Fifteen days and counting…

We miss seeing bushbabies and hope to see them in the future. This one just finished a cup of yogurt we put out for the adorable creature.

We can’t believe how quickly time is passing. The days start early for us and typically end by 11:00 pm, sometimes at midnight for Tom. If I stay up too late, I have trouble falling asleep. I must try to fall asleep by 11:00, like last night when I didn’t nod off until close to 1:00 am for the second night in a row.

My nights are filled with dreams of my younger years, often occurring in hotels and resorts. Duh! No wonder. The antiarrhythmic meds I am on cause lots of brain activity at night.

However, since taking the heart meds recently, I have been sleeping through the night once I get to sleep, even if I fall asleep early, waking up surprised that I slept for so many hours. I was never a good sleeper.

My Fitbit usually reveals that I have slept seven to eight hours, which is comforting to know. I may not be exercising a lot right now since the AFib seems to be at bay when I don’t over-exercise. Instead, I get up from sitting every hour to walk around the house rather than sitting constantly, which is bad for anyone, let alone anyone with a heart condition.

Knowing I would run out of the antiarrhythmic drug on December 19, taking two pills per day, 12 hours apart, yesterday, I decided to take only one pill a day.

My online order from ProgressiveRx is expected to arrive in Nevada around December 29, one month from today. After dropping the morning dose yesterday, I suffered no significant ill effects and took one capsule at 7:00 pm. Off and on I had a little Afib during the day and looked forward to the evening dose, which really helps.

If Afib returns while doing this one pill-a-day regimen, I will have no choice but to return to two capsules a day and run out on December 19. The cardiologist here prescribed a different drug, which I can take, if necessary, to hold me over until the usual drug arrives at our mailing service. But I tried that in the past, and it didn’t work well.

Otherwise, even on one capsule, I feel okay but not perfect. I am hoping that I may not need surgery for a while as long as I get a heart ultrasound test every six months or so, which I plan to do, as long as I have no new symptoms.

Millions of people in the US live long and productive lives with mitral valve issues, only deciding on surgery if serious symptoms arise. We shall see how I do, but I won’t take any unnecessary chances.

In the interim, over the next 15 days, until we depart, we are doing a lot better. As always, we have developed a consistent and comforting routine for both of us, listening to interesting podcasts during the day, conducting research at other times, and enjoying some great shows to stream in the evenings after dinner.

We continue to discuss the possibility of continuing to travel at some point, but for now, health prevails. We still consider ourselves nomads since we won’t be establishing a permanent home, and at the very least, we plan to travel to the US and eventually return to South Africa for a three-month visit.

We hope you all are experiencing good health, which ultimately remains the most critical aspect of our lives.

Of course, be well and be happy.

Photo from ten years ago today, November 30, 2013:

No photo was posted on this travel date in 2013, but there was a story. For details, please click here.

It certainly is a good time to go…

In 2013, Big Daddy kudu was standing at the railing of the Hornbill house.

Yesterday, the power was out twice, once in the morning and another time just before we cooked dinner in the oven. This is like load shedding in South Africa and was resolved for us by Louise and Danie when they installed an inverter system that allowed us to have power at all times.

Need I say we are anxious to be on the move in 15 days?

Last night, the aircon worked in the bedroom after not working for several nights, which caused us to wake up several times during the night. The thoughtful owner was more than willing to fix it, but it would be weeks before a technician arrived. As it turned out, it started working again once.

When we first arrived here on October 24, there was no WiFi upstairs in the bedroom. The router on the main floor wasn’t powerful enough to reach upstairs. It took a month for the tech guy to arrive with two new routers. Now, as of two days ago, we have WiFi upstairs. At night, when I go to bed, I often reply to messages from our readers. But without WiFi, I wasn’t able to do so.

With the power going out so often, daily life is challenging: the washer stops mid-cycle, dinner is postponed, and WiFi and streaming don’t work without power, leaving us unable to work on our laptops.

I am writing this post using an offline app I have on my phone. I don’t type well on the little keyboard on my phone and pick away using the index finger of my right hand. So it goes.

At least we won’t have to return to Manta to go grocery shopping. We purchased enough to get us through a few weeks when we were at MegaMaxi last Wednesday. At that point, we didn’t know we were leaving early and would have bought less toilet paper and miscellaneous food items. However, we have enough of everything we’ll need to get us through the next two weeks, with only 15 days until departure.

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, I look forward to a Costco trip in Henderson. A few years ago, I wouldn’t have felt this way.

But, with the recent health concerns, I feel comfortable being in the US for an extended period. There’s something to be said about being in a familiar place when one is not feeling like themselves. There is little concern because we don’t have a home. We’ve learned to make wherever we may be our home, with the sole exception for this period in Ecuador.

Tom felt that way when we were in Marrakesh, Morocco, in 2014 and never complained about a holiday home and its environment until now.

Tonight, we won’t be going to Kokomo for dinner. It, too, has lost its charm when the food is marginal at best and the socializing is non-existent. The residents here all seem to know one another and have little time for passersby like us. We get that. Why bother cultivating a relationship with transient tourists?

So, off we go in 15 days. Yes, I am counting them down much sooner than I usually do, anxious to move on to the next phase of our lives, inevitable and timely as it is.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, November 29, 2013:

Lions in the Maasaai Mara seldom climb trees. Anderson, our guide, spotted this cub and raced across the bush to get as close as possible. The mother lion and more cubs were lying under this tree. For more photos, please click here.

My broken laptop…Here’s what we’ll do…

Warthog family. I miss them all.

My laptop is getting worse each day. I’m hoping it will last until we arrive in Nevada on December 15, departing on the 14th, and we can get to the Costco store in Henderson, Nevada, to purchase a new one. Based on the condition of the hinge that closes the lid, I think that once we try to close it, it won’t ever open again.

Before we leave here on December 14, I will load all my saved files on my desktop to a zip drive or our external hard drive. Thus, once I get a new Windows 11 laptop, I can simply load the files on the new device and be ready to go. It’s funny how, based on our travels and heavy use, something happens to my laptop every two years, and I have to replace it.

I can only imagine how bored our readers are, reading about yet another device going bad for one reason or another. This one broke when we had it on the floor in our cabin during the Galapagos cruise when the seas were so rough that we stayed at the dinner table as long as possible when the nausea was so unbearable that we both needed to lie down.

That was the only night Tom had a problem and puked into the trash can. That was the only time he suffered from seasickness, but I continued to suffer for nights to come. It was always worse at night since they didn’t move the boat during the day while he and the other passengers went on expeditions.

During the days when I stayed behind, there was much rocking and rolling while anchored. But I never felt sick while we weren’t out to sea. I stayed behind working on our daily posts and the endless flow of photos Tom had taken on the tours. That seems like such a long time ago, and yet it was only six weeks ago.

Nonetheless, when I tried to open my laptop after the first night of rough seas while we were on the move, I encountered this hinge problem. That morning, three or four of the staff members worked on it and managed to get it maneuvered back in place, allowing me to open and close it until it all fell apart about a week ago.

I’m holding it together long enough to order a new laptop from Costco using a $250 gift card, and we’ll pick it up at the Henderson location. Within 24 hours of our arrival in Nevada, I’ll have my new laptop, and a short time later, I’ll have it fully set up. While at Costco, we’ll buy enough groceries to get us through the first week or so. That’s a great plan, which I am actually looking forward to. Shopping at Costco is fun.

Since we’ll be in Nevada for 3½ months, we can easily stock up on oversized packages of toilet paper, paper towels, ziplock bags, food, and more. It will feel great to stock up on familiar items after our time in Educador, with limited products available for our way of eating.

Tom is having the low-carb mushroom burger scramble dish for dinner with rice, while I will have fish with cooked cabbage, broccoli, and green beans for both of us. Tom won’t eat cooked cabbage and broccoli. With Raphael coming by twice a week, we sure eat lots of veggies, which helps fill me up. Plus, Tom has been enjoying having watermelon with ham and cheese rollups at lunchtime.

That’s it for today, dear readers. Again, thank you for the ongoing email messages and comments on the post. You all mean the world to us.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, November 28, 2013:

Upon arrival in Mombasa, Kenya, we took this photo from the ferry as another ferry took off. Notice the crowds. Shortly, we’ll be on this ferry again in Alfred’s vehicle. For more photos, please click here.

17 days and counting…Whew!..

Giraffes in the garden.

Under normal circumstances, I don’t usually start counting down the days this early, before departure from a country, but I couldn’t help myself this time. With our new plan to leave Ecuador almost four weeks earlier than we’d booked, knowing we won’t be getting any money back, it’s fantastic we’re going so soon.

We’re doing so for a few reasons: one, I can’t get the medication I need in Ecuador, and they don’t allow medication to be shipped into the country for any purpose. Two, we’re done. With grocery shopping requiring a long and treacherous one-hour drive to Manta and the lack of restaurants and socialization in the area, we are ready to move on. This hasn’t been a good location for us.

Actually, I’m looking forward to staying at Lake Las Vegas. There are many restaurants and grocery shopping nearby (within five miles) and plenty to keep us busy and enjoying life.

I am looking forward to deciding on meals and shopping accordingly. I haven’t cooked since, besides here for the past six weeks since we were in Florida in July, and I can’t wait to be able to find the ingredients to make some of our favorite dishes.

Often, while on a flight, when traveling to a location where I’ll be cooking, I plan some meals and list the items needed on my phone. “Everyday life” is especially appealing at this time. Perhaps, in a sense, we are both ready to make life a little easier right now in light of the medical concerns and inconveniences we’re facing right now.

Gosh, we’ll be able to see family and friends while in Las Vegas, and if and when we want, we can go to a show on the strip or attend a movie in a theatre, which we both enjoy, let alone go out to dinner at one of the countless restaurants in Henderson and Las Vegas.

By the time we leave in 17 days, I’ll still be working on losing the final weight on my journey to get healthier. But I will be able to enjoy a fish dinner with a salad. We haven’t had a salad since we’ve been in Ecuador, fearful of contamination from washed salad vegetables.

Then again, there was a recent salmonella outbreak in the US from cantaloupe. Apparently, two people died after consuming this fruit. See the story here in part below and online.

“Cantaloupes Linked to Deadly Salmonella Outbreak, U.S. Says

Two deaths were reported in Minnesota, and the number of people sickened by salmonella has doubled since the outbreak was announced last week, federal officials said.

Two people have died in a salmonella outbreak linked to cantaloupes as cases have more than doubled since the outbreak was first announced last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday.

The Food and Drug Administration said on Nov. 17 that it was investigating the outbreak. At that point, 43 cases and 17 hospitalizations had been reported in 15 states. As of Friday, federal officials had reported 99 cases in 32 states.

Several fruit producers have issued recalls for a number of cantaloupe and cantaloupe products that were distributed nationwide, the C.D.C. said.

Health officials asked consumers and businesses to throw away the recalled fruits, which include imported whole cantaloupes grown in Mexico labeled “Rudy” and “Malichita” and pre-cut cantaloupes sold under the “Vinyard,” “Aldi,” “Freshness Guaranteed” and “RaceTrac” brand names.”

If you have cantaloupe at home, please check to ensure you do not have these brands and the source of these fruit. As we so well know, there is nowhere in the world exempt from situations like this occurring. We must all proceed with caution, regardless of the location, when purchasing ingredients that will be served uncooked.

We just finished our light lunch, and I’ve already prepped everything we’ll have for dinner, including vegetables we’ll cook for dinner. Cooking is instrumental in killing certain bacteria found in produce and other items.

Not much is going on here today. Last night, we sat in the dark, unable to stream shows, with tea lights lit when the power was out during dinner and afterward. Yep, we’re ready to go!

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, November 27, 2013:

The four cardboard boxes we packed were ready to be shipped to the local post office to be returned to our mailing service. For more photos, please click here.

It’s all figured out…We’re leaving Ecuador on December 14th…Details here today…

We love this photo, taken when we were at Chobe National Park in Botswana in 2022. This elephant illustrates how they use their trunks as snorkels. Aren’t they amazing?

What a relief! We had difficulty figuring out where to go in the US and finding flights and holiday homes available so close to Christmas and on short notice. We researched for hours, finding only a few flights with less travel time and almost no holiday homes available for our preferred dates of December 15 to March 31, three and a half months.

The first question we asked ourselves was where we wanted to go. We were thinking of either Nevada, our home state or Arizona, close to the Mayo Clinic. There were no affordable holiday homes in Phoenix, Scottsdale, or Apache Junction, close to Tom’s sisters, since so many retirees and seniors visit Arizona during winter.

There were several condos available on VRBO for Lake Las Vegas. Years ago, when I visited my son, Richard, he showed me the area, and I loved it. It stayed in my mind as a possible place to stay at some time in the future. The reason there was availability in that area is the 25-mile drive to the Las Vegas Strip, where most visitors prefer to be in close proximity.

For us, staying there makes life so much easier right now. And easy is what we’re looking for based on current circumstances. We need easy grocery shopping, going out to dinner, and some form of socialization, which may be readily available in Lake Las Vegas.

So, here’s what we booked/planned in the past 24 hours:

  1. December 14: Drive for three hours to Guayaquil, where there is a larger airport than Manta and shorter flight times
  2. December 14: Fly from Guayaquil to Panama City to Las Vegas
  3. December 15: Pick up the rental car at the airport in Las Vegas
  4. December 15: Check in to the holiday home in Lake Las Vegas. See the link here. Dates: December 15, 2023, to March 31, 2024
  5. December 30: Return the rental car to the airport and pick up another
  6. January 9: Drop off the rental car
  7. January 10: Tom flies to Chicago for his pulmonology appointment regarding exposure to asbestos while working on the railroad for 42½ years
  8. January 10: Tom flies back to Las Vegas from Chicago and picks up another rental car
  9. February 10: Drop off the rental car at Las Vegas airport and pick up another.

We’re renting cars, which are so expensive in Nevada, using reward points. On one of our credit cards, collision insurance is included for only the first two weeks of the rental, whereas on another card, we are covered for 31 days. We chose the card based on the rewards’ value, but must comply with the insurance periods.

As a result, we’ll have to return the rental car after having it for only two weeks. It’s 15 miles to the airport from Lake Las Vegas. Coverage is only provided on new contracts, not extensions on prior contracts. Tom is fine with this. Also, I will be driving the rental car to the grocery store. Tom is thrilled with this, and I won’t mind being able to take my time while shopping. It’s mind-blowing for me to be able to peruse the countless options.

I’ve spent enough time sitting at my broken laptop for one 24-hour period. I am excited to put it down and relax a little.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, November 26, 2013:

From a walk on the beach across the road. One of our favorite views of the Indian Ocean. For more photos, please click here.

Still no definitive answers due to the holiday weekend in the US…

Lovely elephant mom and baby. What a sight to behold!

We are still working on two vacation homes in two different states. It usually takes a few days to wrap up a rental, get questions answered, work on pricing, and ensure it has everything we need. Either of these two scenarios will be satisfactory to us but certainly have a bearing on where we’ll fly on December 14, so we’ve yet to book the flight.

Since we decided to fly out of Guayaquil instead of Manta, there are many more options, some with travel times of around ten hours, which works for us. We are so used to long travel times that comparatively ten hours is a piece of cake. Actually, Ecuador isn’t that far from the US, but there are no nonstop flights, which would be ideal if possible.

Packing will be easy here since we didn’t fully unpack our bags. I could do it if I had only two hours to get ready to go. Unfortunately, when we grocery-shopped on Wednesday, we hadn’t even discussed leaving early. I brought it up on the return drive from Manta, and Tom was on board.

As soon as we returned to the house, after finding out from Fybeca Pharmacia in Manta the pills I take for Afib, which are working for me right now, aren’t available in Ecuador. There are only so many drugs that work for Afib, and this was the only one that worked for me after trying others unsuccessfully. I’ll be running out of my current supply by December 18, so we need to get to the US in time to get more.

That was the biggest motivator for us to leave Ecuador earlier than planned. Ecuador doesn’t allow prescription drugs to be shipped into the country.

I planned to go to an urgent care facility to get a prescription. Still, today, with the prescription the cardiologist wrote, I could purchase a three-month supply, leaving plenty of time for me to see a cardiologist in the US at one of several good cardiac care centers. I need a second opinion and will plan from there.

ProgressiveRX processed my order this morning, and the medication will arrive at our mailing service, which can be sent overnight wherever we land in the US. I couldn’t wait another day to place the order to ensure the order would be waiting for us when we arrived in the US.

We are both doing okay with everything up in the air right now. We know we are doing the right thing by returning to the US to determine our next move. We have no intention of buying a house, furniture, or household goods. We have decided to continue living in holiday homes that supply everything we need. Plus, with our minimal luggage, we don’t mind moving every three months.

Once my health issue is resolved, it will be fun to tour the US, which we’ve talked about doing eventually, anyway. That doesn’t mean we won’t explore outside the US or stop going on cruises. We see cruises in our future, health providing. Of course, everything is predicated on health at this point in our lives. We’ll take one step at a time.

It is also good we’re returning to the US since I need to replace my laptop and most likely will do so using the balance on a gift card we got from Costco for booking a cruise through them. This setup I have with the broken monitor is cumbersome and annoying.

No words can express our gratitude for the many readers who’ve written to us after reading yesterday’s post here. We are so grateful for your thoughtfulness and kindness in taking the time to write. I am responding to the messages one by one, but with so many, it may take a while.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, November 25, 2013:

No photo was posted on this date, but the text may be read here.

Checking on our options…no definitive decisions yet…Although, we do know this…

A few days ago, my laptop screen became barely attached. I cannot close the lid and use the touch screen for scrolling. In the realm of things, it’s a minor inconvenience.

We know one thing for sure about our current situation…we are leaving Ecuador sooner than planned. I am running out of the only medication that works for my Afib and doesn’t cause me breathing problems. Ecuador doesn’t carry that drug here, and it’s not possible to have prescription drugs shipped to Ecuador, even though it’s not a narcotic.

I have enough pills to get us back to the US around mid-December, where I can get more when we arrive, either shipped via an online drug company, like ProgressiveRX, which I’ve used many times in the past, or by visiting an Urgent Care facility to get a new prescription.

We aim to get me a future appointment at the Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, or Emory University, where they do robotic mitral valve repair. There is no way I am willing to have another open heart surgery after the traumatic experience I had in 2019. The recovery took me over a year.

Plus, I’ll be signing up for Medicare Part B and a supplement in the next few weeks, including a drug plan, since blood thinners are five times more expensive in the US than I paid here or would pay in many other countries.

On Wednesday, the cardiologist explained that I needed mitral valve surgery and should do it within a year. Waiting, at my age, makes no sense at all. But I’m seeking a second opinion in the US once I have the insurance in place. In the interim, the cardiologist explained I was safe waiting for a while.

Taking a blood thinner twice a day and the anti-arrhythmia drug should keep me safe while we figure all of this out. In the meantime, we are anxious to leave Ecuador and ensure I have the proper medication and…to leave when it is not much fun for us here.

To keep the lid steady and secure, I’ve placed the laptop in the upside-down lid of a large puzzle. If I didn’t, the entire thing could fall off, and I’d be unable to use the laptop.

We haven’t told the landlord, Igor, yet, but we will let him know once we book our airfare and a vacation home, depending on where we’re going and availability. We don’t expect a refund for the time we aren’t using, which is about 19 days. We have decided to fly out of a much bigger city than Manta, Guayaquil, a three-hour drive from here.

Yesterday, we contacted the car rental facility, and they’ve agreed we can leave the rental car in Guayaquil for an extra $67. Although we paid an inordinate amount for the car, we were grateful this charge wasn’t more. We won’t get a credit for the week we won’t use on the car rental contract. They don’t do that here.

The question many of you may be asking…Is our world journey over after 11 years? We can’t answer that right now. We have too much to figure out. We always knew that medical issues would eventually end our world travels. But the US is a vast place, and perhaps once I’ve had the surgery and recovered, we just may begin our tour of the US.

In any case, we have no plans to stop posting as long as we have readers interested in what we have to say. I will take you on the journey with me to get my mitral valve issue resolved and the subsequent recovery, as I did after the last open heart surgery.

Thank you all for your readership and continuing interest in the simple nuances of our daily lives. These experiences are not unlike those many of our worldwide readers are dealing with as, for many, a part of life as we age. Regardless of how hard I’ve tried to avert this scenario, heredity is more powerful than a positive attitude. I am hopeful for the future. I am the oldest living person on my mother’s side of the family, from which I inherited these health issues.

Thank you all for everything you’ve done to support us along the way.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, November 24, 2013:

While playing Gin on Saturday, this gecko appeared on one of the pillars supporting the roof. Its feet moved in a sticky manner, using each toe in the process, seemingly all going in different directions. For more photos, please click here.

Happy Thanksgiving to friends and family in the USA!…We’re back from Manta…Figuring everything out, piece by piece…

May God’s ( or your higher power) light shine upon all of you on this day and always.

First, Happy Thanksgiving to all of our family and friends in the US who are celebrating this particular day, which is constantly occurring from the second to the last Thursday in November. This year, it falls on today, November 23. May your day include love, laughter, fantastic memories, and a meal to be remembered.

With no turkey and ingredients for the various dishes served today and a minimum of pans and serving plates in this holiday home, we have a usual dinner of roast, rice, broccoli, and green beans. There won’t be pumpkin pie this year, either. I’m cooking the meat in a large saucepan when we don’t have a proper roasting pan, which will be fine.

We have everything seasoned and prepped to be cooked later in the day when we eat at about 5:30 pm. Since I have been dieting, we tend to eat dinner early and not have anything more after dinner. This has helped me to lose over 13 pounds, 6 kg, so far. I am determined to eliminate these pesky remaining 11 pounds, 5 kg. I feel confident I can do this.

Wow! What a tiring and stressful day we had in Manta yesterday. It started out a little whacky when the cardiologist’s office contacted me via WhatsApp to let me know the doctor had an emergency and couldn’t see me until 3:00 pm. This upset the day’s plans to leave in the morning and return in the early afternoon.

Thus, we decided to return the rental car with Avis and pick up the next car with Europcar at the Manta airport. That should have been easy, but as it turned out, Europcar required us to pay $15 a day for insurance when we already had insurance for 30 days using our Visa Sapphire credit card, one of the many perks offered by this excellent card.

We tried everything to negotiate a better rate, but at first, they wanted $25 a day, but we got them down to $15 a day but this was a penalty for not taking the $25 a day insurance. The rental cost twice as much as we’d paid for the Avis car. But, at that point, we had no choice and had to go through with it. We spent well over an hour at the Manta airport dealing with this. The clock was ticking by, and my 3:00 pm doctor appointment was at the forefront of our minds. We’d planned plenty of time before we left the house, and it wasn’t enough.

We didn’t leave the airport until 2:00 pm, with the doctor’s appointment only one hour away. We had to find our way to MegaMaxi supermarket, a 25-minute drive in traffic. We didn’t walk into the market until 2:25 pm. We’d have to go to the grocery store, check out, and return on the road to the doctor’s office, arriving at 3:00 pm. We shopped in 20 minutes, leaving out many items on my list.

With the doctor’s office nearby but with lots of traffic, we arrived at 3:03 pm, when they were waiting for us. I was stressed through all this hustle and bustle, feeling Afib could start any minute. Once I was seated opposite the doctor at his desk, I finally relaxed and got back on track.

My biggest question for him was…Do I need surgery for my mitral valve issue? The answer was “yes,” but not necessarily right now. This scared me since I am hardly ready for another possible open heart surgery after all I went through in 2019. I won’t jump the gun here, but he explained the sooner, the better, perhaps within a year. The older I get, the harder it will be.

What are we going to do about this news, right now, we are discussing our options and will post what we decide in the next few days. Please bear with us as we figure this out.

We’ll be back with more soon.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, November 23, 2013:

No photos were posted on this date in 2013:

For the story without photos, please click here.

No post tomorrow…Heading to Manta for doctor appointment and shopping…Easy grocery app we recommend…

Gosh, we miss the bush.

Based on the stops we have tomorrow, we won’t have time to do a post, especially when we’re leaving the house at 8:30 am, most likely not returning until the late afternoon, leaving little time to start a new post. Here’s what we plan to do:

  1. 10:00 am: Cardiologist appointment
  2. 11:00 am: Stop at the pharmacy to fill the prescriptions
  3. 12:00 pm: Return the rental car for another, with a different company
  4. 1:00 pm: Grocery shop at MegaMaxi, at the shopping mall on the outskirts of town
  5. 3:00 pm: Begin the return drive to Mirador San Jose
  6. 4:15 pm: Arrive back at Mirador San Jose – unload groceries
  7. 5:00 pm: Head to Kokomo for dinner

As you can see, these tasks take up the entire day. It will be the first time since we arrived almost a month ago that I will have such a full day out and about, and I am hoping I don’t have an Afib event since they tend to almost paralyze me. Right now, the drugs I changed back to and increased the dose seem to be working, but I am tentatively optimistic.

This female is protecting her kill.

It seems as if I move around too much or walk too far, the Afib kicks back in, so I am limiting the amount and how fast I walk right now but making sure I do some each day. I am a little concerned about shopping in the Costco-like MegaMaxi, but I will use the trolley for support as we wander through the vast store.

Sometimes, I feel like an old woman, as much as I try not to be. As I muddle my way through this process of discovering what works and doesn’t work to avoid Afib, it’s challenging. Some people never find out their triggers, but one by one, I am figuring out mine.

Tomorrow, the doctor will tell me if I need surgery or not. If I don’t, I will jump for joy since I am not ready for another open heart surgery. If I was able to have the robotic, minimally invasive surgery, it still required a massive incision in the right chest and cutting through ribs, which takes months to heal.

After the nightmarish recovery from open heart surgery in South Africa in 2019, I am not looking forward to going through that again. We shall see what transpires tomorrow. I am trying hard not to worry and doing well, staying hopeful and optimistic.

It will be so exciting to eventually return to the bush, at this point in seven months, health-providing.

Over the past several days, I’ve put together a comprehensive grocery list on the online app on my phone, which doesn’t require an internet connection. This app has served me well over the years, and a simple one-click knocks items off the list or saves them for later if the item is not found. The app is called “Bring” and can be found here at this link.

Since most of us take our phones with us when shopping, it’s a lot easier to go through an easy list on the phone than using a pen while shopping to check off found items while shopping. Plus, I often think of an item I want to add while shopping that may be in another aisle. It’s so easy to add an item to the list.

I have been using this app before we left Minnesota in 2012. It’s free, fun, and easy to use. During the week, when I notice I am out of something, I pick up my phone and add the item(s) I need.

That’s it for today, folks. For those in the US, we’ll be back on Thanksgiving day, most likely long before you tackle your first piece of pumpkin pie.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, November 21, 2013:

The two little dogs in Kenya, belonging to property owner Hans, spent most days with us. Jessie was sticking out her tongue, trying to kiss Gucci. I’ll miss them. For more photos, please click here.

Mondays are okay when retired…The US celebration of Thanksgiving is approaching…

Tom was holding my bag and wine while I took this photo on the cruise to Norway in August.

In my old life, I always dreaded Mondays. As a business owner for most of my career, I often left folders on my desk for tasks I needed to accomplish but couldn’t resolve by Friday late afternoon. Remember that feeling? Thus, when Monday morning rolled around, I faced that pile of folders to tackle them one-by-one before continuing with the rest of the week.

Some required lengthy phone conversations, and others required lots of paperwork, which I always dreaded. I was efficient and meticulous in my work, but these situations were unavoidable. Plus, it was nice to have some time off on a weekend. I only worked when clients couldn’t work with me during the weekday hours.

On the other hand, Tom, working on the railroad for 42½ years, always had an erratic schedule, subject to a pager going off requiring him to head to work imminently. As the US Thanksgiving approaches this year, on Thursday, we both recalled the year he had to leave the dining room table after I had just placed all the dishes to be served on the table.

When we went ashore, we looked back at our ship, Azamara Journey.

Tom’s kids, Tammy and TJ, were at the table, along with my son Greg. My son Richard had already moved to Nevada at this point and wasn’t in attendance.

There was no time for even a “doggie bag.” Off he went with his little brown bag of lunch that I had prepared earlier in the day with a sandwich and a few snacks. At least the next day, I could pack leftovers for him, including pumpkin pie, in that little brown bag. He loves pumpkin pie.

This occurred early in our relationship, maybe in 1991 or 1992, but that wasn’t the first time he wasn’t there. Over the years, I got used to it and accepted the reality of being married to a railroad guy. He was worth it. I didn’t complain.

With our nomadic lifestyle, we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving anymore, although I’d be willing to make the many delicious dishes and pumpkin pies. The problem is that turkey, the ingredients for pumpkin pies, and the various side dishes are not readily available in most other countries. Years ago, we decided the effort wasn’t worth it.

A pipe organ in a church we visited in Norway.

But, on a few occasions, our dear friends Kathy and Don had Thanksgiving dinner in the bush in Marloth Park. Kathy had packed many ingredients in her luggage and arranged for turkeys in Johannesburg, a five-hour drive from the park. It was fantastic, although the four of us were the only Americans at the table of 12 or 14.

On another occasion, I made Thanksgiving in the bush for 12 guests, buying and roasting a stuffed chicken for each couple at the table and baking eight pumpkin pies in 42C, 104F weather. I called the pie-baking “Yesterday’s pumpkin pie hell” when it was nearly impossible to roll the dough for the pies in the heat and humidity. I’ll never forget that day. The pies tasted good, but the crusts were not a pretty sight.

This year, nada…none…no Thanksgiving dinner when none of the ingredients would be available here, either. As I work diligently to feel better, even if I could find the ingredients, I can’t imagine standing in the kitchen all day. Are those days over for me? I don’t know right now.

That’s it for today, dear readers. Again, thanks for all the well wishes. On Wednesday, we’ll head back to Manta to see the cardiologist, find out if he thinks I need heart surgery, and later shop at a bigger market we heard about, MegaMaxi.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, November 20, 2013:

Tom’s dinner consisted of Swahili, a coconut-flavored sauce over the catch-of-the-day. He ate a few bites of his veggies. I always tell him that fried potatoes (referred to here as “chips”) don’t count as a vegetable. For more photos, please click here.