They say a picture is worth a thousand words...
But, as I reflect on our recent family holiday in the Balearics with our two young girls, I would dare to suggest that theory is not always correct.
Our carefully selected Facebook snaps post vacation paint a picture of nothing but joy, cheer and smiles. However, while undoubtedly it was a wonderful getaway with our nearest and dearest, we had more than our fair share of challenges. And, as you will see, there are even two morals to the tale. Less than an hour after checking into our hotel apartment, crisis number one struck. Betty, our recently-turned two-year-old, was understandably in excitable mood and, after we took our eyes off her for a split second, took a heavy tumble in the shower room. Blood was pouring from her quivering mouth and it was soon apparent a large chunk of one of her front teeth had fallen out. She was visibly bruised to the face and cut severely on the lip. She was screaming in pain. Cue chaos. The hotel staff were absolutely first class and they immediately called a taxi to rush us to the nearest urgent care centre in Ibiza.
Now, of all the holidays I have been on, this was the first time I had invested in medical insurance. I remember having a discussion with Mel pre-holiday and saying something along the lines of: “Let’s save our money – everything will be fine.” That tends to be my woefully weak approach with most things in life. And how wrong was I?
Betty was seen by a nurse and we were soon sent on our way to restart our holiday.
I’m delighted to say Betty has healed and is back to her normal cheeky self, albeit with less teeth than before. It is important to stress that on this occasion we didn’t need to use our health insurance - but this taught me a valuable lesson. You just never know when you may need it. So the first moral of the story is don’t be like I was – make absolutely sure you get that all-important medical insurance sorted before you jet-off. It really could be a life-saver Believe it or not, crisis number two erupted that same night. Mel and I were reflecting on a terrible night for our beautiful Betty but eventually nodded off following a long day of travelling. I kid you not, less than an hour later I was being awoken by Mel with: “It’s Evie – she’s pooed the bed.”
Nine-year-old Evie, my stepdaughter, has not once done this since I met her at the tender age of three. It turned out she was suffering from an awful bout of diarrhoea and sickness – mostly the former.
Bless her, she hardly moved from the bathroom for the next 12 hours. We had a shattered toddler with a battered face, swollen lip and tooth missing screaming to get back to sleep and the eldest who had no hope of controlling her bowels for what seemed like for ever. And this was our family honeymoon by the way! Mel and I were like zombies.
Back to the travel insurance moral, we did try and see a local doctor for Evie later that day. But he wouldn’t even let us through his door until we had parted with 90 Euros. Ninety euros, just to be looked at. Of course we could have recuperated this money with our insurance but what if we hadn’t had it? We decided to keep the cash and thankfully, Evie soon returned to normal.
Before I come to the moral here, I’ll skip to a third crisis which came out of nowhere on the penultimate evening.
As we sat for dinner, Betty’s face suddenly paled and her temperature soared. She became very emotional and looked drained. She was suffering from something and we feared she may have picked up Evie’s tummy bug.
She hadn’t and she slept intermittently. On the final day, she seemed exhausted and clearly under the weather. We had only brought a small amount of Calpol from home and this had been used during the shenanigans on night one.
As Betty’s mood dipped and we became more concerned, I frantically began asking parents around the pool if they had any spare Calpol. Predictably, the first four or five parents I spoke to were either German or Italian and there were language barriers. It’s never easy is it?
Eventually though I stumbled across a lovely couple from Liverpool – who gave us a two Calpol sachets.
How magical is Calpol by the way? Betty improved no-end and, while she wasn’t fully fit for a couple of days, the flight home was relatively comfortable.
So the second moral of the story is to make sure you are fully stocked on remedies before you go on your travels this summer. As we learned the hard way, it could make life so much more bearable in difficult situations a long way from home.
I have done a quick piece of research and the NHS recommends we have the following stocked up – whether abroad or at home:
• Pain relief tablets (including for children)
• Anti-diarrhoea tablets
• Oral rehydration salts
• Indigestion treatment
• First aid kit