A Canadian gal living in Britain with 3 men and a dog. Wine helps.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

The Non Debate (at least for me)

Working for the National Health Service gives me access to a lot of information regarding the Swine Flu Vaccination and naturally because I work in health care we are strongly being urged to get vaccinated.

I used to work in a large Nursing Home and took the Flu Vaccine on two occasions out of feelings of obligation, however I stopped doing so after the 2nd vaccination.

I'm not pregnant, I don't work directly with patients yet I am considered someone who has 'underlying health conditions'

Right from the beginning of all the outbreak and resulting mania surrounding H1N1, I didn't have to struggle with conflicting thoughts as to whether I should get the shot or not. I wasn't going to. On Friday the local Health Authority conducted an on-line discussion with a panel of professionals who naturally were recommending the vaccination and if my mind hadn't been made up before it is now as this was a resulting post:

Information from the World Health Organisation:
Can influenza vaccination cause Guillain Barre syndrome? Guillain Barre syndrome (GBS) is a rapidly developing, immune-mediated disorder of the peripheral nervous system that results in muscular weakness. Most people recover completely but some have chronic weakness. It can develop following a variety of infections, including influenza. In people who have been immunized with available vaccines, the frequency of GBS usually is the same as in unvaccinated people.

Extensive studies and data analysis of influenza vaccines have only found a well established causal association with the 1976 vaccine that contained an H1N1 swine-influenza-like virus. No other clear association has been found with either seasonal or other pandemic influenza vaccines.

During the 1976 influenza vaccination campaign, about 10 persons per million vaccinated persons developed GBS. The reason why GBS developed in association with that specific vaccine has never been firmly established. The potential for the development of a similar risk with future vaccines can never be totally excluded. However, pandemic influenza vaccines are manufactured according to established standards, and are similar to recent well-studied influenza vaccines that have shown no association with GBS. Surveillance after vaccines have been sold (post-marketing surveillance) is being conducted to look for potential developments of serious adverse events. Safety monitoring systems are an integral part of strategies for the implementation of the new pandemic influenza vaccines.

Thanks, no thanks. I'll take my chances with the flu.
(I am in no way trying to encourage/discourage anyone else from having the vaccine)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I can't help it, I love this:

Monday, November 09, 2009

Priorities People
(Warning: this post contains mostly dog and food palaver so feel free to bypass it altogether)

Lately I have been immersing myself in trying to cook new recipes. (I might have mentioned this before so I apologize if I bore the pants of some of you by blogging about cooking again.) Some of these recipes are healthy whilst others are quite the opposite but they are so sinful and delightful to eat that no one seems to really care; also, Andy and I have been going to the gym quite faithfully so it kind of cancels it out. Sort of.

This weekend was an absolute gormandize of gluttony: Friday night my manager treated the staff to a Chinese banquet at a fantastic restaurant and then I spent Saturday in the kitchen baking a Lasagna, and Apple and Toasted Walnut cake for Andy’s family. I was disappointed that the cake didn’t rise as high as it should, however drizzled with the home-made caramel sauce it went down such a treat with everyone that it didn’t really matter in the end.

Yesterday I didn’t even get out of my pj’s and spent the afternoon making a Hungarian Goulash whilst intermittently reading, chatting on line and watching tv. The only time I left the house was to take Molly for a quick walk (I didn’t even need to get dressed for the outing as I threw on Andy’s rain gear over my pj’s) however the walk wasn’t a success as I feared my little wuss was going to give herself a heart attack over the possibility that a firework just might go off. So back to the house we went, where I got out of the raingear and Molly despairingly went back to her permanent ‘safe place’ during this season of fire-works and unexpected thunder storms.

(Note: Molly’s safe place is currently squished into the side of the couch with her paws practically over her eyes. If we let her she would be in the nook under the stairs for the remainder of firework season which could quite possibly run till New Year’s Day.)

So you’d think that in the middle of all this cooking and eating I’d manage to find time to go to the gym for a desperately needed work-out, but with all the family around and in between cooking and not being able to leave the dog due to her high stress levels, only one of us was able to get to the gym this weekend and that one was Andy. And of course most of what I’ve said is just excuses because I could have got my butt out of bed yesterday morning to go to the gym but the pull of my cozy bed and a snuggle with Molly was just too irresistible. I find I have an incredible guilt complex these days in regard to leaving Molly all day while I’m out at work and I hate leaving her in the night to go out again, but I do go to the gym so long as Alex is at least home with her or Andy and I take it in turns. I just don’t think its fair on her for us to be gone all day and then out again for a few hours at night. Taking her for a quick walk in the morning and evening on work nights just doesn’t cut it.

I will be happy when her granddad gets back from his holiday and they can get back to their daily lunch time walks. (Yes I refer to my father-in-law as Molly's granddad, roll your eyes here if you please.)

I often wonder how mothers with small children can bear to go back to work and leave their babies all day when I have a hard enough time leaving my dog.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

To Detox or Not?

My mate Dawn (English Dawn not Longbottom Dawn) and I have been working out on a pretty regular basis and last night we got to chatting about various detox programs. They are promoting one at the gym and Dawn is seriously thinking of trying it out in the new year. Its a program that involves drinking a supplement and costs about £18.

For some time thoughts of doing a detox myself have been at the back of my mind but I waver from week to week. Could I really give up things like chicken and more importantly, diet coke for two-three weeks? The chicken part wouldn't be that hard, however not having a diet coke for that long would surely be a akin to stopping a baby nursing cold turkey. I just don't know if I would be a comparison to the boob or the baby.

However, on Sunday I went all day without a diet coke; it got to be around 8 pm before I really fancied one and if I could go that long, I figured why not last the night - and I did. And it got me to thinking all the more about doing a detox.

I then found a plan that seemed pretty sound with a couple of perks: 1) I wouldn't have to buy and drink any supplements, and 2) I could still eat some of my favourite foods such as natural yogurt and honey, fish and beans and brown rice.

The detox is supposed to be only for one week which is a goal that I think I could talk myself into. After a week, I could see how it goes, because if I could stretch it to two, even better. But I won't be holding my breath.

There are a couple of reasons why I waver when it comes to detoxing:

I can't help but think about the headaches that I've heard come with a detox, primarily in the first week;
It would sure be a lot easier to do this with someone *cough* like my husband;

The one week length could go a long way in my quest to convince Andy to do this with me, as well as the fact he could still eat potatoes as fish and beans aren't something he'd rush to order on a menu; it would certainly be as much of a challenge for him to give up tea/coffee as it would be for me to kick diet coke for a week.

I know a few of you have done this in the past, some more recently and I really admire your strength and stamina. So... what say you, should I give it a go? How many of you bet that I could do this, or more importantly, Andy and I could do it together?

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Anniversaries and Goblins

The Friday before last, Andy and I went out for a 'delayed' celebration of our 5th Anniversary. The Beeches is a 5 star restaurant we both adore and once again, it did not disappoint.

(I think I sees me a Connor in the background)

These three photos were taken after we'd gotten back home - full of drink and stuffed to the brim. Andy crashed straight after this photo :)

Yesterday afternoon before the sun went down, I headed over to Sharon's for two reasons: firstly to see her beautiful new kitchen, and two to see the little ghouls that adorned it. The kids looked great and it buoyed me up for the (hopeful) little trick or treaters that might come knocking on our door. Last year we had a total of 6, this year, we had 20.

Its been a great few weeks in the McAllenby Household. I think next year we will have a rockin Halloween Party as its a very real possibility the lovable Fern will be in residence and together she and I could come up with some great ideas, both decoration and costume wise!