Associations can tarnish a otherwise good memory...


Busy preparations surrounded the church in Campanario as workers rushed to get the decorations in place for Saturday's religious festivities.  For the post from this date, five years ago, please click here.
Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland 
"The ashes of St. Valentine, believe it or not, have found their final resting place in a shrine inside Whitefriar Street Church, in Dublin city center. Brought here from Rome by an Irish Carmelite is known for his work with the poor, the ashes were a token gift from Pope Gregory XVI. Many couples visit the shrine inside this small Irish church, to ask St. Valentine to watch over them and pray for a long life together."
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Unfortunately, at times experiences during world travel may not be ideal, emblazoning the hoped stunning memories in our hearts and minds with painful and sorrowful recollections.  

Overall, I'd say we have nothing but fantastic memories of which we're easily reminded when we see photos and read past posts.  For example, today's five year ago photos and stories remind us of days long past where pain, discomfort, and fear were definitely not in the picture.

Now five years later and after almost seven years of traveling, it has become necessary to emotionally and financially regroup after the shocking state of affairs over my recent open-heart surgery.  
These roads leading to the site were decorated with lights and garland.
Also, a cardiac bypass is a temporary treatment, not a cure.  The genetic fact of arteriosclerosis continues regardless of diet, exercise, medication, and lifestyle. In other words, there's nothing one can do to prevent a recurrence.

Many patients discover that the new grafts have occluded as soon as one year later requiring more surgery.  What does one do then?  Go through the same thing all over again?  I don't think if I'd be willing to do that all over again.

It was disheartening to spend those last three months in Marloth Park recovering from the outrageously invasive surgery.  Prior to those three months, we had nothing but happy memories of our year in South Africa.

Only a few months prior to the surgery, I recall telling Tom and our friends that the year in Marloth was the happiest year of my life.  And then, everything changed.

And for almost three full months, I was unable to walk out onto the veranda to see any of the main reasons for my prior exquisite joy and happiness...the constant visits by a wide array of wildlife and time spent with our fantastic friends, all of which came to a sudden halt.
Local citizens mulling around the area chatting and smoking amid the workers preparing for the big event.
Oh, our loving friends came to visit over and over again.  Toward the end of the extra three months, they even hosted a dinner party at our house bringing all the food, cooking, serving and cleaning it all up.  I didn't have to do a thing.

The fact that they've all stayed in close touch since we left in May, only reminds us of the strength and commitment of their loving friendship.  We miss them all. 

We don't know when we'll be able to return. We were banned from South Africa for five years due to overstaying our visas by the three months due to my necessary recovery period.  

As mentioned in prior posts, we applied for a waiver but now, almost three months later, we haven't had any news although we've called and sent messages many times.

Here while in Ireland the recovery barely progressed, based on side effects of the statins and other drugs and I am associating our time here with similar trepidation.  How disappointing it has been not to be able to get out for more sightseeing to fully enjoy this lovely country.
As we drove away from the church we spotted these flowers.
The future?  It will continue to be a "work in progress" especially now that the debilitating side effects of the statins have lifted, although not entirely quite yet. There are several other heart-related drugs I am taking, that according to the doctors,  I can stop by the six-month mark, coming up mid-August.

Many of these drugs cause exhaustion on one hand and insomnia on the other.  I can't wait to feel energetic again. I remind myself every day, regardless of how hard or disappointing the slow recovery has been, I am grateful to be alive and having survived these first difficult months. I am grateful to Tom for his loving and diligent caregiving, for making me laugh and for family and friends who've stayed in touch.

And, of course, I am grateful for all of you, our readers, who frequently write kind and thoughtful messages, all generous of spirit and heart.  How can I ever thank you?  Perhaps by getting well and writing about new adventures shared here with many photos.  

Your continued support is an association I'll always fondly remember.  You inspired me to keep pushing, keep a clear mind and maintain a routine we've treasured for years.

Be well.
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Photo from one year ago today, July 27, 2018:

This is our friend Tusker.  He is the sweetest guy who comes to visit several times each day, particularly after 1600 hours (4:00 pm).  He's so comfortable here he often lies down for a short nap.  Eventually, we didn't see him anymore when "Basket, an enormous warthog scared him off and claimed the territory.  We missed him.  For more details, please click here.

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