Counting Blessings

Over the weekend my husband and I went to one of the government hospital here in Johannesburg South Africa called Leratong. It was an hours drive which isn’t much in our huge city. We personally have private health care as it can be a matter of life or death when the time comes and I say this as far too many people we have known personally have not survived  past recovery after an operation in a government hospital – Like I said, I’m speaking of my own experiences here. That would include the death of my grandfather, grandmother, aunt and family friend after surgeries in such a hospital where they then contracted septicemia and died. 

Arriving at Lerateng it was packed. Our car was searched upon entry and dropping my mother off at the main entrance proved to annoy the security guard who was quick to tell us to move. The sign was a drop off zone. Keep in mind my mother has advanced stages of COPD, it may explain why I used the drop off option.

We then parked our car a good walk away but we are young and healthy so a little walk is no biggy. When we finally made our way into the hospital building, it was packed. Visiting hours has just begun. Some corridors were empty with broken hospital beds and abandoned, broken equipment finding their homes there. We made our way to the packed ward we were visiting. Not the most helpful or friendly nurses but really helpful and polite security staff within the building. What – I was shocked to see there are actual hospital beds WITH LINEN, not handcuffed to the walls as per some of my friends experiences at other such hospitals. And we didn’t have to bring food for the patient we were visiting. It was optional. We were told to watch what gifts we brought in as theft was very high when patients slept or went to bath. That would include simple things like a magazine or chocolate bar in your draw, never mind cellphones then.

What we experienced compared to our usual private hospitals was warmth. Everyone was talking and sharing. Priests and nuns came in to visit random patients filling the wards and hallways with singing, joy and laughter. That sort of fellowship just doesn’t happen in a private hospital. Most private hospitals seem to have patients being all secluded with private single wards, private stocked mini fridge, personal tv and remote and private bathrooms. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that – just an observation of the two. Private health care in our country does not come cheap, trust me. 

My hubby and I were at the main entrance again when an ambulance arrived. The doors opened and I glanced up to see a woman laying there. OMGosh I said to my hubby. I think she is dying. Seriously dying. I don’t know why I thought this but I think she had something terminal. She was so fragile, a human skeleton with the flesh hanging onto her bones. I had never in my life seen someone so so skinny. Her eyes were so sad and she was too weak to even speak. I wanted to hold her hand. They wheeled her away to admissions as I just stood there with a heavy heart. I looked towards my husband but he knew it upset me so just held me. We are so blessed to be healthy, I said, we must keep her in our prayers tonight.

Time was up and off I went to the car. While sitting in the car queuing to exit a pastor walked past me. He was tall and clung to his Bible as he walked. He had such sadness on his face, almost as if he was crying silent tears. I don’t know what he saw in the hospital that day but I know it left a mark on his heart. I realized a hospital isn’t just for those on the mend but full of dying people too. So often the dying don’t even have family or friends visiting. Some are there on their own – dying. His purpose to be at the hospital was not for laughter, singing or joy. He was there to pray for the dying. A heavy job I’d think. 

I can’t be walking up to strangers and hugging them even though my heart tells me to. My head tells me we live in a world where that’s ‘weird’, borderline freak. When my hubby got in the car and we began our long journey home, I mentioned this pastor. He said, ‘I saw him in the corridors too, I wanted to give him a messages but didn’t’ I left it at that – I knew what my hubby meant. I felt good knowing I wasn’t so ‘weird’ after-all. 

A bitter sweet place a hospital is I guess. Happy to report our patients operation went well and so far no septicemia or complications to report. This may be the turning point for my experience of a government hospital, who might I add, have some of the most experienced and brilliant doctors in the world, the facilities are always going to be a challenge I guess but they are run on budgets and I’m yet to meet a paying patient for all the treatment they receive. Upon exit – our car was searched again. They have their reasons for doing so I guess.

Counting my blessing for I have my health, when you see just how many South Africans live below the bread line, how big the gap is between the rich and poor, and how desperate people are for basic services – makes me furious to be a tax payer when millions of our tax money is often ‘misused, misplaced or frankly disappeared’ 

My gran once said to me before she died, ‘I wish I could have one day, just one day, that I can be pain free’ Don’t take your health for-granted for without it – what do you really have?



A Little Goes A Long Way.

While out at the grocery store with my hubby and boys, we were walking the aisles picking and choosing what may be then plonking our goods into our shopping basket. When we first walked in I noticed a man – he stood out as he was clearly homeless. Dirty, torn broken clothes, very thin etc. This is pretty much normal in South Africa as we have beggars practically at every set of traffic lights that exist. In the corner of my eye I watched him walk from the prepared cooked meals section of the store, to the butchery side of it. He was brief. This was because he look straight at the prices and walked off. My heart was heavy, there stood a hungry man in a grocery store – starving. Surrounded by so much food but not a bite could he afford.

I asked my hubby to support what I was about to do – I walked up to him, introduce myself and told him, ‘put what you want into your basket and it will be paid for, May God Bless you’

Hubby was obviously with me and as I continued our shopping he got chatting with this man. What a nice person he was. He was from Limpopo, desperate for work. He though Joburg would have better options and opportunities. He was well spoken and had a basic education. 

He told us which park he was staying at. Hubby said he would meet him there the next day to chat further and see if we could help him find work. We went there the next morning as arranged but the man was nowhere to be seen.

Hope wherever he is, that he is safe, warm and some work comes his way.

I began thinking back to my elder sister who every time we were out shopping and saw a child crying for a toy or sweets, my sister would randomly pay for them. Don’t get me wrong – the children in question would be of a parent not in a good financial place – and you could just tell.  No, these parents weren’t in a toy store but often our grocery stores also have toys and sweets at the check out point. 

Thanks Mom, for raising us as such, you lead by example.

As I always say to my children, there are plenty people out there who have more than you, but you also have much more than others. Counting Blessings.


When One Is Out-Numbered.


My boys, how blessed am I.

Being a proud mother raising three gorgeous sons and one very funny, young at heart husband, I guess it’s safe to say I am by far … out numbered. As my hubby puts it – There is after-all only space for one princess in this house. However being the only princess does have it’s downfalls.

I chuckle almost daily as I dash through the mornings household chores which occasionally reveal just how much of a ‘boys’ home our house actually is.  I find myself thinking out aloud as I note the things guys just don’t do.  Here is a short list of the most common of these giveaways.

  • Empty water jug in the fridge – I mean, when you have used the last of the water, what possesses these mars creatures to simply slip it back in the fridge door EMPTY. 
  • Loo paper – we have all had the ‘Mommmmmm, please bring me some toilet paper’ call. Why when you finished the roll did you not replace it? It’s unheard of that a mars creature actually carry out such a task. 
  • The empty water jug rings true of the milk carton too. How an empty carton can’t make it to the bin all of 3 steps to the side still baffles me. I’ve learnt not to be presumptuous when it comes to sight.
  • The grocery cupboard is no different with empty cereal boxes and the likes.
  • Yes, that black stuff on the kitchen towel is grease. Working on their bicycles or helping dad in the garage always leaves a fingerprint trail.
  • There is no such thing as a lid. Not on the toothpaste, jam jar or butter. Frankly if it’s not a flip top – it gets lost, dropped or forgotten.
  • What do you mean eat over a plate? ‘but mom, it means less dishes in the wash up’
  • No matter how many lessons on how to load or unpack the dishwasher – everyone seems to have amnesia the next day.
  • When there is a new bottle of sauce, regardless of how much is left of the unfinished bottle – it’s old now and ‘finished’ The only way around this is to either hide the new bottle or wait until the existing bottle is completely finished before the replacement makes it’s way on the shopping list. This is especially true of tomato sauce & mayonnaise.

This list for any mom with sons could go on and on but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I treasure these days for I know they will pass and faster than I care to take the time to admit. Knowing that there is always something to wake up to – everyday is a new day, so use the blessings of time to create new memories and strengthen family bonds.

Happy Belated Mothers Day to all the wonderful mothers of the world. I never really did grasp the term ‘A mothers job is never done’ until I became a mother myself.