Fracture 39, 40 and 41…


Vic with her right leg in plaster-of-paris
Vic with her right leg in plaster-of-paris

Two weeks after our arrival in Johannesburg we celebrated Vic’s 3rd birthday.  Tienie drove my car up and was able to be with us for Vic’s birthday.   By her birthday Vic had 38 fractures.

The day of Vic’s birthday Tienie and I went for a drive looking for an ice-cream parlour as a birthday treat for her.  Vic was sitting on the backseat.  Cars did not have safety belts in 1977… a dog ran across the road, and Tienie swerved out to avoid running it over….. Vic fell off the back seat.

I immediately knew her little arm was broken.

We drove to the nearest hospital.  It was Vic’s first visit to an Emergency Room in Johannesburg.  There was a long queue of patients waiting to be seen.  I completed the paperwork and we sat down for the long wait.

Vic being a toddler we got moved to the front of the queue.  A tall, tired looking doctor took down Vic’s medical history.

“Treatment?”  he asked…

I remember thinking “Duh….. You know there is no treatment.”  But, then a spark of hope flamed up and I asked “Do you know of treatment for Osteogenesis Imperfecta?”

“No” he said

“Vicky is having experimental homeopathic treatment.  The physician treating her is Professor Majorkenis” I said

He looked at me and took out a red pen from his pocket.  In huge red letters he wrote “Homeopathic treatment” across the page.  He drew two lines under the words…

In a terse voice he instructed the nurse to take us through to X-rays.  There was no radiologist on duty, and we had to wait for the call-out radiologist to arrive.  I eventually went through to the ER and asked the doctor whether Vic could have something for the pain.  It was 2.5 hours after the event, and she was crying from the pain.

“She cannot have anything for pain.  She may have to go to the theatre.  But then you know that don’t you?” he asked in a very sarcastic tone of voice!

I went back to X-rays seething but knowing that what he said was true.  If the bone had dislocated Vic would have to go to theatre.

By the time I got back to X-rays the radiologist had arrived and was busy setting up the machine.  Vic’s cries of pain are still etched into my heart and brain when her little arm was positioned on the table.  Tears ran down my cheeks whilst I kept telling her that if she kept still it would be over soon.

The X-ray showed 3 clean fractures.  No surgery would be necessary.

We went down to the ER, and the doctor started applying the plaster-of-paris to Vic’s arm.  She was sobbing with pain.

I absolutely lost it.

“If you have a problem with the fact that my child is having homeopathic treatment you take it out on me. “

He just fixed his tired eyes on me and said nothing.

“Do you know what it feels like when your child is sentenced to death and there is no appeal system?  Western traditional doctors, like you, have offered us no hope what so ever!  This Homeopath is prepared to TRY.  That is a hell of a lot more than what doctors like you are prepared to do! ”

His eyes were big and he had stopped working on Vic’s arm by then.

“Now, if you have a problem treating my child with the care and dignity that she deserves I suggest you get someone else in here to take care of her!”

He drew up a syringe with some pain medication and said “This will just sting a little, but it will help for the pain…”

He gave it a couple of minutes and then completed the plaster-of-paris process.

Without a word of apology he wrote a prescription for pain medication.  He curtly said “Take her to her orthopod in three weeks” and walked out of the cubicle…

I lodged a formal complaint against him the following day, but nothing ever came of it.

Was I surprised?  Hell no!  Homeopathic or alternative medicine was satanic in 1977 in South Africa!  We would go to hell for it any way…

On Vic’s 3rd birthday her fracture count went up to 41…

Vic’s treatment starts


1aWe arrived in Johannesburg on a cold winter’s morning.  My father-in-law picked us up from the station.  My eyes were swollen from the crying.  Vic adored her grandparents so she was delighted to see them.  I felt scared, lost and lonely.

The Monday Vic and I met with Prof Majorkenis.  He explained that her diet had to change and that her “magnetic field was very weak”.  He would endeavour to “Strengthen her magnetic field…”  We would see him five days a week.  Vic’s new diet would exclude all sugar and starch, and she had to take a magnitude of homeopathic drops during the day.

“I make no promise – I try” he said.

The professor’s phone call from France was the first positive thing any medical professional ever uttered since Vic’s diagnosis.  The “Western” doctors clicked their tongues, looked into her eyes, called in another colleague and excitedly said “Just look at her eyes…”  Vic was “displayed” and I subjected her to it because I hoped that somewhere, someone would have a cure!

Vic developed a fear of doctors and nurses.  We could not wear white clothes as she would become hysterical with fear when she saw someone dressed in white!  She associated white clothes with doctors and pain.

I can still fear her cries of fear when the plaster-of-paris had to be removed from her arms and legs as she healed… She never trusted the saw that was used to cut the plaster-of-paris off!

I went off to the library and could find no information that made any sense to me.  I was so scared.  In South Africa in the 70’s homeopathy was considered almost satanic!  Homeopathy was not considered a science!

The treatment started on the same Monday.

On the Tuesday I started my new job!  My father-in-law had to drive me to work and back as my car was still in Bloemfontein.  I would leave work at 4pm, and we would rush home so I could get Vic to the Professor for her treatment.  Vic was in a Nursery School and loved her new teachers and friends.  I was lonely and miserable without my family.

Two weeks after I arrived in Johannesburg Tienie drove up with my car.  It immediately made a huge difference.  I had my independence back but with my independence came the responsibility of “big city” traffic!  I left home at 6am so I would avoid the peak-hour traffic!  It was a mere 25 minute drive to my office, and I only started work at 8am.  I was a little girl in a big city with a little girl suffering from a very rare disease.

Vic and I settled into a routine.  We celebrated her 3rd birthday in a strange, big city hoping and praying that the innocent looking drops and treatment would make a difference.

One afternoon we were sitting in the professor’s waiting room and there was a rather unattractive looking gentleman sitting opposite us.  No matter what I did I could not get Vic to divert her eyes.  The gentleman started winking at her and attempting to engage Vic in a conversation.  With her eyes fixed on his face Vic said in a loud whisper “Mommy, why is this man so ugly?”

I wanted to die of embarrassment.  The gentleman good-naturedly laughed and said “Kids….”!

Vic was just a normal little girl with a debilitating disease.

magnetic

MAGNETIC RESONANCE THERAPY

Magnetic Resonance Therapy offers leading edge technology designed to both energize and maximize cellular function in the human body.

Humans are exposed daily to various forms of energy; be it light, sound etc. Each form of energy has it’s own unique influence on how one lives and feels. Similar to how a bright sunny day (light energy) can elevate one’s spirits emotionally or quiet solemn music (sound energy) can invoke feelings of sadness, humans too can be influenced positively by specific magnetic fields.

The Ill-effects Of Zero Gravity…

The Space Programs of the 1960’s provide interesting validation to the “ human” benefits of daily “exposure” to the earth’s magnetic field. A Russian astronaut (Yuri A. Gagarin – 1961) after circling the earth in zero gravity was left critically ill, to the extent that he literally had to be carried out of his space capsule on a stretcher! Following extensive testing as to the cause of his apparent state un-wellness, it was concluded that he was suffering from prolonged absence from the earth’s magnetic field!

Further Research into The Benefits Of Magnetic Fields…

Japanese researcher K. Nakagawa (1976) discovered that individuals, deficient in their “optimal” daily exposure to the earth’s magnetic field, can often display the following symptoms:

  • anxiety
  • insomnia
  • lethargy
  • sadness
  • achiness and soreness of muscle and joints
  • back pain
  • decreased metabolism
  • diminished bone density
  • headaches

 

Schumann Frequencies …

What this all speaks to is the defined human benefit of being influenced daily to the earth’s magnetic field in sufficient amounts. Humans exist in an electrically charged atmosphere called the Ionosphere. The Ionosphere contains charges particles (called ions) that are continually charged by a multitude of lightening strikes that occur around the world on a daily basis. This charging of the atmosphere creates a specific narrow band of naturally occurring low frequency electromagnetic emissions called Schumann Frequencies (as discovered by Dr. Winfried Schumann – Physicist in 1956). Schumann believed that this band of magnetic frequencies offered unique healing properties.

Further Study Revealed….

At a cellular level, human cells resonate either in healthy vibrational states or they exist in varying forms of disharmonious (diseased) states of oscillation. For example, cells in “pain” (the result of trauma) will resonate in a disharmonious or less than ideal manner. These same cells, if exposed to Schumann frequencies, will once again vibrate in healthier modes. Both Red Blood cells and Macrophages vibrate more optimally and act more functionally (as seen under a microscope) after exposure to Schumann frequencies.

Optimal Cellular Function…

Schumann Frequencies are thought to resonate with the human body so as to re-establish and maintain harmonious activity at a cellular level, resulting in positive physiological responses. Re-establishing healthy cellular activity is directly related to the stimulatory effect Schumann Frequencies seem to impart at a cellular level on what are called “Sodium Potassium Pumps” in the cell membranes of every cell in the human body.

Sodium Potassium Pumps – The Key To Optimal Cellular Activity…

Individual cells in the body function ideally when properly energized. More specifically, Sodium-Potassium Pumps enhance both cellular function and as well retard the aging of all cells. Sodium-Potassium pumps accomplish this by both assisting in cellular growth and repair (in terms of the proper absorption of nutrients, vitamins and oxygen) and in cellular elimination (in terms of the  removal of waste and carbon dioxide). Sodium-potassium pumps also help maintain the function of specific surface membrane receptors located on the outer wall of all cells. These receptors are involved in the interplay of hormones and their regulatory effect on cellular and inter-cellular function and communication. In essence, strong Sodium-potassium pumps help create a healthy environment through which all living cells can thrive. Enhanced functional activity of these Sodium-Potassium pumps has been clinically linked to exposure to this specific range of natural electromagnetic fields … more specifically Schumann’s Frequencies!

Enhanced Cellular Function…

The entire metabolism of each cell is thus enhanced. This in turn results in:

  • increased blood flow throughout the body
  • enhanced oxygen delivery
  • a strengthened immune system
  • increased nutrients, vitamins and minerals absorption
  • enhanced respiration
  • increased bone density
  • better system detoxification (liver, kidneys, lungs and spleen)
  • enhanced cellular response to hormonal stimuli and favoured inter-cellular interfacing

In general… optimized cellular function, stabilized biological activity and enhanced overall cellular vitality. http://homeopathyoflondon.com/magnetic-resonance-therapy.php

 

1977


Vic as a baby
Vic as a baby

Yesterday Jon-Daniel and I went for a long walk on the beach.  The water was freezing but my feet adjusted to the temperature.  It was great feeling the sand between my toes.  Families were playing in the sand – very few people were brave enough to swim.  There were quite a few surfers braving the cold water.  The sky was clear and for the first time in many, many months I felt totally relaxed.

I thought back to Vic’s birth!  I remembered a beautiful baby girl born with a mob of black hair.  I remembered the rush of love that I experienced when I first saw her.  I fell in love with Vic the second I lay eyes on her.  When she curled her perfect little fingers around mine I was lost in the wonder of her perfection.

Vic was born 3 weeks early.  She weighed in at 5.6 lbs. (2.54kgs).  She was tiny but perfect!  From the first breath that she took she ruled my life.  Her first little outfit was a baby-pink jersey that a cousin knitted for her.  Her clothes were doll-sized.

My Mom bathed her for the first month of her life.  I was too scared!  At 6 weeks Vic had one feed a night only…. She was born an angel.  Vic had her first known fracture at 6 weeks… She started walking at 18 months; Vic built her first puzzle before she could crawl.

I remembered her gurgling and laughing.  The minute she opened her eyes she would have this huge smile on her face.  Her smile reached her eyes even then….

Vic never stopped smiling.  She was a ray of sunshine.  She never complained.

When I think of the cards the poor little poppet was dealt I realize more than ever what an incredibly strong person she was.

We were driving back from the first athletic meeting when she was in Grade 1.

“Mommy I want to ask you something” Vic said

“You know you can ask my anything you want…” I replied very upbeat.  I had won the parents race and felt pretty good about myself.

“I know what you are going to say …” Vic said

I looked into the rearview mirror and saw silent tears running down her little cheeks.

“What’s wrong Angel?” I asked

“Mommy, why can’t I run like the other children?” she replied.

Vic was diagnosed with Osteogenesis Imperfecta at 18 months.

I was in total denial that there was anything wrong with my perfect child.  My Dad was the only one who was brave enough to continuously tell me that there was something with Vic.  The sclera of her eyes was blue and she fractured easily.

The grandparents conspired with Tienie (her father) and took her to the Freestate University.  A professor assessed Vic and diagnosed Osteogenesis Imperfecta.

The family decided that Tienie had to break the news to me.  I went mad with fear.  OI is a very rare disease and in the pre-world wide web days, a library was the only source of information.   I went from doctor to doctor begging for a cure or even a hint of hope that there was a cure in sight.  The doctors told me I should wrap Vic in cotton wool and wait for her to die

Whilst all of this was happening Vic kept fracturing bones.  She would bump her little sandal against the step and fracture her tibia.  Whilst in Plaster-of-Paris she would re-fracture in the Plaster–of-Paris…  We were treated like child-abusers at hospital emergency rooms and our neighbours reported us to Child Welfare.

Every living moment I would talk to Vic about how special she was; how frail her little bones were and how careful she must be.

When Vic was 3 years old a colleague mentioned a homeopath that worked miracles with rare and untreatable disorders…  a Professor Majorkenis.  I immediately made an appointment to see him.  He practiced in Johannesburg, and as a small town girl I was petrified.  Johannesburg was Sodom and Gomorrah!

The Professor was of Greek descent.  He was of a short stature and spoke heavily accented English.  His brown eyes were wrinkled, warm and gentle.  His handshake was firm and reassuring.

He spent a long time examining her, measuring her electronic fields and all sorts of weird and foreign tests.

He made no commitment.  He merely told me that he was on-route to Europe for an International Homeopathic Association conference and would discuss it with his fellow doctors there.  (He was President of the International   Homeopathic Association.)

I received a phone call from France a week later.  It was the professor!  The connection was poor and with his heavy accent I managed to hear that he was prepared to do experimental treatment and wanted to start in two weeks!

Without any discussion with anyone I resigned my job, phoned a colleague who has relocated to Johannesburg a couple of months earlier and asked him whether he knew of any vacancies in the glass industry and went home to break the news to my husband and parents!

The family went into high-energy planning.  Vic and I would travel by train as I was scared of driving on my own and getting lost.  Tienie would drive my car to Johannesburg two weeks later so he could celebrate Vic’s 3rd birthday with us.  I would live with my parents-in-law,  who had recently relocated to Johannesburg, and Tienie would live with my parents.  He was still at University and could not relocate.

We gave up the flat, packed up our furniture and belongings and put everything in storage.  Vic and I said our goodbyes to all our friends and then it was time to leave…

I remember my fear with crystal clear clarity when we boarded the train.  I cried hysterically and clung to my Dad.  My mom sobbed, and my dad wiped tears from his eyes telling me I must be strong and look after the “little one”.  We would speak on the phone every Sunday…

The train slowly pulled out of the station, and I held my sobbing baby girl close to my heart.  Her hair was wet from my tears.  Vic was totally distraught.  My parents, siblings and Tienie faded into the night as we sped towards a cure.

 

Friends, Lasagna and chocolate pudding…


Gavin, Vic and Darren at Darren’s wedding in 2003

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today was a great day!

Yesterday Hospice increased Vic’s pain medication by 25%.  The subcutaneous driver is holding up in her arm.  She has not vomited in the past 24 hours.  Vic spent wonderful, constructive time with the boys today.

Yesterday Renée, Jared’s extra maths teacher and a friend, phoned to hear if I wanted to go for a walk.  I declined as Vic was really not well.  Then she phoned to ask if everything was okay.  I said we were having a bad day.  She had read the boys BBM status updates and asked if I wanted her to pop around and help… I declined.   She phoned again and offered to cook us dinner… I said we had already prepared a meal.  Renée said “I will bring you dinner tomorrow night”….

My BFF, Gillian, is visiting.  It is so comforting having her around.  I felt enfolded by the normal-ness of her life today …She is a warm and comforting person who knows my soul as well as I know my own soul.   In the words of the great Aristotle:  “Friendship is composed of a single soul inhibiting two bodies.”  Gill is a safe haven.  I love the no-nonsense way she speaks, her efficiency, her single-minded loyalty and ability to love.  Gillian’s greatest character trait is that she loves unconditionally and NEVER judges.

Gillian is a second mom to Vic.

Vic, Gavin and Darren standing in the house we were building at the time

When our children were growing up we were inseparable.  Gill is a delicate, tough person but cannot handle blood.  I am a tough career girl but cannot handle needles being shoved into my child’s little body.   As young mommy’s I did the blood thing and Gillian did the dentist and invasive tests thing.  She would give the kids a quarter of a Panado and a sermon about bravery and march them off to the dentist, x-rays etc….  I cleaned wounds and stuck plaster over wounds…We are the perfect team.  United against our children….

Vic’s 6th birthday party with Len and Gill’s kids…

When the boys got mumps Vic got mumps, when the boys got chicken pox Vic got chickenpox… Vic had her own bedroom in Gillian’s home.

I cried when her eldest, Darren, went to school the first time.  His little knees were so skinny and looked like matchsticks in his school pants.

Gillian used to relieve me when Vic was in hospital and Len (her husband) would take me for tea and anchovy toast.  Gillian is the first person I phone when I have a Vicky crisis.

After my divorce from Vic’s dad Len and Gill once drove to my new apartment at 2am and took turns in consoling me.  The other sat in the car with the two boys sleeping on the back seat!  In my single days I would go to Gillian for a cooked meal with vegetables…I never cooked!  The night before I remarried I spent the night with Len and Gill.  We laughed and joked and ate toast… Gillian dressed Vic and got her to church…

Gill is one of the most amazing people I know.  She is a friend in a million.

My friend is now semi-retired.  She lives in a beautiful game reserve in the most beautiful part of our country.  Her home is warm and welcoming – a safe haven to a myriad of friends and family.  Gill chats to the boys on BBM and is always 100% up to date on what is happening in their lives.  When I travel Gill will check on Vic every single day!

Yesterday the panic was sitting in my throat.  I felt as if I was choking.  Today Vic is great and Gillian is visiting.  I am calm and at peace.

Tonight Renée dropped off the greatest lasagna and a chocolate pudding.  I am in total awe of the love that we have been surrounded by and absolutely amazed at the kindness that Renée had shown…..  We live in Johannesburg – a concrete jungle!  I am so deeply touched!

So, tonight as my little girl finally settled into a deep and pain-free sleep I allowed myself the luxury of a couple of tears.  Tears of gratitude for the love we are surrounded by!  Tears of gratitude that the pain medication is working!  Tears of gratitude for a good day!

I know that the pain medication will only work for a week or two and then it will have to be increased again.  At what stage will Vic’s body not be able to handle the pain medication any longer?

But tonight I am not going to dwell on my questions.

Just tonight I will indulge in an early night.

The friend in my adversity I shall always cherish most. I can better trust those who helped to relieve the gloom of my dark hours than those who are so ready to enjoy with me the sunshine of my prosperity. – Ulysses S. Grant

 

My beautiful friend in a pensive moment….

 

We both laughed and the moment was over…


Vic 25.6.2012

Last night was a better night.  The additional anti-nausea injections are working.   I hope the antibiotics are working.

Hospice measured Vic’s SP02 levels today and it is between 84 and 88%.  I don’t think that is a good sign.  Lani, second eldest stepdaughter, phoned me last night and told me that she had chronic ill patients whose SP02 levels were as low as 70%.  Lani is a physiotherapist.  I felt better after our chat.

Vic is extremely tired.  She went out for coffee with her best friend, who, very recently, was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Vic is a compassionate and caring person and wanted to support her friend emotionally!  When she got home she had a lie down – for the rest of the day.

Tonight I helped her bath and wash her hair.  Poor poppet, she is so exhausted after her bath that she had to lie down and is taking a nap again.  Her hair is still damp but we will dry it later.  I hope she has a better night but I am not very optimistic.

Whilst I was rinsing Vic’s hair she said “Mommy what do people do that don’t have a family like mine”

“Oh sweetie, it must be very hard for them…”

“Sometimes I feel guilty because I take up so much time, money and attention from you.  I have taken up your entire life…” Vic said

“But sweetie, we love you!  What do you want us to do less for you to feel better?  Tell me and we will do it!”

We both laughed and the moment was over…

A while back I made a decision.  We do not have our own Hospice in our suburb.  We fall under the auspices of the Houghton (Johannesburg) and are literally the orphans of the system.  I am going to start a Hospice in Alberton.

This Hospice will focus on palliative care and will bring purpose to Vic’s suffering.  It will be a monument of her suffering and her compassionate nature.

 

Life is what life is….


We spent the entire day chilling!  We had a great day filled with laughter and joy.

Yuri and Chloe last summer

Life is so uncomplicated here.  There is laughter and joy.  There is discipline and tears.  There are toys on the floor and the smell of food in the air…  There are little hands that pick up and scribble.  Shrill voices that shriek “Oumie!!” when they are threatened with disciplinary action…  Hugs and kisses and lots of “I love you’s.”

Laughter and joy

In two days’ time I will return to South Africa.

Henk

I will leave behind my beautiful granddaughters, my son and his lovely wife.  I will take with me the memories of 10 carefree days of laughter and no responsibilities.  I will return to my structured and ordered life, the antiseptic smell of illness and medicine that permeates the air….

Yuri, Simone and Kari

Kari and Simone will come and spend the weekend.  Yuri, (who thinks I am the coolest gran in the world because I build armoured vehicles) will jump into my arms and ask where his cuzzies are; Jared and Jon-Daniel will volunteer to make me tea and tell me how quiet the house was without me; Henk will say “Hello Ouma… Did you have a good holiday?” in his deep voice; Vic will tear up and I will finally hear the truth about how she has been….

My son Danie, his wife Michaela and the 3 girls

In two sleeps time I shall return to my beautiful South African family and my life as I know it.

Vic and her boys

Life is what life is!

 

Jared and his little bro Jon-Daniel

 

UK day 3


I woke up at the crack of dawn when Chloe climbed into my bed with me.

“Oumie I cried for you when you went back to South Africa” she whispered as she crawled into my arms

“I cried for you too my baby” I said

“No Oumie, I looked.  You did not cry…”

Chloe was right.  I worked so hard to control my emotions, to not upset the girls further, when I left.  I swallowed my tears until the girls drove off with their Grandad.  As they pulled off I broke down and sobbed.  The tears were streaming down little Chloe’s face…

Today was all about laughing and fun.  I painted Georgia’s face – she wanted whiskers and Chloe wanted the South African flag.   They then decided to paint my face.  Chloe also decided to improve Georgia’s painted face ….

It took a little while to clean off all the face paint!

Face paint!

Yesterday Vic did not a great day.  She vomited and had severe intestinal cramping.  By today she has settled down and doing well.  I am so relieved.  Technology is amazing.  We Skype at night and BBM all day.  I spoke to both the boys tonight.   I miss them so much.

Many years ago Danie Jnr once said to me he always misses someone.  When he is with his Mom he misses his Dad… I often remember those words.  When I am in Johannesburg I miss him and his family.  When I am with him and his family I miss the South African kids and grandkids.

But for now I am basking in the love of my UK grandchildren and kids.  Life is great!