Kudu Portraits….

If there is one antelope I love to see it is the Kudu. They are so gracious in their movement, their poise and composure. Their grace in flight with the loping canter and almost casual stance when watching your movement, all goes to making them a favourite of mine…

Here’s a few more photos I took recently… the male strolled across the road and the female stood posing with little to no concern of our proximity….

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and now our lady poser…

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The Flitting, Frivolous, Fulvous Whistling Duck…

The White-faced Whistling duck are not impressed with the Fulvous Whistling Duck, they think they are far too busy. I have to agree with them, they never seem to stand still.

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Swimming around beaks underwater in search of who knows what, as their feeding habits are reported as seeds and other parts of plants. In fact they are considered a pest in rice paddies. But they seem to follow one another around in search of whatever it is they are searching for.

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fulvous whistling duck

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Aaaah maybe the slime is what they are looking for….. But you should all know this bird as it seems to live all over the world…

For those of you that missed the news the growths are not malignant… good news… now only bumps to negotiate and no mountains to climb…

Kudu.. an extract from my book.

My book is complete and has been returned to me by my Editor, Anneli. Her work has turned my words into a beautiful flowing, readable book that I am so in love with. She blogs (CLICK HERE TO SEE HER ONE BLOG) and (CLICK HERE TO SEE HER OTHER BLOG) when you read her stories you can see why I was enamoured by her offer to edit the book for me.

Yes there is a charge, but she has taken my words and turned them into a book, I just love her to bits… here’s and extract, hopefully to tickle your fancy…

47. Other Antelopes

Kudu, nyala, and reed buck are common antelopes of the Kruger National Park. They’re sometimes difficult to see, not because their numbers are few, but because their camouflage is so magnificent.

A sighting of these gives a different feeling of excitement.

The kudu is well known for its ability to stand still and peer at you. These are majestic antelopes with a grey colouring slightly striped, that enables them to stand, almost invisible, amid the brush they feed on. Their large ears look almost too big for their bodies. They will look towards a noise and stand dead still except for the moving ears, panning to pick up any other approaching sounds. This is their giveaway which helps in finding them, unless you’re lucky to arrive upon one feeding in clear view next to the road.

The kudu is a much-hunted antelope outside of the park, sought for its meat and the male for his horns. A pair of long twisting horns has an attraction for some to display as trophies on their walls. For me they seem much nicer on the head of a living animal, walking free in the park, but to each his own. My photographs, however, are better than a trophy on the wall.

The nyala, mistaken by many tourists for a kudu, is a smaller, slightly darker antelope, and has a different horn with the distinct appearance of wearing a different colour sock to the rest of its body. The male of the species is, like the kudu, the good looker, endowed with beautiful features; the female a brownish colour almost seeming to be from a different species.

On one occasion when entering the passage leading to Lake Panic bird hide, I spotted a magnificent male foraging in the riverine forest located next to the entrance. As tall as I am, I still had to stand on the tips of my toes to photograph the antelope. The gate opened and four good-looking girls, a lot younger than me entered.

“What can you see?” asked one in very broken English, obviously of Nordic origin. I informed them of the shy nyala near the fence.

Peering through the reed construction they spotted the antelope and excitedly the one told the others.

“Ah, Kudu.”

Wanting to appear the helpful and being of Africa, I said, “No, Nyala.”

“No, Kudu,” came the immediate response.

“No, Nyala,” I returned, hoping to help educate a foreign visitor with a certain beauty.

The emphatic reply came back, “No Kudu!”

Oh, well. So much for helping foreign relations. If they wanted to believe a rare sighting of a nyala, that of a kudu, should I bother? No, our age difference was too great for any further wasted charm.

The reed buck, smaller than the kudu and nyala, yet bigger than the common duiker and steenbok, are not nearly as shy as the other two. Common in the campsites and at the disembarking points of the park, these are not easily confused with other antelopes. Quiet and almost tame they will stand grazing on the lawn grasses next to your accommodation, unperturbed by your goings or comings. I think they’re tame. They realise if they live near the areas of human activity, they’re fairly safe from predators.

They’re safer, true, yet not from the visitors that find them between their accommodation and the ablutions.

“Look, impala!” I’ve heard, duiker, steenbok, and even springbok, bandied about, but having learned my lesson, I allow the expertise of others to believe they’re right. I’m no White Hunter of Africa.

These lesser numbered antelopes, when found, make any trip to the park complete.

Kudu….

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Nyala…

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Todays the day I get the results from my Oopsy….

If you go down to the woods today
You’re sure of a big surprise.
If you go down to the woods today
You’d better go in disguise!

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For every elephant that ever there was
Will gather there for certain,
Because today’s the day the
Elephants have their picnic.

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Beneath the trees where nobody sees
They’ll hide and seek as long as they please
‘Cause that’s the way the
Elephants have their picnic.

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If you go down to the woods today,
You’d better not go alone!
It’s lovely down in the woods today,
But safer to stay at home!

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Biopsy results expected today and like the elephants I’m just pausing in a relaxed mode…

In for a penny in for a pound… or a visit to a hospital.

As you know from my last blog post I was heading down the road to a hospital. For what you ask??? To get to the bottom of a pain in the chest and a lack of oxygen when breathing.

The original visit was to be with a Dr. Swanepoel who was to do the investigation at the Wilers Hospital. Luckily before we booked in we discovered that my insurance only covers 60 % of the bill there and I’d be required to pay the balance. No way. A quick call to Dr Brandt (our house Doctor) and she went searching for another Dr.

Dr Voster it was to be at Unitas Hospital. “But he wants to see you now!!” she said.

Down the road and into his rooms. R 2 800 later I’d had an ECG, stress ECG and a sonar of my heart.

“Don’t think there’s anything wrong with your heart” he said “but I want to do a CT scan or CAT-scan as it is known.” (X-ray computed tomography (x-ray CT) is a technology that uses computer-processed x-rays to produce tomographic images (virtual ‘slices’) of specific areas of the scanned object, allowing the user to see what is inside it without cutting it open.)

Ok so into hospital I went for a day of scanning by Dr Spannenberg and off home. Well that was the plan. The CT scan showed growths on my lungs, a fairly healthy looking heart and emphysema. “No going home”said Dr Voster and Spannenberg “Tomorrow a lung function and a Angiogram.”

Ok…have to stay another day for a Lung function test by Dr Van Rensberg and Angiogram by Dr Voster,

Dr Voster after the angiogram showed a good strong heart, “I want a Gastroscopy” (its a test to look inside the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum.)  Enter Doctor Reichenberger, and another day in the hospital.

The lung function showed no problem for a man that had smoked for 50 years.  “But… (I grew to hate that word) … I want to do a sleep apnea test on you tonight” said Dr Van Rensburg. Enter Fourie Associates for the test that night.

This took the form of a piece in my nose and a thing clipped to my finger, and a recorder attached to my chest …. Okay…. lets see what this shows…

Next day I got the result of the Apnea before going for my gastroscopy or endoscopy: – a good score for apnea is 5 or below, I have a score of 39. A good blood oxygen level is 90 % and above, mine dropped as low as 53 %. and I stopped breathing 243 times in the one night. So I’d been diagnosed as suffering from chronic OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea). This would require I stay another night for more tests.

The gastroscopy or endoscopy found I had a Hiatus hernia and was suffering from reflux with bad burning of the oesophagus, which would require tablets to correct it.

The second test for the Apnea had me sleeping with a mask covering my nose and mouth… I loved the book explanation of this test and I quote …. “Bed should be considered for sleep and sex and if nothing is forthcoming within 15 minutes get up and do something else before returning to bed.” Looking at the mask, getting into bed with that on will guarantee no sex….

Then the visit from Dr Scholtz, the growths on the lungs need a biopsy.,. either a needle in and a sample taken for testing, or the removal of the growths. “Get them out of there,” my answer “what doesn’t pay rent must be removed.”

So the next day would see me in the operating theatre, put to sleep and via my back the growths removed. From there it was off to ICU as they had to collapse my lung to remove the growths and ICU would ensure it remained inflated while I recovered. There was one growth they could not reach from their entry point, so it will be removed later if the growths prove malignant (which the scan doctor said could not be ruled out) and if not malignant can remain till it gets too big.

The day in ICU and night and the next day, back to a semi private ward for recovery.

Then today after a last Xray I’m home.

I had so much blood removed for testing I think I need a transfusion…. my veins just collapse every time they saw a needle making the anaesthesiologists job very difficult…. so many Xrays and scans I will likely begin glowing in the dark… and so little food I’ve probably lost weight….

So what did we actually find for the original complaint?

Chest pains could be the result of Emphysema, Sleep Apnea, Hiatus hernia and reflux or growths on the lungs, or all of them combined.

Lack of breathe and weakness could be caused from the sleep apnea, emphysema or growth on the lungs or all of them.

Cause for concern now? waiting for the results of the biopsy… Malignant or Benign?

HELL OF A WAY TO SPEND A DAY (WEEK ACTUALLY).. But now I’m home and need to recover, the left lung is still a great source of pain and difficulty of breathing… but with time I will get back to full health…

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