Thursday, March 1, 2018

News: bad, good, and unexpected.

Stanley _ Thursday

Two weeks ago, my report came from Ingwelala - my place in the bush - which was experiencing a drought every bit as severe as Cape Town.  There were few animals and some birds.  For the first time in the thirty odd years I've been going there, we didn't even see an elephant.

The only good news at the time was that President Zuma had resigned, which, according to one of the mechanics in the local garage, meant that the rains would come.  He was right!  In both Cape Town and Ingwelala, rain fell.  Not vast quantities, but more like 10 mm.  But rain.  And wet.

I had promised to dance in the rain when it came, but I broke my promise under great pressure from Mette because the prolonged, hacking cough I was experiencing had worsened.

 And then, one night, one of the most frightening things I'd ever experienced happened to me.  I awoke with a coughing fit, but couldn't breathe.  I couldn't inhale through mouth or nose.  I jumped out of bed, coughing, spluttering, wheezing, croaking.  Gasping for breath.  Eventually, I found I could inhale slightly through my nose.  And for the next few minutes, alternated between coughing uncontrollably and slowly inhaling through my nose.

It was frightening.  It was exhausting.

To cut a long story short, Mette and I cut our three-week stay in the bush down to one week, and caught the first flight back to Johannesburg.  From the airport straight to a doctor's appointment, where I learnt I had pneumonia.

Armed with antibiotics, foul-tasting syrup, probiotics, nasal inhalator, and nebuliser, I spent the next week at some friends' home - he a doctor.  The worst part, other than not being able to breathe, was that I couldn't sleep, even when sitting up.  For days, I had a snatch of sleep here, a snatch there.  And I was too scared to take a sleeping pill in case one of my can't-breathe episodes happened and I didn't wake up.  What a way to go!

All this a reason for not having a proper blog today, for which I apologize.  We are back in Cape Town.  I am still coughing, but without the breathlessness of last week,  And I'm optimistic that I am well on the way to being fully healthy.

PS.  There was a very exciting blog in the UK today, which I knew nothing about until a tweet landed on my desk.  You can read it here.


  1. Oh my God, Stan, that had to be a terrifying experience for you and Mette! So happy to hear you're doing better, and yes, that blog link you posted is to something on a whole different order of terrific. Congratulations on the latter and take care of the former.


  2. Best wishes, Stan, on the new book, certainly, but to an even greater extent for your health! I'm not sure whether this blog post qualifies as thriller, chiller, suspense or horror.