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.

A glimmer of hope…

It’s hard not to miss our animal and human friends in Marloth Park. We hope Broken Horn will visit us at the new house.

Could it be that Tom coughed less last night? He says he still feels weak and exhausted, but I wasn’t awake during the night from his coughing and ended up getting enough sleep for a change. Yes, this morning, he’s been coughing like crazy since he got up, but the good night gave us some hope.

The thought of flying to Las Vegas on Sunday is a little daunting, especially when arriving at the massive airport, which is time-consuming and confusing. Since Tom is in no position to do so, handling our luggage is my biggest concern right now. Sure, we’ll get a trolley to wheel around the airport while we go to collect the rental car.

Once we have the car, everything will be easier. We’ll get help with our bags at the hotel, the Green Valley Ranch Resort Spa and Casino in Henderson, close to where son Richard lives. At this point, we don’t know if we’ll get to see him. It will be entirely based on how Tom feels and how Richard feels about being around us.

We considered changing our fights, staying longer in Minnesota, and flying back to South Africa. Fortunately, we won’t have to go through immigration or customs based on a domestic flight. It will be another matter when we fly back to South Africa from Las Vegas on May 22.

But, after considerable research, it just doesn’t work. There are no flights available out of MSP that we can change our United Airlines tickets to, and the cost is so prohibitive to start all over. After all, we’ve already lost several thousand dollars due to getting Covid.

The flight to Las Vegas is over three hours. Tom needs to be able to sit up comfortably. If he cannot by Sunday, we’ll have no choice but to change our plans. Once again, we’re “playing it by ear.” We know how to do this. Tom feels confident that he’ll be able to do this by Sunday, four days from today.

As of today, he is better able to move about. The problem for both of us is that we’ve been sitting in bed since April 20, when we first tested positive. That’s three weeks ago, as of today. Today, I moved the luggage off the love seat in our hotel room, and I am no longer sitting on the bed until the evening when we watch a few shows on the TV.

The smart TV in our room has Amazon Prime Video and Netflix. By logging in to our accounts using the QR codes on the screen, we can watch both services. That is slick. Also, there is accessible Showtime, so we can busy ourselves in the evenings watching shows to alleviate the boredom.

Many have suggested we watch the popular show “Outlander.” We watched the first episode a few years ago and couldn’t get into it. We tried again a few days ago in desperation, and now we’re hooked. What a fascinating show! We’re finishing the first season tonight, and we’re thrilled there are many more seasons to keep us entertained while we continue to recover.

Hmmm…shades of India (10 months stuck in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai), as once again, we are stuck in a hotel room, three weeks in the making. But this time, we don’t feel well, and I have no energy to walk the corridors for five miles, 8 km, a day. The food is a little better here.

Last night, the WiFi was out for 6 hours. I ended up calling Marriott’s tech support to get it working again. I don’t recall ever having to contact tech support with WiFi issues in any other hotel than this one in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. I don’t understand why the guest would have to call and not management or reception. This same thing happened when we first checked in on May 1 and again when we stayed here in July 2022.

It’s the only complaint we have about this hotel. Otherwise, it is pretty nice. After all, we have a fully equipped basic kitchen with a decent-sized refrigerator, range and oven, microwave, and a dishwasher.  These have prevented us from having to do takeaway every evening for dinner, and we’ve been able to put together a few easy meals with ingredients from the nearby market.

Also, the customer service at Towne Suites by Marriott, Eden Prairie, Minnesota, is excellent. The cleanliness is exceptional, and the condition of the rooms is flawless and up to date. We will definitely stay here again, even knowing about the WiFi issues. Besides, the location is ideal, close to restaurants, shopping, and markets with easy access to the freeway.

Again, thanks to our fabulous readers for an endless stream of thoughtful email messages with good wishes for our recovery. You have no idea how much this has meant to us. If we missed responding to your messages, please bear with us. We are working on replies each day.

Be well.

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

A mom or matriarch crossed the road in front of us while in Kruger National Park with a youngster. For more photos, please click here.

An outpouring of love from around the world…

This has been the best test kit we’ve used. They retail for about $25 at most worldwide pharmacies. To perform the test, you download an app, Navica, to your phone and a live rep will walk you through the test to ensure it’s done correctly. DO NOT OPEN THE BOX PRIOR TO FACE-TIMING WITH THE REP OR THE KIT WILL BE INVALIDATED.

We cannot express our appreciation for the response and outpouring of love after the Garage Logic podcast last Friday and now continuing with well-wishes for Tom after his Covid pneumonia diagnosis described in yesterday’s post here.

We have been so fortunate to receive such positive feedback from our readers. There have been only a few occasions where a reader may send us the equivalent of “hater” emails about our travels and life events. Why read about our story or the stories of others if one finds the content objectionable in one way or another?

However, those scenarios are far and few between. Instead, as we enter one phase of our world travels to another, many loyal readers write to us expressing their concern and prayers for our well-being. At times, there are more email messages than we can respond to.  We try to respond to each one, but we sincerely apologize if we’ve missed you.

With little else to do, we’ve been able to stay on top of it. But, now, with Tom’s busy medication schedule, it may become more difficult. On the free family calendar app we both use, Cozi Calendar, which may be found here, today I entered ten events regarding Tom’s medication dosing schedule, starting at 8:00 am and ending at 10:00 pm.

I am so grateful that I am feeling so much better. My only symptoms now are a loose cough, an occasional headache, and a stuffy nose from time to time. My energy level has returned, and I no longer feel tired and lethargic. Hopefully, Tom will reach this state of improvement soon. We both continue to test negative.

Today, we have to go out to get food for dinner. The Cub Foods, less than a mile away, has some chicken wild rice soup Tom finds he can eat. Otherwise, he has had little interest in food. I’ll find something for my dinner in the market as well. I don’t feel like cooking in the small kitchen, but surely, I’ll find something easy to put together.

Our grandson Miles is still testing positive for Covid. Next Sunday, we are scheduled to leave Minneapolis only five days from today. We have no idea if we’ll be able to see any of our family members before we depart Minnesota or if we’ll be able to see our son Richard in Henderson, Nevada, where we will be for one more week until we leave for South Africa on May 22nd.

It will be good to be back in South Africa in two weeks. Our new house will be ready for us, which we know Louise will have “perfect,” awaiting our arrival. She’s insisted on grocery shopping for us. How much of a list we’ll make is based on how Tom feels in two weeks. If he’s well, we’ll only ask Louise to get enough groceries to last for a few days, longer if necessary. If he’s better, we can head to Komatipoort to grocery shop.

We’d like to have Dr. Theo check us both after this big ordeal with Covid. His office is down the road from the Spar Market, and we’ll schedule appointments to coincide with our shopping trip. It will be lovely to get back into our usual routine of wildlife watching, taking photos, cooking fabulous meals on the braai, and eventually, socializing.

We’re looking forward to feeling well enough to sit on the veranda, sipping on sundowners, and watching “visitors” stop by to see if pellets are on the happy hour menu. Most assuredly, they will be.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, May 10, 2021:

Seeing the porcupines on the trail cam gives us a strong incentive to continue to check out the garden at night. 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.

Our bag is here!!!…What a relief!…Tom’s dental disaster…

This is not Tiny, whom we’ve yet to see, eight days after our return. This is The Imposter, who resembles Tiny. He’s become a regular visitor whom we welcome with pellets.

There was no question that someone had gone through our bag with a fine-tooth comb. We had purchased vitamins in the US and hundreds of Vitamin D3 gel caps that spilled all over the bottom of the bag, and everything else was askew. Some of our toiletries spilled, but nothing seemed to be missing.

Our five pairs of shoes were intact, as well as the clothing items. We have to figure out if we are filing a claim and how and when we’ll be reimbursed. We were informed that there would be no compensation for the “inconvenience,” only the items we had to replace. As mentioned earlier, there was nowhere near us to replace any of the contents in that bag while we were without it.

It was delightful to see Torn Ear return to our garden.

We’ll take whatever airline credit we can get and see if we’ll ever bother to use United Airlines again. But that is behind us now, and we’re anxious to put the annoyance to rest. Tom is currently at the dentist in Malalane, and I’m home alone trying to recover from my current flu virus of some sort.

I don’t believe I have Covid, nor did Tom. It was just a bad cold, the same cold/flu Tom had a week ago, from which he has since fully recovered. Soon, I’ll hear from him when he leaves the dentist to find out what transpired there.

Whoa! I just got a call from Tom. He had to have two teeth pulled! I feel so badly for him. It is disheartening to lose teeth, especially when it’s a reminder of the ravages of aging, and it leaves a gaping hole that must be dealt with in three months after it fully heals.

Based on feeling under the weather, we haven’t taken many photos the past few days.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post here, there’s no escaping the realities of health issues regardless of where we live in the world. Fortunately, here in South Africa, we have access to excellent dental and medical care, a fact we fully appreciate. This isn’t an assurance in many countries we’ve visited in the past and something to consider going forward.

Over the next few days, Tom will be recovering from the two extractions. We intended to go to Kathy and Don’s home tomorrow evening for sundowners and dinner. But based on how I am feeling and now, Tom’s recovery from his dental work, neither of us may be able to go. It isn’t very reassuring.

But, Kathy and Don will be here until the end of November, and hopefully, we’ll have plenty of time together with them and all of our friends in Marloth Park.

We dumped all of the sweet potatoes into the garden for the wildlife. They quickly got in the bag indoors, requiring us to put them in a pile outside. Within a few hours, they were gone.

Based on my being sick and Tom’s recovery from his extractions, it doesn’t look as if we’ll be too active today. I’d taken tenderloin out of the freezer and placed it in the fridge to defrost overnight. Tom won’t be able to eat steak tonight. Instead, I’ll make scrambled eggs with cheese for him, which will be easier to eat.

He’s since returned and seems to be doing well, albeit with a little bit of pain and discomfort. The dentist gave him a prescription for probiotics and mild pain killers. The antibiotics we had him taking over the past four days were exactly what they would have prescribed, suggesting he continue them for one more day.

Hopefully, in the next few days, he’ll be feeling better along with me. Weirdly, we’re both under the weather at the same time, but we will continue to take care of one another.

Torn Ear preferred the pellets over the sweet potatoes. But, once he devoured all the pellets, he got to work on the potatoes.

May your day be pleasant and fulfilling!

Photo from one year ago today, August 3, 2020:

From a post on this date while in lockdown in Mumbai, India, on day #133. Our photo, as we drove into the city of Paris. It was an experience in itself. 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.

The 2½ hour wait at the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles…

While in Penguin, Tasmania, in 2017, we took this photo on our way to the town of Ulverston. Tasmania never disappoints!  For more photos, please click here.

We each had over a year left until the expiration of our Nevada driver’s licenses. However, with uncertainty at this point as to when we’ll return to the US, we needed to take care of this task before we depart Nevada in four or five days.

We both dreaded the process when the DMV in Henderson (and other locations) usually requires appointments to avoid waiting for hours. The last time we did this, seven years ago, the line extended outside the building with no less than 100 impatient applicants pushing and shoving to secure their spots.

With Tom sick all week, we avoided going. But as time wore on, we decided we’d better take care of this regardless of how he or I was feeling. When we awoke yesterday morning, it was raining heavily.

We imagined standing in that long queue outdoors in the rain with both of us still coughing (especially Tom) and getting soaked. I’d packed our cheap plastic rain protectors in the blue bag and by 9:45 am we took off.

Imagine our elation when we drove into the parking lot and there was no line at all! Apparently, due to the inclement weather, people decided to wait and go another day, which proved to benefit us greatly.

Upon entry into the building, which was packed, within minutes we got a number from the receptionist, found two adjacent chairs and began the long wait, making sure we didn’t miss the call of our number over the PA system.

We realized the wait would be long, but we were so pleased to avoid standing outdoors in the rain, hardly a whimper crossed our lips during the over-two-hour wait.

Some may say, the facility is disorganized with so many applicants always waiting to be seen. In fact, we perceived it as being very organized and well-planned with friendly customer service and systems in place to facilitate a somewhat painless process.

I played with my new phone while Tom never took his eyes off the screen with the numbers that had been called and those numbers upcoming. The time went more quickly than expected and by noon we met with the rep who would process our renewals.

The process took about 30 minutes when the rep was curious about why we were renewing early, which is unusual. She then continued to ask many questions. Of course, we had nothing to hide, but we didn’t want to get into our entire story.

Finally, our temporary licenses were issued and we were directed to the area where photos are taken. Amazingly, there was no queue there and we breezed through the process in a few minutes.

Once out the door, we sighed in relief. It was finally done. Next time, we can again apply online when an applicant must apply in person. every other renewal time

We feel as if we accomplished a lot while in the US, amid both of us being sick; we applied for and received our visas for India, applied and are awaiting our “second, four-year” passports and now renewed our driver’s licenses. It’s been an enormous relief to get these time consuming and cumbersome tasks out of the way.

Our next project. Is deciding on how we’ll spend the two unbooked months in India after completing the Maharajas Train tour on February 8th. Planning this is a big project and we just may have to wait until we get settled in Arizona next week. Plus, we still have to work on hiring an attorney to assist us in getting the visa waiver to return to South Africa.

I’m off today to visit my sister Susan once again. I’d intended to go yesterday, but when we returned from the DMV so late in the day, I realized I’d be stuck in rush hour traffic, in the rain, on the return drive. No thank you. I’ll be on my way soon.

Have a pleasant day!

Photo from one year ago today, December 5, 2018:

Mom and piglet enjoying the cement pond on a hot day. It’s summer during this time of year in South Africa and with the drought and lack of bodies of water available to the wild animals, they may seek a refreshing dunk in the cement pond in our garden, intended as a source of drinking water. For more photos, please click here.

Turning the corner…Still lots to do…

Two years ago today, in 2017, in Pisco, Peru, we spotted these children playing at the beach with views of colorful fishing vessels.  For more photos, please click here.

While we were about one week into the most recent cruise, one early evening at the beginning of the free-drink-happy-hour (two hours long), I wasn’t able to take a sip of my wine. I felt queasy and dizzy.

Tom walked me to the cabin, helped me get situated into bed while I encouraged him to go back to the event to enjoy the evening’s camaraderie and bring me a small plate of food from the buffet before he went to dinner in the main dining room. There was no point in him sitting there with me.

Before 7:00 pm, he brought me a plate of roasted chicken, grilled fish, and steamed veggies. By 9:00 pm, he’d had dinner and returned to the cabin for the night. 

I had no idea why I was dizzy, but by morning it passed, leaving me with a peculiar slight cough that eventually blossomed into the full roar of the virus from which we’re still experiencing now. It’s been 34 days since the onset.

As I mentioned yesterday, Tom is now suffering as I did over two weeks ago in Minnesota when I went to Urgent Care twice only to discover after taking antibiotics and cortisone. Ultimately, it is truly a virus with little to be done other than to wait it out.

Of course, if either of us had suspected it was more serious than the virus we contracted while cruising, we would have sought more medical advice. We had no fever, no symptoms of pneumonia, no chest pain (although our stomach muscles ached from coughing, a common side effect).

Yesterday, I awoke to feel dizzy again, on top of awful coughing, and this morning that is gone, and much to my delight, my cough has lessened dramatically. Oddly, it came in with dizziness and left with the dizziness. Go figure. I’m finally out of the woods, or so it seems.

Tom is insistent we go to the DMV today, but again oddly enough, it’s going to rain today. A visit to the DMV results in an extended outdoor queue often standing for hours. We couldn’t book an appointment based on a lack of availability while we’re here before we depart for Arizona next week.

The result? Today, rain or shine, we’ll stand in line at the DMV to renew our driver’s licenses. Yes, we have raincoats but no umbrella. Who has an umbrella in Nevada? It rarely rains here.

I’d planned to see Susan today, but that’s up in the air based on how quickly we can get through the line at the DMV. If not today, I’ll go tomorrow. Perhaps, the lines will be shorter today with it raining.

Out of the small backpack, I just dug out the total-body-coverage cheap plastic raincoats we’d purchased in Thailand for 85 cents each which have served us well on several occasions over these past few years. We’ll see how they work for us today.

No doubt, I’m dreading this DMV thing, but it has to be done. Tom offered to go on his own, but I, too, need my license renewed, and it makes no sense for us to go separately.

We’ll continue to keep our readers informed of the infinitesimal activities of our time here in Nevada. Soon enough, a little excitement may ensue as we begin to pull ourselves out of the throes of the virus.

Happy day to all, rain or shine.

Photo from one year ago today, December 4, 2018:

This fluffy little one captured our hearts. For more photos, please click here.