Category Archives: Health

The Milk Maid

The Milk Maid

In honour of World Breastfeeding Week, here is my #brelfie! I’ve fed her at home, at other people’s homes such as friends and family, at the tennis court, at a cafe, at church and now also online.

I’m not one of those mums. You know, the stereotype white middle class mum who wants to do it ‘all natural’, breastfeeds, wears her baby like it’s a cult thing, doesn’t vaccinate, introduces solids a la Rapley and basically makes a big deal out of everything whilst trying to convince everyone and -perhaps mainly- herself that her exhausting way of parenting is the way to do it perfectly. After all, there’s a chance she gave up her career for this. If that’s how she wants to do it, all peace to her. After all, she probably didn’t choose her perfectionism, just like I didn’t choose my ADHD. My only objection is that this fictional mother (with a grain of truth) tends to be part of the mum wars. (Check this video).

I am white middle class-ish, I do breastfeed, I do baby wear (because it’s fun and easy), I do vaccinate and while BB will be learning to eat the old fashioned mushy mushy way, it’s probably good for her to try and chew on a carrot from time to time. And I have muddled in mum wars, mainly to point out that there’s no such thing as the perfect way to raise your child. And because I’m impulsive and say things when I probably should just shut up. But there’s one thing I do want to ‘preach’ -also as a professional-… and that is breastfeeding.

It really wasn’t much of a ‘choice’. I never even considered formula. Babies drink breast milk, that’s just the way it should be. Formula is life saving stuff for babies whose mums can not breastfeed. But I see absolutely no valid reason for me to give my child a somewhat inferior substitute if I can give her the real thing. It doesn’t matter if we don’t live in a developing country. It doesn’t matter if there’s research stating that it doesn’t matter that much… My objection to almost every article I’ve seen is that the breastfed group was also receiving formula under the age of 2..

But research and stuff is one thing.

Practice is the other.
So this is my experience after almost 5 months of breastfeeding with a difficult start.

  •  When she was 3 weeks old, I got sick. Something flu-like. Had she gotten sick as well she would probably have ended up in hospital. I was so worried! But nothing. She got the antibodies as I was making them.
  • Just a few weeks ago the other baby at her minder had a cold for a full two weeks. I figured BB would be sniffling soon. She was. It lasted a full day and a half, and wasn’t even bad enough to give her trouble breathing or drinking. She was just fussy and drooly.
  • She sleeps through the night usually. But when she doesn’t, I am forever grateful for not having to get up and make a bottle. I simply pick her up, put her next to me, support my back with a pillow and snooze until she’s done. Yes. That’s right. I sleep while feeding her.
  • I’m just going to say it again: I can feed her in my sleep. I am a very rested mum!
  • She doesn’t like drinking from a bottle. She can, but she won’t sometimes. She knows better, that’s all! No better place for a baby than their mum’s breast.
  • It’s the most natural thing in the world.
  • It’s a very loving act. Even the bible mentions nursing mothers as a comparison to God’s love. I mean, wow.
  • As long as she’s being nursed, I don’t have to worry about her nutrition. She takes care of that herself. I don’t have to worry about getting more time between feeds, I don’t have to worry about over feeding her… and with her bottle issues I don’t have to worry about that either because she can just catch up in the evening when I’m home. When she starts solids, I don’t have to worry about her eating enough either.
  • It’s easy, and I always have a hand free to read or play with my phone. And I needn’t even clean up.
  • It’s quick, after the first few months. Takes me 5-10 minutes unless she’s just suckling to calm herself down. Which, in itself, is also useful since she thinks dummies are chew toys.
  • I get a boost of feel-good hormones. Why would anyone pass on that?
  • You know those evenings with a very young baby? Bottle babies have hours in which they just cry. Breastfed babies can cluster feed. I used to hate cluster feeding time, but I am sure I’d hate having to deal with a crying baby even more.
  • It’s amazing to see how much she’s grown, and my body was fully responsible for that.
  • I can’t forget my boobs. I can forget my keys, my purse, her nappies, wipes, clean clothes, entire nappy bag, parts of my breast pump, bottles… possible even her… but I can’t forget to bring along two of my organs.
  • Actually, my nr 1 tip for future mums with ADHD would be to breastfeed. You just have to respond to your baby, no planning involved. Nothing you can forget.
  • The only down side is pumping at work…
  • …and it takes some time to figure it out. Just like everything does if you have a baby.
  • Edited to add: those moments when you can’t figure out what is wrong but the boob seems to fix it…

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to feed the baby!




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Third Trimester

So we’ve reached 33 weeks of pregnancy. I’m 13 kilo’s heavier, tire halfway through what I’d normally be able to do, and can still wear my engagement ring. I’d want to post more often, but work and everything, you know.

The ring, by the way, is not entirely accurate any more. TDH and I got married on January 5th, without a wedding. We went to the town hall (of another town) at 9:15 in the morning, me wearing a black pregnancy number, and got married for free. Don’t worry, there will be a party. I suppose that makes me Mrs Darling-Dark Handsome. I didn’t think that one through when I came up with the nicknames.

The Busy Baby is still alive and kicking and growing so fast now. She’s head down and tends to drop in, only to un-drop a few days later. You’d think I’d have some extra space when she drops… but you haven’t met my daughter. Whenever there is some extra space, she uses it to stretch her little legs a bit. I’m pretty sure she has my endless legs!

My maternity leave starts in a week and I am looking forward to it. Work is getting exhausting and I am beginning to feel out of place. I just want to go home and make our little nest. Our messy home is irritating me, and I want to search for the ‘perfect’ stuff for my little lady. Baby’s room isn’t really done yet, but we have a bed so that counts. We also have about 100 nappies… all gifted. I didn’t think this part of pregnancy would actually happen to me!

Otherwise I am doing well. The midwife was surprised to see how well I was holding up, given my history, she even called me a ‘power lady’. Perhaps I am just good at this, perhaps I have been through enough to be able to handle this. Perhaps you really do come out stronger? My mood is actually stable and in general I feel good. Some things are actually better now than during my second trimester: I am only doing day shifts which has a great effect on my sleep quality and my alertness, I am actually feeling some of my familiar restlessness again. I’m walking easier now, I suppose my stretchy joints and muscles gave their problems early enough in pregnancy to allow for my body and my muscles to adapt and get stronger. Even my reflux isn’t as bad as it was.

Of course, some things are worse than they were: my belly is pretty big! The floor is getting further away every day and that doesn’t combine too well with pregnancy related clumsiness! Seriously, I’ve dropped my phone perhaps once or twice before pregnancy. Now it gets dropped about daily! Shoes are getting harder to put on too… And sleeping is sometimes a bit challenging. I wake up several times each night, but so far so good.

Another up side of pregnancy: most pregnant women suffer from pregnancy brain…. with me I’m not sure if it’s pregnancy or ADHD but it’s not worse than I normally am! Except people can’t tell the difference and for once in my life I am ‘normal’! (And that strong nesting drive is sort of helping me focus…)

TDH is being very caring, but impatient for his little princess to arrive. He is, like many dads, worrying about money and providing. He wants his business to thrive so he can provide. It’s just very interesting to see how this works: the initial plan was for me to provide and him to be the primary caregiver, but as it is at the moment we’ll be working equal hours. He is also very much in love with BB’s crib mobile… but doesn’t understand my drive to want to make everything pretty.

That drive is rather simple. Style and creativity is a part of who I am, and I don’t feel like myself in all of this. I know motherhood changes you, but I want to make things look good, and I want to look good and I want to make the baby look good because it makes me feel more ‘home’. I need that ‘X factor’. I miss that part of me. And the mismatching nappy bag and pram irritates me.



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Posted by on January 23, 2016 in ADHD in women, adult ADHD, Busy Baby, Health


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Dear pharmacy 

Dear pharmacy 

I am writing you this letter in response to recent and less recent events. Somewhere in January I had a prescription for a refill for my asthma and ADHD meds. I had enough of both the atrovent and the Q-var, but I was going through some kind of infection which reminded me to order the meds. They are chronic meds for a chronic condition and my GP signed the refill prescriptions.

You then decided to not give me the Q-var as your system said I had enough still for about a month and a half. I had sent TDH to pick up the meds, because he had more time and knows how much I hate spending my free time in the pharmacy. You gave me a tiny piece of paper with the prescription on it, so I can pick it up later. 

Because time is a more logical way to organise things by than association? 

You see, the problem is -and you could be aware of it considering the other prescription was for methylphenidate- I am wired in the ADHD way. 

Meaning, in this particular setting, that I lost the tiny piece of paper, have already underused the Q-var in order to avoid an extra trip to the pharmacy, and just overturned my entire apartment trying to find it. It also means that I got very irritated about this twice: once because my plan didn’t work out and today because it didn’t work out even more. Something that should have been very simple: have an extra aerosol so I can keep on properly treating my asthma, now became complicated. 

I do understand that you monitor prescription refills to prevent abuse and wasting of public funding (not that the public is funding my meds as it all ends up being paid by me, they call it a mandatory deductible in this country). 

I just wish you could understand that it’s also my health and my spare time we’re talking about here, and it costs me more effort than average to manage these things. I need a system to work. I am definitely not going to abuse an inhaler, and at most I may lose it. So please cut me some crap and just fill the prescription next time!!

When I got to the pharmacy today, really needing my inhaler because I turn out to have developed a new allergy, I was told to phone the GP on Monday for a new script. Do you have any idea how complicated it is to remember to do that, then come back at some point, sit and wait (another daunting task) and when do I really have time for this? My evenings are too short as it is. 

Luckily I am a doctor myself and I asked for a piece of paper to write it myself. The lady asked for my registration number, then asked me to write out my own script for Ventolin because the script from my GP did not come through. 

All of this because I was thinking ahead for a change! That did not work out too well for me. 

Please, dear pharmacy, just don’t make this harder for me than it already is. 

Yours sincerely, 

Busy Darling. 


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Posted by on April 11, 2015 in ADHD, adult ADHD, Health, Rant


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The Flu, day 2,5

I don’t know if this is day 2 or day 3!

But I’m tired of it.

And I know, I’ve got an ‘experiencing’ learning style, rather than a theoretical one, but this is not exactly what I had in mind with learning through experience!

I don’t know if I’m actually feeling a bit better and if I’m just wishing I do. Ok, I did sleep during the night, and I slept through the morning.
I’m still probably feverish. My thermometer is at the practice. But I still woke up dehydrated, I still find myself putting on and taking off my robe too often… Instead of muscle aches I now mostly have joint pain. I’m still randomly coughing, and I’m not so sure of my throat.

I’m funny though. I’ve managed to wash my dishes, then think I’m doing better while lying down to rest from washing the dishes. Yes, I want to do everything again tomorrow, but going to the shop a few hundred metres away is too daunting. I think my appetite is returning, only to be more or less repulsed by any snack available. (I am sort of forcing myself to eat though). I think ‘It’s not that bad’ only to to wonder how I’m supposed to find the strength to take out my own trash, let alone vacuum. I had great plans for studying ‘as I’m stuck here anyway’ but find reading an article in Elle magazine a challenge to my focus.

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Posted by on April 15, 2014 in Health, Random


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The up side of night shift…

… whether or not you have ADHD, mind you.

– It’s the only opportunity you’ll ever have to make double money while sleeping. If you get the chance to have a nap, that is.

– You’re part of the secret world of the night… the streets are quiet, the houses are dark. The night shift comes out to play…. While crazy remains crazy, there seems to be an extra spooky factor added.

– Daytime, when everyone else is working, is surprisingly quiet for sleeping!

– Time actually seems to fly when you’re half hazy and slow… probably because you’re slow.

– It’s the only time when Here comes Honey Boo Boo becomes interesting.

– At some point sleep deprivation makes you feel high as a kite. Drug fee. Talking to me the day after night shift is like being in the Circle on That 70’s show. Which also is a good show to watch during night shift.

– It makes you appreciate sleep more. In fact, getting to bed on that first night out is just about orgasmic. And it’s the only time you can be fully excited about going to bed and sleep anyway despite the excitement. There is no better night’s sleep than that first night out!

– People admire you: they could never do that. Unless they have to, I suspect.


Posted by on February 24, 2014 in Acute Psychiatry, Health, Work


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Shift work and my four-letter-thing

It’s 3:30 AM and I can’t sleep.

It’s 3:30 AM on a Friday morning, exactly 6 days and 12 1/2 hours after starting work after a glorious 4 weeks of normal rhythm…

And I am screwed.

I can’t sleep because shift work shifted me out of my natural rhythm, stealing my sense of when I am.

Sleep deprivation worsens my ADHD symptoms, even the kind of qualitative deprivation caused by, well, getting too bed too late and missing out on those melatonin rich hours before midnight.

I tried to relax and get ready around 11PM. I got distracted, my body no longer responding to ‘I am tired, time for bed’ because with shift work it can’t afford to. Supposedly I should listen to the clock…. Except that time as dictated by a clock has no inherent meaning to me. Listening to a clock costs a lot of attention, something I don’t have when sleep deprived.

I see a circle.

To make it worse, my home is once again crashing into chaos because I am too occupied with just getting through the day, tired and trying to figure out when I am. I used to have a plan, but I lost it in the chaos.

My GP got a little frustrated about me trying to take care of all of my business in one go. I tried to explain that I needed to, before chaos happened. She didn’t get what I was saying, thought I meant I wanted to sort stuff before my training starts.

No, I just needed to ride the wave of relative normalcy and energy before this happened again. Because for example, I still hadn’t made an appointment with the podologist, over a week later, and I really don’t know when I will manage to. It just landed on the massive stack of ‘didn’t get round to in the few days I had’.

The hard part is I have to get my shit together with low energy and no concept of time or regularity. My rather extreme irregular schedule left me incapable of remembering what I am doing the next day, I have no reference to remember it by. I used to be pretty good at that. No point to even try using Sundays as a reference; as a friend suggested… Sunday could be just a work day too. Managing to get myself to church is a massive accomplishment.

And then there is the part where fatigue and confusion and enhanced ADHD screws my plans and makes fun into stress. It’s valentines day. Plan (fun) was to surprise TDH with a living room picnic. I had already forgotten all my brilliant ideas, and now I will be stressed out tomorrow trying to get just a normal meal done because that’s what happens. I am behind on my housework; and I wanted to make something special out of my living room. I have no idea what to cook.

I have no idea what to do in general; this shift work thing severely impairs my limited ability to plan, execute my plans or to simply get anything done.

I can’t concentrate anywhere outside of work. Work is pretty much a clear cut setting. So, yes; I am functioning at work. Yet; my private life is crashing and burning and I am being frustrated by how little I get done. And how overwhelming simple tasks have become; tasks I did while on the phone a week ago.

And then TDH isn’t really helping me set a date for stuff, and I need him, so that’s another thing I’ll worry about and then probably forget.. Only to remember when it’s too late. That’s why I tried to sort it out TODAY.

Because everything is just too much when you combine ADHD with shift work. (Well, in my case anyway)


Posted by on February 14, 2014 in ADHD, Health, Work


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Vicious!! Health insurance in Holland…

Apart from some gloriously good news I’ll post about later (too little time!) and a pending Liebster award post (how do I get the thing to go in the side of my blog?)… I got a rather nasty letter from my health insurance.

And I am vicious. Because, essentially, it comes down to this: the ONLY drug that helps me is being made inavailable to me because of some CRAP idea that I WANT all of this. This is a society that does not accept people who are different. This is a society in which, like in the US, there has been negative propaganda against ADHD, obviously not backed by anyone who actually HAS ADHD.

It took me a few hours of time I could have spent doing something actually constructive, to find a health insurance that will cover Concerta, albeit with just too much hassle and Orange Tape. Before anyone talks about the US to me: when talking to a few of my American friends complaining, it turned out that my health insurance AND deductible were higher than theirs. I’m paying 140 euros something for it every month. My contraceptive pill isn’t covered.

Then, the Dutch government decided to make a deductible of 350 euros mandatory by law for everyone with health insurance, given that health insurance itself is mandatory, this means everybody has to pay the 350 euros IF they need health care. Now, a deductible (Direct translation from Dutch: ‘own risk) is something you’d agree to if there actually was a chance you’d not have to pay it. A deductible is fine on car insurance, because you intend to not crash it. A health insurance deductible is reasonable in an otherwise healthy individual who actually has 360 euros to spare. If you’re chronically ‘ill’, or simply don’t have an extra 360 euro’s laying around somewhere…. that law-regulated deductible simply comes down to a fine for being sick. I paid my ‘sickness fine’ alreaddy, so now I can start saving up for the 360 fine I’ll get in 2014 because I still haven’t managed to go back and be born without ADHD.

Now, in my last calculation, given my massive decrease in income and my massive increase in health care expenses since I rented this place last year… it comes down to this: I won’t be able to afford my home due to health care costs.

So, I already was chronically pissed at the Dutch health system. I am pissed when I see patients struggle, people not accepting the care they’re offered because they don’t have an extra 350 euro’s. I am pissed when I see the minister of Health, mrs Schippers, ‘having an opinion’. Some of these opinions include ‘Light conditions such as ADHD, pneumonia, simple urinary tract infections and poor hearing shouldn’t be covered by insurance at all’. Light? Excuse me? I’ve actaully written ‘pneumonia’ on death certificates! And a simple calculation showed that treating my ADHD would have been A LOT cheaper than treating the shit that followed from not treating ADHD. Also, my Concerta actually leads to massive savings for society in the long run: it’s cheaper than having me on disabilities. A LOT cheaper. I’m using myself as an example here, I can think of a shitload of scenarios in which financial unavailability of health care cost a lot more than the actual health care… but that’s in some other minister’s file I suppose. Or even in her own file: treating something early or preventing it altogether usually is cheaper than treating the complex serious illness later on. Or maybe that’s just my simple doctor-logic.

Today I am vicious because I ran into my new Health Insurance contract again. Because too many people needed it, they decided to cover less of the medication not covered by the ‘basic’ insurance. Our Health Insurance Institute thing (College voor Zorgverzekeringen) decided some medication is simply ‘luxury’, one of them is Concerta. I might as well add, as far as we know ALL health insurance companies have made profit over 2013. Of course, being able to avoid rebound 4 times a day, with rebound setting in within a 15 minutes, is a complete luxury if you’re working in an unpredictable field where rebound may lead to serious mistakes. Also, the lower risk of abuse, the improved emotional stability (reboud is a rollercoaster), the increased compliance… all luxury.

Right. So, now they only cover it up to 500 euro’s a year. Given my high dose of Concerta, that’s about 3 month’s worth. And regardless…..  That’s around 40 euro’s a month that IS covered, (and you still need to pay the deductable). For 40 euro’s a month, I wouldn’t need an insurance to cover that. Basically, they’re not covering the drug I need.

Had I been treated with Concerta as a teen (and ADHD coaching), chances are I would have skipped the comorbidities… And in the past 10 years that would have been cheaper, net.

They don’t fucking want to cover it.

Because this society is full of bullshit.

Now, for 2014, I get to do it all again.


Oh, what do you know? The additional insurance does fully cover it if I were to try and treat my ADHD with anthroposophic medicine or with homeopathy!! Or acupuncture. (SCREAM!)

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Posted by on November 20, 2013 in ADHD, Health, Money, Rant, Work


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