Long Time No See

giraffe©2013 Edward C. Lunnon
Friday 23 August 2013: 6 years 11 months on …
Physical: Advantage CBD / Mental: Deuce

My last check-up in Cape Town was in December last year.

At the time I had discussed with the good professor the painful problem that I had in my left buttock and upper left leg.

Everything else that I experience is uncomfortable but not painful!

We have tried everything – I mean everything! – to alleviate the pain, especially aggravated when sitting or lying down.

He suggested that I should see a specialist in Port Elizabeth who was doing work in this regard.

So when I returned home, I made an appointment to see her.

Only one problem – she is so busy that the earliest appointment I could get was on Thursday 22 August 2013 – eight months in the future!

I asked Dr Britz in Port Elizabeth to see if he could speed up the process and the response I got was that I would be put on a waiting list in case there was a cancellation.

All this time I have just lived with the ongoing pain.

I received a call last month that there was a cancellation and I could visit the next day! As luck would have it, I was busy with a motor neurone disease meeting and was not able to go.

So yesterday the big day arrived.

Armed with my R800 for the consultation, my medical aid card and ID document (which I had been reminded on a few occasions to bring along), I went to see the specialist.

Well, a good lesson for any patient is to discuss the payment with the doctor personally. It so happened that there was a discount involved because I had been there previously. Thank you very much!

The rest would be forwarded to the god of medical aids in this country. I think that soon we will Discover that the funds there have also dried up!

After a thorough examination, it was recommended that maybe a cortisone injection into my hip joint would assist.

It was just a jab of a prick and a little EINA!

Some anti-inflammatory capsules would round off this exercise in self-discovery and trial-and-error medication. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

By last night, the pain was a little worse and by this morning, even more so.
Let’s hope it will improve as the day wears on.

And no more sitting for the rest of the day … is this what a giraffe feels like standing all day?

Just Another Two Weeks in the Life of ED

©2011 Edward C. Lunnon

Monday 28 November 2011: 5 years 2 months on … Deuce

I haven’t written a blog for a few weeks now. It’s not because I have been too ill; it’s simply that I have been too busy!

And that being busy during a time that I really didn’t have anything planned. I had said to Lance on our radio discussion that I was going to relax. I was going to take it easy, catch up on my writing, get my admin sorted out and rest a while!

Well, let me try and document the last few (restful) weeks:

Friday 11 November

I missed the Remembrance Day sevice at Grey, but attended my first hydrotherapy at noon with Christelle Smit (biokineticist) in Newton Park. She was recommended to me by Paul Woolf, who was so instrumental in assisting Belinda Walton in her recovery after her dreadful car accident.

Monday 14 November

At 11h30 I see Suna Kennedy who visits me weekly to massage my hands, arms, feet and legs. At 13h30 it’s off to swim with Christelle.

Tuesday 15 November

At 11h00 I have my therapy with Christelle. Then invite to lunch with ex-pupil and psychologist Konrad Van Staden at Cape Town Fish Market at 13h00. Over Tuesday’s half-price sushi we discuss the ongoing spasms that are increasing, the pain in my left calf muscle and the discomfort that I am experiencing. Konrad has been discussing my condition with medical colleagues and they have some ideas with which they want to experiment.

He immediately makes an appointment with Dr Fanie Smit for 14h00 in the medical centre at King’s Court. Fanie recommends that we start a course of cortisone (read my blog Woke up and Gone to Heaven when I had cortisone injections last year to treat the gout attack that I experienced!)

I then rush off for my haircut @ 15h00 with Jeannine at Hair by André in 4th Avenue Newton Park. Jeannine has kindly been cutting my hair and trimming my beard for the last few months now, since it became more difficult for me to hold the shaver and pair of trimming scissors!

I then go to Dischem to collect the new experimental medication:

  • Be-Tab Prednisone 5 (40) 8x day for 5 days with breakfast (Wed – Sun)
  • Norflex Co (24) 1 -2 tabs 3x day as needed (Relieves muscular pain) [orphenadrine 35mg /paracetamol 450mg S2]

In the evening we went to see the Gilbert and Sullivan production of “Fiela’s Child”. I thoroughly enjoyed this translation and musical production of the original Dalene Mathee’s Fiela se Kind. (I had previously read the book and seen the movie.)

 The talent in Port Elizabeth never ceases to amaze me! Donna Africa is superb in the rôle of Fiela! And it’s a fundraiser in aid of Gaby van Rooyen’s Trust Fund – Gaby has muscular dystrophy and we have discussed her on air and she has met me at Bluewaters café.

Wednesday 16 November

I commence new medication with breakfast.

Then I head off to AlgoaFM studio at the Boardwalk for ED is in wED at 10h30. Veanne Falco and Loines Jenkerson kindly come to fetch me and after the show we have coffee together, kindly supplied by Bluewaters Café at Hobie Beach. We are also joined by Charles Pautz … and proceed to wax lyrical about the new I-Pads …

My therapy is cancelled today (I can’t remember why!), but in between everything, I am in discussion with the Wrights and the Parke’s in Graaff-Reinet to arrange my lift there for the weekend.

Rose Wright decides to come shopping in Port Elizabeth and drives down in the afternoon arriving at 17h30. She will stay over, go shopping in the morning and I will return to Graafies with her on Thursday afternoon.

Thursday 17 November

Rose goes off shopping. At 9h30, I have my weekly visit from Sister Gill from the Hospice, then Nadine arrives at 10h00 to help with my admin, followed by Isaac at noon for our weekly chat and then a rushed pack for the weekend. At two pm, I rush off for a double dose of therapy and swimming with Christelle until 15h00.

At 15h30 we leave for Graaff-Reinet, arriving there about 18h00. Gordon has called to tell us to meet him at the Graaff-Reinet Club for drinks, and then it’s to their home, supper and sleep!

Friday 18 November

Well, I’m here to talk so I had better prepare some speeches. After breakfast, I spend the rest of the day preparing and trying to be fancy using my I-Pad. I think getting used to the I-Pad took longer than putting my thoughts on paper – I mean I-Pad! But so we move into a paperless society.

Margie Parkes collects me at seven pm to attend the year end function of the GR and District Cancer Association. It’s billed as a Survivors’ Dinner and is attended by about 150 people in the Anglican Church Hall (only because the Methodists don’t allow alcohol!)

It is very humbling for me to speak to people who face the challenge of cancer (and those who have survived!) It is also awesome to meet so many people who “know” me because of listening to our programme. It never ceases to amaze me how popular the show has become.

Besides strangers there are also friends that I have met over the years visiting Aberdeen, Graaff-Reinet and Doringdraai. The Kroons, the Murrays, the Watermeyers  …  I wish I could remember all the names …  as my memory regresses, I will have to jot it all down in my I-Pad … I wish I remembered to do that at the time!

After a Welcome Speech by Margie, and Grace, we commenced with the starter. Then, I was introduced by “Aunty” Jean-Margaret Watermeyer (Colleen Ogilvie’s Mom) from Aberdeen.  I have known them since 1985 when I first started teaching at Grey with Dickie Ogilvie (himself a cancer-survivor.) Colleen’s brother Alec died from cancer in 1987 and that prompted their move to the Karoo and to farming, and our long association with Doringdraai  and the Camdeboo and the Great Karoo. (John Watermeyer was MC when we got married in 1990 and Dickie was one of my bestmen.)

I spoke about the positives of facing life’s challenges – The Gift that Adversity brings to us.

Then we had the main course and dessert, with some light singing entertainment in between. It was a great evening, celebrating the human survival spirit.

Afterwards, I went with Aunty Jean to Helen and Graham Harris’s town house. Uncle John was there too, and we visited a while until Graham took me back to the Wrights. There we were joined by William Pringle (the new Union High headmaster) and Gordon for a late-night single malt!

Saturday 19 November

At 9h00 Graham came to fetch me. I had a breakfast appointment to address the Men’s Club at the St James Anglican Church Breakfast Group. About twenty local gentlemen arrive and before breakfast I give them a slightly adapted version of last night’s speech. Question time delivers a large number of questions ranging from the illness to religion, faith and Christianity. I thoroughly enjoyed the quantity and quality of the questions asked. And we had an excellent breakfast!

Then back home. I was quite tired and had a short nap.  Afterwards, I walked to town for some exercise, looked at some of the historical buildings (GR, the fourth oldest town in SA, has the most historical buildings left of any town in SA.), chatted at Brian Bands to some ardent radio listeners and at The Spur to Andy Cherrington, my ex-neighbour from Port Elizabeth who has recently bought the Spur Steakhouse in Graaff-Reinet and moved there.

After a decent afternoon nap, we drove to the National Park and the Valley of Desolation, just outside the town, to have sundowners from the vantage point at the top of the Valley. What a magnificent sight to see the sun setting over the plains and leaving its coloured canvas over the Karoo and the Camdeboo mountains. The park closes at 20h00 and after our wines and cheeses, we barely made it out on time.

Then onto the Union – the entertainment facility at the High School where the New Bethesda Cricket Club now has its home ground. They had played Willowmore in the afternoon and were finishing the day off with a good old South African braai ( and a few beers!)

Sunday 20 November

Sunday was a lazy day – breakfast, lunch with William Pringle joining us, watching cricket (SA vs Australia with Aus winning!)

I fell asleep in the LazyBoy Recliner and woke up to find myself the only person left in the lounge. Then off to Tandjiesview to spend the night on the Harris’s farm, some 40km outside the town.


Monday 21 November

I took a walk on the farm whilst Graham was attending to some of the daily farming chores. After lunch, we headed back to town, and then returned to the Wrights for Monday evening.  (Cancelled swim time for today and Tuesday!)

Tuesday 22 November

Back to Port Elizabeth on Tuesday at 13h00 in order to attend a fracking meeting at the NMMU at 17h00. It was the first time that Shell Oil, Environmentalists, Geology Professor and Karoo Action Group shared a public platform under the chairmanship of University Deputy Vice Chancellor, Piet Naude, who studied with me at Stellenbosch University. Unfortunately, government did not pitch up and were conspicuous by their absence.

Overall, the general feeling (except that of Shell) was that a moratorium on fracking should be extended for at least another three years until a proper investigation under international watch-dog eyes could be concluded.

Wednesday 23 November

Loynes came to fetch me for ED is in wED. Then coffee with him and Kobus at Bluewaters café, Doctor Fanie at noon, more cortisone from the pharmacy, coffee with Konrad at 13h30, swim at 14h30 and drinks with Kyle, my financial advisor at 16h00!

Thursday 24 November

Back on to the cortisone at breakfast, Nurse Gill at 10h00, Nadine at 11h00, massage at 11h30 and then the  Parkinsons Support Group Christmas Dinner at QDotPharma (ex Paraexel) Head Office.

What a joy to see the humour, fun and enthusiasm in this group of people who battle the ravages of Parkinsons Disease!

Friday 25 November

Quiet morning at last and time to just sit and relax! But not for long, as it is swim time at 13h30!

Saturday 26 November

We attend Claire Williams’s retirement breakfast at Grey Junior. She is leaving after some thirty odd years of teaching there! (She is the fourth in a row of long serving teachers, after Pat Clarke, Jill Bromiley, and Charles Pautz – collectively some 150 years of teaching? – to retire!)

Then back to Graaff-Reinet! Pera and I left at 16h00 and drove as far as Tandjiesview, where we braaied with Graham and Helen in the evening and slept over.

Sunday 27 November

At 09h30 we left for Aberdeen, a drive of some 1hour, in order to attend, with 80 others, Jean Watermeyer’s 80th birthday luncheon at the Aberdeen Club. It was good seeing the Ogilvie clan and all the rest again. We left at 15h30 for Port Elizabeth and arrived home at around 18h00 (with Pera showing signs of tiredness and me having to drive from Jansenville all the way home!)

Monday 28 November

My internet is down – glory be … how did we manage in the past. Eventually with the help of MWEB we get that sorted out. Then swimtime at 13h30! And then I watched Joost van der Westhuizen’s Benefit Dinner on TV. He has MND (ALS) and they managed to raise in excess of R1 million for his Foundation.

Tuesday 29 November

Phil and I do some electrical work in the kitchen, then Soena at 11h00 for massage and Christelle for massage at 12h30 – double dose today! And I need to write a blog, so that takes up the rest of the afternoon (this blog incomplete as it may be!)


And how do I feel in all of this, bearing in mind the experimental cortisone?

Other than waking up with limbs that feel pretty normal for a change, I’m feeling pretty grotty, struggling to walk on a weak left leg, headache, sore joints, and generally just mis!

We can still try the other options … quinine, intermuscular injections, botox … let’s see how this goes …!

(And with grateful thanks to the team of people who still keep me moving every day … )