Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Notes from our old world

I've been so busy settling into our new world, I've omitted to post about what's been happening in our old world - Marquard.

While we still lived and worked in Tanzania, we offered our widowed friend, Rina a place to stay.  She took care of my home, Chappie and our three dogs at the time.

When Grant's contract expired at the end of 2015, we returned home to Marquard, expecting to be set on in another African contract very soon. 

This didn't happen. Grant had become too old and notwithstanding his decades of experience in heavy earthmoving and open cast mining, he would not be eligible for a work permit in Africa. 

Life continued in 2015;  in June, we acquired a puppy 
one of the best domestic decisions that year! 
Skabenga's now the size of a small horse and the dog with the best nature in the world

Early in 2016, Grant started a small home business: maintenance and repair of farmer's quads and motorbikes. He also built up several motorcycles for customers during the year. 

During Easter, while visiting MIL at the center, I noticed one of the free standing houses was empty. I enquired at the office and was told it was available for hire. We booked it and on Tuesday morning when Rina, who'd been visiting her son for the long weekend, arrived home, I dropped a bunch of keys in her hands. 

When I explained that we'd secured a rented house for her, she burst into tears. She didn't stop crying for four hours, even when I took her to the center to view her new house. 

On 1 April Rina, John (my then garden partner) and I moved all Rina's furniture stored in my house to her new house. Rina already knew all the people living in the center through me and also because we'd spent up to four times a week going to see MIL Pam who has her own unit within the older residents' building. She has become so integrated into the community and is very much loved by the active "younger" old residents living around her,  and the older people in the center.

Grant continued with his business but during the winter, he fell ill with a bad strain of flu and although he rallied and kept on working, he never fully recovered. In September he had a serious breathing attack; I took him to the doctor's surgery where they struggled for two hours to get his heart rate down, to bring down his blood pressure and to open his airways. 

After a night on oxygen, he saw the doctor again the next morning. He, in turn, referred Grant to the physiotherapist next door. This was a godsend. Instead of the antibiotics, inhalers, and cortisone-related medication, the young woman showed Grant how to use his inhaler correctly and how to breathe properly. 

Gradually Grant's health improved but as the weather dried out, so his chest seized up again. John and Debbie suggested we move to their land in the mountains where the air is clearer and the lifestyle would certainly benefit Grant's health. 

I've posted at length about the wide-open spaces and the beautiful scenery and quiet way of life here, so I can confidently say that Grant's health has improved 100%.

Meanwhile, back in Marquard, Rina was offered a position as Laundry Mistress/Housekeeper of the center. This has to be one of the best jobs; she lives on the premises so she just walks a few steps and is at her place of work. She also has her midday meals supplied. She also pays her own way now that she has a job. 


She regularly works the passages where the oldies have their bedsitters and units, like the one MIL occupies. So Pam has Rina popping in often during the day for a chat. 
Rina, looking brisk and official in her uniform

Last week Pam got out of bed and hooked her pajama leg on the magazine rack. She fell backward, breaking her fall with her left hand. The sister bandaged the hand and said the doctor would be in to see her. 
Rina snuck a photo on her phone to send me

The doctor saw MIL's hand and sent her to the clinic for a letter to have an X-ray. Rina took Pam on Monday morning. Then the center organized for Helena from the kitchen to take Pam to the nearby town of Clocolan where she'd have an X-ray done at the State Hospital. As so often happens in our country, the professional didn't arrive. The radiologist wasn't coming in that day; please try again tomorrow! 

The next day, the cook was busy but the lady in the office had an abscess on her tooth and had to get to the dentist urgently. The tooth doctor is in Senekal, another nearby town in a westerly direction. She gave Pam and Rina a lift and dropped them off at the State Hospital. 

Although they had a long wait, at least the radioligist was there and eventually MIL had her X-rays done. When I phoned her, she said she'd asked the radiologist what she could see on the disc but she just said: Have a good day, Grandmother! 

The doctor saw the x-rays and  asked Rina to bring Pam into the surgery. There was a hairline crack in the thumb and she would need Plaster of Paris. Rina sat with her until the procedure was complete and took her home again.
MIL Pam's left hand in Plaster of Paris for the next six weeks

Rina sent me a WA message on Friday and said Pam had been very down in the dumps with the discomfort of the cast and not being able to do much for herself. She assured me that Pam was being well-taken care of although she becomes quite cranky if the sister or the carer doesn't do it her way! 

On Saturday I spoke to Pam and she said she was feeling much better than the day before. The cast had settled well and she was keeping her hand quiet. 

We are ultra-grateful that Rina is right there in an official capacity to help Pam. 

I'm linking to Our World Tuesday here


  1. How lovely that you were able to help Rina!

  2. Everything is working out well. How wonderful that Rina now lives and works at the care home. I'm wondering though how they got home from surgery when they seem to have been given a lift by cook?

  3. I am so glad that I didn't miss this post. Because I have been busy writing my memoirs, I haven't been keeping up with everyone's stories. I wondered why your posts sounded different. Now all has been explained and I spent some time back peddling through your posts to get the whole story. I didn't realise that Grant had been so sick. He does look like he's lost a lot of weight. It sounds a beautiful area where you have moved to. So glad Grant is getting better and actually went for a walk. Good to know those you have left behind are doing well too.

  4. Hello, I am so sorry about the new of Pam falling and her hand. I will keep her in my prayers for a quick recovery. It is so nice that Rina was offered a job and lives so close to Pam. Thanks for the update and the look back at your world. Happy Tuesday, enjoy your day!

  5. First things first you know my favorite thing in this whole post is that precious puppy wrapped up in a blanket can't stop smiling. This is such a happy story all the bad things that happened and all the good things that happened after the bad things and I love stories with happily ever after and we know she is living her happy Ever After Story. Sorry to hear about Pam's hand and glad she wasn't hurt worse than that. I do hope she's right handed

  6. I especially love that second picture, a frame-able classic.

  7. Everything seems to happen for a reason and your family has been especially blessed. Well, except for Pam's fall and injury.

  8. I only read this today ! Poor Rina ! Hope it heals well !


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback. Jo