ITALY was, as I expected, just incredible!
We had the most wonderful time in the stunning area of Lake Maggiore, in our Bookings For You villa and I cannot wait to share the photos and travel tales with you all, very soon.
(Once I’ve edited the hundreds of photos I snapped, that is!)
However, it was also one of the strangest holidays I’ve ever had, because whilst I was there, I had a little health scare, which- if I’m being honest – has left me feeling a little traumatised.
Throughout my life, I’ve been very fortunate. I’ve never really had anything ‘wrong with me’ if you know what I mean.
Bar the odd common bug or illness and a bit of a dodgy back (thanks pregnancy!) I’m generally as fit as a fiddle. And I guess, because of my good fortune, I’ve taken my health for granted over the years.
Like many of us, I’ve drank far too much on occasion, dabbled with things I shouldn’t have and sometimes, eaten far too much junk food and nowhere near enough of the good stuff.
I’ve never thought that I’m invincible, but I’ve certainly been a bit blase about my health.
That is, until now.
You may remember that I talked about coming out in a nasty outbreak of hives, just before I set off on my travels.
Which all started on a Thursday morning with an odd rash that appeared on the top of my thighs.
Straight away I thought: “bloody hell, I hope it’s not chickenpox!” seeing as this childhood illness is going around Elsie’s nursery.
As the day progressed, so did the rash, cropping up in other areas, so I made an appointment with my GP, who said I’d had a little allergic reaction to my washing powder (of which I was skeptical as I’ve been using it for yonks), and that I’d be fine.
I was told to pop some cream on to cool down the rash and take an antihistamine tablet every day.
But on Friday morning, I woke up to find myself covered in the rash which was now as hot as hell, and unbearably itchy.
At around 9.00am, as I sat at my desk trying to work, I felt my throat start to swell up and developed a weird cough. It then became apparent that this ‘reaction’ had just got a little serious.
Struggling to breathe properly, I rang Jamie to come home and off we went to A&E, where they promptly gave me a big shot of steroids and told me, that I would be well in a few days and was fit to travel.
Relief all round!
And then rolled on Saturday. Travel day.
I woke up in the morning, expecting the hives to have disappeared, only to have found that they had covered my entire body. No longer were they odd spots but instead had merged into giant areas of ‘hot as hell’ redness.
The heat and itching was just horrendous. Seriously, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy but we had a place to catch and so on we went.
I covered up my body as much as possible, plastered my face in make up and jetted off to Italy.
We arrived around 8pm on Saturday evening at the stunning villa and it was then that I noticed that my legs had swollen. A lot.
“Nothing to worry about”, everyone said. “It can sometimes happen with flights.”
But then on Sunday morning I woke up and got the fright of my life.
My face had swollen beyond recognition, with my lips looking like something from a filler horror show. I couldn’t even bear to look at myself in the mirror.
My legs, feet, arms, hands and wrists were also badly swollen.
I looked horrendous, felt dreadful and was beginning to panic a little.
Whilst the look on my husband’s face, and my Dad’s too (who’d come with us) told me, that they were more than a little worried too.
I spent the first day of the holiday, in bed, too ill to get up and too embarrassed for Elsie to see me in such a state. I just couldn’t believe it.
By teatime, and still no better, my Dad rang home and spoke to a relative, a former GP, who told him that I was experiencing a severe allergic reaction which was potentially life threatening.
Basically, if my tongue had swollen, instead of my lips, I may not even be here now, to tell the sorry tale. They call it Anaphylaxis.
I don’t think I’ll ever forget the concern on my Dad’s face, when he told me that I had to sleep sat up right and that if at any point I felt the swelling increase in my throat that night, they were going to whisk me straight to A&E in Italy.
That night as I tried to get to sleep, it may sound a bit dramatic, but I was pretty terrified that I may not wake up. That the swelling would happen as I was asleep or that something may go horribly wrong.
So many thoughts ran through my head as I gazed at the moon and stars from my Italian bed. About my life. About the people I love. About the person I am. About Elsie.
But then, the next day, bam.
Like magic, the steroids that I’d had a few days earlier kicked in and – thank goodness – things started to improve. Quickly too!
With every passing hour,I began to feel and look more like myself. And the next day I was absolutely fine and out enjoying my holiday, if a little itchy still, as if nothing had happened.
So what was the culprit?
Well it wasn’t the washing powder or anything that I’d eaten. But a virus.
You see, about two months ago I had a week of feeling absolutely awful and really poorly, yet had no symptoms. It was odd. Very odd.
And I knew it too!
I kept saying to Jamie, this virus is weird! Funny how we know our own bodies huh?
And since then, well I’ve had one little illness after another. Colds,cystitis and sinusitis. Nothing major, but just constant bouts of being germ ridden.
Talking to our relative, who once saved a young woman’s life by performing an emergency tracheotomy after she experienced something similar to me, apparently weird viruses can do this.
My body was/ is allergic to the virus and that’s why the reaction I had, was so severe.
Frightening isn’t it?
I never thought anything like this, would happen to me.
I never thought something so ‘simple’ like a virus, could create so much havoc.
I never thought my life could be at risk, in such a way.
But it was.
And as my Dad said to me, it’s certainly been quite the wake up call.
There really is no greater gift.