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Newsletter 134
07/08/13

A Defining Moment

Hello Friends

In everyone's life, there arrives a defining moment which changes the direction of one's life, takes one in a new direction, so to speak.

Mine arrived recently on the Danny Gordon Hospital while in the intensive care unit. The doctor was leading a group of Wits medical students and analyzing each patient's medical history for the students.

The doctor said: Mr Varty has had malaria 13 times. He has had bilharzia twice. He has had 2 hernia operations. In 1995 he was in a helicopter accident where his vertebrae T9, L1 and L2 became compressed. In 2013 he was attacked by a tiger breaking 3 ribs on his right side. One rib is detached and free floating. In 2015 he had a cancerous melanoma removed from his upper left thigh. Yesterday he had two large Echinococcus hydatid cysts removed from his liver.


The larger cyst was 10cm in diameter.
If the cyst ruptures and gets into the blood stream, there is no cure.

Doctor to students: Are there any questions?
Student: What does Mr Varty do?

Later the nursing sister helped me to take a shower. On either side of the shower were mirrors. I could see the sister looking at my naked body in the mirror, then she said. "Your body looks like a snakes and ladders board". I could either laugh or cry. However laughing is painful.

The comment hit me like a sledge hammer, draining all confidence I once had away. (An orthopedic surgeon once described my build as athletic.) I wonder what his description would be now.

Across my chest was a 15 inch cut. (When I asked Professor Botha why the cut was so big, he replied he had big hands and to get to my liver with both hands, he had to make a big cut).

On the right side where the ribs are broken, is a grotesque swelling. It looks like a small Kilimanjaro.

Across my back are a maze of scars where Corbett raked me. These look like an aerial shot of a waterhole at Londolozi in the drought with 14 game paths all leading to the water.

In the back of my neck are two distinct holes where Corbett's canines went in (The left hole has recently been found to have severed the muscles which support my left arm)

I always thought Mahindra's low range gear was stiff. Now I discover I only have 14% power in my left arm.

My left leg which was badly scarred by Corbett, now has a 18 inch cut running through it where the cancerous melanoma was removed. (It looks like the GPS map on my new cell phone)

The vertebrae compressed in 1995 in the helicopter accident, has serious arthritis surrounding them. The result is I can get nowhere near my shoes to tie my laces. I can only wear lace less high boots. (Suzanne Lenzer, please when you bring me boots from Australia, make sure they are high so I have less distance to bend)

Recently a famous plastic surgeon visited Tiger Canyons and I asked him if he could do anything for me. He reached inside his bag and with a smile gave me a card. On the card was the name of a a well known panel beater.

I have to say that my experiences in hospitals have not been unenjoyable. I have met some of the finest medical brains in South Africa.

Dr Frank Snickers the neurosurgeon in Milpark who treated after the helicopter accident. Dr Andre Laubscher the trauma surgeon who treated me in the tiger attack and Prof Jean Botha who removed the hydatid cysts in Danny Gordon hospital. Thank you to all of you who have undoubtedly extended my lifespan.

As a group nursing sisters are my favourite people on earth. Compassionate, caring and dedicated, these ladies work long hours and they work hard. I appeal to the Minister of Health to pay them higher wages.

To survive long periods in hospital, one has to have a sense of humour. I noticed that as hospitals become more modern, they have introduced automatic blood pressure cuffs (tourniquets). Before the nursing sister would come and pump up the cuffs which would tighten around one's upper arm, then the nursing sister would read one's blood pressure. Now the blood pressure cuffs go off automatically every hour and one's blood pressure is registered automatically on a machine.'

On the night after my liver operation, I was in the intensive care unit in the Donny Gordon hospital. Because I had been given doses of morphine to kill the pain, I was having vivid dreams.

The realistic dream took me back to the early 80's when I was filming an anaconda in the Amazon Jungle. As I took the camera too close to the anaconda, it struck at the camera. At the critical moment, as the snake struck, the automatic cuffs went off. Convinced that the anaconda was wrapping itself around my arm, I panicked and shouted "snake" at the top of my voice.

The nursing sister came running,
"What's the matter" she enquired.
"Snake attack" I replied.
"Where?" she asked.
"Around my arm, it's constricting me" I screamed.
"That's your blood pressure, it's 140/60, it is normal" she replied calmly.

I woke up clutching the bed post.

I would like to thank all the doctors and nursing staff of the Danny Gordon for their kindness and care. (I have picture of nurses taken in Milpark, Medi Clinic and Danny Gordon. The nurses in Danny Gordon are the most beautiful)

To Dr Emma Wypkema for her incredible kindness and logical support, I can never thank you enough.

After "the snakes and ladders" comment by the sister, I had a long time to think and ponder the future. I have decided I do not have the body or confidence to pursue the opposite sex any longer. (I think I still have the personality).

I am now going to spend my time and energy investigating politics (how does America after billions of dollars spent on campaigns, end up with two candidates that nobody wants), philosophy and religion.

The only ladies I'm going to pursue in the future, are four legged, spotted and striped with long tails.

It has been an extremely hard decision to make. A defining moment so to speak. However the only constant in life is change.

Thank you to all of you for your many emails and sms'e and words of encouragement.

Love, light and peace.
JV

PS. A message from Prof Botha to all of you who have pets. Keep your pets de-wormed and don't let them lick your face.

Dr Gavin Rous, a vet, warns that cats can transmit Taenia hydatigena. People living on sheep farms and in game reserves, are at far higher risk than those in cities with domestic pets.


Tread lightly on the Earth

info@jvbigcats.co.za
Copyright 2007 @jvbigcats  All rights reserved


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