I Remember Sonja

7 years 7 months on …
Mental: Advantage CBD / Physical: Advantage CBD


I remember Sonja van Rhyn …

Last Friday I was at home in The Strand. Sebastian, my nephew, took me to see Sonja, unannounced! We were at Hottentots-Holland High together. She was diagnosed with MSA (Multiple Systems Atrophy) shortly after my diagnosis and is now confined to a wheelchair. I caught her in bed!

Loubser, their son, has been visiting from London and has been there for some six months now. He made me coffee and we chatted for a short time ..just twenty minutes or so.

It was great catching up with Sonja, it was great meeting Loubser. Whoever knows whether our paths will cross again on this earth. When i said goodbye, it was with a lump in my throat. I have learned to wipe the tears away, privately and discreetly, I think!

Sonja sets such an example to me. She keeps a blog site too – please read it at http://msainsouthafricawithsonja.blogspot.com.

Karin Holtshauzen, also from HHH, is such a star friend to Sonja, and then there’s Lilian, the domestic, who has even undergone a course in home care. Together with Sonja’s husband, they give Sonja such great support.

But, too soon, I had to leave.

I will remember …
those twenty odd very special minutes.

Today, Louber left for London. Sonja wrote the following:

He left in the night. Part of him will always be here living in my heart. In the olive tree he planted (which he fed, one last time, with Seagrow last night in the dark). In the memories of 6 beautiful months he spent with us, mostly putting our needs before his. I wish I was so selfless at that age. We learnt much from each other. I am thankful. I let him go…

I am so thankful for those special moments when we discussed that favourite city London … when you grow tired of London, you grow tired of life!

Neither Sonja nor I are there yet!

I will remember …


The Cape of Good Hope: Day 3 (Mon)

Tuesday 18 October 2011: 5 years 1 month on … Advantage ED

The holiday agenda for the week was penciled in as follows:

Monday morning                            MSA 1km walk – Strand beach  

Monday afternoon                          High Tea – Mount Nelson Hotel – Cape Town

Tuesday morning                           Shopping – Factory shops:  Cape Town

Tuesday afternoon                         Ice-skating – Goodwood

Tuesday evening                           Drinks at Costa del Sol (Strand) (HHH school mates)       

Wednesday                                 AlgoaFM from Waterkloof Farm and wine tasting

Wednesday evening                      Rocking Horse Show – Durbanville (Die Boer Theatre)

Thursday                                      Trip to Robben Island

Thursday evening                           Drinks at Forrester’s Arms in Newlands (Old Greys)

Friday                                           Head off to Montagu (wine tasting)

Saturday                                       Mountain trip (Langeberg) and Potjiekos Lunch (Protea Farm)

Sunday morning                             Return to Port Elizabeth

 (Plus a list of people to see and things to do – if time allowed!)

I am busy inking in the gaps… in the meantime, look at some of the pics on the earlier blog!

Day 3 – Monday 3 October 2011

Somewhere in the last paragraph of Day 2 (Sunday evening), I should have written that I lost my cool. I do that too often nowadays. However, when I become stressed, it’s almost like a pressure valve that releases the pent-up anger.

This time it involved the arrangements for Monday. Sean was in Stellenbosch and needed to be fetched on Monday morning. Phillip wanted to watch Grey play water-polo at SACS in Newlands on Monday morning. I needed to walk The Strand beach on Monday morning and we all needed to get to the Mount Nelson Hotel in Oranjezicht (the City Bowl) for High Tea on Monday afternoon.

Distances in Cape Town are not like Port Elizabeth. A trip from Strand to Cape Town (depending where and when) could take upwards of an hour. And between us, we had one car, two drivers (Pera and Sean), one navigator (that’s me who knows Cape Town like the back of my hand) and four people going in different directions.

So I exploded and spoiled the fun for a while.

But, by Monday morning all was sorted. It was Pera’s birthday!

Phillip got a lift with Michelle to Newlands, Pera and I walked the Melkbaai (Milk Bay) Beach with Sonja van Rhyn and some thirty other people. It was International MSA Day (Multiple Systems Atrophy) and people were asked to walk a kilometre and light candles to highlight the scourge of MSA.

Sonja was slightly ahead of me at high school and an excellent athlete. She was diagnosed with MSA  (a cousin neurological disease to my CBD) a little more than a year ago and is already in a wheelchair. Her disease is moving at a far more rapid pace than my CBD.

After the walk, we lit candles at Casa del Sol, a restaurant in one of the multi-towered blocks of flats that now line The Strand’s Beach Road.

Then we went to Stellenbosch to fetch Sean, headed for SACS to collect Phillip and made our way to the Mount Nelson Hotel.

But then another logistical challenge raised its head. None of us boys were wearing clothing that could have been considered smart casual for the Hotel’s High Tea! 

So we headed for the Garden’s Shopping Centre to buy some clothing. Nothing cheap there! Then we drove around the downtown City Bowl area looking for a clothing shop – nothing there! I almost lost it again!

Sebastian had said that the worst that could happen was that those who were not properly attired (smart casual with a collared shirt) would have to sit in the car and watch the rest fill their faces.

So we went on to the Hotel and guess what? No one questioned my short pants, nor the boys t-shirts, board shorts or “sloppies”!

And so we tea’d and ate, and tea’d and ate, and tea’d and ate, and champagned to celebrate the birthday, and tea’d and ate … the Facebook photo record would prove that I ate four slices of cheese cake and added on a few more kilo’s! (For a full record of a earlier High Tea at the Mount Nelson please read my previous blog  As Long as there’s Tea there’s Hope!)

We “rolled” out of the Hotel at five and then headed to the northern suburbs of Cape Town along the N1 to visit Century City and the Canal Walk Shopping Centre at Bothasig. Then on to Welgemoed for supper with Jacobus and Tilly Wúst.

When Tilly and Jacobus had phoned whilst we were walking along the beach in the morning to invite us to supper, I had said something light to eat would suffice (because of the High Tea). Well, it ended up as a steak braai and anything but light! But, as always, it was a great evening to catch up with great friends over great food and wine.

And it was very late when we set course back for TheStrand via the N1, the R300 and onto the N2. Another tough day in Africa!