Sunday, June 29, 2014

World Cup Fever

World Cup fever is in full swing here in Germany at the moment. It's fun living in a country while they are competing- there's a great atmosphere! Lots of places offer "public viewings" as they call it where you can watch the games outside on a big screen. This is my second World Cup since I've moved here, and I was also around for the European Championship two years ago when Germany made it to the semi-final.

Germany tend to do well and get far in the World Cup. Unlike Ireland unfortunately who didn't even qualify this year! Last time around we nearly got in if it weren't for Thierry Henry's hand, which Irish people have a hard time forgetting! I enjoyed reading this: Never forget the hand of the frog written by a French woman living in Ireland.

I remember the Summer of 1990 really well when Ireland made it to the quarter-finals in the World cup. It was such a great atmosphere! And the song: "We're all part of Jackie's Army, We're all off to Italy, And we'll really shake them up, When we win The World Cup, 'Cos Ireland are the greatest football team!" which everyone was singing at the time!

Germany's next game is tomorrow evening against Algeria. So if they win everyone will be doing the "autokorso" thing where they drive around in their cars beeping the horn and waving the German flag.

Are you following the World Cup this year?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

What to pack for a hospital stay

The reason I haven't been blogging lately is that I was in hospital recently and then afterwards on holidays. I won't go into all the details but basically my doctor found a large cyst on my ovary and since we had planned to go on holidays to Greece the following week she said I should get it removed as otherwise there would be the risk of it bursting while I was away. It's normally done with a relatively minor keyhole surgery however in my case the operation ended up being a little more complicated and I needed an incision in my abdomen. Overall I was in hospital for 6 days recovering. It was a tough week for me as you can imagine!

The GerMann and I ended up having to miss the first few days of the holiday and get a later flight as I needed to wait for my stitches to be removed and until I felt up to travelling. We were meeting my family there and I was also really looking forward to seeing them. Despite not being able to do much on the holiday apart from reading and relaxing by the pool or beach, I still had a lovely time and was able to recover. Feeling back to normal again now and so much better!

Anyway I thought I'd put together a list of things to pack if you ever end up needing to go to hospital for a few days. Firstly, you may end up having to stay longer than anticipated so it's always a good idea to bring more stuff than you think you will need and pack for extra days just in case.

1) Pyjamas
Think comfortable and loose fitting. You will feel so much better once you can take off the hospital gown and get into your own pjs. I brought a navy polka-dot nightshirt with navy bottoms which I'd bought in Primark. One of the nurses commented that polka dots are very "in" at the moment, haha!

2) Face & hand cream, lip balm, hair comb, tootbrush & toothpaste, mini shampoo & conditioner
Just some essentials to help you feel a little normal and also to not scare your visitors too much! I personally think there is no need to wear makeup in hospital but if you would feel better with some on, then of course go ahead and pack it.

3) Plenty to read
Magazines are perfect as you don't need to concentrate on them when you are feeling tired after surgery and they are nice to just flick through. But also bring a few books along too, ideally ones that are easy to read and get into.

4) Paperwork
Don't forget things like your health insurance info, your normal GP's contact details, and anything that might be relevant- such as the names of antibiotics you might have been on recently or any medication you are taking. My German health insurance was very good, everything was pretty much covered. I only received a small bill afterwards of 10€ per day.

5) Your phone and charger
This was my lifeline! Being in hospital in Germany I felt a long way away from my family and friends from home. So it was great to be able to text and Whatsapp people and I even got a phonecall from Australia! I feel lucky to have such great friends and I was reminded of it again when I was hospital. The ones here gave me a lovely care package, I got sent flowers from a friend living abroad, and a box of irish treats (Cadbury chocolate, Tayto crisps, time out bars etc!) was sent over from Ireland. The GerMann was also in visiting me every free moment he wasn't working - keeping me company and looking after me.

6) Slippers, socks, underwear
Hospital floors are cold, so slippers are a must.

7) A comfortable outfit for going home
Tracksuit bottoms, trainers and a t-shit are perfect.

8) Some cash
You might need money to buy something in the hospital shop. Where I stayed you had to pay extra for bottled water and coffee.

So those are the main things. And anything else that might help cheer you up while you are in there! Like an mp3 player so you can listen to some music. Or a portable dvd player /crossword book /knitting etc. Have I forgotten anything important?

I was so happy once I was released from hospital after my stay there since I was so sick of those four walls at that stage. Once I got home the GerMann made me a lovely cup of Barry's Tea (well known irish tea brand for those who don't know) and then we caught up with the latest Game of Thrones episodes.