28 March 2009

First Official Interview Since…

Première Interview Officielle depuis…

Prince Cathal has been feeling increasingly better these last few days and decided yesterday, to statisfy all his fans, to allow the international press into his hospital room for the first photos since his Big Op.

Prince Cathal se sent de mieux en mieux ces derniers jours et a décidé hier, pour satisfaire tous ses fans, d’autoriser la presse internationale dans sa chambre d’hôpital pour les premières photos depuis sa Grande Opération.

The prince, sitting up in bed
Le prince, assis dans son lit

With Mr Strong (thank you Noah). But who is who?
Avec Monsieur Fort. Mais qui est qui?

Yes, he is bruised, even on his hand!
Oui, il a des bleus, même sur la main !

So Prince, how would you describe your experience?
Donc Prince, pouvez-vous nous décrire votre expérience?

“Mammy, I need a hug!”
« Maman, J’ai besoin d’un câlin !”

“That’s better”
« C’est mieux »

Anything else you want to tell your fans?
Voulez-vous dire autre chose à vos fans?

“Enough for today, I am tired…”
« Assez pour aujourd’hui, je suis fatigué… »

Smiles were given to this journalist only once the camera was turned off. Typical Celeb behaviour!
Les sourires ne furent offerts à cette journaliste qu’une fois l’appareil éteint. C’est bien l’attitude d’une célébrité !

PS – Following my last post, I did not see any magic wand appearing. However Lisa-Hammie’s Jeannie-flicking-of-the-ponytail-with-*blink*, Jazzy’s twitching-her-nose-while-clicking-her-red-shoe-heels-3-times, and all the other comments seems to have helped, as you can see. These comments were like virtual hugs. Thank you all ;-)

25 March 2009

In and Out

Poor little Cathal has been having it rough. It’s not surprising after the kind of surgery he has had. He has been pricked, poked, jabbed, cut. Cannulas, drains, and leads have been inserted. He has been given morphine, pain killers, antibiotics, drugs for speeding this up and drugs for slowing that down, more drugs for assisting this and other drugs for preventing that. And I am not even mentioning the surgery itself!

Apart from the surgery scar – which looks quite neat and is healing nicely – he is full of marks of all shapes and sizes, not to mention bruises.

The poor little thing needed another short visit to theatre yesterday, a quick In and Out job, to sort out a side issue. He was back in his room and fully awake within 2 hours. But it will be several days before we know if this is working and get confirmation that his recovery is definitely on the right road.

No wonder he is Mr Grumpy most of the time! An adult would not put up with this kind of treatment. Life can be tough, and this barely one year old has had more than his fair share.

Having said this, since the weekend, he has been sitting up for increasing periods of time and has again started taking an interest in toys around him. Not only his own, but toys belonging to the ward as well. Seeing him repeatedly knocking down a stack of cubes made me feel very good.

I am not the most patient person (and believe me, this is a big understatement!). At this stage, I feel that Cathal and his parents have gone through too much, enough is enough, I want him all recovered right now, so that they can all go home and get on with life.

If only this were possible! Has any one got a magic wand to lend me?

Yet I must remember that the magic has already happened: his little ticker is ticking very well.

And THAT is the main thing...

21 March 2009

To the Mammies

Because of the day that is in it, I want to salute the Mammies.

Being a Mammy is not an easy task, at the best of times. I will not go so low as to expand in the vein of the sickly sugary-coated way the cards being given this Sunday are written. I simply want to acknowledge that, though the rewards, and the joys, and the love received back, are beyond the comprehension of those who are not Mammies themselves, being a Mammy can be tough.

Even tougher for the Special Mammies. I have had a little glimpse of this through Cathal’s Mammy for the last year. And I take my hat off to her!

Even tougher if your little one has to go to hospital for surgery. And when it’s serious surgery as Cathal’s, Oh My God! How can a Mammy get through this?

So I salute
all Mammies, all Special Mammies, and all those Mammies that have sat by their child’s hospital bedside. I hope you all have a nice Mother’s Day – and if you are a Mammy reading this outside of Ireland or the UK, this is for you too, as you all deserve recognition... ;-)

As for the Dads, they will have to wait their turn, won’t they?

Update on Cathal: his recovery is a question of “nice and slow”. He is taking his time through it, but considering what he has gone through, he is well entitled to this. I cannot imagine how sore he must be, and just wish I could do something for him... We are so powerless, aren’t we?

17 March 2009

Oh Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!

Forget about toying with the idea of doing the Fat Monica Dance… We are way passed this stage!

Cathal was transferred out of ICU this evening. He is nicely tucked away in his little room in St Theresa’s Ward in Crumlin Hospital, all warm and comfy (well, kind of, the poor little thing) with his Mammy and the Dad by his side.

I was able to see him, talk to him, touch him and kiss him. He gave me a glimmer of a smile, just to prove how brave he is.

So now we can all do the dance.

Oh Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!

16 March 2009

Oh Yeah!

Seven days after his open heart surgery, Brave Little Prince Cathal is giving us an excuse to celebrate. Oh Yeah!

The pacemaker has been switched off all day, his little heart is doing ALL the work ALL by itself. Oh Yeah!

The Ventilator has been completely switched off this afternoon and the tracheal tube removed. Oh Yeah!

Cathal is still all doped out – he will need some detox when this is all over, the poor thing! – but he is awake enough to look at his Mammy and the Dad, to try to smile at them, and, though his voice is not in working order yet, to try to give out. Oh Yeah!

So today has been a good day, with lots of progress.

There is a funny little music in my head this evening, and my mind is toying with a little dance that looks like this…

But where are my celebratory doughnuts???

14 March 2009

Bubbles, bubbles everywhere…

Des bulles, des bulles partout…

Cathal is recovering, very very slowly but very very surely. His parents keep a vigil by his side in ICU, and I keep a vigil by the phone. It’s been a long few days, but all the messages we have received have been so heart-warming, and of great help.

Cathal se remet, très très doucement mais très très sûrement. Ses parents veillent à ses cotés en Soins Intensifs, et je veille près du téléphone. Ces derniers jours ont été longs, mais tous les messages que nous avons reçus nous ont fait chaud au cœur et ont beaucoup aidé.

It is amazing to think that people around the world, who have never met him andonly know about him through the medium of the internet, have been thinking of him so much.

C’est incroyable de penser que des gens autour du monde, qui ne l’ont jamais rencontré et ne le connaissent que par le biais de l’Internet, ont tant pensé à lui.

In particular I want to mention the French side of the family, who have been so supportive. All the Super-grand uncles and aunts, all the 3rd and 4th cousins (is that what they are? I get mixed up!) who have not met him yet, and have emailed me so much in the last few days. Some party we will have when they finally get to see him!

En particulier je veux faire mention du côté français de la famille, qui a fait preuve de tant de soutient. Tous les Super-grand oncles et tantes, tous les grand-grand cousins (est-ce bien ça ? c’est si compliqué !) qui ne l’ont pas encore rencontré, et qui m’ont envoyé tant d’emails ces derniers jours. Quelle fête nous ferons quand vous pourrez enfin faire sa connaissance !

So, as a thank you all, here is a video clip of the Little Prince himself.

Donc, pour vous remercier tous, voici un clip vidéo du Petit Prince lui-même.

Last Saturday, a week ago, the day before Cathal went into hospital, we had a quiet little celebration: early birthday presents, cake and singing. And a fun game with bubbles!

Samedi dernier, il y a une semaine, la veille de l’entrée de Cathal à l’hôpital, nous avons eu une petite célébration tranquille: cadeaux, gâteau et chanson d’anniversaire en avance. Et un jeu sympa avec des bulles !

The Mammy blew the bubbles with a special little gun, the Dad took photos (warming: flash photography on the clip!), Unkie Ro spoke in a funny voice about Cathal’s first tooth, and Nan shot the whole scene.

La Maman faisait les bulles avec un petit pistolet spécial, le Papa prenait des photos (attention: des éclats de flashe sur le clip!), Tonton Ro parlait de la première dent de Cathal avec une drôle de voix, et Nan enregistrait la scène.

12 March 2009

Easy does it…

Indeed, “very” easy does it.

Or “little by little”…

And when a “little” precedes the word “progress”, then we have a “little progress”. And THAT little progress is much better than no progress at all.

So there we are, with Cathal making one little progress at a time, a tube removed here, 2ml of his mammy’s milk (a drop!) ingested there, a breath taken on his own. All progress!

Isn’t Time the great Healer? So, one day at a time, one hour at a time, we are all learning patience.

And if Patience is a saintly Virtue, we might soon see a halo appearing behind his parents…

11 March 2009


Following Cathal’s heart surgery on Monday (aka: The Big One), our little man is stable, but his recovery is very, very slow.

So any spare positive thoughts, good vibes and even prayers that can be sent his way are more than welcome.


10 March 2009

What a Ride!

Day 1 (10th March 2008) started with the knowledge that a brand new little person was going to join our family that day.

Day 365 (9th March 2009) ended with this little person lying in Intensive Care recovering from open hear surgery that very afternoon.

What a ride it has been during these 365 days!

My little Prince Cathal, today, on your 1st birthday, while you are enjoying the relative comfort of full sedation and the care of the incredible staff of Crumlin Hospital, I want to thank you for coming into our lives, and making everything so differently meaningful.

On a personal note, I want to thank you for introducing me to a world I had heard of, but knew so little about, and educating me through it. I look forward to continuing this road with you.

Thank you for pushing me to explore hidden aspects of my being. Hey, you even got me to donate blood, me the squeamish one! And to consider walking the Dublin Mini-Marathon in June in aid of the Dublin branch of Down Syndrome Ireland (yes, I said walk, let’s not push it, and 10k will be more than enough!). You got me to learn all kinds of medical terms, to sign as I speak - and thus slow down my speech, some feat!

Thank you for the laughs we share, the hugs (oh, the massive hug you gave me yesterday morning as we were waiting for you to go in surgery), the big wet slobbery kisses (my face has not quite recovered from the one you gave me last Saturday as I picked you up after your afternoon nap), the absolute trust when you fall asleep in my arms, the great games and songs I have had to learn all over again!

I salute your joy, your strength, your courage, your energy.

I also salute the strength, courage and energy of your parents. Cathal, you have chosen well – I am so proud of them, of the beautiful transformation you triggered in them.

Little Cathal, keep recovering, so that your newly fixed little heart serves you for another 99 years – since I intend on reaching the grand old age of 100, so should you! ;-)

With all my love.

PS: Surgery went well. So far so good…

04 March 2009

Told you so!

J’te l’avais dit!

So there I was some weeks back, all worried about Cathal, and solid food, and spoon feeding, and so on. And Cathal gave me three little lessons on the day in question (details here). The update? He was right, I had nothing to worry about. The proof? Here are some photos taken by “Paparazza Great-Aunt Dom” Monday evening as Cathal had come to my home for a sleeping-over with his Mammy.

Donc, il y a quelques semaines, j’étais toute inquiète au sujet de Cathal, et la nourriture solide, et la cuillère, et tout ça. Et Cathal m’avait donner trois bonnes petites leçons ce jour-là (détails ici, pour ceux qui lisent l’Anglais). Aux dernières nouvelles ? Il avait raison, je n’avais pas besoin de m’inquiéter. La preuve ? Voici quelques photos prises par «Paparazza Grande Tante Dom» lundi soir quand Cathal est venu chez moi pour passer la nuit avec sa Maman.



And half way through desert, taking a call. Do I really have to…?
Et au milieu du dessert, prendre un appel. Je dois vraiment… ?

Oh, Super-Grand-Parents !

Hello there ! Salut la France !

© Photos: Grande Tante Dom – Merci ;-)

01 March 2009

Great Aunt

Cathal has lots of great aunts. He has also one Great Aunt from France who is visiting him these days.

She is my only sibling, my own little sister, closer in age to Cathal’s Mammy than to me, and – to make things more confusing – her third child is only 8 ½ months older than Cathal… And these things are supposed to happen only in large Irish families???

So here she is shortly after she arrived (without any of her men – 1 big, 3 little) on Friday. She even got to visit Cathal’s school…! As you can see, it’s great fun!

Dom est ici pour quelques jours, sans ses hommes… elle a même pu aller à l’école avec Cathal. Comme vous le pouvez le voir, on s’y amuse bien !