A novelist writes about the mind, body and soul.

Archive for the category “Medical”

Acute Morning Sickness – Men! More sympathy please

When news of Kate Middleton’s acute morning sickness or hyperemesis gravidarum as its known in medical circles, hit the news last week, I was really annoyed by the chauvinistic remarks on my facebook page: They were along the  lines of “if she’s going into hospital for a few days for morning sickness, how long would she need for appendicitis, several months? And “I have a sickness  – I hate mornings” etc.  A few (I presume childless women joined in)  I wrote in her defence “it’s no joke.” Not that I suffered from acute morning sickness, but I know what it’s like to be so seasick that  I remember thinking, I’d rather die than go through this. There is nothing much worse than feeling so sick you can’t move.

I have two friends who have been hospitalized for hyperemesis gravidarum – neither of them ever got pregnant again. Men on the whole, don’t seem very sympathetic to the idea of women being sick in pregnancy. I remember my husband telling me that my own morning sickness was “psychological” Yes I could have murdered him.

The following is an account sent to me by email from one of my friends when I asked her to remember what had happened, during her last pregnancy. She told me the story recently and I remember her saying that her husband had to stop work to look after their two young children as she spent  about three months in and out of hospital.

I can’t quite remember at what point it started, but quite early on and quickly got bad. Bad being throwing up continuously – bile and blood and all! I think I lasted a couple of days before I went into hospital to be rehydrated, and strangely it stopped after a day or so of being there. So they discharged me and I had a few good days at home and it kicked in again, so back I went to hospital. This was the pattern for a few weeks – fine in hospital, but bad at home. I only had to get in the car to go home and I’d be sick.

I realised there must be some psychosomatic dimension (apparently for some people the colour of the walls can trigger it!) which made it twice as frustrating because I REALLY didn’t want to be in hospital. I tried staying with my sister but that didn’t work. I tried hypnosis and acupuncture, but no good. My consultant told me his experience was that it tended to happen to high-achieving control freaks, which I suppose applied to me once (still a control freak, but not now achieving much). I think a progesterone imbalance also has something to do with it, which is why it’s more common with female babies. (A future queen?)

Anyway, it dragged on and on until I ended up being just as sick in hospital as out, and they started to worry I was losing too much weight and that it was a risk to the baby (I never felt she was at risk – in the end born over 9lbs). So they put me on some hideous food drip through a tube into my chest for 2 weeks – didn’t help! By now I’d really had enough and thought I’d go mad. The anti-nausea drugs didn’t seem to do much and the food was so grim. I used to pace the corridors at night unable to sleep a wink and craving cold milk, looking and feeling a complete fright. Finally they decided to put me on a steroid called prednisilone, which they were a bit anxious about because they didn’t know if it might transfer across the placenta and affect the baby’s future growth, etc. There was a doctor at St.Thomas’s who talked them through it. And luckily it worked, hooray! So home I went, now about 5 months pregnant, and developed a horse-like appetite, got stronger and refused to go anywhere near the hospital again and Grace was born at home.


Losing Weight

I have now been on the Dukan Diet for about a year. I wrote this post last July, after my first few months on the diet. I had been meaning to try it for a long time, had already attempted it once without the book and failed. I then gave in and bought the book and made a real effort to follow the diet exactly. In my opinion it’s the best diet I have followed and there have been a few. I have attempted everything from the cabbage diet, to a boot camp in Devon, to having my food delivered, and I can confirm, that the Dukan is the only diet I’ve tried that keeps the weight off. But you have to work at it. The Dukan is a diet for life, and though I never reached my ideal weight with it, and would gleefully like to lose another five pounds, I know what to do, when I notice that I weigh more than I did a few days previously.  Knowing how to lose the weight and accepting that I have to follow some of the rules for life, makes me feel in control.

A couple of years ago, I went away for seven nights to a bootcamp to write an article for  a magazine, and lost 3lbs! I lost more weight the following week, when I was back home, but gradually put it all on again. There was such hard work involved  at the bootcamp, including hiking for miles on end wearing a heavy back bag, and doing military style workouts. We were given tiny amounts of food, and told to chew endlessly. I knew that it was not a regime, I would even be able to remotely follow, once I got home. The Dukan is manageable though. You don’t need to star jump and run about and hike uphill and you can eat as much as you like of the foods you are allowed. A win win situation!

I have a Disney Goody Bag to give away!!!

I am supporting a really worthwhile campaign. Disney Junior Channel have offered to turn Disney memories into cash for Great Ormond Street Hospital.  I wrote about going to see the Jungle Book at the cinema, it was the first film I ever saw and I absolutely loved it, particularly Baloo the bear, seen above.  I also read and reread my Mary Poppins book which had little flaps which you lifted up to reveal tiny stories about Mary Poppins. Each memory is worth £1 for Great Ormond Street hospital and when a million memories are recorded they will turn it into  £1million for the hospital. You can post your own memory on the link – Then duplicate in my comment box so I can choose one to send a goody bag to. (Nothing too exotic, I’m just going to grab one randomly) and join celebrities who have shared including:

Robbie Williams

For me it was The Jungle Book,  I think it was the first film that I ever went to see. It was and still is an amazing film, with amazing songs and amazing characters. I’ve loved Disney from a very young age, but The Jungle Book was probably my first true Disney experience.

Emma Bunton

Watching Mary Poppins was my first Disney memory. I remember singing along to the songs and being fascinated by the colours, characters and Mary flying over the London rooftops !

Alesha Dixon

My earliest memory of Disney would have to be going to the cinema for the first time to see Bambi. It was the most beautiful experience and highly emotional. Disney literally transported me to another world that I didn’t want to end!

Sir Michael Caine

My memories were Snow White and Bambi in those days, I remember crying my eyes out when Bambi’s mother died in the forest and laughing my head off at the Seven Dwarves. I grew up with cartoons.  My favourite Disney villain would have to be the wicked witch from Snow White, I think she’s great and my favourite Disney hero is Mickey Mouse, he was my first hero and my favourite.

Julie Walters

My first Disney  memory was tramping through deep snow with my aunt to a local ‘picture house’ in Birmingham. I was about five and I remember with great clarity the heavenly sensation of thawing out in the rich, red warmth of the cinema and the utter thrill as the lights went down, my aunt shoving a wine gum into my mouth as the film began. It was Lady and the Tramp. I was completely grabbed by the gorgeous technicolor, the wonderful characters and the absorbing story and there began my love of cinema.

Lewis Hamilton

I think for me it was Mickey Mouse. When I was really young I remember having this picture that my mum has of me in infant school and I was wearing a Mickey Mouse shirt and it had the buttons that you could press and they would make the ears squeak! Also I remember watching Mickey Mouse on Disney Channel when I was really young and when we went to Disneyland in Los Angeles when I was 4 or 5, so I don’t remember it all, but I had pictures to prove that I actually met Mickey Mouse, so that’s pretty cool.

Post your own Disney memory and then duplicate the memory in my comment box. The best memory will receive a great Disney Goodie bag from ME suitable for children up to  7 years old. I’ve just got one, and it’s sorted out my daughter’s Christmas stocking.

It’s a win win situation!

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