Sunday, July 29, 2007

Varicella and Voldemort

Varicella Zoster sounds like the surname of some evil foreign count, doesn’t it?

Also known as chickenpox, the disease has worked its deliberate way through our younger set of children and on Saturday, Aidan came down with it. We were hoping he wouldn’t, since he had received a targeted immunoglobulin injection when we first found out Sean (at 14, the oldest of the “younger set”) had gotten the virus.

And, as we’ve experienced in the past, Saturday at 6 am is not the best time of the week to mobilize two specialty teams at two different hospitals and get them to work together to make a workable plan. Thus, we spent Saturday morning in suspended animation (suspended because we couldn’t make progress; animation because we stayed on the phone trying, and the off-phone times planning and packing and speculating).

Finally at about noon, the two teams (pediatric liver transplant team at the big-city medical center and GI team at the regional children’s hospital) communicated a plan to us, so Aidan ended up at the regional hospital — an hour’s drive away instead of four, so a better solution, from our point of view. He needs to be hospitalized to receive an intravenous antiviral drug, but when he is on the upward course of the virus, he can go home on an oral medication. That could be anywhere from 3 to 10 days.

I just looked back on the archives and realized that I haven’t even mentioned the evil count and his plague on this blog, yet. I wrote about it here, though.

Harry Potter has been an ongoing subtheme in our house’s activities. My daughter has been keeping a low profile on the internet, because she is afraid she will glimpse a spoiler by accident. Finally she ordered the book at Amazon because our library system had 562 requests already in place. Then she nobly let three of her brothers read it before she read it herself. The book came on Friday. First Brendan was the only clued-in one, then Sean joined the cognoscenti, and now Kieron has become one of the group.

Meanwhile, Clare had been reading a whole pile of analysis and speculation books on the HP series from the library. This is an easy, painless and lively way to get some basic literary analysis in. Discussions and sub-creations (where the kids make up their own versions of the endings, usually in parody) have provided further enrichment. Clare amused herself by narrating all the speculations from the “What will happen in HP7?” book from the library to Brendan, who could then laugh sardonically and mysteriously and not give any clues as to whether the guesses were on target or not.

Even Kevin is reading the first two books of the series while he is parked at the hospital with Aidan. He had not read them before but wants to see what all the fuss is about (he’s watched the movies with the kids though).

I will be SOO happy if Aidan continues to do as well as he’s doing (he’s drinking buckets of Sprite and watching Pokemon videos on his little hospital bed). Then we’ll be all done with this invasion of the evil VZ minions.

I notice every time Aidan comes down with something, Kevin and I both turn to major research mode and suddenly know everything there is to be found about the problem and all its possible treatments. This is why I don’t think it’s enough in education to give the children an informational overview. You want to have enough “cultural literacy” to know where to look for things and how to decide if what you’ve found is credible or not; you want to be able to dig up things that you need to know quickly and thoroughly because it has come up in your life; you want to have some areas where you’ve immersed yourself in knowledge just because you love it and it is delightful; and you want to have some areas where you’ve had to work through something carefully and analytically even if it gets difficult sometimes (which is my rationale for required Latin and math and a few other requirements through the years).

Whew, I got something about educational philosophy into this entry, even though I had to drag it in backwards.

Aidan at Hospital