Tralee Life Life In An Irish Town


Anyone for some stress?


It’s Sunday afternoon in sunny Ballyseede. The dog has been walked; I took him to the woods this morning so as to avoid the crowds that go walking in the afternoons. The thing with Muttley is that after six months of walking in the woods, sometimes not meeting another soul, he now thinks the woods belong to him. Some dogs he’ll ignore but others, usually big dogs, he’ll bark and snarl at. To stave off rowing with the owners I usually praise the poor hound Muttley is claiming and ask the type of breed. This morning he managed to scrap with three different dogs, all Japanese type breeds according to their masters.  Muttley must be descended from the war in the Pacific POW stock….

This morning I brought Ruby breakfast in bed. Since I came home we’ve had lunch but Ruby still hasn’t come downstairs, busy doing make-up and girlie things that Dad’s don’t ask about. Lisa got into running gear about four hours ago but so far has only gone from the couch to the kitchen and back again. Right now she’s under her blanket reading her Kindle, with Freddie cuddled up beside her. She may look like Mrs Incredible in her gear but in the movie the same Mrs Incredible did leave the couch from time to time so as to help her husband save the world….

Freddie and I were fighting for a while this afternoon. We don’t normally fight but days when we’re all home together can get fractious. There is real stress involved in looking after him, Lisa suffers most from this seven days a week and at the weekends it all seems doubled up. When one of us is away from Fred we keep excepting the word to go up that he’s keeled over. Every time the phone rings when I’m out of the house I jump, dreading the news. It’s got so that the first thing the one who’s with Freddie says to the one away is ‘its ok, everything is fine’ before we go into further conversation. Both of us are aware of this but there’s little we can do about it. You just spend your days worrying about the little fecker, no way out of that.

This afternoon he went upstairs to be with Ruby for a while. This is worrisome for a few different reasons…you worry that he’ll keel over going upstairs, you worry that you’ll hear the dreaded shout from Ruby and you worry that if he avoids the first two something will happen on the way back down. Worry… that’s all we do these days! Not exactly true because we laugh, joke and fight like any normal family too, thankfully, but stress levels rise quickly. After a while I couldn’t take the worry anymore, I was constantly listening out for him making his way downstairs or other noises from upstairs, so I went up to retrieve him. He didn’t want to come back but did so grudgingly. Downstairs he went into a strop with me. Like Ruby as a child, Freddie can get into major deep strops. Once Ruby packed her bag and left home, I waved at her as she left, as I knew the eight year old would be too scared to go beyond the garden wall. That was as far as she went but she stayed there for a long time with a determined, defiant look in her face, even an offer from me to drive her to town couldn’t shift her. Definitely a trait inherited from the mother. Poor Fred has got himself so worked up a couple of times that he managed to bring on a seizure, one time falling ten feet into a stream next to our old house. That one involved an ambulance trip and a Sunday afternoon in A&E….

By the time he got into his strop today, I was already well stressed and determined to get him out of it. We exchanged barbs and he refused to budge, determined that he was going back up to Ruby. After a while I threatened to leave, sounds stupid now but he hates it and talk of me leaving was all I could think of. Stupid stress, stupid epilepsy ruling our lives so, all the little fellow wanted was a trip upstairs. Once I’d left the room he crawled up to his Mum and began to cry, I felt as low as is possible, what’s happening to us here? Nevertheless, the strop had been broken and in seconds I was back on the couch, Freddie wrapped around me and with me wiping the tears from his eyes.

No matter how much we try not to let previous episodes prey on our minds it’s inevitable that they do. Lisa and I try to live as normal life as possible, give the kids as normal a life as possible, but in this current situation, it is proving very difficult to do that.

Look out world, when all this is behind us and one day it will be, the Verlings will be coming for ya!




Posted by John Verling

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