Learning about the body

I naively expected that when I went in to be colonoscopated on Monday morning, it would be me who would be out of it for the rest of the day, but when I emerged in my “drug they give you so that you won’t remember anything about the experience and are thus more likely to come back and get another one someday”-haze, I received a message that Catherine and Oliver were in Emergency and I was to meet them there.

Oliver’s okay, but he’s had a hard couple of days.

On Thursday when he got home from daycare (only his third day) he had sniffles and a runny nose — we assumed he’d picked up a cold from one of the other kids. Friday was much the same, but Saturday he was really lethargic (didn’t get up until 11 a.m.) and was running a fever of about 102 degrees. We called outpatients and they told us to give him Children’s Tylenol, which we did right away. His fever came down to just below 100, and he seemed to perk up.

Sunday he was up and down — his fever came back, and he was a bit more lethergic, but then he seemed to be picking up later in the day.

On Monday morning Catherine called our family doctor, but she wouldn’t schedule an appointment until Thursday, so at 8:30 a.m., on her way to de-colonscopate me, Catherine took Oliver to Emergency, that really being the only alternative recourse (note to health care system: this doesn’t make much sense).

Emergency was really backed up, and by the time Oliver got to see a pediatrician (who, I should add, was excellent) it was about 2:00 p.m. The pediatrician recommended Oliver be admitted, and he’s been on the children’s ward since Monday afternoon.

What they think happened (in the simple terms that I can understand it) is this: on Monday or Thursday, Oliver picked up a viral infection — a flu-y sort of thing — from someone at daycare. While his body was battling this infection, some sort of bacterial infection (called a “supra-infection”, which we originally heard as “super infection,” which understandably made us worry!) snuck in, and that’s what gave him the fever, the lethargy, and the dehydration. Apparently Oliver is prime age for this sort of thing.

One interesting thing we learned today is that the dignosis of a lot of this type of thing is done only indirectly (for all I know the diagnosis of most types of things is done this way). For example, they test Oliver’s blood for white blood cells (the ones that help to combat infections); if his white blood cell count is higher, then they reason that this is because reinforcements have been called out to rally against an invading infection.

They also take another measure of the blood, called CRP, for “C-reactive protein”. This measurement gives them evidence as to the nature of the infection (i.e. whether it’s bacterial or viral).

Because Oliver’s white count is high and his CRP level is high, this led them to think that he has a bacterial infection, and so they’ve put him on a course of antibiotics.

What’s interesting as well is that they do all this without actually knowing what the bacteria that’s infecting actually is (hence the indirectness); the antibiotics Oliver’s been prescribed will take out (we were told) about 95% of likely bacterial invaders than affect children Oliver’s age.

He’s perked up a lot today — starting to get frustrated by the strange IV tube coming out of his arm — and things are looking like they’re on the mend. White cell count is trending down, as is CRP.

Oddly enough, one byproduct of this experience is that Oliver refuses to eat with a spoon: he’ll only accept food if it’s on a fork. More and more like his father every day.

What does Unisys do?

I wanted to know what Unisys does. So I went to their website to a page called About Unisys. I challenge anyone to tell me what Unisys actually is in the business of after reading that page. And if Unisys can’t describe themselves to me, why should I trust them to do anything else?


The top 4 queries that led people to this website from a search engine over the past 250 days are:

  • reinvented
  • andy richter controls the universe
  • netscape vs internet explorer
  • peter gzowski
See the entire story on the Statistics page.

Telecommunications Needs

“Hello, I’d like to speak to the person in your company responsible for your telecommunications needs.”

“Oh, we don’t have any telecommunications needs.”

“You mean you don’t have telephones?”

“No, we don’t.”

“Am I not speaking to you over the telephone?”



Conflict Resolution

Verner Smitheram from the Centre for Conflict Resolution Studies at the University of PEI was kind enough to conduct a couple of sessions with the directors of the L.M. Montgomery Land Trust over the past month.

We’re a well-tempered lot at the Land Trust, so we didn’t need the sort of full-court press conflict resolution that Verner and his team can provide. But we needed to do some long term planning, and we had a vague sense that our skills at holding meetings weren’t all they could be.

Now I’m the first personal to be a cynic about “methods” of anything — I usually prefer improvisation and anarchy if it’s an option — but I must say that Verner’s method, called “the interest-based approach to conflict resolution” has much to recommend it.

Our meetings were short, and we got a sort of “introduction lite” to the method, but we got a good taste for how it works nonetheless, and we had a much better couple of meetings than we would have otherwise.

If you’re in a situation where you’re on one side of a conflict that needs resolving, or if you just need a better way to work together as a group, and you think a disciplined approach led by a disinterested third party might help, I can think of no better group to call than Verner’s. Their website has complete details about their services and courses.