Plunge, twist and release…To vaccinate or not to vaccinate…A visit to a local river view restaurant…

Yesterday afternoon, the view from the restaurant, aptly named Amazing River View located in Marloth Park. They appear to have good food at reasonable prices along with free WiFi. Guess we’ll be heading that way again one day or evening soon.
“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”
Beautiful sunset two evenings ago on our return drive from Komatipoort.

On March 28, 2012, I started a series of many vaccinations as we prepared to travel the world. The first dose I received is documented here on that long ago date. Tom began his injections a few months later, work schedule permitting.

Many travelers come to Africa only receiving the required-for-entry Yellow Fever vaccine, preferring to take their chances on many other potentially infectious diseases. 

While seated at Amazing River View restaurant, we zoomed in for a few croc photos while they basked in the warm afternoon sun.

Many residents we’ve asked from South Africa, USA, and other parts of the world, have stated they do not get any vaccines or take any malarial prophylactics. None seem to have contracted any primary disease during their time in South Africa.

We took a course on Malarone over the past few weeks (which goes by many different names in many countries) in preparation for our trip to Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana. The final, one pill-a-day course ends today. 

Cattle egrets love to hang around with large mammals, eating their scrap and insects.

At that point, we’ll be winging it for malaria instead of diligently applying repellent with DEET three times a day on all exposed skin. I know many people object to the use of DEET and suggest we try many other non-chemical repellents. Unfortunately, after trying many “natural” repellents, we still got mosquitos bites.

Are mosquitoes rampant here in Marloth Park?  Not so much. Having been here since February, which was still summer when we arrived (summer ends on March 21st in this part of the world), the mozzies weren’t too bad. 

This croc was lounging in the tall grass along the river.

Wearing repellent day and night and using a variety of candle-lit insect repellents near our feet at night, we seldom are bitten. Overall in the three and a half months we’ve been here, I’ve received no more than a dozen bites. Zero bites would be ideal but not necessarily doable in this type of climate.

Once we arrived in Africa, we knew it was time for booster vaccinations, although many, such as Yellow Fever, are only needed once every ten years or are suitable for life, according to Dr. Theo Stonkhorst. On Thursday, we headed to Dr. Theo’s office for our vaccinations. 

The serene view from the restaurant often includes wildlife sightings.

When I asked Dr. Theo if any vaccines contained the preservative Thimerosal to which I have an allergy, he read the accompanying literature. Still, he didn’t feel comfortable giving me the vaccines until he verified the ingredients with the drug company that Thimerosal wasn’t included in any shots I needed. 

He checked on Friday, leaving me a text message suggesting I return on Monday for my shots when he discovered none of the vaccines contained Thimerosal.

We could hear hippos from this location, but they were hidden behind the vegetation.

We’ve decided not to list which vaccines we received other than the typhoid booster. We feel that decision is best left to your doctor and travel clinic. Age, potential exposure, the location of travels, and health conditions play a role in determining which vaccines, if any, other than the required Yellow Fever, is appropriate for you.

Tom went ahead and had his vaccines on Thursday. We left the doctor’s office waiting to determine my fate based on the Thimerosol allergy and if it is a preservative used in the vaccines. As it turned out, it was not. On Monday at noon, we’ll return to Dr. Theo’s office when I have the balance of my injections.

This fast-moving bird made it challenging to get a good photo.  Thanks to our friend Louise in Kauai, Hawaii, for identifying this bird as an African jacana.

Tom had two injections (each containing a few different vaccines), one in each arm, with no ill effects. Much to our shock, the bill for the office visit and the vaccines was only ZAR 1700 (US $136.01).  In the US, this cost could have been eight or nine times this amount.

A tiny island of blooming vegetation in the Crocodile River.

As mentioned in several of today’s captions, yesterday we had a great afternoon visiting the restaurant “Amazing River View,” aka Serene Oasis, located on the Crocodile River, only five minutes away. 

An Egyptian goose was standing on a mossy rock in the river.

We’d intended to do our usual drive in Marloth Park, on which we embark every other day. But, when we drove into the beautiful park where the restaurant is located, looking for a working ATM (both machines at the two shopping centers were “out of service,” most likely out of cash on a Friday) and we saw the restaurant had an ATM, we decided to get cash and enjoy a beverage while overlooking the river.

Once we entered Marloth Park, we spotted a few giraffes close to the paved road.

It was a wise decision.  We had an excellent experience sitting in the outdoor bar where we had perfect views of the river. By 4:00 pm, we were back “home” to finish a few items for our dinner planned for 7:00 pm on the veranda. It was a great day and evening.

Tonight, Louise, Danie, and Louise’s parents are coming for dinner. We were up early making preparations for the big evening meal, again on the veranda, enjoying the arrival of a wide array of visitors and, of course, each other’s company.

Giraffes in the bush shortly before sunset.

To those in the US, have a safe and sound Memorial Day weekend, and for everyone elsewhere, you do the same.

Photo from one year ago today, May 26, 2017:

A year ago today, we arrived in Minnesota for a six-week family visit and rented this SUV. As a former owner of this model, Tom was thrilled with this new Ford Explorer. We couldn’t believe all the technology in this rental car, more than any we’ve seen throughout the world. As it turned out, we rented this car for the entire six weeks for only $50 more than a tiny economy car from this site: For more photos, including the hotel where we stayed, please click here.

Last visit with Nurse Marsha…Ouch!

Never in my entire life have I walked into a medical clinic and felt so welcomed. Only minutes after I checked in, Nurse Marsha, head travel clinic nurse at Park Nicollet Travel Clinic, warmly greeted me, telling me how enthused she was to see me on her schedule for my last round of injections.

She knew how anxious I had been about possible side effects through this entire process, having had a few frightening immunizations in the long ago past. My fears were worsened after many hours of relentless online research looking for all the reasons why one should not be subject to such an obvious health risk.

My greatest fear was the yellow fever vaccine, well known for disastrous outcomes in a small fraction of the recipients. Alas, we survived. Tom was a little queasy and flu-like for one day and for me, I lapsed into bed midday for four hours of  uncomfortable thrashing about, to fully recover in time to cook a lovely dinner.  The worst was over.

Nurse Marsha was delightful, bubbly, and concerned for us, for our safety and for our joy. Lively and animated banter ensued between us as my heart grew full with her charm and interest.  For the first time in this process, I freed myself from the monumental tasks at hand, allowing a wave of excitement to wash over me, which I had held at bay all this time, fearful of losing focus.

Upon leaving I handed her our card for this blog, which she enthusiastically accepted, promising to follow along with us. Perhaps, knowing the vital role she played in our health as we travel the world over the next several years. Thank you, dear Nurse Marsha. Thank you for easing us along the way.

Yesterday’s injections:  the final booster of three Twinrix injections, for Hepatitis A and B, (ow, ow, ow!  Painful!), the latest flu vaccine (nothing to it) and the take home Typhoid Live Vaccine.   (Apparently, there is now a shortage of the Typhoid vaccine, which wasn’t the case only a few weeks ago when Tom received it).  

Over a period of eight days, I must swallow one of four live Typhoid vaccine tablets (now safely residing in our refrigerator) every other night at bedtime with a full glass of lukewarm water.  Nurse Marsha explained the importance of taking this pill at night on an empty stomach to reduce the risk of stomach distress as opposed to the morning when one’s stomach would be more empty after a night’s sleep. 

Of course, I complied. At 10 pm last night I poured myself a huge glass of tepid water and chugged the pill. Nothing happened. Good. I went to bed anticipating awakening during the night for a trip to the loo. Well, lately I’ve been waking up at 3:00 am anyway, after a run of convoluted dreams of hotels and other people’s homes, my mind racing with the upcoming tasks of the day.

Oddly, I slept through the night to awaken at my usual 5:30 am, ready to tackle the day, happy to feel well, happy to have slept through the night.

My vaccines are almost over, with three more Typhoid pills to take over the next six nights.  Tom must have his final Twinrix booster after his final waiting period ends November 22, 2012.  Son, Richard gave us the name of his doctor in Henderson, Nevada.  We’ll arrange the appointment soon for one of the few times we’ll be in Nevada in November and December.  

After about 15 injections, my share of needless worry, multiple trips to see Nurse Marsha with only a few hours of discomfort, we’re appreciative of the manner in which she eased the way, by that which she taught us about food and water safety when traveling abroad and most of all, enriched by simply knowing her.

Today will be another busy day; off to the office supply store for an ink cartridge for the printer (ran out of ink with documents to print before we go) and to buy a portable keyboard for my laptop. (We’re buying new lightweight laptops while in Scottsdale after Window 8 releases). In the past few days, the case broke and now the keyboard requires Herculean effort to press a key.  Not surprising, huh?