A work colleague said to me recently: “I saw a video online that made me laugh and I thought of you. I must send it on.” And true to her word, she sent me on the video. It was about a guy working busily at his desk and them getting up and lying down on the floor. The caption was Things that are legal but make you look like a psychopath, part 20 – just deciding to lay on the floor. It made me laugh too because it equally applies to me. Not the psychopath part obviously, but my back is giving trouble and at any time I could be found lying down on the ground. We have written many times in our health pages about the importance of not letting other health ailments get ignored just because COVID-19 continues to be a threat. I took this advice myself and went for an MRI in the Mater Hospital last week. In fairness, the COVID-19 protocols in place would give you great confidence. I await the results.
One of the key pieces of advice for a successful recovery from the back surgery that I had is to not lift anything heavier than a 1kg bag of sugar. When I had my first back surgery I had a small baby (Dia), which made the “not lifting” element of the recovery almost impossible. So, Monah, a 20-something-year-old Brazilian au pair came to live with us. I remember her uncertainty about moving from the city to “the sticks” here in rural Kilkenny. I asked her to come out and meet us and the children.
Monah and her friend had a single bunk bed each in a room sharing with two men that they did not know
I’d love to report that it was the cute children that swung it, but it was actually the en suite bedroom. It was some time after that she told me that she had lived in accommodation identical to what was described on the recent RTÉ Investigates programme. Monah and her friend had a single bunk bed each in a room sharing with two men that they did not know. She kept her cooking pots under her bed and her clothes in her rucksack. There were 16 people living in that house – she lasted a month.
[...] with paper plates and one masked person nominated to serve everyone, I personally think I would prefer to stay at home
When I read Margaret Hawkins’s health piece this week, I was despondent. Her article, which focuses on how to protect yourself and your Christmas dinner guests from COVID-19, offers solid advice. But with paper plates and one masked person nominated to serve everyone, I personally think I would prefer to stay at home. Furthermore, I would find it very difficult to implement such measures in my house for guests. However, that is my choice and I am lucky to be able to make that choice. The living conditions exposed on the RTÉ Investigates programme mean that those residents have absolutely no choice.
Nutrition is as complicated as the environmental question
Speaking of RTÉ shows, the second series of What Planet Are You On? aired a few months ago. While not causing as much consternation as when it aired first in 2019, there was still lots of commentary encouraging contestants to replace dairy and meat with alternatives. Nutrition is as complicated as the environmental question so we Cut Through The Bull and look at what we should be eating.
Before going on maternity leave, Maria Moynihan spoke to women who know their way around organising nice events. They gave her some inspiration for staying home this Christmas. My advice is to read both articles with Margaret’s health piece first for matters practical and then Maria’s to put you in a festive mood.