Natal Fever

Musings, opinions, history, local & national news and a few rants.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Another Tough Day

It was another tough day in Africa.  A blissful day time temp of  22 degrees and tonight will be a freezing 11 degrees.  It was a windless day as well and the sun was warm and therapeutic.  I pity those who live in less agreeable parts of the world where one has to resort to alcohol to see through the the dark winter months of the northern hemisphere.  Those of a marginal turn of mind get depressed and even commit suicide from lack of light or alcohol or both.  As Billy Connelly says 'Scotland has two seasons.  June and winter!'

But to counter all this some parts of the world that have a stereotype image of continual permafrost surprise me.  I have friends in British Columbia near Vancouver who tell be the temperature on Saturday was 40 degrees.  Beat that! We don't get that here thanks to the Indian Ocean.

I hope your day tomorrow is great.  I'll think of you.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

The Aftermath 

I've spent the best part of today trying to wrap up Russell's Estate.  But, as with all things legal, the wheels turn ever so slowly.  I have done what I can and now I have to wait for replies to all my emails inquiring whether the Estate owes money to creditors.  It's a sad dreary business and since my wife and I are the sole beneficiaries I feel as if I'm grave robbing.

I also have difficulty dealing with the concept that my Son is now 'nothing'  I understand it was very difficult during the development of mathematics to come to terms with zero.....'nothing'.  It's how I feel now that there is nothing left of a life that once was.  A person who lived, breathed, felt the warmth of sunshine, had original thoughts and interacted with his friends and family.

I hate the idea that he now has no sensation and no notion that he had a life, was alive and now is dead.  My scientific mind allows me no other path and it troubles me greatly.

Sunday, July 06, 2014


The short-term loan company, Wonga, seems to be in the news at the moment.  I know it operates locally but I have not felt the need, or necessity, to use their services.

In Durban we have Whoonga which is something very different.  I think it is dagga (marijuana) based and it has additives such as Anti Retro-viral medication and anything else that can be ground up, mixed with dagga, rolled and smoked.

It is the staple fix for a group of unregistered immigrants from surrounding countries.  They used to congregate in Albert Park - which is close to the CBD - but have been 'moved-on' and have taken up station at Botha Gardens near the city campus of the Durban University of Technology where they gather and get stoned.  This all to the annoyance of the locals who dash off long angry epistles that appear in the local press. 

We have an international conference of Architects starting here in about four weeks time.  I think the whoonga mob will disappear much as the street children did for the Football World Cup. Where to I have no idea.


I keep hearing about this so time to have a look.  Most interest seems to stem from China followed by North America.  So Google here I come.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Peripheral Neuropathy

I suffer from peripheral neuropathy in both feet.  The burning sensation drives me demented and also means that I don't sleep very well.  Warm conditions seem to make it worse.

My GP tends to avoid the issue and we get sidetracked into other things such as blood pressure and cholesterol.  I've tried Degranol and Trepiline which both offer some relief at first and then, with time, the pain and discomfort returns.

Any good ideas out there?

Thursday, July 03, 2014


I see many search references for the Latin word 'Tempus' lead viewers to this Blog.  It is possibly a search for 'Tempus Fugit' (Time Flies etc)  But why end up here?

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

This has to be the best time of the year in Durban.  The days are bright, sunny and warm.  The nights are cool enough for a blanket and a good sleep sans mosquitoes and other things that scuttle about in summer time.

We are set for a family get-together soon as my oldest Son is visiting from Australia (the place where all our children are) and my youngest is coming down from Johannesburg. I think my oldest Boy is seeking further understanding of his brother's death and from this will find some form of closure.

Whilst all are here we intend to take Russell's ashes down to our family cemetery at Renishaw and scatter them there to be in the presence of five generations of ancestors.  I hope this brings some peace of mind to us all.  More on this later.


Sunday, June 29, 2014


I see that a year has passed since my last post.

It has been a difficult year indeed with Russell Simon eventually dying of Cystic Fibrosis at 20h40 on Saturday 21 December 2013.  This was indeed a terrible blow even though it was expected.  I found myself in the difficult position of telling the doctors that he was not to be resuscitated but wanting disparately for him to live. This also coupled with a sense of failure but relief that his sad and difficult life was now over.  I suppose the sense of failure is that of a father whose role it is to protect and provide and yet I could not help my boy.

In his last days he started to suffer the effects of excess carbon dioxide in his system which was causing dementia, spasms, shifting consciousness, headaches and confusion.  He also began to have panic attacks during which he was very afraid.  He would say 'Help me Dad....I'm so scared.'  This brings tears to my eyes even as I write this.

The aftermath of my Russell's death meant a period of deep mourning and a dreadful sense of loss.  A seeking for my dead child and the horrible sick feeling when contemplating the finality of death.  This was followed by a month or so of deep depression and the eventual acceptance of what had happened and being able to cope with it.

I hope that when you read this you will keep the cause of finding a cure for Cystic Fibrosis to the fore so that others won't have to suffer as Russell did.

Russell Simon:  Born 24 August, 1978 St Augstines Hospital.  Died from Cystic Fibrosis, 21 December 2013 St Augustines Hospital.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Did you know?  Cystic Fibrosis affects more than just the lungs.

Follow #cfaware on Twitter

It's been a week of sputum tests and a visit to the Doctor.  Simon is quite relieved that the pain in his chest is possibly scar tissue from his recent episode of pneumonia.  He was afraid that the infection hadn't cleared up.  When he thinks this the problem grows in his mind.

He's also been able to have some of his chronic medication paid for on an on-going basis by medical aid. The balance of his needs are supplied free by Addington Hospital which is a life line.  It would cripple us financially if it weren't.

The following step to be dealt with over the next week or so is to secure a disability grant; a long process of endless queues and 'couldn't-care-less-it's-my-tea-break' officials.  There is also certification needed from the District-Surgeon which, in itself, is a hurdle of ignorance to be cleared.  Simon did manage a while ago to get a grant for six months and was told 'that should be sufficient time to recover from your Cystic Fibrosis'.  So here we go again to arm wrestle with the man in the white coat.  But I mustn't get started with my history of 35 years dealing with the medical profession.  Well not yet!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Simon has been asleep for most of the day but eventually woken to watch rugby on TV.  He's still complaining about a pain in his chest on the lower left side.  This was the site of his recent bout of pneumonia which put him in hospital for two weeks.  This also means that the infection hasn't cleared up completely.

The results from the sputum test came back came back from Addington Hospital showing a heavy infestation of Pseudomonas in his lungs. They are always there but the type varies and require specific types of anti-biotics to keep them under control.

We'll see what the doctors say this week.

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Better few Days

The long weekend days have been better than usual.  My youngest Son visited from Johannesburg with his wife and  daughter.  This injected some much needed distraction which is always a good thing for my Boy with CF.  Added to this a day spend at uShaka Marine World helped although it was difficult from a breathing aspect.  But all-in-all a good three days.

This coming week we need to get a sputum sample analysed at Addington Hospital to see if the correct anti-biotics are being used for nebulising.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

My Boy seems to have bounced back a little.  He's not quite so downhearted as he was and the days seem to have reverted to a 'normal' routine.  Routine for him is a lot of sleep. A little eating. A bit of TV. Some time on Facebook and other computer things. Then there are the serious matters; nebulising and physiotherapy.  He becomes upset and cross during these sessions which occur twice a day.  I suppose it brings him back to bitter reality and his mood is understandable.

He says that he likes sleeping because he dreams of being well and normal and being able to do what he wants to..........

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Cystic Fibrosis

One of my Sons (I have three) has cystic fibrosis.  This is a genetic disorder which prevent the cells in his body from dealing with mucus which then is too sticky and hard to dispel from his lungs and other organs.  This mucus then becomes a seat for infection and causes the destruction of tissue.

My Boy has worked long and hard to keep CF at bay (He's now just short of 36) but the last decade has seen a steady decline in his lung function to a present low of 15%.  In the last 15 months he has contracted pneumonia twice and on each occasion spent two weeks in hospital on antibiotics.

He returned home from his last hospital stay two weeks ago but his health has suffered a serious setback.  He has told me he is 'not long for this world' and is very withdrawn and quiet. His life is empty and consists of sleeping, inhaling antibiotics via a nebuliser, eating a little and sometimes watching some television.

He is very tired and sometimes does not have the strength to climb one flight of stairs.

He is despondent and sad.  So am I.
I lost another tooth to time recently.  I've worked out that if I loose one every 2 years I have enough left to see me through.

I was asked if such an antique is valuable.  It is.  It contained so much silver that I was investigated for dealing in unwrought precious metal.
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