Finally a diagnosis and..we don’t like it…Oh, my!..

Ms. Bushbuck always appears to have a smile on her face.  Love her and her offspring!

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

The four piglets certainly have grown over the past six months.  They are so fun to watch.

Sorry I didn’t post yesterday.  With the news from the doctor on Thursday after the angiogram, I just didn’t have it in me to sit down and write on my phone’s small screen.  My laptop was in a repair shop in Nelspruit while I stayed overnight in the hospital.  Thankfully, they got it working again. There was an issue with the electrical plug-in.

I’ll get to the bad news first, to avoid drama and anticipation.  I have three 100% blocked coronary arteries including what is called the “Widow Maker” (in this case, the ‘Widower Maker).  Basically, I am a walking time bomb. I need coronary bypass surgery and I need it fast.

It’s scheduled at the hospital with a thoracic surgeon that works with the cardiologist I’ve been seeing.  They both will perform with the surgery.  I feel as if I’m in good hands based on the number of positive comments from locals who know them well.  I have no choice. At this point, I cannot fly on an airplane or even be active for that matter…too risky.

We are both shocked.  How did this happen? The doctors say there was nothing I could have done to prevent this situation.  Heredity is the driving force and as hard as I’ve tried to stay healthy my entire life there was no way I could have prevented this outcome.

Of course, we are very grateful a diligent doctor, Dr. Theo Stonkquist, a GP in the little town of Komatipoort had the insight and expertise to insist I have an exercise stress test at his office last Saturday when I complained of intermittent jaw pain which was later described as angina. 

Although I breezed through the stress test with relative ease, barely out of breath, the printout didn’t look good.  Dr. Theo immediately contacted Dr. Fanie in Nelspruit on “Whatsapp” and sent him the report.  He was adamant we get to Nelspruit to the Mediclinic first thing Monday morning for more tests.

For the early morning appointment, we booked a hotel near the hospital and stayed two nights. On Tuesday I had a CAT scan of my arteries and failed that test and others miserably.  An angiogram was scheduled for Thursday. 

We returned to Marloth Park, spent one night and called Dr. Fanie the following morning at 9:00 am.  He was short and to the point.  I definitely needed an angiogram promptly when the CAT scan showed one artery had a 100% blockage.

In the cath lab the next afternoon, after a many hour wait for my turn, I was told I’d be awake for the angiogram with only a mild sedative placed under my tongue.  Actually, it was quite interesting watching all the monitors showing my heart and its arteries.  The doctor, anesthesiologist and about seven support staff were informative and supportive.

Ms. Bushbuck’s baby has sure grown over the past many months as well.

We’d hope he’d insert a stent and I’d be done.  But, not the case.  The angiogram revealed, before my own eyes, that three of my coronary arteries are 100% blocked. If I’d had a heart attack, he explained, I wouldn’t survive it.  I’m so grateful this was discovered before we left for Kenya, known for not-so-good medical care.

Toward the end of the hour-long angiogram, the doctor explained (and showed me) why stents were impossible to place.  The only alternative was a triple coronary bypass which is scheduled for Tuesday next week, a mere three days from now.

I’m on medication in the interim and was told to avoid anything strenuous or stressful.  The strenuous part is a breeze.  The stressful?  Well, I can’t imagine anyone on the planet not feeling a bit stressed over such a thing as open heart surgery, including striping arteries from their legs to replace those blocked in the heart. 

However, we are both so grateful this was discovered in time and pray for a safe and good outcome and speedy recovery.  As they say, “we may be down but we’re not out.”  Hopefully, six weeks from the time of the surgery, we’ll be boarding our ship from San Antonio, Chile.  No pressure, just wishful thinking. 

No doubt, I will be a good patient and do everything I can to recover as prescribed and we’ll continue on with our world travels.

As for the posts??? We will continue tomorrow, Sunday and again on Monday while I staying overnight in the hospital for Tuesday’s surgery.  As of Tuesday, February 12th the posts will cease for five to seven days until I’m well enough to report.  I can’t wait for that day!

Tom will be regularly posting updates on my Facebook page which is open to the public.  Please start checking back here by next Sunday.

Tomorrow, we’ll be sharing the news on how this situation has been handled by our annual international health insurance company which information may be helpful for those traveling the world, expats and those contemplating traveling.

No words can describe how grateful we are for the outpouring of love and prayers from family, friends, and readers from all over the world.  We simply can’t keep up with the email messages, comments, and texts.  We’d love to respond to each and every one of you but there simply isn’t enough hours in the day.  We can only be humbled by your love, prayers, and kindness.

A special thanks to friends Kathy, Don, Linda, and Ken for inviting us for dinner last night (which was the originally planned night of our going away party – since canceled) and making the evening so filled with caring conversation, love and laughter.  Tonight, we all meet up again at Jabula, our usual Saturday night out.

Thank you…from the bottom of my “heart.”

________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, February 9, 2018:

A sea of penguins.  For more details and final photos, please click here.

Part 2…Bookings for South Africa…The “adventure” and it’s “paperwork” never ends…

Orange.....more than just a colour!
The entrance to our new vacation/holiday home we’ll be renting in Marloth Park beginning on February 11th, aptly named “Orange…More Than Just a Colour.”  For the link to this listing, please click here.

Yesterday, much to our delight, we wrapped up the first 89-day vacation/holiday rental for Marloth Park.  Louise had promised she’d find us a great property that would work for our budget and yet meet our criteria.

This property she chose for us, more than met our criteria.  It’s a virtual dream house in the South African bush, possessing all the features that make living in the rugged terrain all the more comfortable and experiential.

In Africa, many houses have a name, especially in the Conservancy of Marloth Park and the house on which we paid a 50% deposit yesterday is peculiarly and perhaps aptly called, “Orange…More Than Just a Colour.”

Fully equipped self catering kitchen
We’re looking forward to cooking again in this modern kitchen after an 80-day hiatus.

The exterior orange based color certainly prompted the house’s name but there is nothing gaudy or outlandish in its appearance or design.  It is pure bliss by our standards and we gratefully thank Louise, our friend and property manager for Marloth Park for making this happen for us.

Not only did she make this outstanding property affordable for us she locked up our time slot from February 11, 2018, to May 11, 2018, a total of 89 days.  Once we arrive, we’ll work with Louise to wrap up this or other properties we’ll rent during our one year stay in Africa.

We’ll travel in and out of the country to satisfy the immigration requirements of a maximum of 90 days while we visit many other countries on the continent to fulfill our goals of expanding our African horizons.

Outside pool under roof
Most of the pools in Marloth are plunge pools, intended for cooling off, as opposed the swimming laps.

Of course, we’ll share many more photos of this spectacular property located in our dream location, during our lengthy upcoming stay along with photos of our daily “visitors.”

Our inspiration to return to Marloth Park was precipitated by two aspects.  One, was the bush setting with wild animals walking around the house and two, the amazing friends we made while there in 2013/2014, all of whom we’ll see when we’re there and have stayed in contact with during the four years since we left.

Today, here in Palermo Soho area of Buenos Aires, once again we’ll take off on foot and walk the streets of this fascinating area.  Once the holidays end, we’ll do a bit of sightseeing.

Tomorrow, we’ll share most of our dining experiences over these past few days and more photos of life and culture in Buenos Aires, Argentina.


 Have a blissful day.

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Photo from one year ago today, December 28, 2016:

On a walk across the street in Penguin, Tasmania which is lined with a wide variety of blooming flowers, we spotted this unusual plant.  For more photos, please click here.

Part 1…Bookings for South Africa…The “adventure” and it’s “paperwork” never ends…

We find these colorfully painted building interesting and befitting the somewhat flamboyant nature of Buenos Aires.

Where do we begin and end? This outrageous lifestyle only knows an end when we “can’t do it anymore.”  Surely, someday this will come.  But, for now, we keep planning and booking one adventure after another.

I used the word “adventure” based on our perception of what adventure may be.  To many, adventure connotes white water rafting, mountains climbing, bungee jumping and other physically related risk-taking events.

There are many designer-type furniture shops in the area.

For us, an adventure may be defined as follows from the dictionary:

adventure
ədˈvɛntʃə/
noun
  1. 1.
    an unusual and exciting or daring experience.

    “her recent adventures in Italy”

    synonyms: exploitescapadedeedfeattrialexperienceincidentoccurrence
    eventhappeningepisodeaffair;

We focus more on the above stated, “an unusual and exciting” experience and less on the “daring.”  Well, not totally.  Couldn’t “daring” be described as selling everything we owned, leaving our family and friends, to travel the world for years to come; homeless, without a car, with no storage anywhere, no apartment/condo to return to, to repack and take care of things?  I guess so. 

Perhaps, for us, all of it is an adventure.  We’ve never considered we must put our physical beings in harm’s way in order for our lives to qualify as an adventure. 

Colorfully painted buildings are a common trend in Buenos Aires.

Along that path is the future planning for what we consider the ultimate adventure…re-visiting Africa (we were there four years ago) which will transpire in a mere 46 days (with the cruise to Antarctica in between in only 27 days.)  Good grief!  Could it get more exciting for us in this short period of time?

Finally, yesterday, after checking prices for a few months, we booked our flight from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Nelspruit, Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga,   South Africa, a location other “adventurers” fly to in order to embark on their own personal journey on an insatiable quest for adventure.

Another colorfully painted building.

The cost for the one-way economy flight for two was shocking.  We’ve never paid this high a fare for a one-way flight.

Here are the details:

Price summary
Traveler 1: Adult $1,754.66 Flight $1,301.00 Taxes & Fees $453.66
Traveler 2: Adult              $1,754.66 Flight $1,301.00 Taxes & Fees $453.66
Expedia Booking Fee $14.00
Total US $3,523.3
(ARS 64,934)
All prices are quoted in USD.

705 points
for this trip



Travel time:           16 hours total (3 flights)
Depart:                  12:50 PM, February 10, 2018
Arrive in Nelspruit:    9:50 AM, February 11, 2018
Layovers:       2 hours in Sao Paulo, Brazil,
                     1 hour 40 minutes in Johannesburg, South Africa

Airlines:         GOL Linhas Aereas S.A
                          South African Airways (last two flights)

We flinched paying this high a fare for coach but, we made up for it a little when we were able to rent a car at the Nelspruit Airport for a total of 89 days for only US $1,750 (ARS 32,252) including all taxes, fees, and insurance which averages at US $583 (ARS 10,745) per month.

We plan to stay in Africa for up to 13 months and will share more details as we book further into the future, much of which will be outside of South Africa.  But, we’ll continue to return to Marloth Park after satisfying visa requirements for a maximum of 90 days as required in most African countries.

There isn’t an abundance of flowers blooming at this time in the Palermo area.

Today, we’re finalizing the details of our vacation/holiday rental with our dear property manager friends, Louise and Danie Thiart who can be reached at this site.  We’re so appreciative of their friendship and assistance in finding us more outstanding accommodations in Marloth Park.

Tomorrow, we share details of what will be our new home beginning on February 11, 2018.

Thanks for stopping by!

__________________________________________


Photo from one year ago today, December 27, 2016:

This was the view from our holiday home from an elevated road in Penguin, Tasmania.  For more details, please click here.

Minimal post today!…Computer crashed…Heading to Nelspruit tomorrow morning to make a purchase…Back on Wednesday afternoon…

Nothing gets me more riled up than computer problems. It crashed, most likely as a result of recently dropping it. I spent the entire morning trying to find a way to purchase a new laptop or a tablet befitting my needs, only to become totally frustrated.

Ordering a device online is tricky for several reasons.  Fast shipping from the US is expensive. Last 13 pound, 5.9 kg box cost US $458, ZAR $5121.50. Plus, the computer would have to go through customs upon arrival for more fees.

My only alternative, if we’re not willing to spend the above and more, is to make a purchase in South Africa. It’s impossible to order online since all online in-country purchases require a name matching South Africa ID#, comparable to a US social security number. One cannot “borrow” a number.

The handwriting is on the wall. Calling the largest computer store in Nelspruit this morning they confirmed there is no alternative but to make the purchase in person.

Tomorrow morning at 10 am, Okee Dokee will drive me on a long trip to the store. Tom will remain behind at Khaya Umdani. With massive amounts of road construction, the former 90-minute drive may take upwards of three hours each way.

Upon returning from Nelspruit, I’ll post an update as to whether I have time to post tomorrow or if it will have to wait until Thursday.

I have managed to save all of our photos and files in Dropbox and have some amazing new photos of our recent Vervet Monkey raid!

Back soon.

 

A grand solitary visitor…Planning our upcoming departure…A goal of low stress travel…A funny photo…

 

Yesterday morning while writing on the veranda, I heard a “thump, thump” and alerted Tom, to look up, and once again, we had the most exciting visitor, a solitary giraffe. We’d assumed he’d stopped to munch on the treetops enabling us to take some photos. Alas, he dashed out of the yard so fast that we weren’t able to take another photo. It was the third time we’ve had giraffes in our yard. Heavenly.

It’s hard to believe that in 30 days, we’ll be leaving South Africa, heading to Marrakesh, Morocco, where we’ll live for 2½ months. Unquestionably, it won’t be easy to leave Marloth Park, to say goodbye to all of our friends both human and animals. 

These three baby warthogs, our familiar “Three Little Pigs” anxiously needed some liquid sustenance from mom after we shared some pellets with them.  Thirsty, they nursed with the one shown sucking a nipple from behind her butt.  We laughed at this tender sight.

Life in the bush with all of its challenges provided us both with a unique experience, one we’ll treasure forever.  But, “moving on” is the lifestyle choice we’ve made and we do so with excitement and anticipation of that which is yet to come. We have absolutely no regrets. 

On our way out to dinner last night at dusk. Wildebeest and zebra, who often hang out together.

The preparations to move on aren’t overwhelming by any means, but must be accomplished in an orderly and concise manner. Our motto remains forefront in our minds, “Wafting through our worldwide travels with ease, joy, and simplicity.” 

Stringent advance planning results in lower levels of stress, always our objective. Besides, the airlines create enough problems of their own without us adding more due to a lack of careful planning. 

We diligently prepare for the following, none of which is particularly time-consuming or difficult once the flights have been booked:

  • Flight arrangements/baggage restrictions
  • Packing, while complying with all baggage restrictions
  • Airport transportation arrangements at both ends, including the necessity of going to an ATM at the final destination for cash in the local currency
  • Online discussions with the owner/property manager to ensure everything we need upon arrival will be awaiting us: access/keys to the property, bedding, towels, bar soap, toilet paper, and bottled water. We require enough basic “hotel” supplies to get us through the first several days.
  • How do we arrange for meals and snacks as we settle in? Assessing nearby restaurants and grocery stores with a ready means of transportation.
  • Visa requirements. All of our previous visa requirements have been met at immigration upon entry to our final destinations with the exception of Belize, which required renewal every 30 days. Morocco doesn’t require a visa for US citizens entering the country for under 90 days. We’ll be staying for 75 days.   

Having booked our flight from Johannesburg to Morocco, a convoluted red-eye mess of multiple stops and layovers, today we’ll book the short flight from Mpumalanga/Nelspruit to Johannesburg, a portion of the flight that must be booked separately.

Tomorrow, we’ll share the details of the complicated and the only means of getting to Morocco from South Africa. It’s not comparable to the US, Europe, and other parts of the world where one can book a single flight from one big city to another big city.

It’s another scorcher today. We only lasted five hours on the veranda seeing no less the four Warthog families.  Plus, we had about 25 Helmeted Guinea-fowls hanging out with the warthogs. Lots of laughing over all of their playful antics. 

Tonight, we’re off to a birthday party in Marloth Park. Should be fun!

Happy day to all.