Tuesday, August 7, 2018


Hi everyone, I've been absent from blogger since I posted about Ginger's mishap.  While he did improve slightly on Thursday, on Friday morning I received a text from, our daughter-in-law, Debbie that John had been taken up in their local hospital's ICU. A cold that he'd contracted a week ago, had developed into complications, By Thursday night Debbie had to rush him to the hospital where they  over the next two days drained his lungs of fluid and stabilized him. What a shock for every one of us - John being the fittest person in our family. Our younger son, Angus immediately set the wheels in motion. He and our younger daugher-in-law, Amanda and their little son, Liam, traveled down the berg  on Saturday morning. Here they collected me and together we motored down to the Natal North Coast. 

We were shown into the Intensive Care Ward where Debbie and Joshua (our oldest grandson) at John's bedside. Only Angus and I were permitted in while Amanda stayed in the waiting room with Liam. After greeting us, Debbie left us to be able to visit with John. 

After ten minutes, I went into the waiting room, took over looking after Liam while Amanda went in to say hello to John. Liam and I went downstairs where we met up again, with Joshua and Debbie who were chatting to a colleague of John's who'd already been to visit him. 

Then it was up to the waiting room again where Amanda took Liam and I returned to the ward to say goodbye to John. We promised to be back that night. 

We stayed with Grant's brother and sister-in-law, Charles and Shelley. (She's my birding mentor and apart from this, Shelley and I have been very close friends for 45 years) Shelley welcomed us, settled us into our respective rooms and asked that we return to her in the kitchen where she was preparing supper for us. We had coffee and freshly baked health rusks while she continued to add delicious looking items to a one pot wonder called Moroccan Lamb Soup. 

While SIL was slaving over the stove, I sat down at the head of the dining table from where I could see and chat to Shelley. I continued knitting the scarf WIP which I'd brought along.  Amanda sat down at the end of the dining table and continued building a large colorful puzzle which my BIL is working on. Liam found a box of toys which Shelley's four grandchildren have at their Gogga's (grandmother)  house.  

And Angus? Well, Angus was reloading my Office 365 software - which was due - on my laptop.  In between, he reloaded Shelley's iPhone which she had had for a few days and was stressing about not having all her information on her new device. Angus is our family IT geek and helps wherever and whenever we meet.  

At 5.30 Shelley asked if we'd like to walk on the beach. I mean: is the Pope Catholic! The dogs were first at the gate at the bottom of her garden. This leads to a path through their own natural coastal forest and straight onto the beach.
 Angus, Amanda and Liam exiting the forest path which leads onto the beach
 Shelley and her seven dogs on the beach
 Angus, Amanda, Liam and I enjoying a beautiful stroll on the beach 

 Little Liam was thrilled to see the sea for the first time! 

Our other precious grandchildren were at Debbie and John's home.  A friend from the Berg had motored down immediately she heard about John and took over looking after them while Debbie stayed at the hospital with John. What a special lady. 

Angus and I drove to the hospital in time to visit John between 7 and pm. He looked 100% better than he had when I first saw him that morning. He was sitting up in bed, chatting to the physiotherapist and ordering his tea for after visiting hours. After a lovely hour with the three of us chatting, Angus and I took our leave. We wouldn't be able to see him at 11am the next morning as we needed to get me back to the Berg and Angus and Amanda back to Marquard. 

Back home Shelley served the delicious Moroccan Soup (mine had chickpeas instead of lamb cuts) and was it delicious. Angus completed the work on my laptop and he, Liam and Amanda went off to bed. My BIL had returned from his office and Shell, Charles and I spent until midnight chatting. It was really good to touch base with them again. The last time we'd met, was at Grant's memorial service at the beginning of December last year. 

On Sunday morning we motored up and en route, we stopped off at a retirement village to visit Grant's 80 year-old aunt Gill and her husband, Neville who's 82. We had tea with them and it was great to see them too; the last time was - yes - at Grant's memorial service. 

We arrived at my cottage at 1.30 and after saying goodbye to Angus, Amanda and little Liam, they set off up the hill to the Free State.  I spent the next three hours replying to calls and Whatsapp messages updating concerned friends and family from all other the Valley, South Africa and even in Europe on John's well-being. I also phoned Grant's 89-year-old mum in Marquard to let her know how her favorite grandson was. 

Thandiwe, who'd come in both  days to care for the cats,  Skabenga and Ginger, who was just lay in the bottom of my cupboard, said he was not at all well. When I bent down to stroke the old guy, he looked up at me. His eyes were a lot more sparkly than  they'd been the day before so I felt hopeful that he'd be OK.  However, Thandiwe said that he'd only used the litter tray once and try as she might, he wouldn't take any gravy cuts from her. 

During the night, using the syringe, I squirted electrolytes down his throat. I also managed to get a couple of mls of liver blood mixed with warm milk into him.  This morning I decided to take him back to Ariena, my vet. When I got there, she immediately noted that his tummy (which is very fat and probably saved his life) was hard and bruised. She suggested putting him on a drip to counteract severe dehydration. So Ginger is also in hospital until I collect him tomorrow afternoon. 

If you've read to the end of this post, you'll hear that our son, John is out of ICU; he's in a medical ward and has had several tests for tropical diseases. Being a seaman, he's sailed on many ships across the world and any number of exotic viruses could be lurking in his body. Friends and family across the board have prayed for his recovery - thanks for that. 

I've phoned Debbie's phone and spoke to Eryn. Debbie was out having a run, so hopefully she's also on the mend from her traumatic experience. 

In the background, I always have dear Steve and Estelle. When I told Estelle that I'd have to go down to the coast for two days, she said Steve would be here to man the shop on Saturday and Sunday. What would I do without these supportive friends? 

I hope you're all having a great Tuesday. 


  1. Hello, I am glad your son John is feeling better. Sending my prayers for John and Ginger. I hope they both have a complete recovery. I am sorry Ginger is not feeling well. Even though the reason for the visits were not the best, you had a nice visit with your family. Enjoy your day and week ahead!

  2. I read your post fully and carefully Jo. Though I knew the general gist of things I wanted to find out every detail. I'm so glad that Debbie managed to get John to hospital quickly and that she had a good friend to help with the children. Having the support she had and the support you also have at home makes dealing with crises a bit easier. I'm also glad John is on the mend and is getting a thorough check up for tropical diseases. I sure hope Ginger will bounce back after his stay at hospital. I'm also glad you were able to visit with family member during your quick trip. Hugs and prayers. xx

  3. I hope that both John and Ginger return to full health. Soon.
    Look after yourself too.

  4. So sorry you are going though so much with your son and your kitty. Glad though knowing John is doing much better and hope he's up and about and able to go home soon. Poor old Ginger, certainly having a rough time but it sounds like he's fighter and will hopefully pull through this ordeal and has many of his 'nine lives' left!

    Thoughts are with you.
    Take care dear Jo - Mary x

  5. I read every word and am so happy this turned out well. prayers for John and for Ginger. and for you and your family. you are blessed with friends and family and for that I am thankful. this had to be a shocking scare. Little Liam is so adorable on the beach...

  6. Having just read Penny's comment she has said almost word for word what I would have said. I just hope that John makes a quick recovery. My one and only visit to hospital in Scotland with pneumonia was when I was cycling from the bottom of England to the top of Scotland. I had never been fitter in my life. One week in hospital with only two days of the ride left to go!!
    I hope Ginger is also on the mend. Take care Diane

  7. Oh My Goodness... I am so sorry to read about John --but glad that he is doing better... I know that you are still worried about Ginger... My thoughts and prayers go out for John and for Ginger.


  8. Glad to hear that John is doing better praying for Ginger to follow suit and recover quickly

  9. What a fright. Glad John is on the mend, hope the same is true for kitty. It is wonderful to have loving friends and family. Hugs.

  10. That's a lot of chaos for you to have to deal with.


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