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!

Clipped Wings

2020 showed so much promise for travel and adventure and then, like everyone else on the planet, our plans were derailed by COVID-19.  As one neighbor put it, “our wings have been clipped.” And while we wait out the stay-at-home orders and nationwide closures, we are dreaming of our next road trip.

IMG_7802After leaving Austin earlier than planned on March 18 we headed towards home via Waco, Midland, TX, and Las Cruces, NM.

It was a much faster trip coming home…about five days. On the way back to Arizona we witnessed increasing shutdowns of rest areas, stores, and restaurants.  Empty grocery store shelves caused even greater discombobulation.  Every day brought a scary new reality. Many of those new realities seem to be sticking around for awhile.IMG_7846

For the last month we’ve been glad to be off the road and in the safety of our little townhome in Prescott, AZ.  It’s not a bad place to be if you have to be grounded! IMG_7916Throughout April we’ve stayed very close to home, venturing out just to go to the grocery store or to get exercise. We can hike the trails right from the house, and we enjoy some of the country’s best mountain bike trails.

Our little community has grown closer during this time. Ever since stay-at-home order was issued, we have been gathering (with appropriate social distance) in the parking lot at 4:00 p.m every day for happy hour. IMG_7885 It’s BYOB and chair and it only lasts an hour but it’s a been a great way to stay connected and support one another. We’ve even celebrated birthdays while following the recommended guidelines for safety! It’s been a great time to be in Prescott with beautiful weather and lots of outside time.IMG_7077Later this week I’m headed in to have surgery on my foot in hopes that four years of pain while hiking and walking will be addressed.  Now that elective surgeries are being done in Arizona, I jumped on the opportunity to get my issues addressed while we are grounded at home. I plan to do a few blog posts here to report on this next adventure.

Here’s hoping you and yours are healthy and safe!

Quartzsite and LTVAs

We are excited to begin our first really big road trip as RVers. If all goes to plan (and we know it won’t) we’ll be on the road for about 10 weeks, drive over 3,600 miles through four states in the southwestern US, and experience some incredible events.


As a rite of passage we began our big trip in Quartzsite AZ during The Big Tent RV show. In this area, dry camping is done on either free BLM land or in long- term visitor areas ( LTVAs) which are large desert areas that offer limited trash, sewer, and water services on-site.


There are no assigned spaces and very few rules. You just find spot in the desert and make it yours.


It’s $40 for two weeks or $180 for the entire season, so it attracts quite a variety of people!


RVers come from all over to take part in various events.  Some come for the rock and gem shows and some come for the entire winter season to enjoy the near-perfect weather. We were here for four days of the ten day RV show and that was enough.


If you like swap meets, fair food, and riding ATVs, this place is for you. Set up around town you’ll find temporary bars, makeshift grocery stores, and lots of vendors selling rocks.


While I’m in a boot while walking to try to heal my sore foot, the doctor cleared me for biking. So, we enjoyed a little mountain bike riding through the desert and of course some beautiful sunsets.


However, camping in the desert with no services amidst a lot of dusty ATV traffic gets old quickly.


Still, Quartzsite in January is “the place to be,” and we enjoyed the RV show, swap meets, and the festive atmosphere.


After four nights we headed south seeking a bit more tranquility. 

We found what we were looking for at Squaw Lake which is adjacent to the Imperial Dam LTVA site in Winterhaven, CA.


Originally we planned to use our 14-day LTVA pass that we bought for Quartzsite. However, the Imperial Dam LTVA, located near the Yuma Proving Grounds, offered separate fee areas that were more picturesque and had more services. Squaw Lake Campground is basically a parking lot turned into a campground. With asphalt, showers, and flush toilets, it is worth the $7.50 per night. And the views were worth a million bucks.


Squaw Lake is connected to the Colorado River and is teeming with bird life. Over our three days here we soaked in the tranquility and beautiful views.

Our kayak would have come in handy here but instead we explored the nearby LTVA by bike and Steve got in some good long runs.


Look at the picture below. You can see all of the RVs that dot the landscape in the LTVA behind Steve.


The LTVA here is huge and broken into numerous neighborhoods. The campers here come back year after year. They even have a little “liberry,” a converted old Airstream, where you can exchange books.


We met people from all over who are basically doing what we’re doing: roaming from place to place and enjoying whatever adventures present themselves   We’re sure there are more adventures ahead.