Update on recovery process…Baby steps or with gusto?…Nyala stops by again today…

He seems to be following a small forkl of kudus consisting of two boys and their mom. It appears he’s taking a liking to the mom.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

The nyala seems very interested in this female kudu. Since there are no female nyalas in Marloth Park, one never knows what could transpire.

The number of readers who wrote to wish both Tom and me the very best as we worked together through my healing process after triple coronary bypass surgery less than four weeks ago was astounding. Thank you, dear readers/friends, throughout the world. Your words of encouragement definitely had a positive impact.

Generally, recovery from any type of surgery, illness, or injury is a highly individual process. Each patient is recovering at their own pace with the aid of physical therapy, a good diet, and plenty of rest with a gradual return to everyday activities.

A vital aspect of recovery is having the love and support of those family members and friends who can offer emotional support and aid in performing day-to-day activities.

Anxious to get back to myself again, I’m steadfast in following doctor’s orders, however vague they may be, and doing as much for myself as possible. At this point, I can get in and out of any chair, the bed, off the low sofa, and in and out of the car on my own.

Do I still have pain 25 days post-surgery? Yes, I do. As a matter of fact, each time I move, all four areas of my body with incisions (three in my legs, one in my chest) scream out as a reminder of how careful I must be.  

On top of that, other areas continue to be painful. My arms, closely related to the chest muscles, struggle to perform small tasks such as cutting food on my plate, chopping, dicing, and reaching for items above chest level.  

Preparing a meal is still cumbersome especially opening and reaching into the refrigerator, opening the vegetable drawer, and pulling items out of the freezer. After tearing a muscle in my chest wall three weeks ago today in the middle of the night, in the dark when the power had gone out, I’m cautious knowing how much of a setback this can be. This injury set me back for several weeks.

But, I try to think in terms of what I can do. I can shower, dress, fix my face and hair, brush my teeth, and put on my clothes. Now, I can do some light food prep in the kitchen, fold laundry and carry my own plate of food to the table, impossible only two weeks ago. These small tasks are encouraging.

Such a handsome creature.

Today, I started week three of the walking program which consists of 20 minutes twice a day. This morning I used the breathing machine and then proceeded to do the first 20-minutes of walking around the house, non-stop, at a comfortable pace.

Oddly, the 20-minute walk seemed no harder than the 15-minute walks as of yesterday. Boredom is a huge factor for me, so I’ve been listening to podcasts on my laptop while I walk. The clothes I’ve been wearing have no pockets or place or place for my cellphone to use for the podcasts.

No, I’m not ready to walk on the roads here in Marloth Park, and I can’t imagine when this could be practical on the bumpy dirt roads in our remaining two months in the park. It would be so easy to fall and that I want to avoid at all costs.

How am I holding up emotionally? It’s hard to tame an “overly bubbly” type such as me. Although I’m not gushing with enthusiasm, as usual, I am in good spirits, not whining, not irritable, and definitely not self-pitying.

However, I do ask the question several times a day to Tom and often to myself, “How in the world did this happen to me, of all people?” I spent my entire life attempting to be healthy and fit. I went as far as asking the two cardiac physicians how this could happen to me?

In both cases, they responded,  “Your lifetime efforts were not lost. Heredity brought this on, and had you not strived for good health all these years, you wouldn’t be here asking this question. You survived despite it.”

That provides me with a little comfort, but now I am madly searching for answers on how I can prevent this from happening again in the future should I be blessed to live many more years. There don’t seem to be any obvious lifestyle changes I can incorporate into my future wellness program.

If necessary, I won’t ever drink a glass of low alcohol red wine again, but the doctors insist a few glasses are fine, if not good. At this point, the thought of drinking anything with alcohol makes me queasy. Even Tom has avoided having a drink since this mess began in early February.

At this point, I don’t believe we’ll be back to our old selves while we’re still here in Marloth Park. The upcoming three months in Ireland by the sea will most likely further escalate the healing process with level roads and sandy beaches on which to walk, cool air day and night, and most likely, few, if any power outages.

It’s not that I’m anxious to leave Marloth Park, even with its frequent power outages, high heat, humidity, and biting insects.  It’s simply a fact that a little easier day to day might be highly beneficial.   

I’m still wearing those hot compression stockings, and when the heat is at 40C, 104F, and the humidity is at 85%, it’s a bit uncomfortable. The only clothes I can wear right now are tee shirts and leggings since shorts and jeans aren’t comfortable near the incisions. I only have one pair of loose black pajama bottoms and one navy blue tight leggings, both of which are scorching. 

But, I am making good progress, am down to only a few low dose pain pills per day, and overall eating normally, albeit smaller portions than usual due to lack of appetite, which is normal after this type of operation. The result is baby steps…not my usual “go for it” mentality. I want to do this right to continue on our worldwide journey with renewed health and renewed hope for the future in two months.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago, March 9, 2018:

A waterbuck resting on a sandbar in the Crocodile River. For more photos from one year ago, please click here.

Safari luck!…A sighting we’ve awaited for 13 months…What a way to start a new day!…

When friends Lois and Tom visited for three weeks in October, we spotted the nyala crossing the road from a distance but never were able to get a decent photo. From there, we searched daily, hoping to spot it again.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Once the kudus began to walk away, the nyala followed behind. Perhaps, he’s spending a lot of time with them.

A short time after we arrived in Marloth Park last year, on February 11, 2018, we’d heard a lot about the lone nyala in the park from our friends. Some had lived here 10 years or more and had never seen it, and others had seen it more than once.

With our usual safari luck, we expected to see it and take a decent photo to share here. But, as time went on, we decided it would be unlikely we’d see one animal among so many based on the massive size of Marloth Park at 3000 hectares, 7413 acres.

When friends Lois and Tom stayed with us for three weeks in October, we’d hoped to spot it while they were here. We almost accomplished this when we saw him at a distance, crossing a dirt road near the Crocodile River. 

Tom opened the big doors to the house this morning to find this stunning surprise, the elusive Marloth Park male Nyala hanging out with two male kudus, one female kudu, and one female bushbuck.  What a fabulous surprise! 

We all jumped out of the car, hoping to take a photo as he made his way deep into the bush, but alas, he disappeared in seconds. Friend Tom scrambled directly into the bush to attempt a photo but no such luck.

We resigned ourselves to the fact that it would be unlikely we’d see it again during our remaining time in the bush. Had my recent bypass surgery not transpired, we’d never have had today’s sighting. We would have been long gone.

But now, as I recover a little more each day, this morning’s sighting in our garden, we were overcome with joy and gratefulness. Plus, for some odd reason, this felt like a good omen for health and healing, for which we’ve become more optimistic each day.  

We’ve spent endless hours driving through Marloth Park in search of this stunning member of the antelope family. 

Finally, two weeks after returning from the hospital, I’m beginning to notice improvements each day.  Yesterday, on our 24th wedding anniversary, I made Tom an apple crumble, one of his favorite desserts, warmed and served with an ample dollop of vanilla ice cream.  

Based on its sugar content, I didn’t have any of the crumble but continued to savor one of the last few pieces of low-carb cheesecake. Tom peeled the apples (we saved the peels for the kudus they love) while I put together the remaining ingredients. It made me smile to see him practically moaning over each bite.

Since my surgery, Tom had lost five kgs (11 pounds) and deserved a sweet treat.  Ironically, he lost more weight than my measly two kgs (4.2 pounds). Surely, the stress and loss of appetite have impacted both of us.  

There are some similarities in appearance between the nyala and the kudu. But, the coloration of the hair, the long beard, and the pattern on the legs are unique. Females do not have horns and are much smaller.

We would avoid losing more weight by making the low-carb pie for me and the apple crisp for Tom. Finally, I stopped losing, and now, with this dessert, Tom will do the same. It feels so good to have a dessert in the evening, comforting especially after all of our attention has been focused on me getting well.

Anyway, back to the nyala…when opening the two massive wooden doors this morning while I was up, showered, and dressed, Tom whispered, “Hurry, get the camera. It’s the nyala.”

And indeed it was. I positioned myself at a chair by the table to steady myself since my arms are still too weak the hold the camera up in the air, positioning my elbows for steadiness and accuracy. In my usual overly enthusiastic manner, I struggled to keep from shaking while I took the photos. I did the best I could and wasn’t unhappy with the results.

From left to right, two kudus, one bushbuck (by the cement pond), and the elusive nyala to the far right.

The scene before our eyes of the lone nyala, three kudus (two males, one female), and the single pretty bushbuck was a scene we’ll never forget…pure heaven, here on Earth.

Here are some nyala facts from this Kruger National Park site:


Nyala [Nyala angasii or Tragelaphus angasii]


The handsome slate-brown shaggy coat is marked with white vertical stripes and spots on the flanks. Rams appear more charcoal-grey in color. The rams have long inward curved horns (650 mm) and a white chevroned face. They have a ridge of long hairs along the underparts, from behind the chin to between the hind legs. They also have a mane of thick, black hair from the head along the spine to the rump. Rams weigh 115 Kg and measure 1.05 m at shoulders. Ewes are much smaller, do not have horns, and weigh 59 Kg and stand 900mm at shoulders. Ewes are chestnut-coated with even more prominent white stripes on the flanks.

He looked healthy and well-fed. Surely, when he occasionally visits the garden of a bush home with residents aware of his arrival, he is fed plenty of pellets along with the lush greenery, since the rains, in Marloth Park.

This antelope feeds by grazing and browsing and readily feeds on leaves, fruit, and flowers. This variety in their diet is one of the factors ensuring their successful survival.


They breed throughout the year but mating peaks in autumn and spring. Single calves are born after a gestation period of 220 days. Twins are not uncommon. Ewes first conceive between 14 to 18 months. The average interval between births is 297 days. Mating opportunities for rams are decided through dominant behavior.


An interesting fact is that juvenile males look like females. It is thought that this camouflages the young males and protects them from the jealous eyes of the dominant bulls. The young males are therefore allowed to grow up peacefully under the protection of the herd.

They appeared to get along quite well with the kudus as they shared pellets we’d tossed.

This rather large antelope inhabits dense woodlands and thickets along permanent water. It is very secretive and more easily seen at night. Nyala is non-territorial, but both sexes have overlapping home ranges. The home ranges of ewes are twice the size of that of rams.

Where they are found

As a result of translocation, nyalas are found in several game reserves and private farms throughout South Africa. They are most numerous in the Kruger National Park.

Vital Statistics

Latin Name
Tragelaphus Angasii
Weight (Female)
55 – 68 kg weight (Male)
92 – 126 gestation Period
8 months of Young
1 calf
Birth Weight
5 kg order
64 cm (record – 84 cm)
A single young is born anytime during the year (peaks in August – December), gestation period ± 7 months.

Spoor Description

The fore-feet of the males are relatively broader than those of the females. Adult males are also larger than and shared females.”

Ms. Bushbuck kept a close eye on the pellets, wondering if she could squeeze in for a few.  We made sure she had plenty as well.

What a great start to our day! What’s on the agenda for today?  More rest, more walking, more good food, and more of the loving care that has been so instrumental in my continuing recovery. 

Thanks to our readers for your ongoing love and support, anniversary wishes, and wise experience from those who’ve been where I am now and have healed and gone on to live a full and fulfilling life.

He ate a few pellets but didn’t seem that interested in them.  Most likely, he’s getting plenty of nourishment from the lush bush.

Happy day!

Photo from one year ago, March 8, 2018:

In the yard, there’s a fenced-in garden intended to protect some vegetation. Ha! the monkeys have no trouble crawling inside and making a mess.  These vervet monkeys are fun to watch with their playful antics but annoying and destructive.  For more photos, please click here.