Want to get lucky this year? Drink your beer at home.

March 17, 2020

Some of my girlfriends and I recently ordered St. Patrick’s Day shirts from a local clothing company. Our plan was to paint the town green as we took in some local entertainment. This St. Paddy’s Day, we were going to celebrate life!

Of course, things have changed in the past few weeks, and we will not be venturing out to any pubs tonight.

I did have occasion to wear my special shirt, though. Our hospital, like so many others, is in preparation mode for the anticipated spread of the covid-19 virus, but I was fortunate to be one of the last elective surgeries completed when I had my port-a-cath removed. I wore my special shirt to the hospital and joked with the nurses that it was my St. Paddy’s Day outing. Atavan instead of green draught beer… I mean, really, what’s the difference?

T-shirt by Meghan Ashley Designs

Yesterday, as I recovered from the procedure, I watched my daughter and her friend play “Family.” This is a game they play with dolls. Sometimes the dolls fall victim to terrible accidents and the game transitions to a more disturbing one called “Hospital.” I have often seen these girls wrangling dolls wrapped in slime-soaked gauze casts and intubated with drinking straws into a makeshift ICU. Sometimes extra orange-crate beds must be brought in to accommodate the carnage. The girls have also discovered that our unusually relaxed cat, Varjak, enjoys being dressed in a tiny housecoat and tucked into bed between the dolls. He is always the most popular patient in the ward and the girls can be seen transporting him about the house on a stretcher.

I listened to the kids as they played, my ears perked to see if they would mention covid-19. They didn’t. I was glad. Their imaginative play was the perfect break from the world around them.

This can be a stressful time for us and our children. As parents, we talk to our kids about the virus and about how to stay safe. We teach them to wash their hands properly and maintain a safe distance from others. We encourage them to be good citizens by explaining that they have to protect their elders and other people who may be susceptible to complications from this virus. These are lessons that will serve them well throughout their lifetimes.

We also have to find a way to help children deal with the anxiety they may be feeling. It is important to be honest with them while keeping things light and manageable where possible. My kids have had to shoulder some terrific burdens in the past year or so. It helps when they know that they are not helpless in the face of pain, suffering or difficult circumstances. So, when I was sick or recovering from chemo or a procedure I tried to give them ways to help me. They would bring me some water or a blanket, or we would watch a show together or read a book. We all feel better when we can be of assistance. Activity eases our fears and helps us to work toward the good.

So, what are we going to do now? What actions will we teach our kids to take as responsible citizens in the face of a global pandemic?

Our job right now is to listen to our public health experts. They have told us that we must avoid large gatherings to limit the spread of covid-19. Kids will stay home from school and adults will work from home when possible.

Let’s be honest, this is not going to be easy for a lot of families. Child care issues and economics aside, I’m not even going to pretend that my kids are going to gather happily around the table daily to pursue their school lessons before engaging in a quiet but fun-loving game of monopoly.

If you are lucky, the worst things you will deal with are cabin fever, cranky toddlers, and grumpy in-laws. You will try to make silly dad jokes while your teenagers roll their eyes and sullenly crash about the house. The family walk to get some fresh air that sounded like such a great idea an hour ago will leave you feeling like the last one voted off on an episode of Survivor. You will break up sibling fights and cancel your spring break trip. All of this will make you long for malls and movie theaters, pubs and airplanes.

But, hopefully, these measures will keep you and your loved ones healthy. If we slow the rate of the spread of this virus so that we have a flatter curve, lives will be saved. And if there’s something I’ve learned in the past year, it is that health is everything.

So let’s do this small thing and distance ourselves from one another for a while. Sometimes the tiniest acts remind us of the importance of our place on the wheel.

And if there’s green food colouring in the cupboard and beer in the fridge, well, even better.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, my dear readers! Stay safe.

Varjak and the kids send their thanks to our
ever-important healthcare providers!

9 Comments

  1. Patricia Taylor

    Another wonderful post!

    Your proud of you Aunt Patti

    On Tue, Mar 17, 2020, 4:01 PM A Year of Weather, wrote:

    > janinecutting posted: ” Some of my girlfriends and I recently ordered St. > Patrick’s Day shirts from a local clothing company. Our plan was to paint > the town green as we took in some local entertainment. This St. Paddy’s > Day, we were going to celebrate life! Of course, things” >

    Reply
    • janinecutting

      Thanks so much, Aunt Patti!! It was so nice to chat last night 馃挅馃槉

      Reply
  2. Dianne Ball

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day from Ivan, Dave, Melinda and Ivan!xo

    Reply
    • janinecutting

      And the same to all of you, Dianne!! Hope you had one for me馃槉馃崁

      Reply
  3. annieasksyou

    Your cath is gone! That is surely worth celebrating.

    This is a fine post for our angst-wrought times, Janine. So good to read the results of your fine mind and deft style turned to helping us all cope with our strange new reality.

    Reply
    • janinecutting

      Thank you, Annie! Yes I am happy to have the port-a-cath gone. I hope you are staying safe and out of the way of this virus!

      Reply
  4. Joanne Adams

    Excellent points Janine. Say hi to Caleb for us. We miss having him around. Wishing you all the best and great news on getting th cath out!

    Reply
  5. janinecutting

    Thanks, Joanne! I gave Caleb your message. He is finding the time long (like all 14 year olds!) He鈥檇 give just about anything to hang out with Anthony right now. Hope you all are well 馃檪

    Reply

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Hello, I'm Janine

It鈥檚 nice to meet you! I write about the calms and storms we endure during this human experience.

I am a counselling therapist in private practice and a cancer survivor. Helping and connecting with others is a passion of mine, and I鈥檝e found that blogging is the perfect avenue.

I鈥檓 so glad you popped by for a visit today.

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