The Mundane of RV Living

Our COVID-19 RV travels are continuing, carefully, in Central Oregon. We had a great two day stay at La Pine State Park and wish we could have stayed longer. The park is just south of Bend, situated right on the banks of the Deschutes River, and has a ton of easy mountain bike trails.  IMG_8566This gave me an opportunity to get back on the bike for more than a few minutes and Steve a chance to try out trail running with his injured collarbone. 

We both loved it!  Flat single track along the river and nice weather made this stop one that illustrates why we love RV travel. 

But let’s be real…it’s not always champagne and roses when you tow your home with you wherever you go. This blog post will focus a bit more on the day-to-day realities of RV travel, rather than the places and adventures we’ve experienced. In fact, here are nine realities of living in an RV, especially during a pandemic.

  1. Many of the highlights and “must see” attractions are closed.  Along the way we’ve seen tours (yes, brewery tours!) and parks that we’d love to explore. However, due to the pandemic, they are not operating.  Most of the pools and recreational features at the RV parks are also off-limits.  We expected this but still it’s kind of a bummer to see something cool and be unable to check it out.IMG_8551
  2. You still have to do laundry! And it’s not always pleasant when you don’t have your own fancy front loaders and laundry room. Here at the Thousand Trails Bend/Sunriver RV Park the laundry room was pretty scuzzy and the machines weren’t very fast.IMG_8540
  3. You don’t get your daily mail. I love getting the mail and take for granted the ability to walk outside and open my mailbox each day.  Last week we had our wonderful neighbors, Nancy and Tom, send us our mail from the last month. It was quite an ordeal. Long story short, we sat at these mailboxes in the middle of nowhere for over two hours before we finally received our package, which was already a day later than guaranteed. IMG_8531
  4. Some really fancy RVs have dishwashers. We, on the other hand, have a dish drainer and some cute kitchen towels!
  5. Electric power is variable. At each stop we either have 20, 30, or 50 amps of power or nothing. This number determines if we can run the A/C at the same time as the microwave and if I can blow dry my hair while the electric water heater is on. At the Bend/Sunriver Park, an older park, the power was on and then off and then…
  6. Steve has to “dump” regularly. Yes, it’s a reality and practicality of RV living…the water and sewer tanks must be emptied on a regular basis. Sometimes we have a sewer connection a the site but often in the Thousand Trails parks you have to visit the dump station to empty the waste. IMG_0136
  7. Speaking of sewer, did you know you have to treat the sewer tank after it’s emptied? Yep, every time Steve dumps, I have to pour a little bit of this stuff into the toilet to help “break down the solids.” Yes, we’ve learned some pretty gross things on this journey.IMG_8549
  8. We are big Costco customers, but can’t buy in bulk while traveling in less 300 square feet. Our 8 cubic foot refrigerator/freezer barely gives us the room to keep a little frozen food and the necessities for a few days. More frequent trips to the grocery store seem to be a reality of living like this. IMG_8547
  9. We interact with very few people along the way and that leaves us missing our family and friends. Because of the pandemic, we stay to ourselves the majority of times. Luckily we like each other, but we do miss hanging out with our neighbors in the Mahogany Lane parking lot!IMG_8539All of this said, we are very grateful to have this opportunity and know how lucky we are to be able to travel this way and see our country. Regardless of the mundane tasks and inconveniences of RV travel, it is really the best way to see the United States up close. While the pandemic continues to rage on, we feel safe motoring along in our self-contained, moving home. IMG_8560

One highlight of our stop in Bend was a visit with my cousin Tom Zimmerman and his family. Wife Kelly prepared a tasty BBQ meal and we got to spend time with their three girls, Zoe, Laney, and Kira. Connecting with family, far and near, is certainly one of the benefits of RV travel. IMG_8558We’re in Bend for a few more days, taking care of business…oil change, haircuts, groceries, etc. and enjoying the beautiful scenery, world-renowned breweries, and endless bike trails. Even though this blog post focuses mostly on day-to-day RV living, we have really fallen in love with Bend and the surrounding area. It will be hard to leave but next we are heading north into Washington State. Until then… IMG_8538.JPG

Nine Days Post Op

Note: This post includes photos that some might find a little gory.  You’ve been warned.

I’ve had a number of people check in to see how yesterday’s doctor appointment went so I guess that means a new blog post is in order.  Let’s step back just a bit…

Nine days ago I underwent Lapiplasty surgery on my left foot to correct the alignment of my toes. It’s basically the newest approach to fixing bunions, which in my case, were causing pain in the ball of my foot and in my toes.  I described the process in this post.

Yesterday we drove to Scottsdale to see Dr. McAlister for the first follow up appointment. I was so relieved when Yenzie, the medical assistant, immediately took me back and proceeded to cut off the splint I’d been in for the past week.  Underneath the exterior wrap, my entire lower leg was wrapped in gauze. That’s when I first saw the blood stains. Immediately I asked her if that was normal, and she assured me that it was. Okay, keep breathing…

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Once she got the splint off and removed the bandages I could see the incision and sutures.  While it’s a bit repulsive for me to look at, I snapped a few shots and was immediately amazed that it wasn’t more bruised and swollen. It looks pretty awful, but I guess I was expecting much worse.

Dr. McAlister seemed pleased with the progress and said I need one more week before the stitches can come out.  The x-rays showed that the toes are now in alignment and my new, shiny hardware is in place.  It will be 6-8 weeks before the bones are fully fused if everything goes as planned. Until then I will be in a boot.

Over the next week I’ve got to be careful not to put much weight on it, wear my boot when up on my feet, and continue to use my pretty pink scooter.  My primary job right now is to continue to elevate and ice my foot. The great news is that it’s easier to sleep with my newly wrapped foot and I’m off the pain meds. Even though it’s a challenge to get around, it feels like great progress.IMG_7960

Steve continues to be an excellent nurse. He brings me ice, food, water, and treats. He’s been shopping, cleaning, doing laundry, and all the other things that I can’t get up to do. I’m certainly lucky to have him as my wing man. And soon we’ll be ready to hit the road again in the RV.  Until then, it’s all about the boot and the pink scooter.

 

Lapiplasty and the road to recovery

As I mentioned in the last post, our wings have been clipped in more ways than one. The COVID-19 pandemic took us and our rig off the road literally. And since we were going to be home indefinitely it seemed like a good time to address a long-standing problem I’ve been having with my feet. Let’s go back…

After nearly 30 years of leading management workshops while wearing (beautiful) high heeled shoes and then running over a dozen half-marathons (not to mention high arches, thanks Mom!) my feet were trashed. I was hiking fewer and fewer miles before the pain hit and running has been out of the question for awhile. Since retiring four years ago I’ve sought relief from numerous doctors, received shots in four different places in my feet, tried massage, physical therapy, chiropractic, and acupuncture treatments. Nothing seemed to provide relief.

Earlier this year I found Dr. Jeff McAlister at the Phoenix Foot and Ankle Institute. After multiple diagnostics he determined that a bunion was creating the pain in the balls of my feet. However, rather than treating the issue with a traditional bunionectomy where they shave off part of the big toe joint, he recommended a Lapiplasty 3D bunion correction. This procedure realigns the toes at the base and thus straightens and stabilizes the entire joint. Of course it’s more technical than that, but you get the idea. This picture isn’t my x-ray, but you can see the hardware I now have.

Having elective surgery in the age of COVID-19 created a few challenges. First, the surgery was delayed for about a month until the Governor lifted restrictions. Then I could not have the procedure without a negative COVID test two days prior to the surgery. Luckily the hospital mobilized quickly to make sure the tests were available and processed in a timely manner. P.S. the nasal swab is NOT fun.

On the day of the surgery we went to the outpatient facility and got right in. In fact there were only a few other patients that day and it felt like I had the place to myself, along with plenty of nurses , technicians, and doctors. I was in and out of surgery in about an hour and home before 4:00 with a wonderful thing called a nerve block. I couldn’t feel the lower half of my leg for 24 hours and I was tricked into thinking this was going to be easy!

Now that the nerve block has worn off and the post surgical pain has set in I’m managing with ice, elevation, and pain medication. My hope is that the pain begins to subside in the next few days. However, so far it’s not been easy or fun. Poodles, neighbors, and a wonderful nurse named Steve are getting me through. I’ll go back to see Dr. McAlister in one week to hopefully have stitches removed and to receive a walking boot. Until then I’m non-weight bearing and learning to get around on my cute pink scooter.

Thanks for reading and I’ll post an update when something noteworthy transpires. In the meantime you can find me either in bed or on the couch, but wishing we were on the road again!