Wednesday, October 29, 2008

An update on our lives...

It's been quite a while since I last posted anything (a full 8 days!!!) so I thought I would quickly update everyone on our lives.

1. Job Applications:
I called every school before applying for each post, just to make sure that the posts were still available. One school that I called said I did not have all the reference numbers, and therefore took my details to call me back with the 3rd reference number that I was missing. They were quite desperate for OT's, and for each job that you apply for there's a reference number, and they had THREE job openings (right now they are 2 OT's having to treat 400 children!). So they called me last Tuesday (21 Oct) to ask if I would come for an interview as they are in desperate need of an OT. And the fact is, they only could call me cause they had my number from the previous week when they had to give me the extra reference number. Apparently our Department of Education in Gauteng Province prolonged the closing date for applications to 31 Oct, which means it will take the HR Section of the Educational Dept about a month to sort through and short-list the applications sent in. Then the schools only receive the short-listed candidates' applications in Dec (by which time our schools are closed for Summer Holidays) and would only be able to interview the candidates in January. Which means they will only appoint the chosen candidates in APRIL (with the start of the 2nd term in the school year). So I would have been without a job for FOUR MONTHS if this school did not have my number! I'm going for the interview on Friday, 31 Oct - and I am really praying that I will be granted this job! God work in misterious ways, and just even the way that they could get hold of me is awesome!

2. Mother-in-Law's Health:
Thinus had to fly down to Cape Town for work on Friday, 24 Oct and got to spend the weekend and these past few days (up until today, Wed 29 Oct) with his parents in Bellville, Cape Town. His company provided him with a rental car as he was not using their accommodation (saving them TONS of money!), and therefore could zip around everywhere that he had to be. He went to see his mother, who is now in a Physical Rehab Step-Down facility where she is receiving OT and Physiotherapy to rehabilitate her following the injury to her right femur bone (by the way, they decided on putting in plates and not doing a hip-replacement, which is down right awesome). My father-in-law had to remind the two ambitious young ladies (OT & Physio) that my mother in law suffers from a lot of pain, and now the instruction board above her bed reads "Respect Pain". How cool is that?!? Thinus says that his mother had her ups and downs, and that his father is really very drained (physically and emotionally). They looked for caregivers to look after his mother during the week, and finally found some qualified home-based caregivers at affordable rates. The whole family is helping out to help and provide for these caregivers. So please continue to carry my mother-in-law in your prayers, as well as Thinus' father.

3. Having a good life:
I spent the weekend with my parents, driving back to Jo'burg on Monday morning (actually first to Orange Farm and then to Jo'burg after finishing off my work day). I also slept over at my 4th brother's house on Monday and yesterday again to try and lessen the missing-my-husband part. By yesterday I was SO ready for Thinus to come home!!! Tonight when I went and fetched him at the airport, I literally RAN into his arms and started sobbing because it was so good to see him again and be able to HUG him!! He says the flight was somewhat rough, but the pilot must have found the short-cut between Cape Town and Jo'burg, bcoz even though their flight was delayed in the Cape, the STILL landed on-time in Jo'burg. (Apparently the flight took only 1 hour 40 minutes, a total of 10 minutes shorter than usual!)

So this weekend Thinus and I will join 3 of my other brothers to go and visit our 2nd oldest brother in Bloemfontein to celebrate his daughter's 3rd birthday (and the brothers are also participating in a Road Cycle Race on Sunday of 107km!!!). We are completely looking forward to the weekend and just taking time to relax - we are all putting in leave for Friday so that we can leave early for Bloemfontein, which is about 470km from Jo'burg.

And that's about it...and I know by now this post is no longer falling in the "just-a-quick-hi-and-bye"-category, but I hope that it brought you up to date on what's up in our lives. Hope you have a good weekend, cause I'll be spending it away from the computer!


PS: Here are some of the photos of the past two weeks - I included some of the pictures we took at my niece and nephew's Sea Scout Water Sports Day. It was SO cool!

My neighbour, Charmaine, and I after our first official swim for the summer. The piece of cloth around my hair is my swim shorts - I had to keep my wet hair out of the way!

The bottom picture is of Thinus and I, also after the first official swim of the summer...

Ivan (right) and Zoé (left) preparing for their Kayak Water Polo Event - what a JOL that was?!?!

Joel is always climbing ANYTHING that he can find that will support his hands and feet - even his sleeping uncle Thinus!

Zoé and I (known as Aunty Dolla) taking a little rest next to the lake...whilst Oom(uncle) Thinus, Joel and my brother Gideon (in orange shirt and wide-brim hat) heads back to the shade.

Gideon read a bit while we waited for everyone to finish of their games for the day.

The prize-giving was quite something! And I just LOVE the outfits that the Sea Scouts wear - Sea Officer hats whilst in-land, and a nice 1400km away from the sea!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Long Time No See!!!

It's been a while since I last blogged, although I've really wanted to blog in the last week. I collected photos to put on my next blog entry, and stories to tell....and then I never got to the blogging part!

Thinus and I, together with our neighbour, went for our first swim of the summer on Tuesday, 14 October, and BOY was that fun?!?! We did laps and water aerobics (my tummy muscles ache just at the thought of the water aerobics) and cooled down a LOT! We even took some photos afterwards to commemorate this big event in our exciting! As for the rest of my exercise, I even went to play squash for the first time in 3 months on Wednesday, 15 October. So I am rather proud of my physical activity these last few days, as I usually am a lazy girl. The thing is, I'm one of those lucky people who only have to exercise twice to see results, like in several pounds (not so many kilograms) - that makes me lazy coz I know that I don't need to exercise often to get results. Not a good way to live a healthy lifestyle!

Regarding my job hunt - I applied for no less than FIFTEEN jobs between Wednesday and Thursday of last week. God has been SO awesome, really changing me from the inside and my attitude towards other sectors of public service, such as the education sector. I have a love for children with learning difficulties, but I have some difficulty enjoying working with children with Cerebral Palsy, as my experience with most of these children are that they are not disciplined and lack respect for me as the therapist (I've been slapped and kicked more times than you can imagine). Even if your child is disabled, they need discipline and routine, and if they don't have this they wreak havoc, just like any other typical child would do without these basics. But children with learnding difficulties, I GET them. I was diagnosed with ADHD at a young age, and the early diagnosis spared me a lifetime of hardship (like my dad had to experience until being diagnosed at age 49?). I knew how to structure my own environment to avoid external stimulation and consequent distraction. Thus I can truly empathise with children that have learning difficulties, as I also have one. So the point of this whole rambling on?

I am now really looking forward to the idea of being a therapist in a school setting, as it will challenge me as a person and as a therapist. The fact that there are added benefits (increase in basic salary, more holidays/leave and less hours per day) also helped to change my mind! I will have more time for Thinus and myself, and my studies...maybe even a little pink foot? But the point is, God really miraculously provided in Thinus and my needs. It turns out that our Gauteng Department of Health are freezing all permanent posts (so if you are not a permanent yet, good luck trying to become permanent if you were on a contract for your community service year) due to over-spending by some major hospitals! I found out about the job vacancies in Dept of Education a cool 7 days before the closing date for application! And here I was applying for Department of Education as well as 3 posts in Dept of Health, not knowing that Dept of Health would not be able to offer me a job! So God really intervened in this matter, knowing that a job at a school would aid Thinus and me tremendously! Praise GOD!

Finally, regarding my mother-in-law...I'm afraid that she's had another serious set-back. She fell on Sunday night, and by yesterday (Monday) her right leg was VERY swollen and she experienced tremendous pain! She was taken to the hospital by ambulance (the driver was SO nice and only drove like 15km/h to prevent her from feeling too much pain and went EXTRA-slow over bumps!) and was immediately admitted. It turns out that she has broken her right femur just underneath the hip joint (that's the area where she has bone-cancer in her hip-girdle), and they had to do surgery to fix the problem. Thus they did an ORIF surgery (i.e. Open Reduction and Internal Fixation) to align the bones and secure the hip as well as the femur bone. Thinus spoke to his father last night, and it sounds as if they had to do a hip replacement, due to her bones being so brittle from the cancer. The doctor says that he cannot guarantee her mobility but that they are aiming towards as much comfort as possible for my mother-in-law. She was admitted to intensive care unit to get through the night, and we will find out this morning how she is feeling. Please pray for my mother-in-law and that her pain will be managed better. Also for Thinus' maternal family, especially his grandmother who is really being hit hard by the foresight that her child might not make it through this. Thinus and I spoke about it, and it is easier to accept to lose a mother (as it is inevitable) than to lose your child (that's just not normal). We are trying to be strong for the family, but we also cry with each other when it all just gets too much. We just wish his mother to be pain-free, as that would really improve her quality of life!

Anywhooo, I'm gonna have to go now so that I can still eat breakfast, bath and get dressed for work before it's too late! I will add some photos when I get a chance to!

Friday, October 10, 2008

More illness and happy days at home!

On Monday I wrote about my B-day and being ill...and then some more. So on Tuesday I went to work, on my way with the Government Transport from Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital (Soweto) to Orange Farm (about 27 km from there), I became SOOOO tired!! As I'm typing this the drowsiness is overpowering me again.

When I got to work I could not think straight and struggled to walk straight! I had difficulty dealing with my morning patients, and then realised I better rebook my afternoon patients or I might just have a narcoleptic attack and crush one of my kiddie-patients! I then fell asleep in one of our consultation rooms (after rebooking my patients) on an examination table (YIKES! - those tables REALLY hurt your body after 2 1/2 hours of sleeping on them!). I was only awoken by 14H00 by a doctor that decided not to give our OT Assistant a message, and wanted to give a message DIRECTLY to me (I did not appreciate that!).

When I spoke to Beauty (our OT Assistant) she asked me, "Are you not maybe pregnant?". And honestly I thought that there is a strong possibility that that could be true, coz I've never been THIS tired in my entire life! And when I got into the Government Transport and we picked up my friend and another female doctor from Lenasia-South Community Health Centre (read: Clinic) they also wondered if I might not be pregnant. So when I got home in the afternoon, I took my car and drove to the local mall to pick up not ONE but TWO pregnancy tests, just to make sure! (I ended up only using one of the tests) And I did the test..and it was negative. (It sucks when you now decide that there is a very real possibility that you're pregnant, have figured out the text-message you're gonna send everyone, just to find out the test is negative!) You see, Thinus and I would LOVE to have kids right now, but our finances will not like it. There is a lot to consider, and with me possibly going back to study next year (albeit a part-time diploma), money can sometimes become a bit tight!

So when I spoke to my mother on Tuesday night, she ALSO asked me if I'm pregnant and at least I could affirm I'm not! But then on Wednesday morning I wake up, and I'm EXTREMELY dizzy! Plus I had aweful stomach cramps, compliments of a mild gluten intolerance that I have and aggravated by eating a whole TIN of Woolworths' Shortbread biscuits! That's when my husband decided that I have to get to the doctor. He then proceeded to take the day of work (and in anycase did his work from home) and took me to the doctor.

The doctor told me I have a serious case of Sinusitis, to the point that I now need to take anti-biotics! I could not believe that Sinusitis could be THIS bad?!?! So now I am on Augmentin SR (these pills are as big as suppositories!), and an antibiotic nose spray that smells like LAVENDER! Yes, you heard me - LAVENDER! (Not nice to spray floral-scented nose sprays into a Sinusitis, and currently hay fever-plagued nose!). Oh, and then I'm also now on Beclate, another nose spray smelling of flowers but is actually a cortisone-based spray to open up airways. And for the big finale, I'm now taking a multi-vit. Previously I was just taking VitB12 &Folic Acid.

And the best?! I've been booked off work until Monday, 13 October. Coz if I don't start looking after myself, my patients will no longer have a nice OT looking after them! Thus I've decided to spend yesterday at my sister-in-law's house, basically vegging out on couch and bed. I did have to sleep a little bit, but mostly I just took things slowly. I also had the time to finally finish the painting of an orange and yellow Gerbera that I wanted to give to this particular sister-in-law.

Whilst at my sister-in-law's place, her children built an Egyptian Shaduf as part of their science & technology lesson (they are home-schooled). It came out SO cool, so please click on the link I provided and read about the purpose of this particular tool. Here are some photos of their Shaduf (built in their back yard!)

Today I'm staying at home, having to get some sort of order in our house, because I'm VERY ashamed regarding the current state of my house! And I will probably do some painting, starting a new painting project and all. Plus we are house-sitting my 4th brother's house (it's got a jacuzzi and satellite TV [similar to cable TV]!! YEAH!!!) for the weekend, and I can't wait to just veg out in front of the TV and sleep late!

But that's me for now! I hope to speak of only good things next week! God Bless!


Monday, October 6, 2008

My 23rd Birthday...Aardklop...and the Psychosocial Presentation

23rd Birthday!!!
Today is my 23rd Birthday, and I'm happy to announce that I am still alive and kicking! It was a strange, and at the same time blessed day!

It started this morning with Thinus and myself waking up to sing "happy birthday" to one of our close friends. And then Heinrich Niemoller (our close friend) said "Oh, but Ronél, Happy Birthday to you too". Uhm...*GULP*...Thinus and I had forgotten that it was my birthday! hehehe! Thanks Heinrich for reminding us that you and I share a birthday!

The bad part about my birthday was, and still is, that I am currently sick with sinusitis, blocked ears, a bad case of hayfever (I've NEVER had hayfever before, but due to drastic weather changes and there not being a lot of rain up to date, THIS year I got it!), post nasal drip (with secondary nausea) and a sore throat. Not a stunning way to start your birthday! But I went to work...and then went home due to being ill. I did get spoiled yesterday (had my birthday party then), and then got the "Onbeskaamd Live!"-CD (STUNNING Afrikaans praise and worship - check out the website!) and the book, "The five love languages" by Gary Chapman with money given to me by my dear friend, Jessica.

I've also been chowing on my shortbread biscuits that I got from my surrogate family in Jo'burg, the Benecke's. It's really been nice this afternoon to listen to my CD, and just chat to everyone that called.

The festival was the same than any other year...except that Angke and one of her architecture friends, Peet, joined us for a lovely weekend. We spent a LOT of time on visiting and WAY too little time on sleeping! What I did not like about the weekend, was that there were so many DRUNK people, especially young people who are either in Gr.12 or are students at the North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus. So read more about my husband and my experiences at and experience of Aardklop on his blog.

Psychosocial Presentation
I was up till 3 on friday morning to write this presentation..and God just KNOWS how to bless His children! It went very well with the presentation and a lively discussion followed the presentation. After the discussion as said "Thank you for participating in this discussion, and I hope that you enjoyed the presentation"...and would you know? I GOT AN APPLAUSE!!! No one has received an applause for their presentation this entire year, and here I was: dog-tired, worried about the presentation, and busy becoming ill with WAY too little sleep. And I got an applause?!?! God truly is faithful and worthy of praise!

For the rest I enjoyed my weekend and my day, and now I just wanna get to bed. My husband bought me a Temptations High Viscosity Memory Foam Pillow - but I should actually be saying "cushion", cause it really cushions your neck! It is the most awesome pillow ever, and is very good for correct spinal alignment during night time. So instead of sleeping with the normal 3 pillows all stacked on top of each other, I now only need ONE pillow, and BOY is this pillow heavy! Thinus says if we now have a pillow fight, I'll probably end up with either a concussion or a traumatic brain injury! Hehehe!

But enough of all my pressies. Hope you guys have an awesome week!


Friday, October 3, 2008

Psychosocial Presentation

It is now 02H30 am, and I am SOOOOO tired! Like my Zulu patients at the clinic would say "Katele Kakhulu!" - meaning I am Tired Big! (Very directly translated ;-) )

I just finished my presentation for Psychosocial Meeting, with the Psychologists and OT's from all the clinics in JHB Metro Region A, that I have to give later this morning (in about 6 hours' time - BLEH!). It took me quite some time to actually get to the sitting-down-and-doing-the-presentation-part, but once I started I was on the roll and I just could not stop! It is titled "Taking a Chance on a Second Child (as borrowed from a New York Times article by Michael Winerip) - Impact on a mother's decision to have another child following the birth of a disabled child".

I am glad to say that I think it is a pretty neat piece of work, and that a lot of research went into making sure I presented a well-rounded picture.

But now I MUST go to bed! I have to get up at half past 5 to start packing for my weekend away in Potch! We are going to attend Aardklop, the local Arts Festival in Potch that is held every Spring Vacation. Check out the website...although it is predominantly Afrikaans. However, more and more English, as well as African productions are being introduced into the festival.

AND then I have to come back EARLY on Sunday morning, since I'm having my birthday party on Sunday afternoon, and still have to come clean the house! (I'm turning 23 on Monday...eish...old-age is now setting in LOL!)

So jah, let me get to bed!