Are we facing a health crisis Armageddon?





Up until last week, I’d have considered meningitis to be one of those rare infections you come across. However, the HSE has revealed that 11 cases of this condition, which affects the delicate membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, were reported to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), since the last week of December, resulting in three patients losing their lives. Now, while I hate to catastrophise, these stats clearly indicate a major and worrying spike, leading me to be concerned that, along with a possible Brexit ruination, we’re also set to become victims of some kind of health crisis Armageddon.

  And so readers, as this is a family-run newspaper with community very much at its heart, (and, as several parents and some senior readers have told me they are somewhat confused regarding the signs and symptoms of meningitis, especially as some can resemble the flu), even though I’m no medical expert, I thought I’d touch upon this emotive subject. But before I go any further, do bear in mind that the best person to address all medical concerns is your local family doctor; and, if you feel that something is not right with either yourself, your child or any family member, seek his/her advice without delay because the HSE’s data is indicating that different strains of the disease are circulating with all age groups being affected.

  My own personal encounter with meningitis occurred when, while at work, I got a call from my then 10-month-old granddaughter’s crèche to say her mammy, (my eldest) uncharacteristically hadn’t turned up to collect her and was uncontactable by phone. I dropped everything, and, while myself and hubby rushed across the city to get our granddaughter, my ex-hubby and our youngest went searching for her mother. Long story short; unbeknownst to us, two hours earlier, my eldest had collapsed at work and had been rushed to Beaumont Hospital suffering from what was eventually diagnosed as being viral meningitis. None of her colleagues had thought to ring us when she’d collapsed, (they got a right earful from me, and my daughter later said she was mortified returning to work following her recovery). Understandably, as she was unconscious, hospital personnel, quite rightly, were more concerned with saving my child’s life than they were of going through her handbag/phone to find her ‘in case of emergency’ contact, or ICE, which were myself and her dad.

  Now, while my daughter’s diagnosis struck fear into the very heart of me as we stood outside of her isolation unit speaking with her medical team, I also breathed a huge sigh of relief because I knew that the viral strain of this disease, although very serious, and requiring swift intervention, is, thank God, rarely ever life-threatening, and we are forever grateful she pulled through without suffering any after-affects. We were lucky. I remember praying to every saint I could think of; at one stage going so far as promising my soul to Satan if only he’d allow her to survive.

  Now, as there is, (and it seems always has been), a health crisis when it comes to our A&E departments, it’s understandable that if a child, an adult or a senior relative is feeling unwell with what appears to be flu-like symptoms, that bed rest with a hot water bottle and an over-the-counter remedy would likely be the sensible thing to do in order to avoid making things worse by presenting at overcrowded A&Es. However, while it has been reported that the HSE has ‘declined to say what counties are affected on the grounds of patient confidentiality,’ and, as we don’t have an A&E facility in Roscommon, a call to your doctor, even though he/she God love them, are probably inundated at this stage, is absolutely vital. In addition, readers could also contact the charity ACT for Meningitis and speak with a family support officer. Their number is Ph: 091 380058. Or ring the Meningitis Research Foundation whose helpline is Ph: 1800 41 33 44.

  In the meantime parents, I’d urge you to check your kids’ schedule of vaccinations and make sure they’re up to date. Remember readers, while viral meningitis is rarely life threatening, urgent medical attention is essential. As for bacterial meningitis, well, if untreated, this is almost always fatal, so, if you’re concerned, don’t delay and consult your doctor for professional, medical advice.


Love a woman over 50? Quelle horreur!


Well ladies, it seems we’ve been sexually gazumped by a younger, firmer, thinner and more interesting new model, i.e. the under 50 year old nymphet!

  It’s true. Last week,  as if dissecting us mature girlies with a scalpel and holding us aloft like some medical experiment gone horribly wrong; French author and TV presenter Yann Moix publicly declared that women ‘over 50 are too old to love’. And, what has prompted the misogynist monsieur to make this statement? Well, presumably the creepy lothario perceives our age-related lack of pliability has resulted in our bodies becoming ‘not extraordinary at all’. His words, not mine!

  Now while I’m no Kendall Jenner, and, at no time in my life have any of my body-parts been as taut as Angelina Jolie’s inner thigh, however, as a woman who falls into the smart-assed chauvinist’s too-old-to-love category, I’d say that, along with every other fabulous mature Roscommon woman,  I’m defo not ready to sit in a corner covered in a shawl crocheting doilies just because some homme horrible who doesn’t even possess the IQ to become a contestant on Big Brother thinks I’m past it!

  Then again, let’s not be too harsh on Moix, who is, by the way ladies, himself a 51 year old; and assume that, despite the fact he’s balding and his visage resembles an unmade bed, (I mean, he’s hardly a knight in shining Armani now is he mes chers?), that he is, like some egotistical men, experiencing a mid-life crisis. Mind you, I could be wrong, but personally, I don’t think this imbécile has even left puberty yet!