Monday, December 31, 2012

We didn’t have Christmas. We had the norovirus.

I’m pretty well back up to speed by now – although “speed” doesn’t imply anything very brisk, these days. My husband is still very weak, although making progress. We are living on Jewish penicillin.

We had Christmas Eve.

We had Boxing Day.

But nothing in between.

My husband was taken ill in the early hours of Christmas Day. We cancelled Mass-going right away – it would have meant leaving him alone in the house for nearly two hours, by the time we got to Inverary and back..

James and his family were sleeping a mile or so away, in the former butler’s quarters of the Big House, now converted into a pleasant self-catering flat. We soon learned that James had been sick all night, so we cancelled Christmas Dinner. His daughter Kirsty joined him on the casualty list a few hours later.

So we who were still walking had a lovely, leisurely day, lunching on delicious left-over lasagne. It couldn’t have been planned. I can’t remember why we cancelled champagne and present-giving as the dark drew in. I was disappointed about that.

Boxing Day started well (see above). I was stricken in the late afternoon. The Little Boys joined me during the night. The next day – it’s Thursday, by now -- James drove us back to Edinburgh in the huge people-carrier he had hired. James was fine by then. My husband and I found it tough going, but  it was good to be back in our own bed. James’ daughter Rachel fell to the dread lurgy on Friday.

Before we left Loch Fyne, however, on Thursday morning, Alexander trumped us all. He hadn’t been feeling entirely well throughout. He felt tingly, he said. Now he had developed a painful rash, self-diagnosed as shingles. A doctor confirmed the guess that afternoon. He’s taking anti-viral drugs and pain-killers. But it means weeks of pain, at the very least.

Big-Rachel’s family from London replaced us on the shores of Loch Fyne. When I last heard, one of them had gone down and another wasn’t feeling very well.

But they are safely back in London now, and the Beijing Mileses are back in Beijing (and didn’t get sick during the journey). And, as Alexander said the last time I spoke to him, it only happens once a year. 


  1. Oh dear Jean what a sad way to spend the
    Christmas days. The Norovirus is a pig, and it survives so long in places, as well as people.
    Hope the new year will bring better times.

  2. And great sympathy from Downunder as well. Here's to a much better 2013 with much successful knitting to be done!

  3. Oh no! I am so sorry! What a catalogue of disasters! May you have a very healthy New Year!

  4. Anonymous12:22 PM

    So glad you're safely back at home and back online, and so sorry for all the illness. As always, it's not the same without your blog to start the day. Best wishes for 2013, for you and your far-flung family--
    Sharon N.

  5. Anonymous12:47 PM

    Pass the word to your friends/family: new medicines can help with shingles (anti-virals), but must be begun ASAP when symptoms show themselves.

  6. What a shame, when you had all made such efforts to gather. Let's hope that you were able to see your knitted gifts appreciated.

  7. Anonymous2:25 PM

    Dear Jean,
    Here's hoping the New Year brings you and your (extended) family good health and cheer. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, accomplishments, travails and goings-on. It's always a pleasure to read your blog.
    Erin in PA

  8. Anonymous2:41 PM

    So sorry to hear about your Christmas. The noro virus is awful. Took us a good two Weeks before we felt ok again. Liz Phillips

  9. Oh no! I am so sorry you were all hit with that awful bug. I remember you saying it was going around Archie's school before Christmas, so it must be making the rounds in Scotland. Jewish penicillin and rest are just the thing. Hugs to you...

  10. Sarah JS3:34 PM

    Best & healthy wishes to you all.

  11. MrsAlex4:57 PM

    Oh no! So sorry to hear about the family norovirus relay race. Just the sort of Christmas gift you don't want to receive. Hope you all are recovered to enjoy a happy and healthy 2013.

  12. I'm sorry to hear that your family was stricken, but at least you had many to look after you and your husband, especially him. Best wishes to you.

  13. So sorry your family, especially your husband, were taken ill. I send prayer for comfort and continued recoveries to full health. I have missed your perspectives, thoughts and knit discussion. Here's to a healthy and refreshing New Year.

  14. Anonymous8:00 PM

    Very sorry to hear your family vacation took such a turn for the worse, but glad to hear everyone is recuperating. These viruses can be very nasty indeed.
    Best wishes for a happy and now-healthy 2013!
    Lisa in Toronto

  15. Anonymous8:07 PM

    This will certainly be a Christmas your family will remember for years to come, although not too fondly! I sincerely hope that 2013 is kinder to all involved.

    For Alexander: I truly feel his pain, as I have had shingles eons ago. It's a pain you never forget.

    Mary G. in Texas

  16. Anonymous9:36 PM

    So sorry Jean. Wishing you and all your family and healthy and happy 2013!
    Margaret Mary

  17. Oh, dear. I am so sorry to hear of the illnesses which struck with such unfortunate timing. I wish you all a happy and healthy new year.