Ireland has given a lot of “terrible” surprises for me in the last 13 years. Especially the “infamous” Irish climate. Ask any Irish man (I swear by God!) and you can hear him groan about the unpredictable showers, sleet, gale that sweeps through Ireland. And still we survive. That’s the power of Irish spirit (yes, and those spirits in the Irish pubs that keep us warm…).
So, this winter was one hell of a WIN-ter with storms, gales, snow, sleet, you name it – we saw it. If you don’t walk carefully (or clumsy like me) you can easily slip and fall, hitting your head on the road and have a “suspected concussion” (just like I had and take a free CT scan of brain, and confirm that you DO have a brain!).
Like most nations have national flag, national anthem, national language, the national epidemic of Ireland is flu. When I say flu, please don’t think about our ordinary Kerala flu. This virus seems to be a very close cousin of our very own monsoon friendly, mosquito friendly ‘chikungunya virus’. Such are the symptoms. As usual there are even flu vaccinations, but these viruses have defeated them all. I am confused if it is the winter season, storm season or worse THE flu season, that is going on now in Ireland.
Here Met Éireann (the Irish equivalent of Kerala’s own meteorological centre) issues colour-coded weather warnings, both region wise and nationwide. Now here I must say, their predictions are much more accurate than ours in Trivandrum.
The colour coding is like this. Much better than listening to today’s weather at the end of daily news!
YELLOW – Weather Alert – Be Aware
ORANGE – Weather Warning – Be Prepared,
RED – Severe Weather Warning – Take Action.
Another good thing is that if there is storm or snow (which later becomes black ice and makes people like me fall ‘head over heels’), the school will send text messages to parents, not to send their kids to school (gives our “all girl brood”, more time for a bit of extra lie in). Hmmm… now thinking back, THAT explains why my girl’s first question in the morning is “what’s the weather?”
Now while I am writing this, storm Georgina is screaming outside with a speed of 120kmh. I should be singing “Let it go….”
Now, with night temperatures going down to -4 deg C, if a power outage happens, without central heating you will be dead. I MEAN “REALLY” DEAD!
With our “Curious George” aka younger girl in the house, who is a bit too extraordinarily fascinated by everything sharp and hot, we don’t use fireplace.
But this time, what really bothered me was the new ‘Aussie flu’ which hit us. As per HSE, 24 people have died directly from flu(!). So, imagine a house where 2 kids go to school (where flu viruses spread like water on the sand) and one man goes to a “chicken coup” kind of working area. And yes, the inevitable happened.
First it was younger one’s turn. She is the one who always brings every single disease into our home, from childcare. Ah! Somehow, she is an expert in it! Waking up with 40 deg C fever at night, rolling in body pain, sore throat – she had it all. As usual “Dr. Mommy” took her to GP and she gave her Amoxicillin. But things didn’t end there. Here kids are allowed in school only after 24 hrs, after their first dose of ANY antibiotics. So, there I was with my sick kid whose multi-coloured mucus making designs all over my t-shirt.
The problem with a mom and a sick child being alone in home means cooking, cleaning, and laundry never happens. As a result, my elder was on sandwich diet, husband was on chapati diet and I was on whichever-was-available-to-eat diet.
After spending a whole day with ‘mommy monster’, ‘daddy’s princess’ will hug on to him like a baby chimp, as soon as he comes, till her bed time. So, I wasn’t surprised when my workaholic husband couldn’t get up from bed next day. When I asked him, he murmured “I got it from her. She bit my nose yesterday” (wow! That’s an innovative way to spread infectious diseases!). Don’t sneeze, don’t cough – just give a direct bite on other’s nose.
Soon our house turned into a pharmacy for children under 6, over 6 and adults. Here there is a legal limit to buy paracetamol as it damages liver. Only one strip (10 nos) at a time is allowed. I was driving in rounds through pharmacies for strongest, fastest acting paracetamol, mucus thinners like Exputex and sore throat lozenges. This winter’s ‘Aussie flu’ is like epidemic here. I don’t know what flu we got – Aussie or Irish (of course it will be a mutated one!), but for some weird reason, it decided to make three rounds in our house. I might have developed immunity because everyone except me were in bed.
I got message from school not to send kids if they show any flu symptoms. Such was its effect. Last time similar panic happened was on the onset of H1N1 virus. Patients were not allowed even inside hospital. They were advised to stay at home.
Anyway, after one week my younger somehow got better. My husband is still suffering from headache and body pain. Now, last Friday my elder girl started having 39 to 40 deg C fever (by the way, seven years of my life with two kids has taught me, that on such critical conditions, we should be prepared like Rapid Action Force!). She vomited, drank water, vomited again… so I had to give her paracetamol suppositories, as anything orally given would make her throw up.
I must say when a kid is sick, she can turn you into a ‘lethal lunatic’ by making you run up and down for a sip of water, which she later throws into the floor. Still I held on to the last bit of weak straw of my sanity.
Here weekends are off duty for GPs too. So, I had to wait till Monday morning to see a medically qualified doctor. (Saturday and Sunday “Dr. Mommy” was the doctor on emergency). Along with that if you know driving, then automatically you become your kids’ very own chauffeur.
GP told that she is affected with flu, from top to bottom. He asked me to get prepared to go to A&E (Accident and Emergency). Anyway, by second day, she could just stand up. I even gave her my own Samsung Note 10, so that she won’t come and sleep with me and younger and give us the virus too..
But guess what!!! Whom did I see at 3 am in the morning! – the sick child who “pinkie-promised” me that she won’t spread germs and will sleep in her own room, holding me tightly with her legs across my tummy!
And that’s why, “Moms don’t get sick”.