The New Year Brings New Challenges

Liz at Beau Ridge Casino
Christmas scene at Beau Rivage
Beau Rivage Lobby

We ended 2016 and started 2017 with a New Year’s trip to Biloxi, MS. If you have read some of our previous posts, you may know that we occasionally stop at casinos for a little entertainment. Well, if you haven’t been to Biloxi and like casino hopping it might be a place for you to consider.  It is a small city on the Gulf and easy to navigate. It has several great casinos, numerous RV parks, great sights and some great restaurants. The Boomtown casino has its own RV park with concrete pads and full hook ups for only twenty some dollars a night.

Bloody Mary on New Years Day
Oysters Bordeau at the Half Shell Oyster House

For the most part Liz and I had a great 2016. We were on the road more than home, had no major mishaps, saw a big section of this great country, attended several rallies and made many new friends. It was not, however, without its challenges.  We had our own ongoing  health issues and spent about five weeks managing my mother’s situation in Illinois.

When we returned home in November our goal was to get our bodies fixed and the house ready for the market in the Spring.  Our challenge to meet that goal became more complicated when Liz hurt her back trying to hold the dog back from chasing a golf cart in our neighborhood.  The twisting force caused her to herniate a disc in her upper spine which then pressed on the nerves connected to her shoulder and arm causing pain and some loss of use.  One doctor wanted to do surgery immediately and one wanted to wait 30 days to see how much improvement in her condition would occur.  We chose to wait the 30 days as the pain seemed manageable.  While in Biloxi, Liz  bent over to pick up something and felt a sharp pain in her lower back.  Unknown to us at the time was that the herniated disc injury  probably aggravated a 4 year old injury to her lower back which  ended up flaring up over New Years when she bent over.  Without going through all the trials and tribulations we had dealing with the local doctors since then,  we have finally ended up at the Mayo Spine Clinic in Jacksonville, FL.  We went there on January 17th.  She has at least 7 compression fractures in her spine and one herniated disc.  The good news is that we are hopeful that  we will find a path forward for a full recovery.  We return on the 31st for a followup.

Now…… We still have my knees and eyes to deal with.  The knees  have been a problem on and off for the whole Summer and Fall.    Without going into a lot of detail my knees have a lot of arthritis in them and the right knee has two tears in the meniscus.  So, the doctor has given me some medicine to hold me over till we can schedule arthroscopic surgery.  However, the long term solution appears to be total knee replacement.  As far as my eyes are concerned, before I left in June, my optometrist advised me that I would need cataract surgery when I returned.  I saw an ophthalmologist this month and I am scheduled for lens replacement on January 25th.    The good news is that I upgraded from the basic lenses and I shouldn’t have to wear glasses.

I tried to keep the medical descriptions of this post as short as possible, because I didn’t want to bore everyone with our personal health issues, but medical issues are an important consideration for everyone planning an RV lifestyle.  We are fortunate to have good insurance that is accepted nation wide so we are further ahead than many folks in that category.  I know with the unknown changes that might occur with the health care system under the new administration, many folks are concerned as to what their situation might be in the future.  Our concerns are more on the side of how debilitating the issue might be and can we handle it living in the RV?   Our answer to that question so far is yes.  We see no reason that our current medical situation couldn’t be managed from the RV.   The only real obstacle are the steps into the coach.  With Liz’s issue, its not a challenge  right now.  When it comes time to replace my knees, the steps will be a problem for a time.  My initial thoughts are that we can impose on our children and put the RV in short term storage.

I think in the vast majority of situations there is always a way to meet your medical needs and still stay in the RV.  We would normally schedule a return to our regular doctors for the routine stuff at a specific time of year.  If we needed to return for some emergency that we didn’t want to handle elsewhere, we would simply fly or drive the car back and leave the RV wherever it might be.  We would do the same for a family emergency.  If we couldn’t take the dog, he would have to go to a local kennel for a few days.  If it turns out that the time away from the RV would be longer, that can be worked out too.  FMCA members have a benefit where someone will drive your RV to your home location if you are unable to due to medical reasons.  The important thing is to be thinking about a plan of action and have a Plan A and a Plan B in mind should something happen.

Our situation has forced us to cancel our plans for the Tampa Super Show and our reunion with the Newmar Kountry Klub and Hoots folks.  To those of you who happen to check into this blog, we hope you all have a great time and we miss you!!