Paddy Murray: A summer holiday is all the more tricky with a chronic illness

I’m hoping that by the time we go for a break, we will be able to eat out safely

We’ll also need dog-friendly accommodation for Nova

We’ll also need dog-friendly accommodation for Nova

 
It is Health Season in The Irish Times. In print and online, we will be offering encouragement and inspiration to help us all improve our physical and mental health in 2022. See irishtimes.com/health

It’s time to do a bit of planning.

I’m not actually talking about the kind of planning you do when you’re told you’re terminally ill and you want to leave things in order.

That’s already done! The will has been made, passwords listed, contacts’ names and numbers written down, which drawer the tickets are for forthcoming gigs and funeral arrangements including things like the music at the crematorium.

Everything should be fine – as long as Paul McCartney is free that day!

The planning I’m doing now is for the summer holidays.

We are confined to Ireland for holidays. It is more than 10 years since I was advised against flying. Due to my lung condition, the chances of a stroke are too high

And doubt I’m alone there. It’s the time of year to start googling holiday homes, moaning about the prices and then settling on one that just looks too good to turn down.

There are lots of things all of us, and particularly those of us who are ill, need to consider in relation to holidays this year.

The truth is, it won’t be easy for anyone. Covid and the Omicron variant, despite so many experts talking it down, have seen to that.

But throw in another chronic illness, stage four COPD in my case, and it becomes more difficult still. (I was pleased to discover, on my last visit to my respiratory consultant that the tumour on my right lung hasn’t grown, well, hasn’t grown much. It did seem a little surreal to be sitting in his office talking about the tumour with an X-ray of it on display as we spoke. But it was reassuring in its own way.)

We are confined to Ireland for holidays. It is more than 10 years since I was advised against flying. Due to my lung condition, the chances of a stroke are too high. They’re not very high, just too high. And no, carrying my own oxygen wouldn’t guarantee my safety.

Yes, I could drive to Britain or France but to be perfectly honest, I’m too much of a coward to do that. I don’t like the idea of falling ill in a different country.

But the upside is, as I said, we have to holiday in Ireland. And I can’t think of anywhere better to spend a few holiday weeks. I mean, I don’t have to change currency, the Irish drive on the left, they serve familiar food and, importantly, drink and they speak a familiar language. I can even manage the cúpla focail when they are required.

On top of all that, it’s a stunningly beautiful place.

We have holidayed at home for more than 10 years now and enjoyed ourselves immensely. Indeed, I wonder if we would have missed out on the wonders of our own country, had we been able to go abroad.

There are lots of things to consider.

There’s the dog. Yes, we replaced the late Penny with Nova. Nova is large. Very large. A cross between a husky and a retriever. And she’s lively. Lively as in she likes to jump on top of you when you’re watching television. Mind you, when there’s football on she’s okay. Because she watches football. Really. She’s from Tipperary so we’ll see what she makes of hurling and the Tipp team when the Championship starts!

Based on my experiences in recent years on our various home holidays, I think we can look forward to a good time, whatever the weather. Sunshine is a bonus, but it’s not essential

So we need a dog-friendly house/hotel/guest house.

We also have to think of our daughter. At 16 she is unlikely to want to do things we want to do. We may bring a friend but that still means finding something to occupy them – and by that I mean something that doesn’t have a screen.

We have to think Covid of course and be 100 per cent satisfied that, wherever we go, they’re sticking to the rules.

And we have to consider my health so that we are close enough to medical help if something should happen to me.

I’m hoping that by the time we go for a break, we will be able to eat out safely. It’s part of a holiday and the last time we had a break was two years ago. Last year we didn’t leave Dublin.

So we’re scouting around and aware that we’d better decide on something or somewhere soon. Demand is going to be high.

But based on my experiences in recent years on our various home holidays, I think we can look forward to a good time, whatever the weather. Sunshine is a bonus, but it’s not essential.

Now, we’ll have another look at that house overlooking the beach in Mayo. . .

(You will notice that I did not use the word staycation. I do not use the word staycation in the same way that I do not use words such as webinar, infotainment, chillax and mockumentary. I don’t even like Brexit. If staycation is to enter the lexicon as a word describing holidays in one’s own country, then it’s only fair that it has an antonym. Let’s see how many people tell us they’re going on a foreignacation.)

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