bookmark_borderFailed countries

Welcome in Pakistan
Originally uploaded by ornellab.

I’m just watching a press conference with Benazir Bhutto’s husband and son. It’s been decided to make the latter party leader after his mother.

To me, this is yet another indication that Pakistan is a failed country. Surely a 19-year-old university student is not the most qualified person to attempt to gain power in a large country with a huge army?

I read an article a few months ago (alas, I can’t find the link) that argued that Pakistan is functioning so badly because it was founded on a religious basis (as the muslim part of India), without any ethnic, linguistic, historical or ideological foundations, which means that people can’t agree on anything apart from keeping the country muslim.

It’s a bit like most African countries, which typically have borders that ignore to all linguistic and ethnic divisions. I often wonder whether it would be better to redraw the map of Africa to make the countries more homogeneous. Only problem is nobody would have the authority to do that.

In the case of Pakistan, I don’t even have a clue how it could be fixed. Should the country be split up into smaller countries (Punjab, Balochistan, Sindh and Kashmir, for instance)? Or would it be better for all of Pakistan to rejoin India?

bookmark_borderHvem ligner hun?

Hvem ligner Anna?

Mange siger, hun ligner mig, andre, at hun ligner sin mor, og andre forslag har inkluderet min mor, Phyllis’ mor, min far, min søster, Ursula, Léon, Charlotte og Marcel.

Her er nogle babybilleder af Anna, mig, min søster og Phyllis, så kan I selv vurdere, hvem hun p.t. ligner mest.

bookmark_borderHearing test

Hearing test
Originally uploaded by viralbus

Anna had her hearing tested when she was one day old.

They mounted electrodes on her head and neck, put on some fancy headphones and then played noises and measured through the electrodes whether her brain registered them. She was asleep half the time, but it still worked fine (and her hearing was just fine, by the way).

I think it’s so much better to measure it electronically and at an early age. In Denmark, they seemingly still do it the old-fashioned way, and it’s just not nearly as precise.

For instance, what happened when my niece Ursula had her hearing test at eight months was this: The nurse stood behind her and made a noise to the left. Ursula turned her head and looked at her. She then made a similar noise to the right, but this time Ursula had figured out what was happening, so she didn’t bother doing looking, and the nurse therefore thought she was deaf in her right ear. It took weeks till she got a proper test and established that their was nothing wrong with her hearing in the first instance.

bookmark_borderFive minutes after birth

I took this wee video clip five minutes after Anna Bridget was born:

I’ve had some problems uploading videos to YouTube from the new Sony HDD camcorder my parents gave us because of the file sizes and the 16:9 format, but I found some useful advice here – use mencoder and the following options:

mencoder infile.mpg -o outfile.avi \
-ovc lavc -oac mp3lame \
-vf-add kerndeint \
-vf-add hqdn3d \
-vf-add unsharp=cl:3x3:1 \
-vf-add scale=320:180,expand=320:240 -ofps 30 \
-lavcopts vhq:vcodec=mpeg4:vrc_buf_size=1835:vrc_maxrate=8000:vbitrate=8000:v4mv:aspect=4/3:trell:cbp \
-ffourcc XVID

bookmark_borderTriage complacency

Poster for Triage
Originally uploaded by RobJenga

When Phyllis and I went to the hospital after the waters broke, we naturally had to go to triage in the first instance – it’s their job to check the stage of labour and send people home or to the delivery suites as appropriate.

The midwife there gave Phyllis an internal examination shortly after 2am and said she was only between one and two cm dilated, so she was wondering whether to send her home till the morning. Phyllis persuaded her to let her stay, but she would only put her up in the normal ward, and she told me to either go home or wait in the reception.

Fortunately, I chose the latter, since I had to wait there for less than an hour before another midwife got me, saying that Phyllis was now six to seven cm dilated (birth starts at ten).

I thus went to the delivery suite with her for the birth that happened less than an hour later, so everything was well, but I’m getting angry at the thought that I could so easily have missed birth if I had listened to the silly triage midwife!

Of course most births happen more slowly, but she should know that it varies wildly and not make decisions that could have horrible effects. In fact, although I didn’t suffer this time, Phyllis had to suffer horrible contractions alone in a ward not designed for labour, and if she hadn’t had the sense to call a midwife soon after she got there, she would probably have given birth alone in a normal bed.

I really think the triage midwife should have looked at how Phyllis looked and not just at her measurements, and she should have given her an extra internal after an hour to check progress before sending her to the other ward.

If she always performs her job like that, no wonder that some mothers give birth in supermarkets and traffic jams!


Anna Bridget
Originally uploaded by viralbus

On 19 December 2007, at 4.24 a.m., Phyllis and I had a daughter: Anna Bridget Buchanan-Widmann. She is beautiful, weighs 3400 g and is 50 cm long.

Everything went well, but really fast: Phyllis woke me up at 1 a.m., we arrived at the Queen Mum’s at 2 a.m., at 2.45 I was asked to wait in the reception (or go home) because birth wasn’t imminent, at 3.45 they told me to return as birth was about to start, at 4.24 I could see the crown of the head, and less than a minute later she was outside and I could cut the cord.

I’ve uploaded some photos.

It’ll be interesting to find out what she’ll call me – far (Danish for “father”), daddy or Thomas (like her siblings).