It's a new day...It's a new dawn...A practical warning...


Big Daddy, so majestic.
"Sighting of the Day in the Bush"
This particular oxpecker is different from those we've seen with orange beaks.
It's not over.  I still have a long way to go to be fully recovered.  However, yesterday everything changed when I hit the six-week mark (since the triple bypass surgery) and was able to stop wearing the compression stockings.

No words can describe the relief I felt when as of yesterday, I didn't have to wear those tight impossible-to-put-on compression stockings constantly pressing on the still open incisions in my legs, especially near my ankles where the infection has been the worst.

Now, I'm only wearing the bandages, applied after cleansing and applying antibiotic ointment twice a day to keep dust and dirt away from the incisions.  I only remove the bandages for a few minutes each day and stay far from the dust kicked up in the garden by the wildlife until I complete the treatment and cover the wounds.
Zebras stop by almost daily.
The infections are gone.  My right thigh is completely healed and I expect my two legs from knee to ankle will entirely close within a week or so.  While the incisions are still open, it's still painful but not nearly as bad as it was a few weeks ago.  

I take only two non-narcotic pain tablets a day, one in the morning upon awakening and then again at 10:30 pm before I go to sleep.  No pain medication is needed during the day.  

My chest will take months to entirely heal.  Ribs had been cut on the left chest during the surgery as well as the sternum in order to freely access the heart.  I feel no rib pain at this point but the sternum, a large bone, is still on the mend.  

When riding in the car, the seatbelt across my chest is painful.  We bring a pillow along to strap in front of me.  This helps on bumpy roads as well.  I can't imagine during our remaining 45 days in Marloth Park, that our former almost daily drives to the Crocodile River will be possible.  The dirt roads are filled with potholes and way to bumpy for me.
Baby piglet estranged from his family visits daily now that he's on his own.
However, when visiting friends, Tom takes the best route to avoid as much bouncing around as possible.  Again, with the pillow pressed to my chest its doable.

As for energy...I have more than my body will allow.  Thus, I do as much as I can, pushing a little harder each day.  The walking is now back up to 30 minutes a day and will reach 40 minutes by the week's end.  Within a week or two I'll be able to walk 60 minutes each day on flat surfaces.  

For now, I'm walking in the house.  Here again, the bumpy dirt roads aren't a safe option for anyone to walk let alone me, during this period.  When we're in Ireland in 45 days I'll be able to walk on the beach or the local roads.  Surely, in time I'll be able to navigate some of the hilly roads they are in our new neighborhood.

This morning, when I fell back to sleep at 4:00 am, I had a dream I was having trouble breathing and thought (in the dream) I was having an asthma attack.  Asthma is another of those hereditary conditions I developed as a child but have had under control as an adult.  
Check out the muscles on this huge animal.
Before the surgery, I had been using a preventive daily steroid medication, Advair, since I'd noticed I was having trouble breathing.  This helped a little but not entirely.  I assumed the dust kicked up by the animals was the culprit.

Since the operation, I haven't had to use the inhaler once.  I wasn't able to breathe because my heart wasn't pumping enough blood into my lungs.  It was logical for me to assume it was asthma.  

As time goes on, I've begun to remember more and more situations where I thought my symptoms were something else, when in fact, it was my heart, unable to fully do its job.  

While working out at a health club all those years I often struggled with a fast pulse and breathing issues.  Little did I know, nor did I ever think, that my arteries were clogged.  The doctors say the progression of the three 100% blocked arteries took place over many years, often as much as 30 years. I had no idea.

Heart disease isn't always about sudden chest pain and one thinking they're having a heart attack.  As my case illustrates it was insidious with few distinct symptoms.

I share all of these details hoping to inspire our readers to see their doctor to arrange a stress test

From this site:
"Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S. and also the leading cause of death worldwide.  Heart disease is a term used to describe several conditions, many of which are related to plaque buildup in the walls of the arteries.   As the plaque builds up, the arteries narrow, this makes it more difficult for blood to flow and creates a risk for heart attack or stroke."
Ms. Kudu wondering when more pellets will come her way.  We see several forkls of kudus each day.
Cancer is the second cause of death but some are proactive in having various tests to determine if they're at risk: coloscopies, prostate screening, pap smear, mammograms, biopsies for suspicious lumps and skin checks.  

Most people, without obvious symptoms of heart disease, don't bother to see if they're at risk.  Heredity in both of these dreadful diseases is a huge risk factor but so are numerous lifestyle choices.

My case is a perfect example of how easy it is to assume there's no reason to have a stress test done to determine if further tests are necessary.  How many people actually know what an angiogram is, the gold standard of determining how badly heart disease has progressed?

Obviously, this invasive and costly test is not necessary if one's stress test results are good.  Mine indicated an issue but not the detail needed to determine the extent of the damage and future risk.

From this site:  "Atherosclerosis is a disease in which plaque builds up inside your arteries. Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to your heart and other parts of your body. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in the blood. Over time, plaque hardens and narrows your arteries."

For many with partially clogged arteries, stents are a great life-saving option, done during an angiogram, subsequently called an angioplasty.  

From this site "Stents help keep coronary arteries open and reduce the chance of a heart attack. A stent is inserted into the clogged artery with a balloon catheter. The balloon is inflated and the stent expands and locks in place. This holds the artery open and allows blood to flow more freely."
The male kudu is a distinguished animal with considerable grace and ease as he moves through the bush.  He's well aware of his massive racks and taps it on the ground near any other wildlife attempting to provoke him.
Please note, I am not intending to scare our readers.  But if one reader is inspired to get checked, all this "heart" talk in many posts will have been worth it.  

After reading many comments in a variety of online forums, for those who experienced coronary bypass surgery, many have said if they'd know how hard the recovery would be they would have taken their chances and not have the surgery.

We're talking about saving one's life. This operation is not done willy nilly as a preventive means.  It's always about dealing with a life-threatening situation.  For me, it was a no-brainer, surgery or die.  I chose Life.

And as hard as these past six weeks have been, I'd do it all over again.  It's not over yet, the boost I'm getting from one great day, starting yesterday, could ultimately prove to be a teaser with many more months of recovery on the horizon.

But each day, I'll carry on with sheer will and determination, taking extra care, following doctor's orders and striving to have many more years of adventure and world travel with my lover, partner, and friend, Tom.

Oh, oh, gotta go. Little is looking for me!

Have a great day!
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Photo from one year ago today, March 27, 2018:
We didn't recall seeing a warthog this tiny since this post in Kenya in 2013. when a mom placed her babies in a hole to protect them from lions that were in place for the kill.  For more details, please click here.

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