Thursday, 8 December 2011

Not a very festive holiday

Sant'Ambrogio, patron of the city of Milan

Every year, the day before the Immacolate Conception, the "milanesi" celebrate the city's patron, Sant'Ambrogio. They generally do so by fleeing the city for a long weekend that combines the two holidays, or by remaining in town and getting ready for Christmas. Among this latter group, a selected elite attends the opening of the season at Teatro La Scala (this year, with Don Giovanni).

"Vecchia Milano Fiera di Sant'Ambrogio", by one of my favourite painters, Giulio Falzoni

We, however, spent the day at the emergency room. My son started having really high fever yesterday even though he was still taking antibiotics from his previous flu spell that ended last week, so we decided to take no chances. Diagnosis: small lung infection, aka pneumonia. I am sure you understand if the day is kind of blur to me. Now, after two doses of a new and stronger antibiotic, for the first time in two days he has no fever. I cannot go to sleep because I obviously want to monitor the situation, but I decided to celebrate this milestone event (to me) but distracting myself a bit.

Photo: SitoQui

I have wonderful child memories of Sant'Ambrogio. My dad always took me around the city -- something that in those days did not happen often. We set out to see the big tree that had been lit in front of the Duomo (the one we saw being put up last weekend) and then headed to the fair of "Oh Bej! Oh Bej!" We ate roasted chestnuts, whose smell filled the air.

Photo: Milano 2.0

I wanted to share all these experiences with my son this year. Considering how our day went, I still feel blessed that now he seems to react to the treatment (still fresh, I just checked!). Because I can guarantee you, the emergency room of a children's hospital is a place I hope never to have to go back to again.

Historical note: Sant'Ambrogio was born in 339, became one of the four most important doctors of the Church (together with Agostino) and then bishop of the city, before dying in 357. The basilica dedicated to him was Milan's cathedral until the construction of the Duomo.

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