Hi all,

Tonight I’m writing to you all from the Sands Southern Sun Hotel in Umhlanga, on the North Coast of South Africa. Yes, we’re on holiday at the sea!!! It’s been an incredibly interesting week, and I really don’t know where to start, as there is so much exciting and interesting news to share.

As I think about it, perhaps I should get the wearisome news out of the way first, in the form of a visit to Unitas Hospital on Tuesday. We all got up at sparrow’s to reach Unitas Hospital in time for our early morning appointment. Unfortunately there was an accident on the freeway, which resulted in our being late for our appointment. When we arrived we were a few minutes into the appointment that we realised that our intended 15 minute visit to Unitas would turn out to be so much longer than we anticipated. At Dr Potze’s rooms we were informed that we had to have two echo’s done during the day, as well as blood and urine tests, and have my blood pressure tested on all my limbs, to check for consistency. The reason for having to see two different doctors for the echo was that one was of the heart, and one for my abdomen, to check my other organs. Additionally, the micro-catheter that runs through my body, inside one of my veins, was needed to be scanned.

So after seeing Dr Potze we headed off to the pathology labs where I had blood taken during significant screaming on my part – not only was it sore, but it reminded me of the vampires that came to see me regularly during my stay in hospital. Next we headed off to my first echo scan. Since we didn’t know prior that we had to have the echo scans done we didn’t have appointments, so we had to wait for a slot until the doctor could accommodate us. First we headed off Dr Colyn, who is a paediatric cardiologist. After a long wait, we were attended to; although the wait was a while it was not without its fun. In the reception was a family also waiting to be seen by Dr Colyn, and the son of the family, Russell, made friends with me. He played with me endlessly, and when his sister had to see the doctor, he stayed to play with me. He was a really cool guy and tried so hard to help me to learn to crawl across the reception to him, but alas, my little limbs are still too weak to bear my weight. We also spent some time chatting, and it turned out that Russell, my new friend, was born with a tumour behind his eye, of which no-one had any knowledge. Throughout his childhood he wore really thick glasses until in adulthood when the tumour was discovered and removed, sadly resulting in his losing his sight in that eye. After Russell’s family left it was our turn to go in to Dr Colyn – I bid my new friend farewell and wished him all the best in the future.

Dr Colyn applied the electrostatic gel to my chest and started scanning my heart. She seemed satisfied with the condition of my heart, which we already new from scans mid-March that revealed my heart was in order. She also confirmed that there was a hole in my heart (a Patent Foramen Ovale to be precise), which we also knew. What did trouble her was the mirco-catheter that ran through my body, from my groin to my head, and literally through my heart. There was concern over the micro-catheter occluding the vein within which it ran. She was of the opinion that it should be removed owing to this occlusion, and this could be done by means of open heart surgery. Needless to say this did not impress any of us, and as a family we agreed this was not something I was about to, or ready to, go through with. Very depressed and down, we headed off to Dr Marietha Fourie’s offices (the wife of Prof Pieter Fourie).

There we spent some more time waiting in the reception, and then Dr Fourie accommodated us. She scanned my organs, which all seemed in order apart from the fact that there is some minor calcification in my kidneys. Apparently it’s nothing to be concerned over in the immediate future, but again we all grew very grave and concerned. We received a report from her, but in Afrikaans, which we are unable to interpret. Next we headed to the ward, where the blood pressure was checked on all my limbs; the reason for this is to compare the readings to determine if there are any significant differences between them. If there were, then it would mean the vein occlusion is cause for concern. We took the readings back to Dr Potze’s rooms from whom we are awaiting the conclusion of all the tests and reports. Once we know the outcomes we’ll let you all know.

Tuesday afternoon, after spending more than 5 hours at Unitas, we headed home in sombre moods. In the evening we went to Nina, Jaco and Gene for pizzas, which lifted our spirits significantly. We were invited on a tour of their new house, which is stunning. I hope Mom and Dad grow up soon to also get a nice grown-up house!!

Wednesday was declared a public holiday, to allow the nation to vote, hence the title of tonight’s blog. After a leisurely start to the day, Mom, Dad and I headed off to the local polling station, on foot, as it was only a few blocks away. The weather had started to turn cooler, so I was wrapped up tightly in a blanket in my traveller. We arrived at the polling station to discover a fairly long queue. We joined the end of the queue and started making friends with those around us. Not long afterward an IEC official came to tell us that we could go to the top of the queue as I, being a baby, was with them. So off we headed. In the polling station I helped Dad with all the paperwork, presenting the officials with Dad’s ID booklet, and accepting the ballot papers on his behalf. Dad and I headed into a polling booth, and then, as Dad drew his crosses onto the ballot papers, I shut my eyes tightly, as voting is secret. After leaving the polling booth I once again obliged my help and held onto the ballot papers, but not before I made the corners of the papers really soggy by sticking them in my mouth. I placed the ballot papers in the sealed ballot box, but not before Dad asked the official on duty if the soggy corners would ‘spoil his vote’. I really didn’t understand this, as I wasn’t planning on spoiling anything – I just naturally put everything in my mouth, and I’ve never spoilt anything by doing that. That’s adults for you, I guess – one day I’ll understand all their quirks.

Outside the polling station we met up with Robin and Di, who had also walked to the polling station, so we all headed off home together. What was really exciting is that I also finally met Caitlin, Di and Robin’s daughter. She’s studying sports movement so she’s very interested in my development. Her and Mom made plans to meet up at my physio session some time so that she could see what sort of exercises a baby undergoes. While in my traveller going home I bashed my mouth on the edge of the traveller as its wheel struck a stone. I let out an enormous wail at the pain, and Dad panicked at the sight off all the blood coming from my mouth. It wasn’t a major issue though, as the bleeding soon stopped, and all my teeth were still intact.

On Thursday I went to physio with Dianne and OT with Lauren. Both were really impressed with my progress and confirmed that I definitely was on the road to properly achieve my normal developmental milestones, including crawling and walking. Between the two appointments (physio and OT), Mom and I had some time to kill, so we headed off to Woolies in Riverclub to get some things for our week at the coast. There we met Nikki, who is my Mom and Dad’s physiotherapist – I’d not met her before so this was really exciting.

On Friday morning Roelof visited and we drank some coffee and tea, and chatted. Afterward Mom and I did some last minute shopping for our holiday. Dad arrived home mid-afternoon, and by evening Opa arrived for dinner. It was really great as we all sat down for dinner around the dinning room table. While at dinner Aunty Birgitt phoned, and I managed to rustle up enough noise for her to hear me all the way in Cape Town. After dinner Opa watched as Dad bathed me and got me ready for bed. I wasn’t too tired though, so while Opa and Dad chatted in the lounge, I sat in my doughnut watching TV. After Opa left, the packing for the next day’s trip to the coast was concluded.

Saturday morning we all awoke with an air of excitement around the house – we were going on holiday!!!! I wolfed down my breakfast, and after Dad packed everything in the car we were ready to go. Final instructions were given to Rudy, our house-sitter, we said goodbye to all the pets and we were off. I could hardly contain my excitement as the car pulled onto the highway. Before long my eyelids started getting heavy and I drifted off to sleep. After two stops and six hours we arrived at our destination, and I saw the sea for the first time ever.

We checked into our accommodation and quick as a jiffy we headed back downstairs. There we met up with Granny (compliments of whom we could afford the holiday) and Ryan. We then headed down to the beach, where Tamsin found us. I was in awe of all the water that I saw before me – crashing and loud as it hammered down on the defenceless rocks on the beach and the innocent grains of sand that lay everywhere. Dad popped me on the beach and I immediately grabbed handfuls of sea sand. It felt wonderful. Next Dad picked me up off the beach and we headed to the shore. There the waves came crashing up the beach as they dissipated their energy and became mere trickles of water from their former majestic thunderous swells. Dad dipped my feet in the water, up to my little thighs and hips. It felt wonderful. Although the water was colder than the bath water I was accustomed to, I knew this was the ocean and was deserving of my feet and legs getting a little chilly.

Back in our hotel room Mom bathed me in an attempt to get all the sand off my body and out of all the little crevices where it had hidden away. After an extensive time in the bath, Mom gave up trying to clear me of all the beach sand and it was time for dinner. We both agreed that it would take a number of weeks to get all the sand off of me!

Sunday morning I awoke to hear the sea continue its thundering – I was most impressed at its ability to continuously to drum so much noise. After breakfast we headed down to the promenade and we strolled up to the Umhlanga lighthouse, but not before we headed out on the jetty. It was extremely windy, and actually quite chilly. The sky was somewhat overcast, and there were threats of rain, but this did not deter us from our walk. We stopped off to sit on a bench while Dad fed me my lunch. It was fish, and as he presented the first spoonful to me, he pointed to the sea and said that’s where the fish came from. After lunch, and my Dad fighting to get spoonfuls of fish into my mouth before the strong wind threatened to blow it off the spoon, he went off to collect his kite, as he did not want this wind to go to waste.

Within a short while he’d launched the kite, and I squealed in delight as it danced around in the sky. The wind was so strong that every now and then my Dad was almost dragged off his feet. As I watched the kite, Dad made it whoosh toward Mom and I and then making it turn away at the last instance. It seemed he was a real pro at the stunt kite pastime. Drizzle started to fall, so Dad (crash) landed his kite by letting it bash into beach. He quickly packed his kite away and we headed back to our room. Just before I drifted off to sleep I noticed a rainbow had appeared in the sky to greet me and welcome me to the coast. I was amazed.

I had an afternoon snooze, and then we all headed downstairs to meet up with Granny and Tamsin for cups of tea and coffee. Not long after it was time for dinner and my evening bath. As I sat in my nice warm bath, with Daddy washing off the day’s activities, I reminisced over my first day at the sea and knew the rest of the week was going to be awesome.

Well, that’s it for now. My Dad asked me to thank all of you for the wonderfully inspirational comments following the launch of our partner website – www.kidzhelp.com. If you’ve not seen it yet, please click through to it now and subscribe to its newsletter. If you have already been there, please don’t forget to tell your friends and family about it, and most of all, those people you know who’s children need help.

Good night, and lots of salty kisses and sandy hugs,


Figure 1 Surrounded by my fluffy toys in my cot

Figure 2 On Dad’s shoulder for a ‘bunzy run’ to my bath

Figure 3 Wrapped up warmly, heading off to Nina’s

Figure 4 Chilling with Gene

Figure 5 Waiting in line to vote

Figure 6 On Dad’s shoulders in get a bird’s eye view of the voting queue (note Dad’s extra special voting t-shirt)

Figure 7 Getting physio with Dianne

Figure 8 My Jolly Jumper needs some adjusting

Figure 9 Loving some cream cheese on a rice cake

Figure 10 At dinner with Opa

Figure 11 My first beach experience – loving it!

Figure 12 My first time in the sea

Figure 13 More beach time

Figure 14 Trying to get sand out from between my toes

Figure 15 Room with a (sea) view

Figure 16 The pool down below . . .

Figure 17 . . . and at night

Figure 18 Passed out after a hectic day at the beach

Figure 19 The other pool

Figure 20 An angry looking sky

Figure 21 Ready . . . steady . . . beach bum!

Figure 22 Supervising Dad building my sand-castle

Figure 23 The finished product . . .

Figure 24 . . . fit for a king!

Figure 25 With my shades to shield me from the rays

Figure 26 Me and Mom

Figure 27 The rainbows that welcomed me to the sea

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