Hurried trip back to Doc Theo…More favorite photos…

Mom and Babies. Look how small they were!

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

This handsome male bushbuck has become a regular visitor to our garden.

Ironically, it was one year ago today that we visited Dr. Theo in Komatipoort for the first time. We needed to update a few vaccinations based on our intended long-term stay in South Africa and other countries we’d visit while in Africa. The link to the year-ago post may be found here.

We wouldn’t have been concerned about updating our vaccines if we had only been here for a month or two. But, close to wildlife, we were particularly interested in updating the rabies vaccine.  

Beautiful waterbucks were resting on islands in the river.

We felt we weren’t overly cautious with all the feeding we do and our frequent exposure to mongooses who are known to carry rabies. It was this day, one year ago, that we met Dr. Theo for the first time.

Little did we know at the time that he, this general practitioner in the small town of Komatipoort, South Africa (population around 5000), would ultimately be the man who saved my life.

An elephant eating vegetation in the Crocodile River.

Yesterday afternoon, for no reason I could determine, my left leg became so painful that nothing I could do would put an end to the pain; not the non-narcotic pain pills, not putting it up on pillows where it has been each day for weeks; not taking deep breaths and trying to work through it.

Had the infection returned? Had I caused the wound to open further on my short walks from the sofa to the bathroom and back or what? After a few hours with no let-up, I called Dr. Theo’s office to find they’d had a cancellation, and he could see me in a few hours.  

The first time Ms. Bushbuck brought her calf to visit. What a joy it’s been to see her grow.

This wasn’t the first time we’d made a same-day appointment with the doctor when the pain became almost unbearable. There have probably been three times this painful scenario transpired, leaving us both wondering if something drastic had changed.

In each case, including yesterday’s visit, it was more of the same… severe ulceration in a surgical wound that, although it is no longer infected, still causes awful pain based on its proximity to my ankle bone.  

A male and female waterbuck on the river.

When I get up off the sofa or bed, this delicate and sensitive area and its inflamed bundle of nerves at the ankle bone go into a frenzy of pain. It’s not so much that I’ve been scared of what’s going on but more as a precaution to ensure the infection hasn’t returned and needs to be addressed.

I’ve heard stories of people with diabetes having a wound that won’t heal, and perhaps, as much as I don’t like this possibility, this could be my case for many months to come. Most often, these slow-healing wounds are the result of poor blood flow to the legs.

This frog lived on the light fixture on the veranda for many months.  A mate joined her, and a few weeks later, they were gone, never to be seen again.

But, I wonder…since the bypass surgery, shouldn’t the blood flow to my legs have improved? Over the past two years, I had two other leg infections that didn’t entirely heal for months, but I blame those on the lack of blood flow when I had three (of four) coronary arteries 100% blocked.

Have any of our readers out there had a similar experience? If so, please write and let me know the details and ultimately what caused the wound to heal, other than “time.” No doubt, in time, it will heal.

An expansive view of the Crocodile River from Marloth Park.

Dr.Theo re-bandaged the leg and noted it didn’t look any worse than it had when we were there last Thursday. However, he did remind me that the inflammation in my nerves at the ankle bone was most likely responsible for the extreme painfulness. 

We left with encouraging words and hugs from Doc Theo. His brother, Mel, stopped in to say hello and said, “You certainly have been to the brink of hell and back lately!” Yes, I agreed. I certainly have.

How I’ve held it together has not been a stroke of bravery or courage, by any means.  Many of our readers have written to us praising me for being strong. But, the truth is, I did nothing spectacular through all of this other than trying to get through each day with determination, dignity, and hope for the future. 

A hornbill was watching Frank take a dirt bath.

I’ve whined here, which has proven to be a good outlet for my frustration thanks to the patience of our loyal readers who’ve stood beside me. And, although not frequently, I’ve whined a bit to Tom, my loving husband and caregiver, who has experienced his frustration seeing me struggle through this lengthy recovery.

I’ve also whined to my local friends Kathy and Linda, who have tirelessly remained at my side in person, in spirit, and via text for those times they’ve been away. And to all my family and friends out there in the world who have offered encouraging words, love, and support.

This has been a long process, but it has never been a lonely process. I have so much to be grateful for, and don’t forget this for a moment.  Life goes on, and in time, the pain and discomfort will be a distant memory.

Enjoy your day and evening. 

Photo from one year ago today, April 16, 2018:

After the rain, we drove to the river to find this scene…An adorable baby hippo with mom. For more photos, please click here.

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