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?

  

OCD Anyone !

We all have that one thing that we just can’t let slip regardless. I seem to have passed my little OCD onto my sons according to my hubby.  I really have a disturbing thing about a public lavatory and would seriously consider peeing in my pants than have to use one.  To me – it just has to be the most unhygienic place frequent by many carrying plenty microscopic un-welcomes. Have you ever noticed just how many people use a public loo and walk out not having washed their hands.  What goes through my overactive brain when it comes to such a place is this:

Person walks into loo, does ones business, gets off loo and hopefully takes the time to flush. Now in my head, those very hands that could have mis-wiped or messed on or something, then unlocks and opens that very public door as did plenty before you. That very door handle and lock is pure filth – microscopic that is.  Now having transferred these little micro-organisms you walk to the tap in the hope that you are one of the few who actually does wash your hands. Opening the tap in doing so you have now further transferred those nasty critters onto the tap. A squirt of liquid soap, a wash and rinse only to have you touch that very tap again when turning the water off, defeating the purpose of washing your hands to begin with. It’s a germ frenzy I tell ya. And so this picture continues in my crazy yet humourous head. 

Solution:  Yes, a little warped I guess but it helps keep a heap load at arm’s length. Firstly, upon absolutely having to use a public loo I use my foot to open the main door, if this is not possible I will wait for someone to either enter or exit but under no circumstances will I touch that door handle. Simple because it is beyond filthy. This step is applied to the loo door too. Once in the loo, DO NOT TOUCH THAT LOCK. I use tissue from my handbag to cover and lock. Never sit on a public loo – EVER. My mother taught us to hover just above like a high squat – a really good workout for ones thighs might I add. Business conducted. Using the same tissue from my handbag, Flush! Never touch that handle. This very technique is used when exiting the loo door as well as opening that tap. Thank you millions to the person who invented the liquid soap dispenser with a built-in sensor. Some public loos even have built-in sensors on the water taps *big thumbs up there from germ freaks like me* Time to exit the main door and again, I will not touch it. Using the same technique as entering – I wait, if that really does take long – out come the tissues again.

The above is only done in extreme cases. More often than not, I dash home. I had my son tell me the other day, ‘Mom, thanks to you I have an issue with public toilets and germs now, I look super crazy going about it.’ Seriously, I packed up laughing. I’ve never been one to care personally what others think of me as I’m quiet content in being myself, crazy or not. Of all my quirks, and yes well all have some – this I would say really does top the list. Either way, I don’t think many don’t share the same obsessive OCD for public toilets as I. Do you?

Thumbs Up To Our Dentist

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My boys actually ask me, nag me and beg me to take them for their six monthly dental visits, I’m okay with that. Sure beats the opposite. They are blessed to have really good, healthy and straight teeth, so far so good. Of course that goes without say that it comes from parents teaching good oral hygiene from day one. Our dentist is brilliant with children. She talks them through every thing she does which has a calming effect that leaves them less tense.  After the poke and prods of every tooth, x-rays and polish – the all clear is given by which our doc then rewards every visit with a kiddies certificate, the part my little one is most proud of.  My little one was devastated to have lost his first pearly white a few weeks back even though the tooth mouse came, the reward did not console him as expected. Eventually a trip to Lego World to buy another Hero Robot fixed that. Within days his ‘big tooth’ has come through and he was all to proud to boast this fact to his dentist. Thumbs up to our dentist for being the most fantastic doc when dealing with our children. I really appreciate how the boys anticipate their next visit with no fear.
via PicsArt Photo Studio

RIP Rain-Puppy

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Rain-puppy, mommy’s angel

Today marks the fourth year of my baby girl Rain-puppys passing, 5th June 2008. Sadly she developed cancer and previous ops to remove her golf ball size growths were successful but short-lived. The cancer spread faster and more aggressively to the point she was in more pain than not as slowly every organ in her tiny body succumbed to the horrid cancer. She alway slept in our bed and when I couldn’t find her one night I knew things were not well. I found her under my sons bed. She was too sore to even jump hence she couldn’t get onto our bed. I spent the whole night holding her close knowing deep down in my heart she was dying slowly. The following day my hubby met me at the vet. It wasn’t good. I still battle with the decision taken to help her pass and end her pain. While in my hubby’s arms held tenderly and lovingly, she left us. My hubby cried with me for days. It still hurts and we miss her so much. I hang onto the memories of her character and lady like ways. She went everywhere with us and loved most the beach and a car ride. So gentle and tolerating of our two babies in her lifetime too. She was so loved, protected and adored. I know for sure that never ever will we take that decision again and would opt for painkillers until the angels came. I still battle with the decision taken and carry much guilt and pain.   I will always wonder how many more hours or days I might have had left with her had we not gone that route.  RIP mommys pup, you blessed our lives and brought such love and joy to our home. Thank you for loving us unconditionally. Ten years were not enough but were better than none. Till me meet again, may the sun always shine warm upon your face (in heaven 😉