All At Sea

Tuesday 15 February 2011: 4 years  5 months on …

Last week was the fourth anniversary of the diagnosis of CBD and I have now been ill – visibly so – for 4 years and 5 months. I seem to think that there were tell tale signs way before September 2006. Be that as it may – I now enter year 5.

Health wise, this has been a difficult time for me. We have been experimenting with medication to alleviate the spasms that I get on my left side, but, in turn, this has been causing all kinds of other side-effects. So it’s been out with the old and in with the new – let’s see how this works.

On Monday, my very own website  went live on the internet, thanks to Online Innovations who designed the site and are hosting and maintaining it for me. This site has been a dream of mine for a while now, but unfortunately, for various reasons, has been almost two years in the making.

 My grateful thanks must go to Online Innovations for taking over the project and to Dirk Erasmus, Kevin Grey, Bronwyn Burger and Annelie Wilson.

Tuesday, my anniversary day, found me not feeling too well. I was scheduled to spend the evening with our Gentlemen’s Club (our version of a “book club”) and the plan was to take in a boat trip in Algoa Bay followed by supper at the Yacht Club. I was going to cancel, but eventually – on Sean’s insistence – decided to go.

I was so pleased I did. It was my first experience of being out in Algoa Bay on a motorboat and we left the harbour and went south towards Cape Recife, hugging the coastline along the way. Despite a light drizzle, seeing Port Elizabeth from the sea-side is a beauty to behold. I could only imagine what the 1820 English Settlers must have thought almost 200 years ago now when they arrived here at their new home on this barren coastline after having spent months at sea.

Lloyd Edwards of Raggy Charters gave us an introductory talk about the research work they do in the Bay with numerous types of marine life (birds, seals, dolphins, etc) still found in this area. The revenue from the boat trips, open to the public, is used to subsidise the research work.

I wondered how many Port Elizabethans have ever seen the City and the Bay in this manner. It was a real treat!


On Friday evening we were back on the water – this time on the Sundays River. Another first for me! And another trip that I was doing despite not feeling too well. But again, what a delightful experience …

I have previously skied on the river south of the N2 National road bridge towards the mouth but have not been on the river north of that bridge that crosses the road round about Colchester.

Thanks to Wayne and Cheryl we went on a sundowners cruise along the river. The weather was great and the sunset over Port Elizabeth in the west something to behold!

But it was the life in the river that caught my attention.  I have never seen so many fish – jumping out of the water wherever one looked – in front of the boat, behind the boat, over the boat and even into the boat!

One mullet even ended up in the packet of chips that we had taken along for eats – literally, fish and chips in a packet!

Much later in the evening, after a wonderful steak braai, we ended up sitting on the jetty at the riverside, still watching “flying” fish under the orangy haze of the Port Elizabeth City lights. At any one point there could have been twenty to thirty fish just flying out and into the water. It was great to see that there are still rivers in this country that are clean, undisturbed and so alive!

Both trips this week have proved to me that I have to keep going – despite not wanting to go, I ended up having a great time and seeing and doing things that I have not done before.

But despite the highlights of the week, I have to guard against letting my mind go. I am all at sea in myself and, as things become more difficult physically and mentally, I fear I am losing the mental battle.

I know that I will never win the war against this disease (that’s not being negative: not one of us can win the war against death, it’s simply being realistic).

So I have to try and win as many of the little battles along the way. Up until the present that has been easy, but it’s now, as the waters rise, that I need the strength. There is deep turmoil within my soul.

And we have all seen the results of the worldwide floods these past few weeks. Flood waters are terrifying and there can be few more threatening natural calamities than rapidly rising rivers or tidal waves.  It is now that I have to draw on my faith.

But the faith will not be an insurance policy against trouble or guarantee me an easy ride as the shadows grow longer in the coming months, or a trouble-free life in the time that lies ahead. Hopefully it will give me an extra resource to draw on when the flood-gates open.

I need to fill the sandbags now and have them ready before the water rises!

The Psalmist says in Psalm 32 “…let everyone who is godly pray to you … surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him.”




Cognitive Excellent===================Average=========================Poor
Memory (Short) ***********************************
Executive function *************************************
Spelling *****************************
Figures ****************************************
Left hand/arm *******************************************************
Left leg/foot *******************************************
Right hand/arm **********************************
Right leg/foot *
Lungs *******
Swallowing *
Spasms –left side *************************************
Spasms – right side *