Tomorrow morning we head off on holiday. So tonight I’m stressed, there just seems so much that can go wrong. We could be delayed getting to the airport, the Icelandic ash cloud could move again and affect the flights, the flight could be delayed or really full or bumpy. It might be really late by the time we get to the hotel, or the room could be wrong. I worry about all the things that might happen that I lose sight of the reality of going on holiday. A week off work, a relaxing holiday in a hotel with great reviews, sunshine, no phones, no email, just me and my girlfriend having some quality time for us.

I do seem to be doing this more and more. Playing the “what if” game but only with negative possibilities. What is that all about?

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Post hoc ergo propter hoc

February 4, 2010

Now that The Lancet has retracted the original paper linking autism to MMR it’s interesting to read the comments associated with articles discussing the controversy on both sides of the Atlantic. There are a large number of comments that are all roughly along the lines of “my child had the MMR and was then diagnosed with autism and I know other people like this as well”. Fiona Phillips is, once again, getting in on the act, describing on Jeremy Vine’s Radio 2 program the deluge of correspondence she’s received from parents “without a voice”. She goes on to say that on the basis of so many parents experiences that there must be some link but then quickly states that she’s not against the MMR (confused on where she stands yet?). Fiona does have a history of saying that when it comes to a link between MMR and autism you can’t deny an anecdote!

There seems to be a widespread, basic lack of understanding of the difference between correlation and causation. If A happens and then B happens it doesn’t mean that A caused B. Worse, once correlation has been confused with causation, is the assumption that avoiding “the cause” will change the outcome. If A is avoided then B won’t happen.

I can understand how parents faced with a diagnosis of autism would want to understand why it had happened, to look to blame something or someone for it. However, the overwhelming evidence is that it is nothing more than coincidental timing that autism is generally diagnosed around the same time a child is given MMR.

For the record, both my kids were given the MMR jab.

Fear of flying

February 1, 2010

As I get older I seem to get more concerned about flying. I know it’s safe, I know planes are built to take far more than even the worse turbulence but it doesn’t stop me gripping the seat arm as if my life depended on it at the first sign of a bump.

I never used to be like this. When I was younger I used to fly a lot and loved it. I don’t ever remember being scared or worried, I definitely don’t remember having anxiety attacks when the seat belt signs went on.

I wonder what changed?

That time of year

January 6, 2010

When I should be in the gym 3 times a week and watching what I eat and instead it’s snowing outside, meaning the gym is almost impossible to get to, and I have a cold. My GF has a cold too so she’s not going either.

I have started the 100 pushups program though. To be honest I think I might have bitten off a bit more than I can chew as I’m really feeling it the day after the first set of press ups but will keep going and see how I get on.

Catching up

January 4, 2010

Last year was pretty poor for seeing distant friends. This year is going to be different. By distant I mean a few hours drive away – although I live and work “down south” my good friends are still “oop north” – so it’ll mean trips to Leeds, Manchester (twice) and Hull. It’ll be great to see people I’ve not seen for a few years and to properly catch up. Now to start planning.

Where did 2009 go?

January 4, 2010

Hmmmm…put 2009 behind us I think and move on. Onwards and upwards.

Just a boy

February 23, 2009

My youngest son was 6 on Friday. As is now traditional I took him and his elder brother out to eat; this time it was lunch rather than dinner but we still went to the same pizza restaurant. They both got small presents with the promise that his big present was waiting at my house. It was a nice lunch, we were all relaxed and we had a laugh.

When I left the family home he was 2. He’s not been shy about asking questions about why I no longer live with his mother, although the answers have had to be diplomatic rather than brutally honest. He is now a confident, cheeky 6 year old and I love him to bits. I sometimes forget that he’s still a little boy and maybe expect a bit too much of him. For all those times that I snap at him and tell him off when he wasn’t being that naughty I’m sorry. I hope he realises that when he’s saying “It’s not fair…” that most of the time it is fair and it’s the odd occasion that I’ve been a bit harsh on him. He is a smashing little boy, always ready to get stuck in in the kitchen and he puts his older brother to shame in the tidying up stakes.

He might be growing up fast but I have to remember that for all of that he is still just a little boy. One I’m very proud of and love very much.