Seattle Mama Doc

A blog by Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson.

A mom, a pediatrician, and her insights about keeping your kids healthy.

My Mother’s Day

You know, I had a nice Mother’s Day. There was a picnic, some hugs, my sweet F saying, “Happy Mother’s Day, Mommy.” There were tulips and time with my boys. I had time alone with my mom. But it wasn’t simple. Even with the gourmet Seattle sunshine and the flowers in the grass for airplane rides, I really did spin through variant emotions as the day unfolded. I think a lot about parenting now that I write a blog. Fortunately, by the end of the day, at least for 2010, I think I knew what Mother’s Day meant to me.

Mother’s Day may be complex, especially for non-traditional families and for those whose lives are surrounded by illness or loss. This year was the first time I really got that. Read full post »

Mother’s Day Gift

I already got my Mother’s Day gift. It came in two parts this week. And it only cost $25.

It started on Wednesday. I had an over-scheduled day of meetings, my mom’s chemotherapy, a luncheon (that I ended up not making it to), blog stuff, patient calls, an interview for local PBS. I moved at a high rate of speed. All the things I did were utterly disparate. There were real highs and some real lows. Roller coaster stomach drops and jittery fingers is just the way I like life, it turns out.
I downshifted for the last event of the day where I met Kristin van Ogtrop, the editor of Real Simple magazine and author of a new book, Just Let Me Lie Down. I introduced myself, told her what I’m sure most everyone does, something like, “I love the pretty magazine…gosh it’s amazing to think about having things organized and lovely, polite and well-mannered…comparatively my house is a dump and I work crazy hours and I love my kids pants off every day.” She mentioned how her house really isn’t all Real-Simple-ized. She said it looks a lot like other peoples’ houses. She said she works a lot. She’s a mom, busied and pulled all sorts of ways.
Her arms looked remarkably well attached though.
Read full post »

Prepare

I’m gonna be honest, making a disaster kit completely stressed me out. I hope my experience will make it better for you. I’m no expert at this but have learned a lot along the way. And there is no question, I feel so much better with my family prepared and my preparedness tidied.

As The Economist said last week when discussing Iceland’s volcano, “Disasters are about people and planning, not nature’s pomp.”

Prepare.

I believe in the 3 tiered approach you see everywhere:

  • Make a Kit(detailed below and in my video)
  • Make a Plan (how to communicate and find your family)
  • Stay Informed (what disasters are likely to happen, where to find info)

If you watched the video, you know that Dr Suzan Mazor and I were totally overwhelmed by the task. Do your best to buddy up; having a partner was the best move I made. Hopefully she’d agree. Thanks again, Suzan. Please continue to be my friend despite me filming a video while sitting under a desk and having you help edit it at 11:30pm on a Friday night. Read full post »

Little Morsel: Go West

I’m going to share little morsels I read. This is morsel #1. I read this article while on vacation a week ago. I loved it. Only the abstract is available online today but if you feel you can pick up a New Yorker, do. If the full article becomes available online, I’ll redirect the link.

Although it doesn’t relate to pediatric health, it relates to telling stories. Which is what I do here.

Read Peter Hessler’s “Go West,” if you can. It’s not too long (like most in The New Yorker) and it’s chewy. I nibbled on the words and swallowed the images he creates.

Think running a marathon, learning the pronunciation of the state of Wyoming, and moving to Colorado. Think about Americans as storytellers. Think about moving back to the United States.

I think, next time I move, I want to hire the company he used in China.

Maybe you don’t even have to go on vacation to read it. How about during nap time?

O’s Tylenol is Famous: Medication Recall

We woke up today and I read the Tylenol, Motrin, Zyrtec, and Benadryl medication recall from yesterday. It’s a voluntary recall but concerns remain about quality of the medication.  Then I realized the Tylenol I gave O yesterday was still on the counter.

O’s Tylenol is famous, it turns out. It’s part of the recall. Medications on the recall list include: Infant Tylenol, Children’s Tylenol, Motrin, Zyrtec, and Benadryl.

Check the list and check your medicine cabinet.  Maybe you have a bottle of famous medicine, too.

Remember to look just above the medication name for the NDC number as seen in the photo. Then throw it out if you find a match. Call your pediatrician if you have any concerns.

O is fine……

Information for the McNeil product recall here.

Making a 3-Day Disaster Kit

Verbatim: You’ll Ghost Write My Guest Blog?

On the way to work this morning I turned the stereo up. Way up past the kid level and into decibel stratosphere. I was stressed; I’d been up past midnight working, up early with the boys this morning, and digesting some bad news in my extended family while worrying about the results of my friend’s CT. I worked a few hours at home before I got out the door to clinic. When I left home, F and O were waving in the window, O’s 17-month-old mouth gumming the glass. They were wearing matching soccer jerseys, one in red, one in blue. It chewed a little hole in my heart to leave.

My decision to flood the car with noise was probably bad for my inner ears. It was really good for the rest of my body, though. I used the music as an adjunct to my coffee. Needed to dull the senses and prepare for the 26 patients and their families that were to outline the rest of my day. Needed to draw a line.

Sometimes music is like water. Irresistible and absolutely irreplaceable. Read full post »

I Hope He Never Reads It

Letter written to my sonWhen F started preschool in February, they asked for items to add to their disaster kit. They wanted a gallon of water, an extra blanket and a note to soothe F in case of a disaster. The thought of writing the note was simply too much for me. I hadn’t given them the letter (as I was supposed to) until now. Here it is. Writing it today feels as if I’m trying to lift up part of the sky.

I’ve never written something I didn’t want someone to read. I hope he never reads this:
Read full post »

Anything for a Nap

My son climbing up a slideSo you know that thing you do when you’re desperate for your kid to sleep? That thing where you take your child to the park, run them into the ground, and force them to stay up a bit later than usual? Then when nearing complete destruction or implosion, you keep the windows down in the car and the music blaring so they won’t fall asleep on the way home? All this in the hopes that when you are home, they CRASH. CRASH HARD and sleep like a zombie. Instinct tells you that the physical fatigue they acquire will allow them to pound out an outrageous nap.

We do this. Most of us, at least. We think that the way we sleep is the same as the way our kids sleep. And after learning by experience that a hard day of weeding, running, or traveling increases our ability to crash asleep, we trust that tiring out our kids will get them to nap extra-hard, extra-soundly and extra-long.

Brutal reality: it may not. Read full post »

The Verdict Is In

Smiling babyWhen I was in high school and dreamed about my future children, I think I thought I wanted them to be popular and athletic, strong-willed and friendly. Maybe live in a big house. When in college, I wanted them just to be smart and go to a great school. In medical school, simply healthy.

Now that I’m a parent, I maintain only one consistent and overriding dream (besides the healthy part, that remains): I want my boys to grow up and be happy. No care in the world about the Ivy League, the house, or the soccer team. Trite but true.

First ever Swanson-parent-teacher conference for F was this week. First time in my life that the husband and I have sat down together, across the table from an impartial observer, and discussed our child. I think we were both a little nervous; I wore a dress. Read full post »