Jy blaai in die argief vir 2009 Oktober.

Dad: all the thank you’s

Oktober 31, 2009 in Sonder kategorie

Johan Daniel Herselman 29-03-1926 to 31-10-2009



Ever the gentleman, he even waited until a decent hour to die (06h00 this morning). He was always worried about me having to go out when it’s dark. And he knew how much I like to sleep late on a Saturday morning, instead of sitting up, coughing with the birds…

A remarkable man indeed, one who yesterday still offered his hand for a handshake every time a dominee walked in (there were three at his bedside at different times yesterday).

One man that I have to really thank, is Willie Badenhorst, my schoolpal-dominee. On Monday night, he spent two hours with me in casualty while waiting for my dad to be admitted to a ward. He visited my dad every day, and came twice on yesterday. Last night, at about 18h00, a huge storm hit Gauteng, and by that time I was alone with my dad again after my brother Gerhard left.

It was comforting to have Willie sit with me watching my dad falling deeper and deeper into a peaceful sleep while we talked about this and that from days gone by.

I drew great comfort from his friendship this week. Thanks to his wife Andra who allows her husband to serve the Lord by being the kind of “involved”, community orientated people’s person he is.

Also thank you to Jackie and Ludi Birk and their daughters, Lare and especially Helet, for looking after my kids at the drop of a hat, even after Jackie (also a breast cancer survivor) had to undergo painful but extremely important tests on Thursday at the same hospital where Dad was. Thank you that nothing is ever too much trouble when it comes to the Salzwedels!

My other two friends, Cornelia Louw and Lynette Lourens (both breast cancer survivors) for coming to pray for Dad and for being there for all of us in different ways. Cornelia took the kids on Monday when the ambulance fetched Dad, and, as often in the past, she held my arms high.

To Martha Moroke, my domestic manager and soul sister, for keeping the household going, not only this week, but during the last 13 months since Oupa moved in. She was the one constant factor in my life the last eight years, through a stormy marriage, a painful divorce and the death of two parents.

To Dad’s carers Patricia and Busi, especially for the last few days before he was hospitalised, but also for all the love and care they bestowed on him over the last few months. Also Jane, who despite her own troubles, came to help with Dad on Thursdays.

For Sophia Kapp, soul-sister and friend, for all the SMS’s. Also, all my other colleagues and friends from all over the country, both in “real life” and in blogland. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and soul for being there in so many different ways this week.

And to the (patient) editors: I’m trying, I’m trying…

(I slept a solid seven hours today. The bronchitis still very much with me. Watched the rugby. Such a pity the Cheetahs had to play against Jonathan Kaplan and the other refs as well. Now, back to bed for me…)

My dad passed away

Oktober 31, 2009 in Sonder kategorie

Quietly at six this morning. The hospital called me at about 10 past.

I went to see him quickly, and he looks peaceful. At last he can rest from the dreadful pain of this week and the sadness of the last 15 months. I know he is with mom and with his beloved Heavenly Father.

Thanks Dad, for everything that you taught us with and through your life. For all the sacrifices you and Mom made for us. For the example you set. And for your love right until the end. I will miss you, but you deserve the rest.

Crying and laughing while watching somebody die

Oktober 30, 2009 in Sonder kategorie

Sat with my dad since 10h00 this morning. The plan was to just go and visit for the visiting hour, because I need to work if I want to pay my bills next week.

When I got there, I found him all bewildered, both hands restrained and the drip in the other hand. Apparently he pulled out the drip several times during the night, and they had no choice but to restrain him.

It’s not clear what he tried to do when I found him (in a private room) but he was red in the face with his blue eyes wide and wild. Like that of a trapped animal. Luckilly my friend Cornelia was with me, because it was quite a shock to see him in this state. Calmed him down, and he “talked” the whole time. I could only catch a word here and there. Voice almost gone.

It was finally time to start him on morphine. 2mg every 2 hours.

Prayed, talked, read from the Bible, prayed some more, held ice for him to suck on, held his hand, prayed… At about 13h00 my brother from Pretoria came. We found that reading from the Bible calms him – not surprising, as he was always a devout son of God. He clung to our hands with all his might, and at times cried out in pain (abdominal area). Tried to pull off the hospital gown (easier to dress him in that than in his own pyjamas). When we pulled it back, he pulled it down again. A nice little tug of war that almost made us forget the seriously sad situation we’re in. Then Dad lost his patience with us, and demanded a knife. Yep, a knife, because he wants to cut the damn thing off. When my brother nicely refused the knife, my dad really lost his temper (something he has done only a few times in my life) and angrily gave him a look that could kill. And just to drive home the point, made a fist at him. You could tick me over with a feather. I have never seen my dad do that in my entire life. So, by this time my boet and I are almost in stitches, with Dad still gaaning aan about the knife.

“Bring die dem ding hierso, dan wys ek jou”, he says angrily to my brother. “Maar ek HET mos al vir jou gewys, stupid.” Loud and clear, and now we are almost peeing our pants. Of which my dad finally had enough. He shook his finger at my brother and said: “As ons nou huis toe gaan, gaan ek jou gatvelle aftrek!” (Which, in English, means you will end up with no skin on your behind.”)  

For the whole last year that I have been looking after him, I was called different names. Ma, Susan, Suzie (all my mother’s pet names) or Marlize (my sister’s name). Sometimes even Piet! (Who the hell was Piet, you may ask. Let me know if you find out, as I still wonder.) But seldom Ilse.

But tonight, as I lie with my head on his arm, I get shat upon from a dizzy height: “Man, demmit Ilse, le nou stil.”

So, several good giggles were had by all.

As always, my friends were there when I needed them: with sms’s, calls, flowers, looking after my kids, baking (scones and muffins in my kitchen when I got home). My dad was visited today by three dominees who prayed for him. Willie (ex-bf-turned-dominee) came twice. If only my dad knew that the boyfriend he chased away in St 8 turned into a lovely, talented and dedicated preacher with a passion.

When I left, he was already on morphine every hour, and sleeping peacefully.

Now I’m starting to see double. I think the sleeping tablet might have something to do with that. Must just go past the pot of honey with the muti for my coughing. Naait, naait.

It’s too much now

Oktober 29, 2009 in Sonder kategorie

Went to the hospital tonight (after taking a break of a few hours this afternoon), and found my dad pulled out his drip, tried to pull of the nappy and kicked all the blankets off the bed. Totally bewildered, just staring into nothingness with his watery blue eyes. As it was exactly at 19h00, the nurses were handing over shifts. They immediately came to calm him down and clean the bed.

So, I had to make another difficult call: it seems like it’s time to restrain him. At least one hand, so that he can’t pull out the drip, and injure himself anymore (yesterday it was the catheter).

After they cleaned him and the bed, he was totally exhausted. After reading a piece from the Bible, I prayed for him. This seemed to calm him down.

I also told him that it is fine if he wants to go to my mom, that I will manage on my own and that I know he is suffering. I know zilch about what one should say to dying people, and really wish that this could end now. I don’t know for how long I can keep this up. I wonder why God chose me (out of four siblings) to watch two parents die?

My flu turned into bronchitis. Barking like a dog. My friend Jackie mixed up a concoction of honey and some Lennon’s medicines. Hopefully I can sleep tonight, as I couldn’t for the better part of last night.

What will tomorrow bring?

Jansen’s new groupie

Oktober 29, 2009 in Sonder kategorie

So, now Julius Malema supports Jansen, and it is okay!!?? Whoopee, Julius, my man! Where would other thinking people be without you?

Everybody supports Jansen, but the ANCYL “wants to kill racists”. And then Magic Malema steps in, and all is okay! All of a sardine Jansen is doing the right thing.

Just wondering who the enemy is that Jansen shouldn’t be fed to… Freestate ANCYL perhaps? And since when is Jansen “one of us”? He has always been quite outspoken against the ANC. But maybe I just don’t understand Malema…

What a weird country we live in. Here’s the News 24 update on Malema’s meeting with Jansen:  

Bloemfontein – ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema has come out in full support of University of the Free State rector Jonathan Jansen remaining in his position.

“We do not agree with any call that he must go,” Malema told reporters after a meeting with Jansen, who has come under wide-spread criticism for offering a pardon to the so-called Reitz four.

“Jansen is one of our own,” he later told students. “We cannot feed Jansen to the enemy.”

Malema said as a youth organisation, the ANCYL could not stand in the way of students who wanted to return to university, but disciplinary steps should then be taken against them.

“They must apologise and show remorse when they come back,” said Malema.

TRC-like process

He said that ANCYL had “frank” talks with the rector to say that certain issues must change.

Addressing students, Malema said that the Reitz issue was not about individuals, but the institution.

He said the ANCYL agreed with Jansen that a Truth and Reconciliation Commission-like process should be instituted at the university.

Everybody, black and white, should be able to express their feelings at such a forum as to how they had been affected by racism on the campus.

Malema said he agreed with Jansen that the institution was still racially divided.

Under fire

Jansen came under fire after announcing that the Reitz Four would be allowed to return to campus and continue their studies if they wanted to.

RC Malherbe, Johnny Roberts, Schalk van der Merwe and Danie Grobler still face charges of crimen injuria in court.

Two of the students have already completed their studies, but two others are planning to return to campus.

The four allegedly made a video in which five black university employees were shown taking part in a mock initiation into hostel activities.

The employees were filmed on their hands and knees eating food which had apparently been urinated on by a white student.

Jansen’s decision drew wide-spread criticism, causing him to start a “consultation process” about the matter.


Same story, different day

Oktober 29, 2009 in Sonder kategorie

Dad’s condition unchanged. Sleeping mostly, with no complaints of pain. I am planning to sit with him the whole day, as at least here I won’t have to answer landline calls with endless enquiries.

Sick as a dog from flu – had a BAD night coughing away, despite treating myself from minute one with all the right meds (Tamiflu, amongst others). One kid already has it, and the other one is starting.

Nurses here very thorough. That’s a huge relief. Will from today on treat him every two hours for bedsores. Must go and find a sheepskin thingie to put under him.

Update: dad, Rooi Rose/CANSA-tea, Frieda’s book

Oktober 28, 2009 in Sonder kategorie

Sitting with him in hospital. He’s not in pain, but gets very agitated at times (dementia). Pulled the catheter out, ball-thingie (valve)? and all. Still enough presence of mind to get mad about the wet nappy (although he has been wearing them for over a year, he was only partly incontinent up till now.)

Shakes in his hands (Parkinsons) worst ever – it looks like a cold fever hit him.

His speech has deteriorated since yesterday – was barely audible recently (Parkinsons affects the vocal chords very early on, making the voice softer and softer) but add to this the dementia and physical weakness, and you can understand why I’m the one walking around the hospital with a dumbfounded look…

The Rooi Rose/Cansa-tea was the perfect place to launch Frieda’s book. Almost 1 500 very smartly dressed women with beautifully decorated, elegant teatables and high tea-style snacks! A beautiful event, with Anna Davel as guest artist and breast cancer survivor Carike Keuzenkamp as guest speaker.

I didn’t stay till the end, as I had to get home for dad, as well as the kids. Luc was convinced his arm was broken (result of a bit of wrestling) and so tearful that I felt I had to have it checked out. After wasting 2 hours waiting for the doctor, turns out it’s only a bad bruise. Zoe has a heavy cold, and it seems the flu I was trying to ward off with Tamiflu, will turn into laringitis.

Imagine what a conversation between Dad and I will sound like tomorrow … 🙂

Dad, Die Engele Om My, Funnies for today

Oktober 28, 2009 in Sonder kategorie

The dreaded call from hospitaldidn’t come during the night. As Dad’s pain is increasing, I went to bed last night fearing that this might be the night where the phone will ring.

Frieda Bernard, the brave cancer survivor and author of the newly published Die Engele Om My (the story of her struggle against cancer for the past 10 years, the manuscript I helped to develop) was meant to launch her book in style at Cansa Pretoria’s annual zhoosh morning tea (Rooi Rose is the main sponsor for the last how many yonks). LAPA publishers had a small launch for Frieda at Die Boekehuis last week Wednesday, and on the way there her daughter phoned me to say her mother won’t make it, could I please do it.

It turned out that Frieda had a stroke that morning. I am so sad for her. She started her 7th series of chemo on October 16th (your body can seldom handle more than three series in a LIFETIME, as it affects the heart and other organs). It all became just too much for her poor battered body, but she is still not giving up her fight and is trying to get her speech and movement back with the help of experts and a neurologist. Hats off to my very brave friend!

Anyway, today is the CANSA-tea and the big book launch, and Frieda’s place will be empty. Hopefully most of the ladies there (a few hundred) will buy the book and take courage from Frieda’s battle. (The book is also excellent reading material for family members and friends of cancer sufferers.)

Will quickly pop in with dad, and then go to Pretoria and attend the function as a salute to brave Frieda!

Funnies for today:

The premenstrual nurse, and a funny one

Oktober 27, 2009 in Sonder kategorie

Sitting with my dad. My ex-schoolboyfriend-turned-dominee happened to be in the hospital to see other people after ops, phoned me and asked if he could quickly come up to this floor to pray for my dad. The I see the catheter has leaked all over the bed and floor, so I ask them to clean it up. We wait outside, softly talking.

The obviously-premenstrual-or-I-haven’t-had-sex-in-ten-years unit manager storms over to us. (All the nurses and sisters have seen me and my brother sitting with my dad today, and didn’t have any complaints.) “Do you know it’s not visiting hours?” she says, angrily and with that arrogance that a little bit of authority give some people. Yes, we do, my dominee-friend says. “I am just the dominee coming to pray for my friend’s dad.”

She looks him up and down, obviously not believing a real dominee should go around wearing shorts and a T-shirt.

“And I want to sit with my dying dad,” I say as calmly as possible. “But we have to wait outside as they have to clean everything.” 

And, lo and behold, instead of just saying “okay, well” or “sorry” or “have lots of fun” or “good luck”, she claps her hands like a schoolmarm, and explains visiting hours again. “Just so you understand it for the future.”

“What future, you stupid bitch?” I wanted to ask (but my dominee-friend would have had heart failure). My dad could be dead by tomorrow, and I must stick to visiting hours while not bothering a soul? (My dad is in a private room away from other patients, and I sit with him quietly.)

Anyhoo, here is a funny one sent by a friend. 




There is a new study about women and how they feel about their asses; the results were pretty interesting:

30% of women think their ass is too fat…………
10% of women think their ass is too skinny……

The remaining 60% say they don’t care, they love him, he’s a good man, and they wouldn’t trade him for the world!



Latest update on my dad

Oktober 27, 2009 in Sonder kategorie

He is calm and sedated. Spoke to the specialist this morning. He said his not going to order a scan, unless we insist. Said it will be a waste of R7 500, as he won’t be able to treat anything he sees on there. Like the other two doctors since yesterday, he believes the severe back pain is a result from the prostate cancer spreading to the bones, something the hospice sister also suggested on Saturday. The severe abdominal pain just above the bladder makes it even more logical that it is indeed the prostate cancer.

So, the treatment will be to ensure that he stays pain-free.