Weird coincidence!…Back from the dentist once again…

Marigold is so sweet.

What a weird coincidence it was this morning when I started to do the post, to be completed when we return from the dentist, Dr. Singh, in Malalane. I went to the year-ago bar to grab the photo to place at the bottom of today’s post. The heading read,

“Busy morning in the bush!… Trip to Malalane to the dentist and more…”

That’s what’s happening today, exactly one year later, as shown here. But another irony is that the first thing I saw this morning when coming out of the bedroom after getting ready for the day was as many, if not more, mongooses waiting for us in the garden (at the old house) as shown in that post.

This is Spikey, a young male bushbuck.

The only difference was that at that time, we gave them eggs. Now, we provide them with paloney, cut into little pieces, which ensures every one of them gets something. There were always a few mongooses with the eggs that didn’t get a taste. The paloney I’d cut into pieces, the size of their little heads was enough to ensure each one gets at least one bite. No one is left out.

We find our lives are filled with weird coincidences, most often revolving around events, dates, and places. How peculiar it is! Does it have something to do with the fact that our lives consist of various experiences that we’re bound to encounter similar situations? Who knows? I guess we’ll never figure it out.

Each day when I make our dinner salad, I give the vegetable scraps to the bushbucks, duikers and kudus. Zoom in to see how cute Spikey is when eating his lettuce leaf.

History is filled with amazing coincidences outlined on this website, such as:

  1. Mark Twain’s birth and death coincide with Halley’s Comet.
  2. Stephen Hawking shares his birth and death dates with Galileo and Einstein, respectively.
  3. Political adversaries Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died within hours of each other—on July 4th.
  4. Anthony Hopkins happened upon a signed copy of the book he was searching for in a train station.
  5. John Wilkes Booth’s brother saved Abraham Lincoln’s son from death.
  6. And that same son of Lincoln’s witnessed three presidential assassinations.
  7. An engaged couple discovered their parents almost married one another.
  8. One woman survived the TitanicBritannic, and Olympic shipwrecks.
  9. The first and last battles of the Civil War were fought next to the same man’s property—in different towns.
  10. The first and last soldiers killed in WWI are buried next to each other.

For details on the above coincidences, and more, please click here. The stories surrounding the above are pretty interesting.

Nyala Norman, fluffs up his fur when he’s in the presence of a more dominant male antelope such a Big Daddy. He pays no attention to the warthogs.

Today we drove to Dr. Singh’s office in Malalane (also spelled Malelane). Wouldn’t you know that an accident on the N4 backed up traffic for 25 minutes from Marloth Park to Malalane? Thank goodness, Tom suggested we leave at 9:00 am for our 10:00 am appointment. We walked in the door to Dr. Singh’s office exactly at 10:00 am. (Even that was somewhat of a coincidence).

Tom had his two implants seated, which looked like his normal teeth. He’s relieved to have the big gap where two teeth were pulled many months ago, finally no longer visible when he smiles, laughs or talks. He doesn’t feel any pain or discomfort.

Alas, I have to have the same thing done. My painful tooth, easily visible when I open my mouth since it’s the fourth tooth from my front tooth, has to be pulled. Dr. Singh explained it had already had a root canal (many years ago in the US), and repeating root canals have a poor success rate. I now have an abscess which is why it’s hurting so much, which I’d expected.

Known to be very shy, impalas are coming closer and closer to the other animals eating pellets.

The only alternative is to pull the tooth and have an implant after the bone heals. I cringed when I heard this. The last time I had a tooth pulled was last September, resulting in an excruciating dry socket. Dr. Singh had gone on holiday, and I suffered dearly for three weeks when I finally visited another dentist to work on the dry socket.

Statistics show that certain people are prone to dry sockets. That’s me. Oh, I don’t want to go through that again! I started antibiotics today but couldn’t make the appointment for the extraction until after returning from Zambia/Botswana on August 27th. It was too risky to do it before we left if I had complications like I’d had last time. We don’t want to be away while I am in pain.

By taking antibiotics now, a must, the pain may return by the time we leave South Africa on August 20. If that’s the case, I’ll have to go on another round of antibiotics that only help an abscess for a short time. I would have refused antibiotics if I could have the tooth pulled in the next week, but it will take three days to make the temporary bridge to see me through the three months necessary to wait for the final implant.

I assure you, during those three days while waiting for the temporary to be made, I won’t be going out and about for anything. I have no desire to look like a “toothless wonder” while waiting for the temporary tooth. Tom said, “You could wear a face mask if a social thing comes up!” Hahaha. I won’t be going anywhere that week!

Nina and Noah in the garden after jumping the fence.

This morning while we were gone, Louise and Danie dropped off a better-working refrigerator for the kitchen, and we’re thrilled! Louise unloaded and reloaded all of our food, and the new refrigerator section is roomier and easier to use. I couldn’t be more delighted and thanked them profusely. Soon, the washer part will come in, and the repair guy will install that. Then, all of our appliances will be working.

Tonight, we’re meeting Louise, Danie, and her parents, Estelle and Johan, for dinner at Jabula. David reserved a spot for us at the bar and our favorite table for six on the veranda. It’s a gorgeous day and shouldn’t be too cold outdoors for dining. We’ll undoubtedly have another fantastic evening at our favorite spot in Marloth Park.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, July 29, 2021:

When we returned from Malalane one year ago, these mongooses and more awaited us in the garden. Quickly, Tom began beating some eggs for them. For more photos, please click here.

Light at the end of the tunnel…Hopefully, we’re on the mend…A doctor, like none other…

A baby duiker with her mom was the first sighting for us.

I awoke at 1:30 am and never went back to sleep. Surely, that’s a result of napping on and off all day which with this bacterial infection it’s hard for us not to do. Yesterday, Tom napped for three hours straight, but he could sleep during the night, although he woke up several times while I mindlessly played scrabble with strangers on my phone.

Yeah, I know the deal about “screen time” at night, but after countless tries without it, I still couldn’t get to sleep and just gave up trying. Worrying about not sleeping doesn’t help. I resigned myself to this reality and beat the heck out of several players, one after another. At least if I was going to be awake, I might as well enjoy some lively competition.

Before bed, we continue to watch Outlander on Netflix. We are on Season 3 with two more seasons to go. What a show! But in our weakened state the past several nights, we had an awful time staying awake, later re-watching the portions we’d missed. Tonight, I’ll have a heck of a time staying awake after dinner. If I take a nap today, I’ll ask Tom to wake me up after 20 minutes.

Last night, Tom drove to Jabula to get takeaway food for us. Doc Theo suggested I eat lean meat and pumpkin which is easy on the digestive tract, so I ordered roasted chicken, and butternut which is comparable to pumpkin. It tasted so good after not eating for a few days. For the first time in days, I was hungry. Tom enjoyed his chicken, rice, and creamed spinach, and the meal sat well with both of us.

In the past, we couldn’t get this close to shy duikers. It’s such a pleasure to see them get so close to the house.

As we were placing our food on plates since we don’t like to eat out of styrofoam containers, Danie showed up at the door. He said, “Hey, man, are you guys ok? Doc Theo was trying to call you Friday night and he’s worried that you didn’t answer”  I had left the phone on, next to me Friday night. He didn’t have the correct phone number for me.

He told Danie if we weren’t feeling better, please go to the hospital for IV solutions and more treatment and not wait until Monday when we could see him again. But, we were feeling better, drinking plenty of fluids, and felt like we were turning the corner. Danie called Theo back to tell him we were alive, improving, and thanks for worrying about us. It was almost 7:00 pm, 1900 hrs, on Saturday night, and Theo was worrying about us. Bless his heart.

Where in the world would we ever find such a doctor who cared this much? Nowhere we’ve ever been. After all, Theo diagnosed my painful jaw as a dangerous indication of heart disease and a potential immediate heart attack or stroke. Good grief! The man saved my life, and here he was, once again, providing a level of care that is rarely found anywhere. We are very grateful.

Mom and Babies and another female arrived early this morning. Most likely, the extra female is from Mom’s last litter.

Feeling a little better today, although we still have a way to go tonight; we’ll make chicken breasts on the braai with rice for Tom and sauteed mushrooms we have on hand. It will be an easy meal to make. All I will do is season the chicken, after which Tom will place it on the grilling rack, then cook the rice and the mushrooms in garlic and butter. It’s great we have a gas stove and oven in this house. When there’s load shedding, we can still use the stove.

Louise offered to cook for us, but we insisted we’ll figure it out, and we have. Here again, is it any wonder we love being in Marloth Park? Our friend’s and medical professionals’ love and kindness are enough motivation to be here.

We haven’t seen many animals the past several days since we’ve been hunkered down in the bedroom resting day and night. However, this morning, Mom and Baby warthogs returned, along with a first for us, a Mom and Baby duiker. What a sweet sighting.  Of course, we took a few photos we’ll share here soon.

Every so often, we check outdoors as we continue to rest and recover. We won’t hesitate to offer pellets to any of our visiting new friends. Many more visitors will stop by once we are better and can spend all of our time on the veranda.

Have a safe and healthy day.

Photo from one year ago today, May 29, 2021:

Hal and Crooked Face were standing at the veranda railing that morning, awaiting their pellets. For more photos, please click here.

We’re baaaack!!!…You won’t believe this…Why we’ve been away…

Mom and Babies…

I wish we’d never have to write about being sick. But, with our commitment to always “tell it like it is,” we feel compelled to share every aspect of our lives of world travels with our readers. Even if we didn’t travel, we’d be sick from time to time. Would it be so unusual for a senior citizen to get sick once or twice a year with a cold, flu, or a virus? Certainly not.

Of course, some people never become ill, and we surely envy their sturdiness. But, we aren’t quite so fortunate. Why? We don’t know. We certainly strive to live a healthy lifestyle. Tom is considerably less likely to become ill than I am. He takes no medication and has no known conditions in his almost 70 years.

But, I don’t see him doing anything more diligently than I do, yet I fall prey to various illnesses throughout the year. This frustrates me, the person who has strived for good health all of my life through a healthy diet, exercise, and positive attitude. I guess I am missing something, or perhaps, genetics plays a more significant role than I’d thought.

Soon, the scary processionary caterpillars will arrive.

Our recent bad bout of Omicron left us both reeling with exhaustion and lingering effects, most of which continue to subside day by day. Tom had fully recovered from Covid pneumonia. We both only have a tickle of cough on occasion.

When we arrived in Marloth Park on Tuesday, although exhausted from the long journey but we both knew a few good night’s sleep, we’d recover from the two-day trip from Las Vegas, Nevada, back to South Africa, the last leg of which was a 15-hour red-eye in the coach. We each only slept an hour or two, sitting straight up in our seats. The remainder of the time was spent watching movies on the entertainment screens at our seats.

Once in Marloth Park, we were excited to complete the recovery of Covid while resting from the long journey and being fit and chipper to cherish our time back in the bush. But that was not the case.

On Wednesday, we both started experiencing severe diarrhea and stomach pain. I was feeling nauseous and very ill, Tom less so. By Wednesday evening, I had a fever and lay under four blankets on the bed, shivering all night. I took two Paracetamol (Tylenol) every six hours to keep the temperature down but never slept a wink due to the constant need to run to the bathroom and the awful feeling of having a fever.

Big Daddy stopped by to check out the action in the garden.

Thursday, I never left the bed other than to shower and run to the bathroom. Tom was struggling as well, but not quite as bad. I couldn’t eat, knowing the result would be more trips to the bathroom, but I didn’t have an appetite. By Thursday night, we acknowledged that we needed to see Doc Theo as soon as we could get an appointment, hopefully on Friday with the weekend coming.

Our appointment was scheduled for 2:30 pm, 1430 hrs, but we arrived 30 minutes earlier, and he could see us. At that point, I could barely keep my head up. We told Theo about our awful bouts of Covid and Tom’s pneumonia. He explained that Covid weakens the immune system, which is most likely why we’d both become sick at this time.

He diligently examined each of us. He ordered blood tests just for me since, most likely, we had the same affliction. He noted my case was much worse than Tom’s since he’d been on antibiotics for pneumonia only a week or two earlier, which provided him some lingering protection.

The testing lab is across the street from the doctor’s office. There was no way I could have walked, so we drove. We went back to Theo’s office to await the results. In no time at all, he called us back into his office and said I had a severe gastrointestinal infection, either e-coli or salmonella. Tom has a lighter version. How did he know Tom’s was less? From palpating our stomachs. Mine was tender to the touch where Tom’s was not. Plus, Tom’s symptoms were less severe.

He prescribed a litany of medications for each of us. Tom didn’t need antibiotics which was good since he’d recently been on two. But, he prescribed Cipro and other meds for me. Cipro is commonly used in Africa to treat bacterial infections which is what I have.

When we arrived at the pharmacy i brought the prescriptions inside and handed them to the pharmacist. But moments later I could no longer stand and went back to the car, asking Tom to go inside and collect them when they were ready. By 4:00 pm, 1600 hrs., we were back at the house, began taking our meds while I headed back to bed. We had scrambled eggs for dinner, the first food we had eaten all day. But, within minutes of eating, the rushing to the bathroom began again.

This morning I am a little better, and so is Tom. We are hopeful we are on the mend. How we got this dreadful infection is unknown to us. We went over everything we ate and drank, and there is nothing we ate the same except for the dinner we made at the house, salad (unbagged), rice (for Tom), and meat, nothing that should have caused an issue. But one never knows. It could have been either the salad or the beef, which was fresh when we cooked them.

So, that, dear readers, is why we didn’t do a post yesterday, nor did we take any new photos. I’m still not up to sitting outdoors and watching our animal friends visit. But that will come in time, and for that, we can hardly wait.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, May 28, 2021:

Tiny never disappointed us. His gentle nature and interest in us was delightful. Of course, he enjoyed pellets, carrots, apples, and bird seeds from time to time. We never saw him again after we returned from the US at the end of July. For more photos, please click here.

You won’t believe the prices!!!…

I dumped four medications for six months in this pile on the bed to illustrate how inexpensive drugs are in South Africa.

Yesterday, we headed to Dr. Singh. The high-tech dentist is Malalane, who patients visit when they need more than fillings, cleanings, and basic dental care, which Dr. Luzann provides in Komatipoort. There are other dentists in the area, but we’ve been delighted with the combined care of these two dentists.

Since an old crown was replaced by Dr. Singh many months ago, the discomfort I’ve felt was entirely self-imposed. He explained I have been brushing too hard and applying too much vigor when flossing in an overly enthusiastic attempt to keep my teeth healthy. Yep. I can be that way.

Dr. Singh didn’t charge for the appointment, and I learned my lesson: moderation and gentle treatment are more appropriate for teeth. I don’t generally do much of anything in moderation. I either go “all the way” or not at all. This doesn’t always serve me well, and in this case, it became apparent. I will temper my teeth cleaning vigor.

With our eye doctor appointments out of the way a few weeks ago, resulting in new prescriptions for both of us and our teeth cleaning done, all I had left to tackle was an appointment with Dr. Theo in Komatipoort to refill enough of my basic three prescriptions and as a safety measure, an asthma inhaler to use needed. My appointment with him was this morning at 11:00 am.

The total bill for the doctor visit was (without insurance) ZAR 675, US $44.77.

No more than about five minutes into my appointment with Dr. Theo, load shedding started, and their generator kicked in with ample service for lights but insufficient for air-con. The building heated up in only a few minutes, but Dr. Theo and I were so busy chatting neither of us minded.

He’s not only an excellent primary care physician, but over the years I’ve been seeing him, he’s become a good friend. He promised he and his wife would attend my 75th birthday party at Jabula next February. I mentioned how fun it would be to have him there. Most of our close friends are his patients. Through our friends, we chose him as our “family physician.”

In 2019, Theo discovered I had heart disease, and his first diagnosis ultimately saved my life. He arrived at his office on a Saturday, wearing shorts and flip-flops to give me an exercise stress test. From there, you all know what transpired, emergency open-heart surgery due to three 100% blocked major arteries. Yes, Dr. Theo saved my life.

He wrote prescriptions for six months. In addition to what I have remaining on hand, I have an ample supply to last until we return in December. If I run short of anything, I can always order online from ProgressiveRX. It will all work out. As an alternative, I could have gone to a doctor in the US and paid out of pocket for the appointment and the pills. I can only imagine how costly that would have been.

The receipt from the pharmacy for all of the drugs plus a few toiletries that were only 10% of the total. The total bill was ZAR 4015.64, US $266.27

As shown above, in the photo, the doctor visit was (without insurance) ZAR 675, US $44.77. The six-month supply of meds was well under ZAR 4015.64, US $266.27, when 10% of the total pharmacy bill included a few toiletry items. For example, from a US site:

“The cost for Premarin oral tablet 0.3 mg is around $676 for a supply of 100 tablets, depending on the pharmacy you visit.”

As you can see, it paid for me to obtain my medications in South Africa rather than from the US. In the UK, there may be no charge for tablets due to their universal healthcare system, but its nearly impossible to get an appointment unless its a dire emergency,

We could submit the doctor bill to our global health insurance company., SafeTrip, with United Healthcare. But for two reasons, we do not; one, we haven’t met the US $250, ZAR 3750 deductible, and two; we’d prefer not to enter any claims for small amounts.

Before we leave, the only other appointment I need is a pedicure at the local spa, which Dawn and I plan to do together next week.

That’s our news for today, folks. We’re off to Jabula on our own tonight for the first time in a long time. Have a pleasant Friday evening and weekend.

Photo from one year ago today, March 11, 2021:

No photos were posted on this date, one year ago. The text-only post may be found here.

Valentine’s celebration tonight…Today is my three year “heartaversary” and thank goodness, the beat goes on…

May be an image of one or more people and text that says 'Jabula Lodge Rest Restaurant Sat February 12th 12th Come And Celebrate The Love The dance floor will be open. A complementary glass of bubbly or a glass of wine if you prefer and Delicious dishes to choose from our menu. 10% off your tota bill. From 5pm to closing Book.Now. Dawn: Dawn:084366 3664 or Leon: 082555 555 2355'

Last night, with eight of us at a big table on the veranda at Jabula, I had planned to take some photos. In my excitement to be seated with three of my dear female friends, Rita, Lynne, and Janet, I was so distracted that my photos didn’t come out so well. We plan to take better photos at my birthday gathering next Sunday, February 20, at Jabula, when we are hosting dinner and drinks for 12 of us.

Mick, Gerhard, Steve, and Tom were seated at the opposite end of the table, although we all shared in the conversation at times. This is a lively group of travelers, each couple with countless adventures and passions for the wild, nature, and stunning scenery.

We are always happy to see Big Daddy in all his majestic glory.

Lynne and Mick, and Steve and Janet live on the small English island of Jersey. They are all avid birders. Lynne and Mick just returned from a fantastic “birding” cruise, fulfilling a dream of seeing and photographing several species new to them. Janet and Lynne, who live five minutes from one another on the island, shared their stories of swimming together in the cold ocean in the early morning hours in Jersey during high tide.

The conversation was so lively. At times we were all talking at once. I even found myself rudely interrupting when I usually am more gracious. I will work on that!

As mentioned in yesterday’s post and as shown in the above image, tonight, we’re heading back to Jabula, just the two of us, to celebrate Valentine’s Day, which is actually on Monday. But, most establishments acknowledge the special day on Saturday night instead of Monday when operating at a lighter staff during the pandemic. We never mind going back two nights in a row.

Two generations of Big Daddies, scoping out the garden for pellets and possible threats.

On top of that, today is the third anniversary of my triple cardiac bypass surgery. On February 11, 2019, I posted the following from our link here to inform our readers that there wouldn’t be a post for a week or more. I wrote a quick blurb to say there would be a full post the next day. As it turned out, I didn’t do another post until February 23, when finally I left the hospital in Nelspruit with a massive recovery ahead of me.

But, the power was out the next full day, and it was so hot, and I was in such pain that I wondered how I’d make it through the day. Wearing the mandatory compression stockings in the 104F, 40C made life miserable. There was no place to get comfortable due to the pain, and the heat only worsened matters.

Finally, on February 25, 2019, I wrote my first full post since the surgery, as shown here. When I reread that post this morning, I couldn’t believe how hard it was, but between Tom’s loving caregiving and Louise’s thoughtfulness, somehow, I got through it. You can read more about it on the post if you’d like.

A young daddy with lots of growing to do.

Of course, I am grateful on this date, which patients on Facebook refer to as their “heartaversary.” Ironically, tonight we’re celebrating the heart concentric Valentine’s Day.

We just found out that the power is out tonight at Gate 1, which doesn’t impact us since we’re on the Gate 2 side. But, Jabula is located on the Gate 1 side, and if power isn’t restored by 5:00 pm, 1700 hrs, they may not be able to host tonight’s Valentine’s event. As always, we’ll play it by ear and decide what to do later.

Have a great day!

Photo from one year ago today, February 12, 2021

This male impala visited us in the garden. These animals rarely come close to humans, so we were pleasantly surprised to see him in the garden. For more photos, please click here.

Safety check for women…Peace of mind…Hot! Hot! Hot!…Pig in a pond…

Little was resting in the cement pond on a sweltering day.

It’s uncomfortable for me to mention medical woes here. But, with horrible heredity factors and advancing age, I always think that by doing so, if one person is motivated to seek relief with the aid of their health care providers, or in less worrisome situations, consider adding self-care, then my discomfort is justified.

Tom, on the other hand, doesn’t have one medical issue. He takes no medication and keeps his weight under control. No doubt he should be more active. But it’s not as easy to walk on the roads in Marloth Park as it might be elsewhere. There’s no way he’d be interested in walking the three-plus miles, five km, as I have been doing each day, faithfully, since I began a few weeks ago.

It is a rare occasion that Tom has an ache or pain of any type, and when he does, it’s short-lived. I am grateful for his excellent health and a little envious as well. I cook healthy meals for both of us, hoping by doing so, we will benefit. Other than occasional illness or concern for something bothering me, our lives are relatively stress-free, another factor in supporting good health.

No doubt, being happy and enjoying life benefits long-term good health. Our harmonious, supportive and playful relationship has been a big plus for both of us. However, despite all this good juju in our lives, I seem to fall prey to worrisome medical issues from time to time.

In the past year, I had two horrible viruses. After being tested, neither of these were determined to be Covid-19. In November, I contracted shingles that often occurs in the spring months when living in the bush. Also, over the past year, I had a dental issue that lingered from the ten months we spent in lockdown in India, unable to see a dentist due to Covid-19.

This dental scenario resulted in several rounds of antibiotics, which didn’t help at all. Eventually, I had a root canal done and prep for a crown, after which the pain worsened, resulting in the necessity of pulling the tooth. The dentist, Dr. Singh, then went on a two-week holiday a few days later.

I developed a dry socket in his absence, leaving me in awful pain for a few weeks. I had no choice but to see a different dentist who prescribed pain medication and more antibiotics after treating the dry socket. After three rounds of antibiotics, which were necessary due to having coronary arterial disease, I developed some residual side effects from the antibiotics. Oh, good grief, what an awful time that was.

Then, shortly after this all healed, a crown on a different tooth fell out, and I had to have that done, leaving me with pain for several more weeks, which finally stopped in the past month. However, amid all this madness, when I got shingles in November, suddenly I developed a pain in my right breast. Was it due to the shingles on the back of my left leg? Unlikely, said Dr. Theo, whom I visited twice for this issue. He and his brother Dr. Mel examined me, neither finding any lumps, bumps, or evidence of any severe condition.

Despite this diagnosis, I was worried. Dr. Theo suggested I go to Mediclinic in Nelspruit to get an ultrasound if the pain didn’t subside over time. But, I was horrified about going to that hospital where I had open-heart surgery on February 12, 2019. Nor did I want to make that awful drive. Since the doctors didn’t think it was severe, I decided to wait it out.

I used ice, took Naproxen once a day, wore a bra to bed. I used no caffeine, which can cause breast pain. I even gave up red wine for a week to see if that would help. I read several books on breast pain and researched online. Nothing seemed to work or have any answers.

The cost of both the mammogram and the ultrasound was US $98, ZAR 1505. If a local, with medical aid, it will be fully covered. I made this the main photo today to perhaps inspire some interest from the many residents in Marloth Park who read our posts.

Last week when we shopped at Spar Market, I noticed a mobile mammogram unit in the distant parking lot. I took a photo of the above sign on the outside of the trailer and decided to set up an appointment to see what was wrong, once and for all.

Louise set up the appointment when the call wouldn’t go through using my phone, scheduling it for yesterday at 1:00 pm, 1300 hrs. Rita offered to take me to the appointment, but I didn’t want her to wait if it took a while. Tom kept busy in the car playing with his phone. His usual supportive nature helped me feel at ease.

The setup at the mobile unit was very professional. As it turned out, I had not only a mammogram but also a comprehensive ultrasound. After the tests were completed, the radiological doctor in Cape Town, sitting at a computer, watching as the test results came in, called and talked to me. He had great news! He said the scans were perfect. There was nothing suspicious in the tests. I got a clean bill of health.

No words can express my and Tom’s relief. Why I have pain, I don’t know and may never know. It could be referred nerve pain from heart surgery, a pulled pectoral muscle, or an inflamed duct. In the interim, the mammogram technicians said breast pain is common and suggested I treat it with supplements. Immediately, we headed to the pharmacy to purchase the supplements, and I started taking them right away.

This entire post is intended to remind women who haven’t had a mammogram in a while to get one. I am so relieved. I feel like a new person. I can live with the pain until, eventually, I believe it will go away. Hopefully, now I can be free of medical worries and be my usual cheerful self. Peace of mind is a precious commodity.

On a side note, load shedding started again this morning, and an hour after the service disruption ended, the power went out again. Today is expected to be over 100F, 40C, with a dew point of 73. We’re hoping power will be restored by bedtime. We are meeting Rita and Gerhard at Amazing River View for sundowners since they have big fans on their veranda and a mist spray that cools it down considerably. Without power and no air con, it could be one hot night!

Be well. Be healthy.

Photo from one year ago today, February 3, 2021:

Frank, fluffing up his feathers to impress The Misses. Maybe it’s time to expand the Frank Family once again. For more, please click here.

Busy morning…Off to Komatipoort and back and back…

What a thrill it was to see this adorable dark impala at the entrance to the airport.

As I begin today’s post at 11:00 am, it is currently 102F, 39C, scorching for this early in the day. Oddly, at noon the temperature will begin to drop rapidly, as much as 30 degrees by dinnertime. Whew! That’s good news. Usually, the temperature drops like this result in severe weather. But, according to the weather report, which is reasonably accurate for South Africa, the chance of precipitation will be at a maximum of 30%, with a minimum of 10% throughout the remainder of the day.

This morning we headed to Komati (short for Komatipoort) to grocery shop. However, while we’re there, we thought I’d pop in and see Dr. Theo about the rash on my left leg that now has become very painful, although the blisters are healing. I want to make sure there’s no infection attributed to the pain.

The only time I’ve had a rash with pain was over three years ago when we first arrived, and I had shingles which Dr. Theo treated with particular medications. I had already had a vaccination for shingles but got it anyway. Sound familiar these days?

When I tried to get an appointment this morning to coordinate it with our grocery shopping trip, the calls wouldn’t go through to his office. I contacted Louise and asked her to try calling his office, but she couldn’t get through either. I decided it would be best if we showed up at his office to see if they could squeeze me in. He was the only doctor in the office this morning (out of their usual three), and the only time he could see me was at 12:30 pm. That was at 9:30.

We decided to go the Spar to shop, load up the car, drive the 25-minute drive back to Marloth Park, unload the groceries, and then head back at noon in time for the 12:30 appointment. That’s in 26 minutes from now, so I’ll keep banging away on the keyboard, knowing I’d never be finished by the time we have to leave.

Another view of this adorable dark impala, which is an anomaly, something we’ve never seen in the past.

We unloaded everything and put it away, sweating like pigs, in the high temperature in the kitchen while we attempted to put everything in its place, leaving us time for a few tasks before we headed out again. I managed to make a lovely salad for tonight’s dinner and only got this far until it was time to head out again.

I have the weather channel app on my phone, looking at it from time to time to see when the temps start dropping. In less than two hours, it’s supposed to drop down by 20 degrees. That certainly will make the rest of our day a breeze, no pun intended.

“Everything can change on a dime” as “they.” Part of the charm for us is that unpredictability, although this flows into the running of the government, the bureaucracy, and political issues. (No, I won’t get that here.) That’s what we like about Africa…nothing is predictable.

Yesterday, the drive to Nelspruit to take Kathy and Don to the airport went quickly, with the four of us chatting on the way. We hugged our biggest hugs and said goodbye, not knowing for sure when we’d see them again. Such close friends for both of us. We will miss them terribly. But then, there’s always Hawaii where they live, and it wouldn’t be that unusual for us to head there to see them at some point in the future.

They’ve even offered us to stay in one of their rental properties near them in Oahu. Of course, we love Hawaii, and we love them, all the more reason to visit before too long.

Oops, time to go. Be back to finish later on.

We’re back.  I am not surprised by Dr. Theo’s diagnosis. I have a combination of hives from allergy to dust mites, and on the back of my left leg only, I have shingles for the second time in three years. Apparently, as it heats up and chickenpox becomes prevalent, many people get shingles this time of year. I thought this is what I had, as mentioned above.

He gave me a prescription for a drug that should help in a few days, said to continue using calamine lotion, and of course to use the encasement mattress cover I ordered from Takealot yesterday. Within a week or two, I should be free of all the itching and pain. It’s helpful to know what is going on, freeing me from any worry or concern.

That’s all I have today. We’ve been too busy for me to take many photos. But, we got the above main photo yesterday at the Nelspruit/Mpumalanga/Kruger Airport entrance, a dark-colored impala. We had seen this anomaly when we went to the airport to fly to the US in July, when it was much smaller. It was fun to see it again.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, November 18, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #240. This was Thanksgiving with friends at our place in 2018 while living in the Orange house. For more photos, please click here.

Good genes vs. bad genes…The differences for Tom and I…

Two kudus grazing on the side of the road.

Tom had dental surgery yesterday, which included moving bone between his gums and sinuses to create a bridge for two implants. It will need to heal for over six months, and once we return in December 2022, Dr. Singh in  Malalane will permanently make the crowns sit atop the metal implants.  In the interim, he still has the noticeable gap on the right side of his mouth, which shows when he smiles.

Why not get it done sooner than 13 or 14  months from now? The foundation won’t be ready while we’re in the US, and if all goes as planned, we’ll be on the move in many countries outside the US. It will be best to wait. He’s fine with that. Also, the cost for the two implants is 70% to 80% less in South Africa than in the US.

After the 45 minute procedure, he came out to the reception area and looked fine except for the wad of gauze he had in his mouth. Comparable to when his teeth were pulled, he has to be extra careful not to disturb the site while it heals by eating on the opposite side, avoiding brushing in that area and not touching it, or playing with it with his tongue.

Surprisingly, he had no pain after the anesthetic wore off and had no trouble eating a bacon-wrapped fillet mignon and rice for dinner. He passed on vegetables and salad but will have them tonight with his pork chops cooked on the braai. He says he’s feeling fine with no discomfort at all.

Medium Daddy and his girls.

When I had my tooth pulled recently, I suffered dearly for three weeks with a dry socket and a few days ago noticed a bone spur sticking out from the gums in that area. Oh, good grief. My appointment with Dr. Singh was before Tom’s, and in no time at all, he numbed the site and, using a laser while I wore special glasses, he filed down the bone spur.  The area will heal in a few days. Thank goodness, no pain or discomfort from this easy procedure.

But, all of this brings to mind how different Tom and I are when having an illness or medical procedure. Tom recovers without incident, and I go through hell with complications that can haunt me for weeks, if not months, after I have any medical issue, surgery, or procedure.

The vast difference is in our genes is that Tom’s family members are robust and healthy. His mother, Mary Lyman, lived until almost 99, and before her final days, she wasn’t on any medication. Tom takes no medication other than a few vitamins. I envy how fortunate he is but am grateful we don’t have to deal with any medical issues.

On the other hand, my family’s genes are a mess. Many suffer (mainly on my mother’s side) with diabetes and other metabolic diseases, obesity, heart disease allergies (such as asthma and hay fever), cancer, and more, all inflammatory-type conditions. Thus I’d have diabetes if I didn’t eat such a low-carb diet. I have coronary arterial disease and am riddled with many allergic conditions, including asthma, hay fever, and a high propensity for reacting to allergens with hives, especially in South Africa.

The females are bossier about getting pellets than the males.

As mentioned a few days ago, the usual dust mite invasion in the bed, typical this time of year, causes me an outrageous amount of massive, crazy itching welts. Most mattresses and stuffed furniture, bedding, and pillows have dust mites in them. Most people don’t react to these nasty invisible mites unless they are allergic to their presence, as I am.

Unbeknownst to me, this past weekend, in one night, the dust mite invasion happened as the weather had heated up, and in the morning, I had red, raised welts all over the entire left side of my body. I lay on my left side, barely moving all night long. This is not new to me, as mentioned previously. But, by the time I had developed the welts, it was too late. The itching typically lasts for two to three weeks.

Louise was all over this. She arranged for Zef and Vusi to make an all-out attack on the dust mites in the mattress by washing all the linen in scalding water and drying it all at high temperatures. Then she purchased an ultra-thick mattress cover which was added after they vacuumed every inch of the bed and sprayed everything with a particular non-toxic chemical, specifically for this purpose.

This was all done yesterday on Monday. The hard part was that I already had the welts, and last night, I had no way of knowing if what they’d done would be beneficial. I can only wait until the welts heal. The itching is unbearable. My Fitbit says I slept for only three hours each of the last two nights.

With several types of cream on hand, cortisone-based and antihistamine-based, I got no relief after slathering it on every few hours. The itching only lessened for an hour or so after I got up during the night and took a hot shower. The heat seemed to help as opposed to advice online saying heat would only make it work. Dr. Google isn’t always right, although I did find a few entries stating heat could be beneficial for some types of allergic responses.

Of course, I took two different long-acting antihistamines, 12-hours apart, with no relief whatsoever. Today, I am trying to do things differently. I haven’t used any cream yet. This morning we went to the little store, and I purchased calamine lotion. I determined that touching it every few hours was spreading the welts. Tonight, before bed, I will take another shower and then gently apply the calamine lotion with a cotton ball. I am not scratching at all, as tempting as it is.

Then, around 11:00 pm, 2300 hrs, I will take two 25 mg Benedryl, which we have on hand, hoping this will help the itching and put me to sleep. I didn’t use any Benedryl yesterday since I had taken two other non-drowsy antihistamines, providing no relief.

I keep looking at the time, for once, hoping this day passes quickly. We’ll busy ourselves in the bedroom after dinner streaming a few favorite shows to distract me. We’ll have the aircon on since today is the hottest day we’ve had here since we arrived last January.  Right now, it’s 104F, 40C, and rising by the minute. It’s too hot to sit outdoors or even in the lounge.

With it so hot, the animals are hunkered down at water holes and in the shade. There have been no more comments about the lions, but we’ll keep you updated.

Have an excellent day! Please check back tomorrow!

Photo from one year ago today, November 16, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India on day #238/ Mandatory Credit: Photo by Anshuman Poyrekar/Hindustan Times/Shutterstock (11008794b) Crowded street of Ranade road for Diwali shopping at Dadar west, on November 8, 2020, in Mumbai, India. Diwali Festival 2020, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India – 08 Nov 2020. For more photos, please click here.

It didn’t turn out quite the same as expected…More new exciting bookings…

Broken Horn and Hal in a bit of scuffle over pellets this morning.

For days I was dreading the prospect of having my tooth pulled, only to discover that Dr. Singh decided to wait until next week when he seated a crown on another tooth that needed a crown replaced. That way, I wouldn’t have to have the anesthetic injections all over my mouth.

I appreciated his consideration. He prepared the bicuspid with the old crown, leaving me with a temporary crown until following Monday when he’ll seat the new crown and, afterward, pull the molar resulting in the necessity of only one injection. He had decided on a good plan suitable for me. A little over an hour later, I was out the door to find Tom waiting in the car for me. All seemed OK.

A closer view of Broken Horn and Hal.

After returning home, while preparing dinner, I felt an odd sensation in the tooth with the temporary crown. It reminded me of when I was a kid and a baby tooth was loose, ready to pop out. Oh, goodness, the crown was loose. There will be no Tooth Fairy these days.

Of course, I went to Dr. Google to find solutions on a reputable US national dental site to see if it was no big deal if the temporary falls out, preferably, not swallowed. I contacted Dr. Singh this morning, and he said, no worries, push it back in. It seems I have to do this every few hours but again, no big deal, until the following Monday. He said if it ultimately falls out, do not use dental glue. Either keep it out or push it back up there.

Moments later, they were getting along quite well.

Well, based on the placement of the tooth in my mouth, if it falls out, I will be pushing it back again. I don’t want to look like a “snaggle tooth” when I smile. I told Tom I could wear my mask when we are around people. See, those masks can be handy for more than Covid-19!

I’m OK with the new dental plan and hope to put all of this behind me soon. I only have one more tooth in my mouth with a silver filling and will have him replace that with white porcelain before we return to the US on October 21st. I wouldn’t say I like having dental work, but I have spent my entire life taking good care of my teeth, and I’m not stopping now. It will be a significant relief to have all of this done here soon. The total cost for the crown was US $318, ZAR 4560, a far cry from what it would cost in the US.

Several female kudus stopped by for a snack.

In the past few hours, Tom booked two more cruises. We are so excited and will share the details in tomorrow’s post. I can’t tell you how enthused we are to be building an itinerary once again. Before too long, we’ll make a new itinerary list to share here. It’s been a very long time since we’ve done that!

It’s been a hectic morning in the bush. I didn’t get started on todays’ post until three hours later than usual. But, it’s been worth every moment. What awoke us this morning was a barking sound coming from the garden. I jumped up to look out the bedroom window, and there was Broken Horn, asking for his pellets and carrots breakfast.

There are always several bushbucks hanging around in our garden.

We both jumped up to ensure he got his requested meal laughing all the while. A short time later, while we were both in the kitchen, we heard the funny chirping of the mongooses, only to find two they had stuck their noses in the door and managed to get inside the house. We scooted them back outside while Tom proceeded to cut up paloney for them. They were thrilled. Again, we found ourselves laughing out loud.

Four kudus, eight bushbucks, six pigs, Frank, and dozens of helmeted guinea-fowls later, we got back to the business of figuring out our future travels. As you can imagine, getting back to Marloth Park sometime in the future was certainly on our minds. Tomorrow, we’ll share if, how, and when we may return in the next few years. It makes me smile from ear to ear.

A mongoose was drinking from a puddle on the veranda floor after Vusi had hosed it down.

That’s the news for today, folks. We hope every one of you stays healthy and hopeful for the future, whether it’s travel plans you are longing to book or peace of mind into the new year. We are always thinking of you and appreciating how you’ve stayed with us throughout the years.

We’re not done yet!!!

Photo from one year ago today, September 7, 2020:

This photo was from a  post from one year ago while in lockown in Mumbai, India, on day #168. The kingpin goat at the holiday home in Diani Beach, Kenya, in 2013. He nuzzled up to Hans when we entered the gate, remembering his early days when Hans fed him with a baby bottle. For more photos, please click here.

It’s not always easy…But, that’s how life is, regardless of where we live…Hornbills are back!!!…

This hornbill is contemplating eating seeds we placed on the railing.

If we lived in a retirement community in the US, we’d be no more exempt from day-to-day issues, illnesses, and challenges than we are now. In essence, it all boils down to the adage, “You can run, but you can’t hide.” This is especially true in today’s world, now more than ever.

This darned pandemic is rampant in most countries throughout the world.  If a person tried to escape it entirely, they’d be kidding themselves if they thought those countries with low case levels were any safer than anywhere else in the world. Many more obscure countries aren’t reporting cases of Covid-19 or don’t have the medical infrastructure to do so.

Hornbill is eating Frank’s seeds.

Sure, at this site, Worldometer, out of 220 countries, there are a handful of countries with no deaths recorded, based on a small population. But there isn’t one country of the 220 countries listed with no cases of the virus whatsoever. If such a haven of health existed, no doubt, a particular faction might choose an extended stay for their long-term safety.

As Covid-19’s Delta strain cases continue to ravage many countries, we look at the stats in South Africa, and comparatively, if, at all accurate, we are safer here than we were in the US during our four-week visit. As we’ve read more and more about the fully vaccinated becoming infected anyway, we now wonder how careful all of us must be going forward. There’s no clear and concise answer to these questions. Opinions are all over the place.

One aspect we feel confident may be reasonably accurate: if one were to contract the virus after being vaccinated, it may, and I emphasize, “may” be a milder case. I suspect that boosters will soon be required for better protection regardless of the brand of vaccine one received. If a booster is required for future travel and our safety, we will opt-in.

Hornbill in a tree.

While here in South Africa in 2018, we went to Dr. Theo for boosters for vaccines we had before leaving the US in 2012. I don’t suppose, in our minds, getting a Covid booster will be much different, providing it is readily available to us. We never received a text for an appointment from South Africa’s vaccine registration app after we’d applied within days of the app’s availability.

We’re assuming; since we’re foreigners, we’d never be included. This may be the case when and if a booster is available in the province of Mpumalanga. The controversy surrounding the vaccine is as rampant here as it is in the US and other countries. We choose not to judge anyone for their choices. We all have the right to make our own decisions.

Amid all this madness, life continues, albeit in a less familiar manner to most of us. I don’t believe most of us take the impact of this virus in our stride. It’s changed everything. Only about 18 months ago, life as we knew it is becoming a distant memory as we all struggle to accept mask-wearing and social distancing.

Hornbill at the bushbaby house.

Life goes on. Sickness and illness continue in other ways besides Covid-19. We get flu, viruses, coughs, and colds. Tom is now recovering from a cold he got weeks ago. Over the weekend, I developed a bad sore throat which is now on the downswing; no cough, no fever, no loss of taste. I’m just feeling a little tired with a sore throat that is gradually improving hour by hour.

I attribute the tiredness to the severe lack of sleep we experienced for a week. That is also improving with a considerable amount of sleep each of the past three nights. Tomorrow, Tom has a dentist appointment in Malalane since he’s had a bad toothache for several days.

It’s good that we have access to excellent medical care within a half-hour drive of Marloth Park. It provides us with tremendous peace of mind. In many countries we’ve visited over the years, we didn’t feel confident about medical care. We will strive to be conveniently located to quality medical care in the future, especially as we age.

Another hornbill took a turn at the seeds on the railing.

We still haven’t seen Tiny, but his look-alike, whom we call “The Imposter,” has become quite a regular. “The Misses” is back to visit us, along with Frank,  as well as many other regulars. Since our return one week ago, we hadn’t seen as many warthogs as before we left. However, it’s been wonderful to see Little and his new family a few times each day. Hopefully, in time, Tiny and his friends will return.

In the interim, it was fun seeing our favorite hornbills once again, pecking at the windows while chirping at us for seeds. We’ve been happy to comply, as shown in today’s photos.

Hopefully, today, Leonora will return from the airport with our missing bag.

Have a pleasant Monday!

Photo from one year ago today, August 2, 2020:

This one-year photo is from the post while in lockdown in Mumbai, India, on day #132. Tom is as content as he could be while in Costa Rica at La Perla de Atenas. For more photos, please click here.