Today’s Plan B…Hospital or no hospital…How did this happen?…

This morning when we opened the big wood doors, we had a dazzle of zebras waiting for breakfast.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

We were thrilled to see the return of a mating pair of hornbills.

It’s never quite good enough for me to blindly accept a scenario that causes ill health and other problems in our day-to-day lives. I’ve always strived to discover the “why” in a determined attempt to avoid a similar scenario in the future.

As far as the necessity of my having to have coronary bypass surgery, I’ve been on a mission, reading (from reliable sources, not the general public) as much as I can find, listening to medical podcasts, and watching medical videos in what may be a futile attempt to answer the question, “Why me?”

In the realm of things, anyone can wonder why they experienced any problematic situation only to come up empty-handed, leaving the answer to “chance.” But over the years, I’ve learned a hard lesson, as many of us have…when it comes to unpleasant interactions among people..we have the power to avoid emotionally painful situations. We can only control how we feel, not how someone else should feel or behave.

However, when it comes to health, the “why” becomes more complex. Injuries, illness, and medical crises of most types may have been lessened or obliterated by one’s carefulness and diligence.  
Note the two youngsters with little interest in the pellets.

Get sick on a cruise? “Did I fail to wash my hands frequently enough or did I shake hands or hug someone who was carrying germs?”

Break a leg while skiing? “Was I showing off or taking risks beyond my expertise?”

Had a heart attack? “What lifestyle changes could I have made for a different outcome?”

Of course, there are all those dreadful diseases one can acquire where it appears, the patient played no role in developing. Was it heredity, bad luck, or random cases of the universe playing tricks on us? No doubt, we can’t control it all.

But as I look back over the years I have to take full responsibility for my three blocked arteries and the consequences of the necessity of this enormous surgery. I knew about the hereditary factor on my mother’s side of the family, succumbing to hearts attacks, strokes, diabetes, and a myriad of other inflammatory diseases. Why didn’t I do something about that?

I thought I was on a path to longevity when from a young age I exercised, maintained a healthy diet and weight, didn’t abuse drugs or alcohol, and quit smoking (only occasionally with a glass of wine or a cocktail) decades ago.

But, stress which plays a role in building plaque in the arteries, typical for Type A personalities like me, was a huge contributor and I made little effort to avert it in my hectic lifestyle before we embarked on this journey.

In the ’90s our medical plan offered a discount on a full-body arterial scan and foolishly I refused to do it thinking I couldn’t possibly have blocked arteries. Tom went ahead to discover he had zero plaque in his arteries and gained a lot of peace of mind. Did I avoid the test for fear of what may be found? 

I thought I was exempt from heart disease based on my lifestyle. How wrong I was! Had I known this 20 years ago, would I have been able to change the progression of atherosclerosis? Possibly, to avoid what I’ve been experiencing of late.

So, the infection in both of my legs? Could I have avoided this? I showered when I was told I could. I applied sterile bandages when the wounds were weeping. I walked as directed, took all the medication as directed, and made every effort to rest and sleep.

And then, there were 12.

In the past 24 hours, it dawned on me why I most likely got the infection in my legs. The following notice was posted on Facebook on March 5 notifying local residents that the water supply, although not drinkable by our standards (we only drink purified bottled water), was finally in a safe state, fit for human use.
Here’s the post from that date from a local official:

WATER TEST RESULTS: As you can see below the water test results of Dec 2018 showed that our water was not fit for human consumption as the coliform markers were too high, which meant fecal contamination. This marker/contamination could have made senior citizens, children, and people with low immune systems sick as per the lab scientists. BUT I had it retested now in Feb 2019 and now it is compliant and fit for human consumption. I also asked them to do ph, chlorine, etc. tests as well to see if our water could be the source of the rash and itching experienced by many owners/visitors. As can be seen, nothing in the water results points to a possible cause for rash/itch. I will, however, take samples personally at different points and have them tested personally to make double sure when I come down next week to Marloth. I will report back to all as to the results. Would I personally drink the water? No. Too much sewerage and waste are being deposited into our rivers in this day and age. But ultimately it is each owner/visitor’s prerogative if they want to drink the water or not. A Health Department representative will meet with me on Monday 11th March at the municipal boardroom in Marloth Park at 10 am to research the rash/itch situation. I will post about this shortly. I will be receiving and posting a monthly water test result for all to peruse.”

Could it be that when returning from the hospital 20 days ago and taking my first shower since February 12th, the day of the surgery (when I was instructed to shower from head to toe three times with a strong anti-bacterial soap) that this dirty water here in Marloth Park entered the still open incisions to cause the infection?

It was only about three days later that I began to feel more pain in my legs. We’d even gone as far as heading to our local doctor two weeks ago when the pain had escalated in my legs since returning to Marloth Park. There was no evidence of infection at that appointment, although the wounds looked bad and felt worse.

I knew about the bad water. I should never have taken the first shower. I should have been using bottled water until the wounds closed. I knew better. Why didn’t I listen to my instincts?

They stayed in the garden for over an hour while Tom continued to toss pellets their way.

Lesson learned?  Yes, those instincts of ours tend to be in our hearts and minds for a reason.  I’ve promised myself to pay more attention, be more mindful, and stop trying to avoid facing uncomfortable facts.

That’s the problem with us “overly bubbly” types. We can easily be accused of putting our heads in the sand. By the way, ostriches do not put their heads in the sand.  Going forward, nor will I.

Plan B for today…at 1645 hours (4:45 pm) today I have an appointment with Dr. Theo (for a second opinion) to see if he thinks I need to go into the hospital. If he says I do, then I will. If not, I’ll continue with the current regimen of antibiotics, probiotics, and twice daily application of an antibiotic wash and cream as directed.  

Now that I know the “why” I can exact the “what” to put all of this behind me in due time.

Photo from one year ago today, March 15, 2018:
Four waterbucks were sunning on sandbars on the Crocodile River. For more river photos, please click here.

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