Christmas, December 1994 found us hiring an empty farmhouse for a week in the Haarlem District on the Eastern/Western Cape border, in the Bo-Kouga valley where Sheila’s brother, Neil Maling had bought a little farm. Their mother Vicky Maling lived with Neil and was the family Matriarch.
Friends Andy and Allison Dry, and Annie and Jean-Pierre Rossouw from Maun joined us. It was quality time in the beautiful Kouga Mountains.
Because vicious headaches were beginning to plague me around this time, I went to see Vicky’s doctor in the nearby town of Joubertina. She recommended that I go to see specialists in Johannesburg as that would be our next destination after a quick catch up with old friends, Bruce and Joey Barichievy, now farming near Haga Haga, and my daughter, Nicci Earle, who met up with us there.
In Johannesburg, where we stayed with Sheila’s eldest brother, Tom Maling and wife, Shirly, I made an appointment with an osteopath, Dr Berkenveld who had my neck x-rayed. He told me that there were no disintegrating discs or vertebrae to cause the problem. He sent me to a neurologist, Dr Kaplan, who booked me into Millpark Clinic for two days for a battery of tests, fortunately paid for by my company medical aid.
The tests included blood, an M.R.I. scan which revealed blocked sinuses and the most uncomfortable; the taking of a lumbar fluid sample. There was nothing they could find that would explain the headache across the back of my skull.
The only nice thing about the Millpark stay was a visit from friend Bert Sabatier’s daughter, Gay Sabatier, who was nursing there. Bert had a lot of good to say about his own doctor, a homeopath, Dr Potgieter, who had done away with a lot of Bert’s heart pills with good results, so I went to see him.
I told him that I had had all sorts of tests that had been fruitless, but none of the details. He peered into my eyes and informed me that the problem was that my sinuses were blocked. I had not told him that I already knew that! I was astounded. The Millpark doctors had assured me that sinuses were not the cause of my problem, but Potgieter said that the hollow bit in the bones vary considerably, and in my case probably continued to beyond my ears. He gave me some tiny pills, some drops to be put into a glass of water etc. (warts from a toad, boiled with cat’s brains and ground roots from the bulldust tree…)
Within a week, the headache was gone and, except when I had cerebral malaria later, has never returned.