Winter is a tough time of the year for us mums. Along with having to look after our own health, we tend to take on the bulk of responsibilities for the whole family’s wellbeing – adults, kids and pets. This year with the double threat of COVID and influenza, I’m more grateful than ever for the abundance of health and wellness options at Albany Mega Centre.
It’s another cold Saturday morning and I find myself once again going to Chemist Warehouse. As I park the car and get the kids out, I wonder how many times I’ve been here in the last few months. Winter colds and flus have hit us hard. Add to that the kids' endless stream of knocks and bumps, and numerous COVID scares, and I start to think I should buy shares in this place.
I’ve been here recently to fill prescriptions, to get immunity-building vitamins, creams for various aches and pains, pain medication for adults and kids, hand sanitisers, tissues, antiseptics, plasters, cotton buds and so much more. That doesn’t even include the trips here for non-medical stuff like shampoos, soaps and toothpaste and for beauty products like my dry-skin moisturiser.
Today, I’m here for my husband, Mike. He’s woken up feeling unwell with a sore head, a scratchy throat, and a runny nose. Most years I’d diagnose this as a severe case of man-flu and he’d self-prescribe a few days of lying on the couch watching sport while I run around getting him soup, tea and sympathy. With COVID and the rampant flu going through the community, I decide that a slightly less cynical treatment may be needed. So, I’m here again, looking for the medicines that bring me comfort when I have the flu: Coldrex for the drowsiness, Lemsip hot drinks for the throat and a Vicks Vapour Rub for the achy bits. I combine these traditional cures with more modern solutions: a 5-pack of rapid antigen tests and a box of face masks, just in case.
Leaving Chemist Warehouse, with our bag full of feel betters, we walk back to the car, parked outside The Baby Factory. As anticipated, the kids want to go in to look at the toys. I don’t mind as this is also a good place to look for good quality winter clothes for under-5s. I find both kids a woollen winter beanie, thermal undergarments and woollen socks. For the older one, I also buy a new fleece-lined padded jacket, with a view of giving her old one to her younger brother. I look at the collection of clothes in my hands and feel pleased with myself for taking a proactive approach to keeping the kids well this winter.
Not surprisingly, the kids are less impressed with my approach, expressing their disappointment that there are no actual toys in the mix. We remedy this with a box of building blocks for Jack and a cuddly panda sleep light for Emma. The recovery from their previous uncurable misery is swift.
One more health-related stop before we can go home, and that’s to Animates. We’re here looking for well-being supplies for Rufus, our family dog. He’s been with me for 16 years and really showing his age now. First stop is the food section, looking for his science diet senior food. The days of eating whatever leftover food we had are long gone and Rufus is now on a permanent weight watchers health fix. Next it’s off to the animal health section for doggy joint and bones vitamins. Meanwhile, the kids are playing with the dog chew toys insisting Rufus must have one. I ignore the duck toy, with the annoying honk, the kids prefer and go for the more functional, but somewhat less cute, dental chew bone. Health first after all.
We get home and I give Mike his medicine. The relief is clear on his face as he skips from one sports channel to the next. The kids are playing with the new blocks on the floor while Rufus lies next to them, slobbering all over his new bone. I sit at the kitchen table, drinking my medicine - a soothing cup of tea - thinking about how painless Albany Mega Centre makes shopping for the family’s health and wellbeing.