Friday, December 31, 2010

Treadmill Deck Height

Since this appears to be, like, a big federal secret, I'm going to post the deck heights *I* got when I went out and measured treadmills myself. Obviously they're nowhere near exact, but for gods' sake, it is totally ridiculous that you can't find this information anywhere. The guy at the treadmill place told me the info is available for commercial models, but never for residential. This makes zero sense to me, since I've never seen a low-ceilinged gym, but I know plenty of people with older houses that don't have ten-foot ceilings in their basements.


According to the treadmill store, the Landice deck height is 4 7/8in. This is the shortest treadmill out there. It costs an arm and a freaking leg. Unfortunately, nothing else out there is nearly as short.

All the Nordic Track models I measured were TALL- 7-8in off the ground. There was one I did not bother measuring because it was even taller than the 8in model I measured. These are for people with McMansions, I think.

I measured a few ProForms and they were all in the 7.5in range. I currently have a ProForm which I LOVE, but it is also currently dismantled so I can't tell you the exact deck height on that one. The guy at the treadmill place said he thinks ProForms are crap. Of course he said that, they don't cost three grand. I will tell you that I USED that treadmill- as in, for running. Not for walking, and certainly not as a place to hang my clothes. It had zero problems, and if height isn't a concern, I'd recommend them. Your mileage may vary, no pun intended.

I measured one Sole treadmill (didn't get a model number) and got the deck height at just around 6.5-7in.

I didn't go to the Sports Authority to keep measuring, because I was tired and the writing was on the wall. The Landice appears to be the only usable treadmill for tall people with shallow basements.

Y'all are welcome. And to the treadmill makers: you'd probably sell a lot more treadmills if you would TELL people how tall your stupid treadmills are. Or maybe not, maybe you're banking on people going thru three treadmills before they find one that actually fits. I'd like to think not, though.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


So, we're gonna play a little multiple choice game. Let's say you answer the emergency line at an obstetrician's office. Someone calls you and tells you they're 30 weeks pregnant and bleeding. do you:

A) ask them a few questions, tell them something vague but reassuring, and make them an appt to be seen


B) ask them a few questions, become extremely flustered, and say, "..oh. Ok. this should not be happening. Hold on, I'm getting the nurse."

If you answered B, my doctor's office may be looking for YOU!

As part of Segundo's seemingly endless attempt to make this pregnancy as stressful as possible, I not only had some bleeding today, but realized right around the time I was getting the aforementioned response that I had not felt him* moving since about 3am, at which time there was some serious tap-dancing going on. I became convinced he'd hanged himself and began sobbing hysterically.

By the time we'd made it to the doctor's office, he was busy dancing again and I was feeling mildly reassured. I felt even better after everything, when my exam was completely normal, his heartbeat was regular and strong, and the ultrasound looked perfect, with no signs of placental issues. I also got to review the growth ultrasound with the NP- she confirmed that it was totally normal, although Segundo is on the petite side. I measured small again today, which apparently happens when babies like to stay all curled up. The tech commented at the big anatomy scan that he was all curled up tight, even though "the kid has like, half a uterus left to stretch out!" So, I guess that's why? She said if I keep measuring small, they'll keep checking ultrasounds, just to be sure. Fine by me! I also lost a pound since my last visit, which is good, because in spite of growing a tiny baby, my weight gain has not reflected this. Things even looked good enough today that they cancelled my routine appointment for tomorrow- which is extra-good, because we sat in the office for two hours today and I am just not sure I have it in me to sit there again tomorrow!

And? Segundo is grounded. Until he leaves for college. ENOUGH trouble out of this kid. SERIOUSLY.

*yes, he. it's easier than constantly flipping back and forth between she and he. I do think he's a boy, but NO, I don't KNOW that.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


One of the main responsibilities of my job, that we informally rotate between the three of us nurse practitioners, is carrying the on-call pager (aka the bomb- because you don't want it to go off while you're holding it;). We get various calls on that particular pager, including trauma pages. There are different categories of traumas, the two main ones being Trauma A and Trauma B. Trauma Bs are less critical and may or may not require neurosurgical consultation- we're not required to report to the ER unless we're specifically called (via separate page). Trauma As are more serious- report directly to the ER, do not pass go, do not collect $200. Once the patient arrives, we're sometimes dismissed by the doc running the trauma, but it's pretty unusual (and you NEVER leave without being dismissed). Most traumas major enough to be a trauma A involve some kind of CNS injury.

I was really unpleasantly surprised, when I went back to work after Grace was born, to find that I was really uneasy about, well, everything. I mean, I've questioned how much my job and I are a good fit for each other (who hasn't?), but it's never been due to a lack of confidence. I'm good at my job. I know what I'm doing. It took me a reeeeally long time to feel that way after I went back to work. So when I was carrying the pager one day and got a trauma A page, I asked Maureen to go with me. It ended up being a really wise decision, although not for the reasons I expected.

We got to the ER before the patient. We were able to piece together that a little boy (I can't remember his exact age anymore, somewhere around 4-6 yo) was found down (pulseless and not breathing), accidentally hanged on exercise equipment. We exchanged looks- the rate of survival for an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, particularly in a child, is nearly zero. (The rate of meaningful survival is essentially zero, with rare, miraculous exceptions.)

When the little boy arrived, there were paramedics all over him, bagging him, pounding on his chest, yelling at each other, like a tv show. I never saw his face, but I saw his legs, and they were gray. He was wearing plain white tube socks and no shoes. That really, really bothered me, and I'm not sure I can clearly explain why. I guess because it just made him look so much like a little boy- I pictured him yanking his socks on and running down the hall after his brothers, yelling and throwing things. And I thought, in the middle of all of that, when he put those socks on, nobody ever imagined this would happen.

I had other weird thoughts. I remember thinking, abstractly, that it was strange to see everyone running and yelling and tossing things to each other, fighting so hard to save a boy who couldn't possibly be saved. (But what else do you do? I don't know. I just remember thinking it.) I remember one of the social workers commenting to Maureen and me that one of the paramedics working on him was one of the best, and he was lucky to have her working on him. I remember thinking that was the stupidest thing I'd ever heard in my life, because that boy wasn't lucky at all. (In the social worker's defense, stuff like this doesn't happen every day. It's hard for everyone, and we all say weird shit when we're rattled.) And I remember being totally horrified by the fact that I could not keep myself from crying. Crying at work, in front of other people, is Not Okay, and especially not in a situation where you need to be on your toes. They weren't hitching, heaving sobs, but the kind of tears that just plop out of your eyes and you can't do anything to stop them.

The whole time we were standing there, we knew we weren't needed. We couldn't possibly be needed, because the little boy was dead. But until they officially declared that they could not win the fight, we had to wait. We absolutely could not ask to be dismissed, as there were far more important things going on, but because there were far more important things going on, nobody even really noticed we were there. And, if by some miracle, the boy's heart started beating again, we would be needed. He would need c-spine evaluation, and he would inevitably have cerebral edema (brain swelling) as a result of his injuries and prolonged anoxia (lack of oxygen). So we stood in the hallway, watching them whale on him, until the tears started plopping on my cheeks, at which point Maureen walked over to someone in a position of quasi-authority, who wasn't otherwise occupied, said we would be leaving, and led me away. (And, to my eternal gratitude, never, ever said another word about it.)

So (and here's where I'm going to sound really flip, so bear with me), when I say I don't want to put Grace in a bed, it's not because she's a devilish little butthead who will never sleep again (although that is obviously a factor), it's because it means she will be free to find a way to roam around without my knowledge. And for now, all that means is tying up blind cords (or buying new, cordless blinds), mounting her dresser to the wall, only opening her windows from the top from now on, locking the bathroom every night, things like that. Knowing that I will go over her whole room with a fine-tooth comb, and the first night she's in a bed, even if she sleeps, I will not. But from that point, there's always another step. Letting her play in the backyard by herself, letting her play out front by herself, letting her cross the street, walk to school, ride a bike, drive a car (oh god, I just threw up a little bit).

The world is full of precipitous drops and hanging cords and cables and sharp edges and asshole drivers. We all need to learn to navigate that, as parents. We all need to learn to let go, and trust that things will be okay, or we run the risk of causing a different kind of damage to our kids than the physical injuries we fear. I fight every day to remember that. But at the same time, I'm also remembering gray legs and tube socks and horrible days that nobody ever thought would happen.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

It's Always SOMETHING.

Tomorrow is Segundo's follow-up echo. I'm excited to peek at him/her again, but I also kind of know we don't really need another echo. The arrhythmia resolved two weeks ago, and was still not present when I went for my regular visit wednesday. Rhythm was still perfect, with not one single skipped beat, 150-155. "Happy baby," murmured the doctor who delivered G. (She actually did murmur, btw. It was kind of creepy.)

While we are there for the echo. we will ALSO be getting a growth ultrasound. Because, it turns out, *I* gained three pounds in the last two weeks (*&^!!!!), but Segundo is measuring behind. My friend pointed out this is just further proof it's a boy- only a boy would make you gain all that weight and stay skinny himself. Seriously. Were truer words ever spoken? It's like that commercial for that stupid dietary supplement where the animated woman talks about her husband giving up soda and losing fifty pounds, and how she gave up soda and lost nothing (and then pours her water in the dog's dish and the dog gets all skinny when he drinks it. too bad it's for such a stupid product, or I would totally buy it to support clever advertising.)

I'm genuinely not worried. I have been absolutely terrible about drinking water with this baby, because I hate drinking water, because it is disgusting and also then I have to pee every three seconds, and that is really annoying. On top of that, I was coming down with a cold at my last visit (which has now FIRMLY taken hold), which will dehydrate you a little bit. So really, I think I was a bit dehydrated and Segundo's amniotic fluid was a bit low. (mother of the year!) Obviously, any time they say they want to double-check something, it worries me, and I wish they didn't have to do it, but mostly, I've kept my imagination in check. I've been drinking water like it's my job, Segundo's been dancing the tango...I don't want to say everything is fine, because god knows that is the fastest way to make something really bad happen, but, well, like I said, I'm keeping my imagination in check.

But let me tell you this: if I gain all this weight, only to crank out a six pound baby in March, I will be DEEPLY PISSED OFF.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Nope, novelty still hasn't worn off.

28 weeks with Grace:

28 weeks with Segundo:

Isn't that wild?

I don't see any way this baby is a girl. And really, not just because of the way I'm carrying- although I can't really get that out of my head, my BFF from college was a labor and delivery nurse, and she is absolutely adamant that the way you're carrying doesn't mean a darn thing. (although, seriously, if I carried high last time and low this time, I'd say, well, ok, everything is all stretched out...but how weird is it that I was sooo low last time, and this time, Segundo has taken up residence somewhere around my esophagus?)

I'm pretty sure I've already covered the differences between each pregnancy, and they persist even now, at seven months. The one similarity is that both times, I had a moment, very early in the pregnancy, when I was struck with the absolute certainty of the baby's gender. Both times, I went on to question that revelation, but when it was happening, it was clear as a bell. That instinct was right last time. I guess we'll find out in March if it was right this time.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I can't believe two years have gone by since this day. At the same time, it feels like a million years ago. Yesterday, I was thinking about going into labor, waiting at home for contractions to be regular enough to go to the hospital, and it feels like I'm trying to remember something that happened in first grade.
Two years later, she runs, sticks play-doh up on the windows, knows all her colors (mom's favorite: orsh), can count to five, recognizes a little more than half of the alphabet, eats spaghetti like it's her job and routinely asks for choc-choc. She's clearly a genius.

Well. I guess genius is relative.

Happy Birthday, Gabba Goo. You are the bestest girl in the entire universe.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I am a vegetarian. Stephen is an omnivore. I never planned on raising our kids as vegetarians, for a wide variety of reasons I don't really feel like getting into right now, but the upshot is that Stephen and I agreed our kids would be omnivores.

Gracie, apparently, has other plans.

I mean, no. She'll eat some meat. She likes ground beef, if it's mixed in really well with her mac and cheese, she'll eat the occasional meatball, she sometimes loves bacon (and sometimes refuses it), so, there are some things she'll eat. But strips of meat, like steak, are absolutely out of the question. And do not even get me started on the pure evil that is poultry in ANY form.

I haven't been too worried about it, because she really does eat a very nicely varied diet, as far as most toddlers are concerned. She likes fruits and vegetables (both orange and green), she likes beans, all dairy products, eggs, peanut butter, and obviously carbs in all their lovely forms. I try to keep offering meat to her, but it's kind of hard, because it's a huge pain to make, it costs money, I hate wasting food, and 9 times out of 10, it gets dumped down the garbage disposal. But we really are trying. I don't want to give in to a toddler's dietary whims, and I know that any day now, she might change her mind and discover the joys of chicken. On the other hand, she gets PLENTY of protein, and iron...well. She's almost old enough for half a Flintstone vitamin, and really, she probably gets more vitamins and minerals than a lot of toddlers, so I just can't stress about it.

What's interesting to me is the reaction this gets. I can't tell you how many people have insisted I offer her hot dogs and bologna. Seriously? Because the protein in kidney beans and yogurt is so inferior to protein that's served with a side of nitrites and excess sodium? Listen, don't get me wrong- she gets her fair share of junk food. I've been known to feed her McDonalds and Taco Bell. She gets chocolate milk a few times a week. She gets the occasional cup of juice (which, don't get me started on baby candy, that's another rant for another day). My little mutey says "ice cream" when she sees it in a book. So. We're far from perfect here, is my point. But do people GENUINELY believe she'd be better off eating processed, over-salted lips and assholes? Girl, please.

It's the same problem I have with all the articles about the "safety" of vegetarian diets, both for adults and children. They always emphasize the importance of thoughtful food choices, ensuring balanced diets that address all nutritional needs. Because eating whatever sounds good has worked out so well for the health of this nation's omnivores? Not thinking about what to feed an omnivorous child is a wise choice?

I think the whole food/eating issue is incredibly loaded and incredibly difficult. I want Grace to understand how to respond to her hunger cues, to stop eating when she's full and not to keep eating until her plate is clean (if she is full and there is food left over, that is MY failing, not hers). To understand that junk food is okay, it's just not supposed to be the staple of her diet. To be able to snack when she's hungry and not because she's bored. All of those things. It sounds so easy but DANG, it's hard.

I'm also struggling a lot with the soy issue. I just sent a message to one of my medical librarian friends, asking for help with a lit search on the topic. I do believe there are some very real endocrine effects from soy consumption, and it stands to reason that a toddler would be more vulnerable to those effects. But just because that seems logical doesn't make it true, and there are also health benefits to weigh against any other risks- reduced fat intake, cardiovascular benefits, and a possible link to decreased breast cancer risk in adulthood. I just want to make an informed choice, especially because Gracie inexplicably LOVES her some vegan Boca burgers and fake meat crumbles.

And I'm still pretty sure the answer isn't a goddamned hot dog.