On Christmas Eve, I sliced the ham and put it into a sealed container in the refrigerator, ready for Ming to bring to my mother’s place in the evening, then I went to the nursing home. Ming was working at the restaurant and planned to come home, shower and change and head to my mother’s while I spent the afternoon with Anthony.
Just after I got to my mother’s at around 6pm, Ming rang and said he was sick and had been vomiting and didn’t think he could come.
“But what about the ham?” I shrilled unsympathetically.
“Mum, I am really sick!” Ming exclaimed weakly.
“Can you just bring it and then you can go to bed at Grandma’s,” I said.
He agreed begrudgingly.
Meanwhile, family members began arriving at my mother’s, champagne was poured and the presents under her Christmas tree were ogled. I kept an anxious eye out for Ming and finally he arrived. As he walked up the driveway, I wondered why he had left his car in the road and why he was wearing such a strange spotty outfit. Then I realised, oh no! that he was covered in vomit.
“I just threw up in my car!” he said weakly, but ferociously. So we got his car into the driveway, he went inside via the back door so he didn’t have to see anyone, and my mother gave him some clothes to change into and put him to bed. I took the container of ham inside then got a bucket of water and tried to clean the inside of Ming’s car but it was everywhere (I will spare you the details!)
Anyway, with Ming in a bedroom adjacent to the loo, the rest of us continued our festivities while I checked on Ming periodically, who was continuing to vomit every hour or so. I felt terrible to have made him come and had to suffer his weak remonstrances of “You care more about the ham than me.”
By the time I was ready to go home, at around 9.30pm, it had been decided that Ming would sleep the night at Grandma’s.
The next morning (Christmas day) at 6am, there was a knock on the front door that woke me up and, assuming it was a recovered Ming who had lost his key, I opened it blearily only to find it was my brother! He said, “I thought you might like some company – let’s have a drink.” So BJ and I drank champagne on the front veranda, waxing lyrical about this and that and watching the birds dive in and out of the trees, including the new wild parrots I’ve never seen before. It was a fantastic hour and it actually made my day! Then BJ had to head home for his family’s 8am Christmas present ritual.
After he left, my mother contacted me to say she would bring Ming home because he was too weak to drive and had continued vomiting until 4am. So they arrived and we opened a few presents but Ming was still feeling ghastly so I put him to bed and my mother headed in to town to my brother’s place after which she was to meet me at the nursing home.
Well, the crayfish, mango, and my mother’s pavlova, were all a great success with Anthony and so were all the presents I helped him unwrap, then we watched a bit of tenor music on TV, then my mother left, then I went to do my 3-6pm shift in the dementia wing.
After I knocked off, I went back to Ants’ room and we ate the leftover crayfish (which I’d put in the staff frig.) and I went home to my no-longer-sick-but-very-weak son who struggled through the opening of his remaining Christmas presents ha!
But yesterday my mother contacted me to say she had the same thing – the gastro. and it was absolutely horrific and I was helpless to help because of contagion. I rang the nursing home to tell them the situation but that I, myself, was not affected (there is a strict rule that you don’t come in if there is any likelihood of infection of any sort). So, despite the fact that I’m not sick, I’ve been banned from coming into the nursing home until next Thursday! This means I can’t do my allotted shifts and can’t see Ants.
Thankfully, my mother is over the worst but is obviously very weak. Today Ming and I are going to hers to pick up his vomit-ridden car but, now that he has recovered, he wants to take me out for lunch first.
What a strange Christmas!