Irish author Claudia Carroll writes in the Irish Independent that a month vacation in Cancun was just what the doctor ordered for her and her elderly parents wracked by illnesses.
So a few years ago, my poor parents were hit with a whole tsunami of health calamities, each with varying degrees of seriousness. My mother was in Vincent’s Hospital going through scary, stressful cancer treatment, Dad was in the Eye and Ear having eye surgery and there was me in the middle, shuttling between two different hospitals to visit them both, trying to keep the show on the road.
It was a rough time for all of us and the only thing that got me through was the fantasy holiday I had planned in my head for when it was all over, and both parents were – with any luck – restored to health.
It became like a little act of faith with me, while I sat wanting on Mum to come out of daily radiation treatment, God love her, sick as a parrot and with skin the exact colour of urine.
When this is all over, was my little vow, we’re spending a whole summer together. Proper quality time. Because I was heartily sick of only ever seeing my Mum in a chemo ward, where just the sight of her would break your heart. And I was even more fed up with my poor Dad slowly succumbing to end stage glaucoma, till now he’s legally declared blind and doctors have uttered the dreaded phrase, ‘we’re so sorry, but there’s nothing more we can do’.
Anyone who has acted as carer for sick, elderly relatives will tell you how stressful it is on everyone, but what propelled me through it was the thoughts that we might still be able to enjoy happier times ahead.
To create memories that didn’t necessarily involve oncologists and scary CAT scans and sitting on uncomfortable plastic chairs in waiting rooms anxiously waiting on test results. Above all, I fantasised about spending time with my folks as far as it was possible to get from hospitals and radiotherapy clinics and the Eye and Ear. Or as it’s known in my family, ‘the Jaysus Eye and Ear.’
So I went and did it. Thanks to a cheapie deal with Tour America, as soon as Mum and Dad were home from hospital, the three of us were able to book a proper four-week summer break in Cancun, Mexico for about half the normal price.
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