Friday, November 27, 2009

The Pox and Visitors from Edmonton

Moira, Mira & Sue draw at the Museum

Mira shows off the craft she made at the Ashmolean.

Moira and Hannah

I'm long overdue for a blog entry - I know. It's just been such a rough month I thought any blog writing would just be me whinging away about all our woes - not to mention that there were days when even the simple act of typing would have been impossible!

It all started with my fall - you read all about that in the last entry. Well, as I was typing that last entry, there was a virus bubbling through my blood stream, slowly and maliciously popping up on my skin in the form of, you guessed it, chicken pox. I guess I never had it as a child - apparently 1 in 10 adults haven't ever had the virus. Now that they vaccinate for chicken pox in Canada it would have been unlikely for me to be exposed. However, they don't vaccinate here. There was an outbreak in Mira's class and they dropped like flies. Brits are so funny - one kid gets the chicken pox and everyone sends their kids over to play so they'll catch it too - BIZARRE! As Mira has had her vaccination she had immunity. Still, she did get an extremely mild dose - just 4 pox and no other symptoms. However, that was enough to infect mommy! And let me tell you, chicken pox in an adult is not a pretty thing! I was sick - I was REALLY sick! And, I was REALLY ugly too. Chills, fevers, aches, and worst of all, itchy pox where no pox should be! I was covered - in my ears, in my mouth, in other unmentionable places. No fun at all. Poor Stan had to play SuperDad for a few days trying to juggle the kids, the house, and some work too.

I'm still whinging, aren't I? Oh well, sod it!

Unfortunately the pox lesions in my mouth left me susceptible to a thrush infection which carried down into my esophagus and left me unable even to swallow my own saliva, which in turn, led me to another hospital visit. Then when I just got that under control, I was blessed by a stomach flu to cap everything off! The good news is, short of the Bubonic Plague, I'm not sure there is anything left for me to catch. Although there has been an outbreak of Scarlett Fever at the school, so never say never.

All that being said, I am finally - touch wood - on the mend. I'm still suffering a bit from my fall, but nothing a couple of advil can't take care of. I got back into the gym this week and even spent an afternoon helping out in Hannah's class.

We also had some Canadian visitors last weekend. We couldn't put them up here due to all the germies and junk floating around our house, but we had a great time visiting with Sue, Derrick, Moira and Jane - friends from the old hood. Moira was in Mira's kindergarten class and the kids were so excited to be re-united. Sue and her family moved to Edmonton a few months before we moved here, so it was great to catch up and compare notes on adjusting to a new culture - yes, it sounds like Edmonton is a big adjustment too. We had a lovely dinner together and a romp through the newly renovated Ashmolean museum before they headed out to Nottingham for the next leg of their journey.

Now that all the illness has cleared, we are looking forward to December. We've booked our next adventure - to Finland. We are taking a 3-night trip to Northern Finland to meet Father Christmas (in his natural habitat :-) We're staying at a northern Ski resort in Levi which is up just above the Arctic Circle. We'll do some snow-mobiling, tobogganing, have a meet-up with Santa in his cabin in the woods, enjoy a Reindeer sleigh ride, and maybe even go ice-fishing. We are very excited! The girls are over-the-moon and keep telling their friends all about their trip to the "North Pole."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bumps and Bruises

In an effort to sample all aspects of British culture, I landed myself in the local ER on Sunday night. I'm embarrassed to say that I fell down the stairs. I thought that was something only old ladies and children did - now I might act like the later at times, but I like to think I'm not the former, not yet! Our flight of stairs is painted wood, curved and slippery. I've been nagging the kids since the day we moved in to slow down and hold on. I guess my advice was somewhat ironically lost on myself. I lost my footing at the top, went down on my back and then tumbled the rest of the way. I can't quite remember being in that much pain. We almost called an ambulance, but the vain and prideful part of me just couldn't bear to be strapped down on a back board and rushed into hospital for all the world to stare at. I was fairly sure I was just badly bruised and thought I should get x-rays just to make sure. So I hobbled out to the car and Stan and the girls (poor things were so scared!) whisked me away to the John Radcliffe Hospital.

Once my hubby and girls had me checked in, settled in a cubicle, and dosed with pain killers, Stan took the kids home. You know you've made it through a rite of passage as a parent when you've spent a night in casualty alone! After all, someone needs to look after the kiddies. I was pretty doped up so there really wouldn't have been much for Stan to do other than sit and stare at me anyway.

So I had my x-rays and thankfully there was no permanent damage - just bad bruising and inflammation so I cabbed it home with my "free" painkillers in my purse. ER treatment in the UK is 100% free for all. In conversations since I've discovered that this can result in abuse of the system as people will sometimes seek treatment in the ER to benefit from the free medication, as opposed to seeing their GP and having to pay a dispensing fee. That being said, it was nice to go home with the medication I needed and not have to worry about sending Stan out to find an all-night pharmacy - I don't think one of those even exists in Oxford.

The past few days has seen me mostly lying on the couch watching my fair share of trash TV. Stan has been doing triple-duty getting kids to and from school, taking care of household duties and trying to get some work done in-between. Bless him! I think I'm through the worst of it now and while I'll be stiff and sore for a few days yet, I'm getting back to normal.

What's the moral of the story? If you come to visit - bring non-skid slippers!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Halloween isn't as big a deal in the UK as it is in North America. However, our girls still craved a Halloween experience and we didn't want to disappoint. We dragged our sick selves (we've been down with a virus of some sort) to a nearby farm that was having a Halloween event. The girls wanted to be witches so we painted their faces and they donned their costumes.

Hannah reminded me a little too much of the Wizard of Oz Witch!

Mira was feeling pretty yucky and wouldn't pose for a proper picture.

Mira makes a mask for the "Trick or Treat" trail.

To top off the day we carved a pumpkin!

While we were at the farm centre we checked out their Christmas display and came across this!