Tralee Life Life In An Irish Town


Moving on…

Well I'm sitting here with Freddie on a wet Sunday morning in Tralee. We're cuddled up under a blanket on the couch in our new home. Yes we've moved to Tralee. Freddie's neuorologist doesn't want him to be be more than twenty  minutes from a hospital for the time being. Dingle being at best a forty minute drive from Kerry General Hospital means that we can no longer live out in Chorca Dhuibhne. So after ambulance trips, ICU, two weeks in CUH, another week in Tralee General we went house searching in Tralee. We saw this one on a Monday morning, agreed the rent Tuesday, took a six month lease and moved in on the Wednesday

Now we're only five minues away from the hospital which for us is a massive relief. The Wednesday we moved in CUH called and Freddie was booked in for more tests. So after one night in our new home I drove Lisa and Freddie down to Cork where they stayed for ten days, till I went to collect them last Friday. In the meantime Ruby and I have become commuters driving to Dingle every morning and back home in the evening. We want this to cause minimum disruption so she's staying in the Pobail Scoil and I'm working my shop as normal. The commute is about forty-five minutes along some of the most beautiful coastline and through the spectacular Conor Pass so its not the worst. This weekend is our first as a family for what is almost two months now and its feels good. I have to say the care we've received from all medical staff and goodwill from friends and family has made this time so much more bearable but its not a time I want to go through again.

All this driving means I'm listening to a lot of Ruby's music...Spin South West is the radio station of the moment and I get it full blast at eight o'clock every morning. Some of it is terrible, some ok but usually I've had enough after about half and hour and switch over to Morning Ireland for the gloom and doom that seems to make up the news these days. Its coming up on the third anniversary of the bank guarantee given by the last Fianna Fail government and the country is still suffering direct consequences from that. The more I think that a government made up over the years of McCreevy, Bertie, Cowen, Harney, et al ran us into the ground and then retired with fat pensions the more my blood pressure rises. Harney with the HSE and eircom, McCreevy giving the EU the two fingers when they told us to calm the economy down on 2002, Bertie and his cronies in Anglo Irish. I could write forever but would have to take a break to go lie down in a darkened room every now and again. This was all brought to mind when listening to my good friend Dave Harmer Walsh on Liveline recently. Dave had called in looking for help in recovering his high-end bike which had been stolen out of the back of his jeep whilst he was at work. Much was made of the crime but unfortunately theft is part and parcel of our society,  the have-nots will always try take from those who have. Its a story as old as mankind itself. No the real crime here is Dave, a Parkinsons suffer, has to take a job behind a bar to try make ends meet. This is a man who can't tie his own shoes but has just cycled across the USA to raise awarness of his disease and funds to help in research for a cure. Our society should be helping this man not forcing him out to take a job obviously unsuitable for him because he isn't "sufficently disabled"! WTF is sufficently disabled??? Because of the cutbacks he's been made to suffer. Because of the cutbacks my son's access to his education SNAs has been curtailed. There is now only one SNA covering the four primary schools on the Dingle peninsula. Why are these cutbacks hitting the less well off in society whilst those responsible for the mess leading to the cutbacks aren't in jail? The bankers are walking free, the politicans are retired on fat pensions. A friend of mine was shown a photo recently of Bertie and Seanie Fitzpatrick playing golf in the Caribbean only last month....says it all doesn't it?

Enough of me going on.......

Whats on TV:  Because of the upheavels we haven't been watching much TV together. I have been watching Wilfred though. Hard to explain the premise of this one. Elijah Wood plays a slacker lawyer between jobs. His attractive neighbour asks him to look after her dog, Wilfred. Wood sees Wilfredas a man in a dog suit who talks to him and everybody else sees him as a labrador. The humour is very adult orientated but very good. Wilfred goes out of his way to get Wood in trouble which he does every week. The scene with a stuffed giraffe and Wilfred will stick in my mind for a long time. Very funny but not if you're shocked easily.

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Back Again

Well it was five weeks Friday since I last posted a blog and in case you thought I'd given up or wished I had, I haven't. Since that last post I've gotten the new shop open but that's been secondary to what has been happening in my life. In fact if I didn't need the money work wouldn't have featured in my life lately. The Saturday after my previous post was a hectic one and one that wouldn't have been the success that it was without my two good friends, Aiden and Mark. Like the good unselfish human beings that they are the two came down from Cork early that morning and got stuck into tearing the John Street shop apart and rebuilding it on Main Street. We started at 9am and were finished at quarter to twelve that night. Anyway despite a day of bad puns, single entendres and dealing with the drunks of the Dingle Races as they took over Main Street as the night went on, we got the job done. Anyone who has been in my Main Street shop will see magnificent job the two boys did. A testament to the two. As we went our different ways that night, me home, the other two off for chips, I was just totally awestruck by the way they'd done so much for me, so selfishly and so thoughtfully too. Even now five weeks later I'm tearing up again as I think about it.Watching Mark on the Late Late Show Friday night speaking of his sister's death on 9/11 upset me doubly knowing that such a horrible thing could happen to such a gentle man.

The next day I transferred the stock from the old to the new, filled the van with the rubbish that was left and headed off home to let Lisa go off to Waterford to collect our Ruby. Exhausted I took to the armchair and encouraged Freddie to cuddle up to me and watch TV. I snoozed the afternoon away, Freddie only to happy to have free reign at the telly. As I prepared Fred's dinner that evening I heard the sound I hate to hear coming from the front room and I rushed in to find him having a seizure.

Four seizures later we were in the back of an ambulance heading to Tralee hospital, Fred the fighter he is awake despite everything, me trying to reassure the little eight year old that all was ok. Lisa was in the car having got to Waterford grabbed Ruby and headed straight back.  Then her phone ran out of battery. Freddie and I got to Tralee and were taken straight to the ward. Lisa and Ruby arrived a short while later whilst I filled the doctor and nurses in on what had happened. Unfortunately they know us well in Tralee by now but fortunately they are excellent at looking after us. Freddie had a couple more seizures by midnight and Lisa told me to take Ruby home, to get her away from it all. At home in bed I lay awake sick to the stomach thinking of my little man but I must have slept cos the phone ringing woke me at 5.45. It was Lisa and Freddie had had a bad, bad night. Rushing back into Tralee I tried calling my close friend Brian in Cork, an expert in this field of medicine. Outside of Annascaul I got through to him and his calm, reassuring tones at 6.10 in the morning helped me down off the ledge. Its a moment I'll never forget in our thirty-eight years of friendship. At the hospital they agreed with his advice and prepped Fred for Intensive Care. In the ICU they sent us out, we weren't important, Freddie was. We both sat in tears in the waiting room outside. The doctors and nurse who had been with him all night were there to comfort us. In the ICU they were giving him a drug to put him asleep. About an hour later a nurse came out with a smile on her face.."He's awake" she said somewhat disbelievingly. We were brought in and he was sitting up, drugged to the hilt but awake. After a few minutes they brought us back out and gave us toast and tea. Such care. The nurse who had been with Lisa all night was outside worried about he was doing. She had been off duty for nearly two hours at this stage. Again such care. Brian rang from Cork to see how Freddie was. Freddie had them all in his corner. A while later they brought us back in and we stayed all day in the ICU with him. At about seven that evening they thought he was well enough to send back to the ward and wheeled him back to the room. The nurse came in and said " You ok Fred? Do you want anything?" Fred lifted his drowsy head off the pillow and said "I'll have scrambled egg and two rashers, please" The little man was back. But it would be five weeks before we'd all be home again.

TV watching: As you can imagine watching TV lately or at least concentrating on it has been difficult to say the least. Watching old favourites like Frasier or Ruby's favourite, Friends has helped . For all its sins  TV can help in times like this and so I've also been catching up on Six Feet Under. I remember watching it when it was first on over ten years ago and been blown away by how different it was from anything else I'd seen. It hasn't lost any of its style on second viewing even though its been copied many times since. A drama set in a funeral home doesn't sound inviting but take a chance, its worth it.

Reading: My Dad left me boxes and boxes of books. Books I grew up being surrounded by. A couple of weeks ago I opened a box at random and went through it, picking out The Caine Mutiny. Dad and I had watched the movie starring Bogart about thirty years ago and as it was around the anniversary of Dad's death I thought I'd give it a shot. A hardback, still in its original dust jacket from 1951 and its a great read. Makes me want to watch the movie again!

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