Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Neb 'em! may have seen that we have good news and Gavin doesn't have croup, though I do feel sorry for the kid at our daycare that is sick with croup. Our physician said that we should be using a nebulizer to help open up his airway because Gavin has been wheezing and trying to catch his breath. Poor guy...we didn't know and couldn't tell he'd been wheezing, but we also don't own a stethoscope to be able to listen that well. It was also interesting to hear Gavin's physician say that pediatricians disagree on whether or not a child under the age of two can be "diagnosed" with bronchitis. Not sure if it's because they're still developing and it is closer to asthma, which he doesn't have, or what the specifics are. Even though I was intellectually curious, we went to the doctor to treat Gavin. So if you have insight into this, I'd love to know!

So now Jackie and I are proud owners of a nebulizer machine. It requires a little bit of assembly coming out of the box, but not bad overall. Some tubing, a mask, a microwaveable sterilization bag, a few viles of the solution, and the machine itself. The treatments take about 10-15 minutes and have turned out to be actually quite soothing for Gavin. Jackie and I have each given Gavin treatments, in addition to a few treatments at daycare (after obtaining a doctor note giving them permission to treat him) and found it best to be holding Gavin on our lap with his back to our chest, rocking back and forth and singing songs. We're supposed to give him treatments every 4-6 hours as needed over the next week and a half. Though I'm up writing this post because I can't sleep (~2:30am), we haven't had to give Gavin a treatment in the middle of the night (knock on wood).

Finally, I can't go without sharing a funny photo. Gavin loves when bath time rolls around in the evening, stops whatever he's doing in his play area and crawls as fast as he can (not walking on his own yet) to the bathroom. He pulls himself up to the tub to see the water filling, then moves along the toilet to the toilet paper holder, and just recently learned he can move the silver lever on the toilet and flush. Maybe as my Mom suggested, we could start potty training :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sick baby :(

Well, just when Jackie and I thought Gavin was on the mend he took a turn for the worse yesterday evening. He coughed and coughed, and at one point, we thought he spit up blood. Now not being so sleep deprived I think it may have been ibuprofen we gave him yesterday evening. Jackie and I are crossing our fingers that we'll get some firm treatment plans from our pediatrician today. We went last week Monday and were told that it was a cough, but we've come to find that a child at our daycare was diagnosed with croup! Note that I tried to read about croup from the American Academy of Pediatrics website but found that you have to pay over $200 to access their materials. So, I looked at WebMD instead and found some helpful information.

So, keep your fingers crossed and say a prayer that we have a diagnosis and a treatment plan to get our little boy feeling better.

Here's a video of Gavin earlier today rolling around the basement in a fort in his playroom. Makes me want to built a fort and camp out in our living room!

Monday, December 12, 2011

The privilege of being called dada!

What a privilege it is to be a parent. I've been overjoyed each and every day when I have the chance to hold my son, to watch him put his fingers up to my hair and pull at my curls, and to watch him be brave and take steps towards me without assistance. I absolutely love when his smile is from ear to ear when he sees me walk through the door at daycare. But most of all, I love him as Jesus loves me, proud, and unceasingly.

Happy baptismal birthday Gavin! You've gone through so many changes and so much growth. I look forward to many more years of being your Dada :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Last night in St. Louis

I've had a great time at ASAE over the last two days connecting with old friends, making new connections, and learning new information. I've really enjoyed the conversations this year about innovation and engagement. I hope to incorporate some of these ideas back home.

Tomorrow I'm headed home to my wonderful family! I can't wait to see my wonderful wife, Jackie and my 10 1/2 month old son, Gavin.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Dust me off!

Wow, it's been a long time since I've written this blog, and a lot has happened since then. For most of it, you can read our family blog, which is mainly written by my wife. I hope to be inspired and courageous enough to blog and share my thoughts with whoever is interested enough to read and respond.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My experiences in Chennai, India

In just seven short days I traveled over 18,000 miles roundtrip to Chennai, India from MSP (18,289 to be exact). I love that the Delta planes and Air France have the TV monitors in the back of every seat with the GPS maps. This is one of my favorite pictures!

My association was invited by the Sri Ramachandra Medical Centre to provide training to Indian Neurologists on how to incorporate evidence-based concepts into their daily medical practice. Though the program is only offered to neurology residency program directors in the United States at this time, you can learn more about the program at this link.

So it's no exaggeration that life in the United States and life in India is quite different. Take the traffic for example. Here you see three lanes on the road, yet I've seen over 60 motorcycles jammed in between dozens of cars, a few pedestrians, and some public transit buses. Though the roads are dirty, overcrowded, filled with trash, and busy all the time, there are relatively few accidents. I will even venture to say that the drivers in India are the most attentive drivers that I've ever experienced. You'll see that everyone is centimeters from everyone and completely aware of their surroundings.

Another difference is the food. American food can't even compare to the spices that Indians use in their cuisine. Though I avoided fresh fruit, salads, uncooked vegetables, and meat for health, sanitary and safety reasons, I enjoyed many delicious meals. See some of the pictures below.

If it's one thing that I learned about the culture is that the Indians are a thankful and ingratiating people. There were at least three points in the conference where official ceremonies and thanks were offered to me, my co-worker, and our physicians. It was a wonderful experience to share this thanks and kindness, not to mention the honors, accolades, and gifts.

As you might expect, I didn't have much time to see and experience the country outside of our resort since this was a seven day trip. But what I did see was breathtaking and awe-inspiring. Immediately after the conference ended and goodbyes were shared, I jumped into a hotel car and rode off to St. Thomas' Basilica and drove around the city.

Then our final day included a whirlwind tour of Mahalabra seeing temples and carvings honoring the Hindu religion. Many of these carvings were made over two generations of craftsmen and out of single stones of granite over 1,400 years ago.

You'll also see in this next photo that it was raining, a lot! December is the tail end of monsoon season in India and we were not exempt from it this time. Streets and parking lots were flooded, water ran all over the side walks and walkways, and filled parking lots. Within a 30 minute period, I was soaked from head to toe, pants completely soaked, socks and shoes drenched from walking through standing water, but still determined to finish the tour. Our final tourist destination was the shone temple. Seven temples were buried under water for hundreds of years since a monsoon. However, one temple appeared after some water receded, so rocks and stones were used to build a retaining wall to keep it from going under.

This truly was a trip of a lifetime and something I hope you are able to experience. I will admit that India wasn't on my top 10 places in the world to travel, but after experiencing this, I hope I have the opportunity to return and take my family with me. If you do go, I have the following advice to share.
  • Change currency before you get to the country. I tried twice in the MSP and Paris airports but was unsuccessful. By the time I landed in Mumbai I was so tired I wanted to grab my bags and get to the hotel for a few hours to refresh before the last leg of the trip. This caused much frustration to the bag handlers and cab drivers, and also caused me delays when I did exchange the currency. Also let your credit card company know if you're traveling internationally. My Visa card was denied, assumingly because I didn't let them know. However, I was able to get rupees from an ATM and use my work credit card (MasterCard) without problems.
  • Get your immunizations and get mosquito repellent with DEET. I got my shots for Hepatitis A, malaria, and typhoid a week before I went and I'm glad I did. Also get the medication to take in the event you get travelers diarrhea. I can't imagine being ill in a foreign country and requiring medical attention or being laid up for a few days, especially on a plane. I almost didn't get the immunizations since I was only there for 5 days but looking back, I'm glad I did.
  • Everyone speaks and understands English at varying levels. If possible, have a translator with you, preferably someone that you know and trust, or a recommendation from your hotel. In the event that you get blank stares when you ask questions they will come in handy. And when you ask questions, keep them short and ask one question, not a string of them.
  • Be very careful what you eat and drink. It was recommended by my US immunization clinic that you be careful about eating meat, fresh fruit and vegetables (you don't know if it has been washed), and what you drink. I only drank bottled water, brushed my teeth with bottled water, ate cooked vegetables and food, didn't eat anything at room temperature, and still got a flavor for the cuisine. Another tip is that you can ask the waitstaff or chef to make your food less spicy, if you can't take the heat; they won't be offended. I ordered a curry the first day I was in the hotel and cried for about 30 minutes. Don't get me wrong, it was delicious, but hot on the tongue.
  • Be assertive with the bag handlers, attendants, and merchants. I realize there is a fine line between being assertive and being rude, especially when it comes to money. I have some guilt peddling with the merchants for deals (the exchange rate between USD and rupees changed daily but hovered somewhere between 42-45 rupees per $1 USD), but was reassured by our driver that they expect it and enjoy the bartering and conversation with the foreigners. When you're taking your bags from the airport to your car and to your hotel, don't let them out of your sight. Push your own cart and ensure that everything is in your possession. It's common sense for seasoned travelers but it's hard to push away a persistent handler who wants to help you. However, it's hard to get them away without a tip.
  • Finally, bring a video camera and capture the culture and the spontaneous moments. I've provided a video of traffic congestion but also got the sounds of the bikes, cars, buses, people, and horn honking. Within minutes of getting into our car, all my senses were immediately on high alert and taking everything in.
I hope that someday you have the opportunity to travel to India and experience the culture and everything this country has to offer. I hope to go again in the future and bring my wife and son along to share these amazing experiences. Dahn ya vad!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I'm headed to India!

It's been awhile since I've blogged, mainly due to a lack of time since my son, Gavin Denison Getchius, was born on September 20. It's been such a wonderful experience to be a father. I look forward to all the milestones ahead in life in raising children.

Today's blog is short and sweet, like my trip to Chennai, India, for work. I leave today and return to MSP on December 7. Here are a few tips for packing my bag. True to form, I'm not going to check any luggage, other than some materials I'm bringing for the conference which saved my company a few hundred dollars since I can check two bags for free on Delta. So how do I travel internationally? With a carry-on suitcase and a backpack.

Here's what's inside my carry-on suitcase:
  • 8 sets of undergarments (t-shirts, socks, underwear)
  • 5 polo shirts
  • 4 t-shirts
  • 4 long sleeve button down dress shirts and four pairs of slacks
  • 3 neckties
  • 1 pair of tennis shoes
  • 1 pair of gym shorts
  • Eye glasses, contact solution, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, mosquito repellent (with DEET) (all less than 3oz, of course)
Since my previous trip to Finland in late 2008, I've packed a little smarter with my airplane entertainment and electronics. The technology available to consumers and on the planes has also advanced. Here's what's in my backpack:
  • International power converter
  • Apple headphones
  • Noise cancelling headphones
  • Passport, immunization card, and VISA
  • Flight itinerary, hotel confirmations
  • Digital camera
  • Video camera
  • iPod
  • iPad
  • Notepad
  • Two books
I can't wait to blog and share my experiences with everyone. Bon voyage!!!