Monday, March 12, 2018

Trip Cancelled - Boo!

I didn't fall off the face of the earth but i did fall. I slipped on some ice in a motel parking lot in Medford, Oregon. I broke my arm during that fall. I did a fine job of the break too! 

After the fall I drove to an urgent care center and had it looked at. During all of this I was texting with my daughter. Once we knew what we were dealing with my Son-in-law flew from Portland to Medford, drove me back and took me to the ER.

The ER doctors set my fracture with this creepy, Chinese finger trap thing and splinted my arm with instructions to see an orthopedic surgeon ASAP.

I ended up having to come back to Olympia to see a surgeon so I'm at my parent's house being spoiled and Murphy is at my daughter's house in Portland. 

I had surgery last Thursday to stabilize the fractures with a plate and screws. This is how it looks although this is not my arm.

I have decided to have my Airstream shipped up from Texas. It will give me a chance to get settled in while I'm having physical therapy. I think it'll be here next week.

So, I'll just be over here learning I am not in charge and to let people help me.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

The Journey Begins Anew

The day after tomorrow Murphy and I set out on our first adventure since three became two. There have been weeks and weeks of hard work making the leap from one chapter to the next. The weather hasn't helped my slug like behavior at all. We've had so much rain and even a few days of snow and really cold temperatures since Christmas.  My determination to spend some time on a beach in the sunshine is winning out and we are nearly ready to go. 

I mentioned before I intend to keep traveling so I needed to find and purchase a new rolling home. If you've been following along for a while you know we have had two brand new RVs and they have been complete junk. Nothing but problems from the beginning. This experience led me to look for something well made and significantly less likely to have major issues. I chose to purchase a pre-owned Airstream travel trailer. 

After weeks of looking I found one in Texas that belonged to a very kind and patient couple who didn't want to sell but in practicality they needed to sell. My son-in-law flew down to Dallas on a Saturday and met with a fellow Airstreamer for an informal inspection and walk through. They deemed it a safe purchase and just like that, I own an Airstream. It's a 2012 Airstream Bambi Sport 23FB. Thank you Ryan, Brian, Meg and Sean!

Having found my new rolling home it was time to find my tow vehicle. Again Ryan to the rescue! Murphy and I went to Portland for a few days and poor Ryan accompanied me all weekend while shopping for a new truck. He was very patient but we just couldn't find anything I felt was right and within my budget. 

I was just about to give up and go home when my daughter and I were having a conversation at breakfast and I decided to see what would come up on my search if I opted for a two wheel drive rather than a four wheel drive truck. Bingo! I found a beautiful truck just back over the Columbia River in Washington State so we packed up the kids and headed to the dealership. 

As soon as I drove the truck I knew it was "the one". It already had everything I planned to add like a bed liner, a hard tonneau cover and a towing package. It also has super low mileage and stilled has new car smell at four years old.

I'm at the tail end of sorting through everything I own and packing up what I plan to take to live in the Airstream. Once I'm all loaded up I plan to make the 2,600 mile drive to Texas to meet my new rolling home. This is a very rough idea of my route because it's winter!

I haven't had the time or the brain power to think of names for the truck or trailer or even the blog but I'm hoping after I get going they will come to me.  

Murphy and I will be staying in some motels on the way down but I'm hoping it will only take a few days to make the trip because yuck!!

Stay tuned for the next chapter!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Life Goes On In the Little RV

Today marks a full month since we lost Rob. Each and every day brings a new challenge. Some are blips, some are gut-wrenching and some are just downright ridiculous.  

Why does a funeral home choose to mail customer satisfaction surveys?

Why do I burst into tears every single time someone asks me how I am?

Why does Verizon require an official death certificate be shown in person at an official Verizon corporate store?

Why is the afternoon the hardest part of the day?

Why is it so hard to get all of the claim forms and other documents I need to do the things I am legally required to do?

I'll spare you the rest of my whys and start on what's next. 

I don't want to stop traveling. I've grown quite attached to the lifestyle. I know it will be different now.  I also know Rob was unable to help in any way for the last three years so I am confident in my ability to do everything myself.  

Funds will be tight for the foreseeable future. I've been meeting with a financial advisor who has helped me come up with a plan. I think it's a good one.  

I need to downsize. I don't need all of this space and I really can't afford it. My plan is to buy a quality, used RV and tow vehicle and continue with my travels. 

As much as I love the Pacific Northwest in the summer and fall I've had enough rain. I want to go somewhere sunny, warm and dry. 

So, I plan to continue to blog about my travels once I have my new rolling home. There are some things we really wanted to do but couldn't because of Rob's medical needs. 

We really wanted to boondock in the desert but we needed a lot of electricity. I can boondock now. There are places we couldn't go because it would have been too difficult for Rob to get around. I can do those things now. 

I feel like I have so much more to see and do out there. Like Alaska! I really want to go to Alaska. Maybe I'll join a group and take a trip there one summer. I'm sure Murphy would love Alaska.

See you soon!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Goodbye Rob, Rest Well in Heaven

I just wanted to take a minute to let everyone know that Rob went to heaven on Friday afternoon. It was the day before his 63rd birthday. I'm going to miss him terribly. 
At Christina's wedding

We were playing 60s and 70s music in his room shortly before he left us and they played "Life Goes On" which really struck me as poignant as it is so true for the rest of us. 
Meghan's Wedding

With Kelly
 Rest in peace my love and suffer no more.
Turning wood
He loved that trike.
Taking pictures in Montana
Mudding with the girls in his Jeep
Taking pictures in Michigan

Mackinac Island, Michigan

Lovin' on his boy just a couple of months ago.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Things are Changing and Time Marches on in the Little RV

As I write this post I am sitting across the room from Rob at my daughter's house in Portland, Oregon. Rob has chosen to discontinue dialysis. Without dialysis he cannot survive. 

We have placed him in Hospice care. They will make sure he is comfortable and help us through this transition. He's just across the room in the hospital bed they brought for him yesterday. He's sleeping and surrounded by people who love him very much.
Eating Chinese food!

I feel such a mix of emotions. I'm so grateful for the time we have had together. We were married in 1998 and within just a few months he was in the hospital having a triple bypass. There have been many, many episodes of serious illness since then. With each illness and new diagnosis he has become more and more disabled. 
In Key West last winter

Over the years we have often discussed his wishes for "when the time comes". I am confident I know what he wants and doesn't want. 

For now please keep us in your prayers. 
Thanks for everything blog family.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Rob Update, Winter Weather, Superheros and a Spaceship

The roller coaster ride continues. Rob is still in the hospital. It was three weeks as of yesterday. Things got pretty bad that first Thursday night and I heard the words "lets just get him through the night" once again. I made the decision to call his family to come out just in case. His mom, sister and two daughters arrived from the east coast the next day. 
From left to right, Lesa (sister), Kelly (youngest daughter), Meghan (oldest daughter) Sue (Mom)
The day after their arrival Rob rallied and was able to spend a little time with them in between much needed sleep. It seems he has used another of his nine lives. Danger passed, everyone headed home on Monday.

This is basically the same thing that happened in Tucson two and a half years ago but this time it started with low blood sugar, aspiration pneumonia and two calls to 911. 

We've been dealing with respiratory failure, kidney failure and heart failure, an awful combination. There isn't much they can do for him without making one of his conditions worse. They are managing him mostly with medications. By the middle of the second week it became clear he would need dialysis.

His pneumonia is resolved and they managed to get the fluid out of his lungs from his congestive heart failure so it appears he is over the hump for now. His heart is functioning at about 30% and his kidneys are functioning at about 10%. 

This is his second longest hospital stay ever. Ugh! But we have good news. He's doing so much better.
Over the last couple of weeks he's been moved to the 4th floor and taken off the heart monitor. He's also having routine dialysis three days a week. 

More recently he's been getting out of bed and into a chair for meals and just yesterday he left his room and walked to the nurses station with assistance. These are tremendous milestones. 

There are no openings for dialysis up and down the I-5 corridor in Washington so he's in the hospital until something opens up. He's not the first in line by any stretch so we have no way of knowing how long he'll be there. 

He's working with Physical Therapy to get strong enough to come home instead of a rehab center when a dialysis spot opens up. Fingers crossed.

Meanwhile, back on the homestead it got really cold here very suddenly. We had snow two days in a row and it became clear that something had to be done or we were in for a long and very miserable winter. 
That's snow on the hood!!

We have tile floors and with the cold air blowing under the RV those floors were cold as ice.  
My nephew Bob and my brother Bruce

Enter my own personal superheros. My brother Bruce and nephew Bob completely skirted the motorhome with foam insulation board. 

They also insulated and heat taped our fresh water hose to keep it from freezing and finally they set me up with a couple of jumbo propane tanks to keep the home fires burning. I added some area rugs inside and now we're toasty warm. 

Anyone need a ride to outer space? 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Update on Our Late Summer and Fall Happenings

It's been almost two months since I wrote a blog post. Those months have been absolutely filled with medical appointments of every specialty.  

We've spent a lot of time talking and thinking about reasonable travel plans for the winter. Given Rob's declining health situation, making a marathon trip around the country is completely out of the question. It's just too much for him these days.

We thought we might just head down to Arizona after Christmas for some sun and warm temperatures. However, as I write this, Rob is in the hospital with pneumonia. 

It's tricky to explain how and why pneumonia is so much worse for him than an average, generally healthy person. It exacerbates his other medical conditions. His CHF (congestive heart failure) has flared up now and he has fluid in his lungs along with phenomena. If the doctors don't get the CHF in check it will cause his kidney function to decline which may push him over the edge onto permanent dialysis. 

So, travel plans are on hold until we see what comes of this illness for Rob.  

We are realizing we need an exit strategy sooner rather than later. When we started this journey five and a half years ago we sold our house and pared down our possessions to what we could carry with us in our RV. We don't regret that decision but all good things must come to an end.

I've been spending mornings and early afternoons at the hospital and coming home for the later afternoon and evening so Murphy and I can hang out and get some exercise. The weather has been great the last couple of days so we have been able to get outside.

Meanwhile, life continues on as we ponder our future.