problems. The "advantages" in learning to read early disappear before they matter (i.e. at 4 and a half years of age). The persistant vocabulary advantage is what one would expect given the definition of child care (10 hours/week or more regularly scheduled with someone other than the mother -- which includes dad, grandparents, etc.). Notice that under this definition, Teddy has been in child care from shortly after birth. Obviously, children who are not completely isolated with a single, female caregiver are likely to have larger vocabularies.

I'm inclined to think that the center-care problems revolve more around turnover than training per se. It's not like most parents are all that great at helping kids resolve disputes (altho of course there are just flat out more kids in a center even than in a playgroup).

Belsky et al are at pains to note that parenting trumps these small effects. Which I do think is worth pointing out. Repeatedly.


We got turbotax this year and are giving it a shot. I also used the electronic download feature on the brokerage accounts. Unless turbotax totally screws us and won't even let us print D-1s out of the deal, that alone makes the whole thing worth while.