15 January 2010

Coming out? Chapter One

The Emerald Isle decided to change colours for a few weeks and become a Marble Isle. Cold, ice and snow are usually encountered only a few times a year here and to such a high “degree” Celsius that it lasts only a few hours, a day or two max. A week before Christmas an artic front descended on Europe, and for once included us: it took hold of Ireland and settled in with vigour, paralysing the country. Of course, it is fair to say that we are not in any way equipped for this kind of weather. Snow tires or chains are unknown here, our reserves of grit and salt were quickly depleted, and I am not sure how many, if any, snow ploughs we have in the whole country.

Last week was bad, very bad, most of the country under a thick white blanket. So much so that, after a well earned Christmas holiday break, and having gone back to work on Monday 4th, I decided that same evening to fill the boot of my car with files, paperwork, and work laptop, and work from home for a day or two, as the road around where I live where far too dangerous to chance. The internet is a great little tool, I can do a lot of my work remotely as long as I have access to the company’s server. Little did I know that the “day or two” would turn into six full days, snowbound, temperature well below freezing, my little village having the honour of featuring on the AA Roadwatch website AND the Bus Eireann (Irish Bus) website every day as being “very icy and dangerous” and with “service suspended due to road conditions” ...

So I stayed home, nice, warm and cosy. I had work remotely from home before, but never more than two days. At the end of the second day, Cabin Fever set in. No joking, I actually caught myself singing this:

But I was lucky: no power cuts and no water shortage (unlike a lot of people, which meant no heat either!), working phone and broadband, full fridge and freezer. Just boredom, despite a lot of work (e.g. “work” work) done. It seems that any one who could avail of this option did so. A lot of other people who can’t work remotely simply stayed home and enjoyed the impromptu break. And the country holed itself in.

Better be safe, right? Because the media reports told lots of tales of injuries, people falling on footpaths and ending up in A&E (Accident & Emergency, as Ireland calls the American “ER”). And this was confirmed to me by a lot of my work contacts in the hospitals around Dublin.

But the one contact I missed the most, the one person I really, Really longed to see and be with, was my Little Prince. I could just picture him in his new warm French-fleecy-pyjamas-disguised-as-a-rabbit-outfit, as on New Year ’s Day morning. Such a cuttie! I missed him.

The thaw started on Sunday, and by Monday morning the road out of my little place was just passable enough to get back to some kind of normality. So I emerged from my little nest and ventured out, back to the office, quite proud of having escaped any injury.

Coming out is not what it is cracked up to be. Some mornings, it might be better, and safer, to stay in bed! Lulled into a false sense of security, I got back to routine. Yesterday (Thursday) I went in as usual, started by checking my emails, then reviewing the day’s schedule, then, as usual, around 8 am, headed down to the kitchen located in the basement of the beautiful but very old building where I work: the soup and lunch I had brought in with me needed to go into the fridge, and my body was screaming for the 2nd coffee of the day.

I made it down to the basement alright, but not as planned: rather I slid down about a dozen steps, on my front, head first, and landed on the tiled floor. I will skip over the small drama that followed, let’s simply say that I learned yesterday that a split lip bleeds A LOT and that a broken tooth can embed itself into a lip and stay there a reasonable period of time. Add to this a second tooth with a lovely crack, and third with a chip, a few stitches on the said lip and under it (for good measures), a sling on the left arm for a hairline elbow fracture – typing with one hand is no fun, and slow! – a chin pretending to be tattooed, and soreness all around, this is me today. At the end of day, it could have been much worse, I think I was actually lucky not to break my jaw, or my back, not to knock my head and lose consciousness. The funny thing is, I do not actually know what happened: I can see myself going down the first two or three steps, and next I was sliding down towards the tiled floor and could not stop. Is this what we call “selective memory”?

Cathal was a true little darling yesterday, he and his Mammy collected me from the hospital where my colleagues had brought me. Because of this, he missed a few hours of fun with Ava, to whom I apologise for the disruption. But he looked after me very well, and entertained me for the rest of the day, showing me all he can do, telling me “what’s in the box” of the Lámh DVD way ahead of the lady singing the song – no suspense with him, totally in the moment! – and demonstrating his true bum-shuffling speed. He really cheered me up.

From this experience, I have concluded that Coming Out is not always safe, ever once the frost is gone. Being asked at the hospital yesterday and the dentist this morning: “did you fall on the ice?” made me feel a little silly, as stairs are not fashionable here this season! So, Coming out?... Cabin Fever may be a better bet! Unfortunately, I am of “coming out” type.

And talking about coming out, Chapter Two will examine a very different type – and no, I do not mean “Coming Out” ;-)

Just wait and see.


Jeffrey Goble said...

Oh, Dear!
I am so very glad that it wasn't worse! Am anxiously awaiting Chapter 2.

Ciara said...

Nan P I was so sorry to hear about your fall, sounded very nasty indeed. Hope you are getting some much deserved R n R. Dont worry about Ava and Cathal's 'date' it only means they will have even more to catch up on next time they see each other :-)
Take it as easy as you can x

Clive said...

Oh Nan P, how awful - having been so careful with all the snow and then to fall down steps in the office!

All that dental damage sounds nasty and rhe sling as well. My dad fell on 6th Jan - broke his left wrist in 3 places, did the right one last year in 3 places as well! I had told him to stay in but he insisted on going to Mass!

Anyway, he's recovering and I hope you recover quickly as well.

Look after yourself
best wishes

Cheri said...

OH NOOOOO, wow I am so sorry! Yes, sometimes cozy in bed is a much better place to be. You and Toby with his cast and your sling and chin tattoo and stitches should stick together. ;). I hope you are feeling yourself soon!

Ohhhh but that little picture of Cathal could heal all aches and pains, what a precious little guy.....just so huggable and squeezable!

Lisamaree said...

oh Poor Nan! so sorry to read this. :(
Hope you are not too traumatised by the experience and that Cathal can cheer you up while you heal.

xx and more ooxx

Jean said...

I'm a newbie to your blog and I absolutely love it (your awful accident nowithstanding)...Cathal is a peach btw.
The cabin fever was mind bending, and I LIKE being at home...gawd i thought the school's would never e-open.
Hope you're doing Ok...a fall like that can dent your confidance as much as your body...big hugs and get well soon XXX

Mel said...

I am so sorry to hear about your fall. I'm sure Luke would give you a big kiss to make you feel better :) My brother lives in Cambridge and is currently on the plane back after nearly a month here. I even feel sorry for him this time! Hope you heal up soon so you can play with the handsome Cathal soon ;)