Thursday, December 17, 2009

Don't drink and drive

I know there's a zero tolerance policy in the Czech Republic when it comes to driving and alcohol. Zero as, zero is the only acceptable BAC there is... and there are no reprieves or additional chances. I could be wrong, but it's my understanding that if you get caught with any alcohol in your system while driving you lose your license.... for life.

Last year in California there were 1,198 alcohol related fatalities. In the Czech Republic, between January and November of this year (2009) there have been 83 - more than the total number from 2008. OK, so in California we have three times the population - but if you do the math, well the figures still don't match. We are pulling over and arresting and suspending licenses for repeat offenders... in my community a guy just got his 13th DUI... and today's paper talks about someone who got sentenced after his 5th. This 'lose your license for life' thing may sound extreme, but it also sounds like it would be a rather more effective deterrent. However - not effective enough for the Czech it seems. They've implemented a new policy.

Every person who is pulled over, for any and every reason, will have their breath tested for alcohol. Each and every single one of them... and now, they don't even need to breathe in a tube - there's a a new test that will check their BAC while they have a regular conversation with the officer. The technology exists. You over on the other side of the pond should start paying attention... if our government ever decides to start getting serious about drunk driving (drink driving they call it here, cause all you need is just a little drink) the road has been paved - and quite effectively.

Check out the article right HERE if you're interested.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

things from home....

Here is a rather comprehensive list of things I'd miss and/or would love from home:

Jelly Bellies - bubblegum, cotton candy, watermelon, lemon-lime... just send me some jelly bellies please
slippers - furry woolly ones (size 9 - we're both a 9 but she needs them and I have some old ones that are still warm if not quite cozy)
socks - warm ones but not really thick ones, SmartWool kinda stuff
quality belts - for each of us.... the ones we've found here sorta fall apart (?) why does that happen I don't know, but there's an inner lining that likes to detach and then it's very difficult to use the belt
Books - specifically, The Book of Joby and stuff by Anne Bishop and Haruki Murakami (we have the Black Jewels Trilogy and the Wind-up Bird Chronicles) - there are more authors Coral's into but I have to find my list
Itunes cards - inspiration for new music is a bit harder to come by, and we lost most of our stuff when our laptop died a few months ago... so basically - music.
twin sheets - quality twin sheets, cotton, not jersey and high thread count
pictures of you - if you're reading this then we probably (?) know you and would like to have a photo of you for our wall... get it to my Mom and she'll get it to me
recipes - years ago I made a recipe book for someone I love very much, compiled of recipes from people who love her... so, if I've ever shared a meal with you, or a drink, or a laugh or a smile... send me a recipe and I'll put it in my own personal recipe book (I need your picture for this too - or pictures illustrating any difficult steps... or drawings if you're in to that, those work too)
postcards - send us picture postcards for our wall
the rug my grandma made me - i had set it aside to bring later and i haven't been back to get it... i'd really like to have it.
bumble and bumble products - Tonic and De-Frizz
Sonoma Taco Shop - their chips and salsas. I know they're only sold fresh in the restaurant, but I really do miss their chips and salsa.
Gillette Venus razor blades OK honestly, it's not like they don't sell them here, it's just that they're ridiculously expensive!!! It's something like $25USD for a pack of four! I can't easily reconcile spending that much on a razor blades! It's completely out of proportion with everything else... and, yes, I've tried other razors - blades and disposables - and have yet to find one that is an adequate substitute... and my legs are screaming at me for the experiments. Coral agrees with me on this one - she doesn't like any other blade either.

pediatric neurologist

If you're in the Czech Republic, ideally in Prague, I'd love a referral to an English speaking pediatric neurologist. The one we encountered today was so rude, dismissive, and uninterested in both my child and her records - his responses were irrelevant and indicative of a preconceived notion that had no bearing on the situation in front of him. After quite specifically not naming him or the medical center he was affiliated with, but relaying my experience to another parent, she was able to identify him based upon his routine speech - different parents, different patients, same responses that were not pertinent to either situation or in fact to any physician's office.

The staff had scheduled our appointment, suggested the date and time, then refused to acknowledge we were should be there, insisting that I had not contacted them, and that no emails had been exchanged confirming our appointment nor with the follow-up information. That was the high point of our experience today. I've had plenty of experience with arrogant doctors, but this was a different level. I wanted to walk out within the first 5 minutes but was so desperate for advice from this specialist we sat through another 22 minutes or so. Twenty-seven minutes is not enough time to grasp a situation for anyone when they don't listen to the answers to the questions they ask, and not enough time when there are pages of relevant medical charts they've chosen not to make themselves familiar with.

She is sleeping right now, and will head back to school in the morning. Aspects of that are great. Other things aren't so much. I'll let you know how that goes.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

the headache continues: part deux

There are moments I wish I wasn't a single parent... it's never out of frustration with my kid or the juggling of schedules or things like that, it's when I feel fear or anxiety for my daughter. I wish I had that other parent/partner to bounce my emotions off of, to offer up a different perspective, to help me slow down and relax or to allow me a moment to release all this pent up stuff with someone supportive who feels as deeply about her as I do. Sometimes I wish I had that freedom.

As she never reads this I can write it here, and you can have a glimpse of what's going on... most of you (assuming if you're still reading you know us) know that she had a pretty bad concussion a few years back... if you follow this blog you know she fell a few weeks ago. Now, it seems, that fall rattled her brain enough to bring back some of those same concussion symptoms. She's experienced increasing headaches, sleepiness, dizziness, blurry vision, screwy literal interpretations, and forgetting the step by step stuff that's involved in short-hand speech (do the dishes means more than just wash the plates - solely the plates). We're back to writing everything down and she gets to read it when she wakes up about 1PM (or 13:00 depending on how you tell time). It's about 6 in the evening (18:00) and even though she slept all night, after days full of naps, she's napping again. Already.

Sometimes it's scary seeing her fall back in to that lack of understanding and physical pain... other times it's the frustration that is overwhelming - seeing her hurting or experiencing her own concerns about the situation. She's out of school for a bit while her brain rests, once again she's not allowed to read or do any school work until things are a bit better and her head is (nearly) headache free. Hopefully that will be very, very soon. In the meantime, if you care to, please write her or skype her or whatever it is you do to keep in touch with her - she's dreadfully bored when she's awake... so far she's watched the Matrix movies and is now on Star Wars (watching them in chronological order of their release). If you have suggestions for tv shows or movies that'd be great... as they require less brain activity than sleeping it's the one thing she can actively do to help move along her recovery. Brain injury - probably the only time the doctor will tell you to go be a couch potato.