I referred earlier to the grand-daughter arriving into the yard having just lost her lunch. The poor wee scrap kept losing fluids for a couple of days and is too young at 400 days to drink something that taste icky even if it's good for her. The drink-this-its-good-for-you was recommended by the Caredoc when she saw him late on Saturday and turned out to be Dioralyte which replaces the electrolytes (Each sachet contains sodium chloride 0.47g, potassium chloride 0.30g, glucose 3.56g, disodium hydrogen citrate 0.53g,. Also contains silicon dioxide, saccharin sodium) that you inevitably lose when you chunder - it's not just water you know. You buy these in boxes of 20 sachets - either 'natural' or with the weird taste masked by 'citrus' or 'blackcurrant' - at about 50c a pop to make up as 200ml of replacement fluid.
As I say, the wean wasn't keen on the citrus or the blackcurrant and eventually finished up being hospitalised and plugged into an IV drip, which filled her out again something marvellous. There is a certain circularity in her spending the tail end of her 2nd Easter dripped-up in hospital because about 20 years ago Dau#1 spent her 2nd Christmas in a remarkably similar state in a different hospital.
It's frightening to reflect on how quickly things can go wrong with small children and how an appropriate medical intervention can turn things round pronto. In 1925, my father spent a week fluttering at the edge of the abyss after he contracted pneumonia. But two generation later Dau#1 had her couple of encounters with that dread disease managed quickly and effectively with judicious use of anti-biotics.
Why all these personal details in a blog about teaching science in an Institute? Turns out that one of the nurses in the hospital recommended Lucozade Powerade as an alternative to Dioralyte. Powerade is after all designed by food engineers to make punters drink it and come back to buy more. And it was so: the wean was fairly gulping it down having completely disdained the 'medical' options. And I should have known this because my trusty and well-beloved 3rd year students spent a drizzly March afternoon earlier this year measuring the potassium and sodium levels of Powerade using flame emission spectroscopy. We didn't realise at the time how life-saving and important the information we obtained that day might turn out to be.