Making tough decisions…It’s rarely easy…More favorite photos…

Two barn owls in the rafters at the Mugg & Bean in Lower Sabie.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Ms. Bushbuck is resting in the garden.

These past three months have required us to make several difficult decisions. Undoubtedly, everyday life, whether one travels or not, requires serious decision-making from time to time.

Many decisions are insignificant in the long run, such as deciding what to cook for dinner and others life-changing. For us, the more significant choices seem to be the easiest to make when choosing a,b, or c.

Female lions were lounging in the shade.

But, those falling somewhere in the middle seem to be the most difficult to navigate when the outcome can manifest in several different ways.  When it comes to medical issues, at times, we find ourselves stymied.

Most recently, a decision hovering in my mind has been, do I reduce the fat in my diet with the unproven notion that a low-fat diet reduces heart disease? Or do I go with the three doctor’s opinions, all highly competent professionals, that reducing fat in my diet won’t have a bearing on the future state of my cardiovascular system?  

Dinner in Kruger National Park when friends Lois and Tom visited when we’d gone on a nighttime game drive.

Not necessarily for everyone. Heredity was responsible for clogging my arteries beginning 20 or 30 years ago. During that time, I always ate a very low-fat diet to keep my weight under control.  

Most of the family members on my mother’s side were grossly overweight and had type 2 diabetes, both of which are significant risk factors for coronary artery disease. I saw their health fail as a child and decided in my teenage years I’d never become overweight and, I didn’t.

A cute bunny on the road in Kruger National Park.

On a low-fat diet, I was nearly starving myself for many years, always hungry.  By consuming a low carb, higher fat, sugar-free diet, I’m seldom hungry and can easily control my weight and avoid diabetes.  

I consume healthy fats such as avocados, olive oil (in moderation), fatty fish, dark chocolate (without sugar), certain nuts (moderate amounts, not including peanuts or cashews), whole eggs, and small amounts of full-fat dairy products. I do not eat fried foods or foods swimming in oils or trans fats. Medical science supports this way of eating.

A pair of hippos and a couple of cape buffaloes.

But, some family members are trying to convince me to eat a low-fat diet. If I do so, the pain in my spine will return since a low-carb diet, for me, had significantly reduced inflammation and, subsequently, chronic pain. If I do so, it could further damage my cardiovascular system.

After considerable research lately and weighing the pros and cons, I unhesitatingly decided to stick with my current eating plan, which the doctors condone is best for my long-term health.

The only squirrel we’ve seen in South Africa.

In the past 24 hours, another decision faced me. The doctor suggested I start walking to increase the blood flow to my legs and possibly reduce the healing time. Although this may appear in the “little significance” category, it became a significant decision.  

I agreed with this premise when logically, it made all the sense in the world. So, yesterday, upon returning to the house, I started walking for five minutes once every two hours, setting the timer on my phone for both and walking and the waiting times. 

A nyala, the first we spotted in Kruger.

During the first five-minute walk, I found I had to walk tiptoed on my bad left leg due to my inability to place the foot flat on the floor due to the pain. It felt as if the wound was tearing open if I tried. 

After the second five-minute walk, I noticed the wound was oozing through the bandage and the compression stocking. By the third five-minute walk, it began bleeding and was exceedingly painful.

A decision had to be made…do I continue walking, or do I hold off and give the wound more time to heal? Walking is vital for my cardiovascular rehab, but the wound needs to heal. It became a dilemma that I found comparable to my diet dilemma…ultimately, which is better for the long haul?

More nyala in Kruger.

For the remainder of the day, the pain was awful, and my left foot started to swell, which rolled into the night, and I only slept for a few hours. Another aspect entered the dilemma…lack of sleep is detrimental for both wound healing and cardiovascular health. Swelling is harmful to recovery.

This morning, we decided there would be no walking until it I can do so with less pain. Tomorrow morning we return to Doc Theo. We’ll discuss these concerns with him. Sure, I could have called him, but it wasn’t necessary.  

If I told him the pain was unbearable while walking, the foot had begun to swell, and the wound was leaking into the compression stocking, he would have said, “Don’t walk for now.”  Decision-making is not always “rocket science.”

So today, as they say, “A few steps forward and a few steps back.” I am hunkered down on the sofa in the living room, feet propped up on pillows where I will stay put for the day, hoping to reduce the pain and swelling and speed up the healing time.

So we wait. In 11 days, we leave for Ireland. We’ve booked our flights, and we’re going, regardless of the status of my leg, another “big” decision we had to make when we arranged the flights. 
Have a great day!

                      Photo from one year ago today, April 30, 2018:

Adorable baby Danie with his loving and attentive mom, Okey Dokey. He never stopped smiling and laughing the entire time they were visiting. They’d planned to visit us over the weekend, but Danie was sick, and it was best we didn’t get together. For more photos, please click here.

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