Good news…Uplifting with peace of mind…Safari luck prevails…Gratefulness…

Little came looking for me, wondering why I haven’t been sitting outdoors as usual. Oh, Little, you put such a smile on my face.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

These species get along well, especially when there are plenty of pellets to share.

It wasn’t as simple as returning to our bush house and working on my recovery.  There are so many things to handle besides the credits and refunds we’ve been hoping to receive, in part, if at all.

A few items easily fell into place (some of which we mentioned in an earlier post), which includes:

  • The extension of the car rental for another three months until we leave on May 11th: The rental company, a subsidiary of Hertz, agreed to continue the rental until we leave for the same excellent price
  • The coincidental cancellation of a flight by Ethiopian Air for the flight from Nairobi to Santiago Chile resulted in a refund for ZAR 31587, US $2,150. This was a stroke of safari luck for sure. (We’ve yet to receive the refund but are working with Expedia to get this done).
  • A partial refund from Greg Harvey Tours for the photography tour to Kenya for $5000. (We lost over ZAR 142265, US $10,000 on this one)
  • Partial refunds from two cruises we had to cancel.
  • Cancellation without penalty of two hotel stays we’d booked, one for one night, another for seven nights.
No sooner than Tom opened the big doors this morning, these two zebras were waiting to see if there were pellets on the menu.

As time marches on, we see other ways we can save a few dollars here and there.  But, the biggest relief of all came today when the top billing administrator from Mediclinic Nelspruit informed us that our insurance company would pay the claim for approximately ZAR 700000, US $49,204 minus a ZAR 28453, US $2,000, deductible for the cardiac bypass surgery.

Once that’s paid in the next week, then we’ll file the claim for reimbursement to our insurance company for the ZAR 80000, US $5628 for the angiogram and other tests before the surgery, an entirely separate bill, again requiring a ZAR 28453, US $2,000 deductible which we’re happy to pay.  

Suddenly, there were more when the word got out.
The alternative would have been for us to pay, out of pocket, ZAR 842267, US $59,2014, a substantial chunk out of our budget that would have severely impacted plans for the future while we recovered from the unexpected loss of such a huge sum.  
Since we needed to prepare for the eventuality of the insurance company refusing to pay, we had to liquidate some assets (sadly) at their lowest value to put the funds into our checking account to be prepared for the hospital requiring immediate payment.  
A moment later, we had kudus in the garden as well.
We’ll have to bear US tax consequences for taking out this sum and working with our accountant in Nevada to see how this will roll out for the 2019 tax year.  There’s no free ride.
However, we feel the peace of mind and relief that the insurance company will pay the very reasonable hospital bill of ZAR 700000, US $49,204. In the US, the cost of this surgery could have been eight or nine times more than the cost here in South Africa.
Then, of course, Little appeared.
The insurance we have doesn’t provide coverage while we’re in the US.  Had this situation transpired and with the limited coverage offered by Part A Medicare, we could easily have had to pay well over ZAR 1422653, US $100,000.  
The cost per day for the ICU unit in the US typically runs from ZAR 99586, US $7,000, to ZAR 142265, US $10,000 per day.  I spent eight days in ICU in Nelspruit.
The identical five zebras visited off and on all morning.

Need I say, we are relieved beyond words. Not only was my life spared by this horrible situation being discovered during our last few weeks while in South Africa, but we’ve been spared some tough-to-swallow expenses had we been anywhere else in the world.  

This, above all other safari luck experiences, has genuinely been the best of them all.  Sure, I’m still in lots of pain and expect to be so for at least several more weeks, but my spirit is uplifted and hopeful for the future.  

The zebras often get into little scuffles amongst themselves over the pellets.

I do not doubt that I’ll be sufficiently recovered for our May 11th flight to Dublin and the long drive to Connemara, Ireland, where we’ll settle for almost three whole months, picking up where we left off in our worldwide journey, as we continue to share this blissful experience with YOU…all of our worldwide readers.

A few readers have written and asked this question in one form or another: “Did you, at any point during this medical crisis, fear your travel days were over?”

Little likes to eat Frank and the Mrs. birdseed, which we often toss into this area.

The answer from me is straightforward…once I realized I’d survived the surgery, my hopes have escalated each day. On the other hand, Tom, the worrier, has continued to be concerned even as recently as this morning.  

But, with the insurance company paying the bill and these other refunds coming through, soon his mind will be at ease, especially as he sees me improving a little each day.

Kudu and zebras.

Thank God. Thank the Universe. Thank the South African doctors for their expertise. Thank Dr. Theo in the little town of Komatipoort for discovering my condition by going on gut instinct and his deep compassion for his patients.  

In essence, this experience, however painful and frightening, may prove to be the best thing that ever happened to me.

Safari luck and gratefulness, a winning combination.

Photo from one year ago today, March 6, 2018:

This was a “tower” or “journey” of the eight giraffes who made their way to the only paved road in Marloth. Note the eighth giraffe is to the far right in this photo. For more photos, please click here.

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