The Cran[ial] Kick

The Headsmart campaign for early diagnosis in children has raised awareness of the specific symptoms of brain tumours to look out for in babies, children and teens. It has helped to reduce the average diagnosis time for children from 13 weeks to 6.5 weeks. The campaign is being relaunched in a bid to reduce this further to 4 weeks.

I missed an opportunity in my previous post to help you visualise the upwards leg- and foot-lift start to seizures that I tried to describe. I am someone who (proudly) knows the meaning of “wax on, wax off” (and who obviously – at least in my puntastic mind – frequently says in response to the word “croissant”, the lesser-known Franglish word “croissoff”). I am disappointed in myself for missing a visual analogy but even more disappointed that it was from an iconic scene in one of the movies that I watched most in the 1980s!

It is, of course, a scene from The Karate Kid and, in particular, the way Daniel-san lifts his left foot and leg to get into the starting position for his winning “Crane Kick”. My lift was involuntary; I didn’t raise my arms to adopt the correct starting position (although I promise to try to remember to do it if it happens again while I’m standing up); and, I didn’t (voluntarily or otherwise) actually jump up and swing my other leg through to kick something or someone in such a stylish and effective manner (I’m not sure I would have been able to pull off such a move before the Squatter moved into my skull, so there is no chance that I’ll manage it now!). Those minor details aside, it’s the perfect analogy….

For those of you who have no idea what I’m going on about (and for those of you who know and would like to relive a bit of that 80s’ movie magic), see here. The few seconds that could tenuously (at best) be described as analogous to my foot and leg lift-offs starts about 45 seconds in but, hey, why not just sit back and savour the whole clip? It’s only 67 seconds long.

“Ge’doon, Ge’doon Ge’doon! I am Doon!”*

On a positive note, I had a seizure-free weekend: the foot and leg stayed doon, as it has done so far today. This has helped me recover some of the movement, confidence and energy that I lost with those multiple seizures on Thursday and Friday. In turn, and even more positively, this allowed me to sit at the dining table with both kids (first, for tea, and, secondly, for playdough time: regarding the latter, Leo has just about caught up with my artistic talents). I also played with them in and on our bed and read stories sitting in the living room.

Yesterday, I tentatively walked a short distance up the street and back with two carers in tow. Beforehand, I felt good, it was sunny outside and I thought, if I don’t do it now, I might start doubting whether I am willing to take a risk of the Cranial Kick happening again, even with carers to catch me if I fall. In other words, I got back on that figurative horse and walked outside for the first time since the seizures kicked off on Thursday afternoon. One can increase success by lowering expectations so it was a roaring success going by my non-Cranial Kick-off activities both during the walk and for the rest of the day. I even enjoyed some time in the living room chatting with Ma, Pa and Graham last night after the kids had gone to bed before quitting while I was ahead and coming to bed early.

Today has been a seemingly healthy mixture of resting and mild activity. As always on a Monday, the kids were at nursery so in between resting and eating, Graham and I took a brief turn about the block** to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. Earlier this evening my “good and relatively energetic time” happily coincided with the kids returning from nursery so we again had dinner at the table as a family, fun bath times, happy dancing and twirling times (J, G and L, not me!) and then a story or three for Jennifer while Graham put Leo to bed. A good day full of special moments. If I seem to be repeating myself with how precious these times are with my family, it’s because I am! I try to treasure every moment because I hate it when I’m too tired or immobile to spend any real time with them.

By the way, Graham went to see the doctor this afternoon after feeling pain around his elbow over the last few weeks. It’s really caused him to wince during the last week. I knew it must be painful when Graham made himself a doctor’s appointment at only my third suggestion and not the three-thousandth that it usually takes. The doctor said that he has Tennis Elbow (which Graham had guessed might be the case). Attention-seeker.


It turns out that the “OJ: Made in America” documentary wasn’t as long as I had guesstimated. It was approximately seven and a half hours instead of the 12 I had expected.*** I therefore finished it last night and would recommend it. As the title suggests, it’s about more than OJ; it weaves in his story with a narrative of civil rights campaigns (which OJ didn’t want anything to do with) and police controversies leading up to the Rodney King beating, acquittal and subsequent riots in particular. It’s available in the UK on the BBC iplayer for the next couple of weeks for those of you who are interested!

Memories Monday

Here’s a direct link (in my head) from OJ Simpson to Mr Men.

Any long documentary series reminds me of the epic and amazing Ken Burns documentary for PBS about the American Civil War. That really is about 12 hours long. I recorded it over Christmas in 2012 while I was on annual leave that rolled seamlessly into the start of my maternity leave. Jennifer was due on 21 January so, when Graham went back to work after Christmas, I happily sat in my rocking chair with my rocking stool, rocking it up to the max by watching the documentary while simultaneously (wait for it) cross-stitching a Mr Men and Little Miss alphabet for the impending baby.

I had finished watching all of the documentary by the time Jennifer came into our world on 9 January. I still maintain that I would have finished the cross-stitch too if she had not been so early! Nevertheless, all’s well that ends well and I finished it by her first birthday:



*Please consult a Geordie (or a Geordie dictionary if you are unfortunate not to have a Geordie nearby) if you are unsure what this means. A point for anyone who can name the advert my sub-title came from; a bonus point for anyone who can re-enact it word for word (as me and my brother used to do!).
**I walked a very short distance before G did all of the turning (and pushing) of my wheelchair.
***The first two parts were just over three hours and I thought there were four parts instead of just the 90-minute third part.


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