Saturday, September 27, 2008

Twenty Blue Devils and Pumpkin Spice Latte

“A cup of coffee, home made, that comes to you dark as a hazel-eye, but changes to a golden bronze as you temper it with cream…such a cup of coffee is a match for twenty blue devils and will exorcise them all.”
- H. W. Beecher

There are two things that this post grew out of: My annual pumpkin-anything craving and the nurse that Dan saw awhile ago who was adamant that he cut way back on coffee. He did try, but was rather miserable. Those of you who know us well, know that coffee is the culture of the Miller household and we quite agree with someone who has called decaf "useless warm brown water". Susannah once commented on how everyone's house has a certain smell, and I (very afraid) asked what my house smelled like. It was coffee of course. I had been imagining all the other undesirable smells I deal with every day.

This week I tried a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks and determined to find a way to have one more often. So, here is my recipe for pumpkin spice syrup which you can add to your coffee, or latte. It is especially helpful for those who are battling twenty blue devils.

Pumpkin Spice Syrup

Add to pot:

2 cups water
2 cups sugar
Bring to a simmer and stir to dissolve sugar.


1 1/2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice


1 tbsp of ground cinnamon.
1/2 tbsp of ground ginger.
1 tsp of cloves (or allspice).
1 tsp of freshly grated nutmeg.

Simmer for several minutes
Cool and strain
Add 1 tbsp vanilla extract

I use about 1 oz syrup for a double shot latte, less for coffee.
Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with spice! Enjoy!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Full moon mania

This was the scene at our house earlier this week as the moon reached it's fullness and Cadi reached "hypomanicness". I found this cartoon on a website that has "positive mental health humor". We love that kind of thing around here because laughing releases all kinds of good brain chemicals and keeps us from getting sad/mad/bitter. You can click here to go to their website.
To start from the beginning of this manic episode, about 6 weeks ago Cadi was really hyper and unfocused. She was having trouble staying on task and it looked like her ADHD flaring up. Her Adderall used to help with this kind of thing so we (parents and pdoc) thought perhaps she needed a little more. We cautiously tried a tiny bit higher dose for 3 days and then discontinued because Cadi said it made her feel different, more angry, and we didn't see any improvement. We also raised her Lithium dose a bit to help prevent more mood swings. After that she continued with the hyperactivity and inattention and her impulsivity increased. One night when I called her inside for the night she climbed up a ladder and broke in my upstairs bedroom window. She was more talkative, and on labor day she sat down and talked to a table full of adults about what it was like in the hospital at NIH. They thought it was great that she was having a conversation with them, but it was really out of character for her. She began getting obsessed with one thing that she wanted to do, refusing to do anything else or be helped. This got very difficult when she started obsessing about a certain shirt that she wanted to wear that no one had seen for awhile or knew where to find it. Getting dressed started taking a very long time.
The climax of this episode (so far!) was Monday night (which happened to be a full moon) when she snuck out of the house at 11:30 pm. I heard her coming back in the house and found out that she had gone across the road to her friends house and talked to her. She had also picked up a caterpillar and was breaking out in a rash on her neck when she came back in the house. I treated the rash and put her to bed on the couch so I could watch her until she fell asleep. The rest of the week I discontinued her Adderall (just in case it was adding to the mess of brain chemicals), tried to get in contact with the pdoc and gave her lots of Benadryl. It doesn't make her groggy at all, but it does seem to help her calm down and she had a rash besides.
Tomorrow we will see the pdoc and get her input. The last couple of days have been more manageable. We had such a great summer though and the longest period of stability I have seen; at least 3 months. The fall swing seemed to come a bit earlier than other years, but I have been feeling the seasonal changes too, the light has changed and we have to adjust.
I have some more blog posts rolling around in my head so hopefully I can get them out and posted soon!