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Friday, December 31, 2021

Follow-up #1

Lynne and I both had follow-up doctor visits this week. We are both making progress but also have a way to go.

Lynne's foot has improved some. The doctor would have liked to see more growth of soft tissue and calcification to her break, but it had not gotten any worse. She is relegated to at least another month in her boot. She is also on some supplements to aid in bone growth and we are looking into a device that helps stimulate bone growth.

My follow-up also went well. We got x-rays, so now know what was done. 1 plate and 12 screws--I'm not sure how there can be that much room in my wrist, but the x-rays don't lie. I start some "range of motion" physical therapy next week, and will get another checkup in a month. I'm told that healing will take 3+ months.

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Posted under: Stuff You Gotta Know! • by Rick on 12/31/2021 at 10:17 AM
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Friday, December 17, 2021

Not the short vacation we had hoped for

It has been a very long time since I did a blog post. We've sold the cabin, so our Off-The-Grid blog, while still online, is no longer active. This site used to be my (Rick's) personal blog site, but we may migrate it into a new site for capturing our adventures. But, I digress...

I am finally able to use my left wrist/hand well enough to type and the doctor says it is good therapy. For the full story, we must go back in time a bit.

After selling the cabin, we made the decision to trade in our travel trailer for a motorhome. In many ways the a motorhome is more convenient and comfortable (and, it has its drawbacks, too). We got a 37' Thor Miramar 35.2 model. It took forever, though. There were very few available due to the parts shortages plaguing the automotive (and other) industries. But, we found one locally and made a pretty good deal on it. Trouble was, the chassis was under a recall from Ford, so we could not even test drive it let alone take possession. After many months, we finally got it, brought it home and pretty much got it ready for a trip.

The exterior of the motorhome

A couple of photos of the interior

Since the weather was so warm, and predicted to stay so, we decided to do a "shake down" cruise to visit my mom in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Thus started the "trip from hell".

When we did our walkthrough upon delivery of the motorhome, the technician highly recommended windshield Insurance since a new windshield costs about $3500. We did not have a chance to do that yet, and sure enough, not 10 miles from home, a truck kicked up a rock and put a fairly large chip in the windshield. It might have been an omen. We probably should have turned around then. But, the chip was not in my view, so we kept going.

We did fine heading south, I was getting used to driving it and all was well. But, at Castle Rock, the dogs let us know they'd had enough and needed a break. There is a large outlet mall there, so we exited the Interstate and wound our way into the parking lot of the outlet mall where there were no cars parked and some grassy areas for the dogs. We walked them about and gave them a chance to pee.

We drove out of the mall onto a main street that led to the Interstate offramp. Unknown to us, as I made a sharp left turn onto the street, the motorhome door popped open. After a second or two, I noticed it and hollered to Lynne. She looked back just in time to see Destin step out of the motorhome onto the sidewalk. I stopped against the curb and hit the emergency flashers as she retrieved Destin. Then, she asked "where is Crusoe?" He was not in the motorhome. 

Turns out, he had exited about a block back. While I grabbed Destin from Lynne, she ran back down the block looking for Crusoe. And, there he was along the side of the road being rescued by a couple in a car that must have seen the whole thing! I didn't see any of this, so Lynne is better at telling the story, but apparently Crusoe was happy to just jump in these people's car! Lynne yelled "that's my dog" and retrieved Crusoe from them. 

Once back in the motorhome, we secured the door and had to sit for a few minutes to let our hearts settle down. The street was busy, so we were mucking up traffic, and soon managed to get going again, immediately merging with I25 and continuing our trek south. We should have turned around and come home.

We spent the night at Raton, NM. There is a pretty nice KOA there with a dog run and lots of empty room (at that time of year) for the dogs to run. We got hooked up to water and electricity, made dinner, figured out how to work the TV, etc. And, had a pretty good night.

I did figure out that the deadbolt on the door was not properly engaging. Actually the door is very frustrating because when we wanted to out, it seemed very stuck and would not open. But, at other times, it opened on it own, just coming loose and flying open.

The next day, shortly after leaving Raton while going about 55 mph down the Interstate, the door came open again. We were going fast enough that it was only open an inch or so, but still very scary. I saw it out of the corner of my eye and started to slow down. And, once safe on the shoulder, told Lynne why we had stopped. We got it closed and it stayed that way for the rest of the drive to Las Vegas (NM) where I purchased a bungee and found a way to secure the door so it could not open on its own.

We got into Albuquerque in the mid-afternoon and set about hooking up the coach to water, electricity and sewer. While I was doing that, Lynne took all three dogs to the enclosed dog run for some exercise--we were parked only about 50 feet away. She took them over on leashes, but knew they'd just run back to the motorhome once out of the dog run, so turned them loose and started walking back. Crusoe, the puppy came running up behind her, apparently looking back over his shoulder at Destin and Natalie, and ran smack into Lynne, knocking her down and twisting her ankle. 

I heard the commotion and got the dogs inside. Lynne was clearly in a lot of pain, and later that evening her right foot swelled up with a golf ball sized bump. It was bruised and pretty ugly, so we wrapped it in an Ace bandage and kept ice on it. We didn't have any transport, but my Mom came over for dinner and volunteered to take her to urgent care. Lynne opted to wait it out and see how it went overnight.

The next day the swelling was a bit better, so we treated it as a bad sprain and Lynne stayed off her feet, taking it easy around the motorhome.

Other than her sore foot, we had a pretty good Saturday and Sunday. I did try to find someone to patch the windshield without success. Mom spent a lot of time with us and my sister came over for dinner on Saturday. I took on the chore of exercising the dogs by taking them all to the dog run every few hours.

On Sunday evening, around 8:00 I took them all three and they did their thing. Now, I know better than taking multiple dogs at the same time, especially on Flexi-leads, but we were very close to the dog run, they knew the routine, and we had successfully done this short walk many times over the weekend. This time (it was dark by then), when I went to get them out of the run and on our way back to the motorhome, they saw a lady coming toward us with a couple of pugs. And, they took off--with me flying horizontally behind them. I hit the ground hard, having released the Flexi-leads and landed on my two hands and a knee. As I recall, my heat hit the ground pretty hard, too. The lady kept asking if I was okay, and could she help. I got up slowly, wrapped the leads around my arm and drug the dogs to the motorhome saying something "damned dogs" the whole way. I was pretty sure I'd broken my left wrist. Two of the Flexis were destroyed.

We wrapped the wrist and after a while I went to bed. But, after 20 minutes or so I told Lynne that I needed to go to urgent care. I called my mom, remember we don't have a car, and she and my cousin drove her car to pick me up and take me to an urgent care facility near her. 

Upon arriving, I checked in and implored them to go home and rest--I'd call when I got out. But, they chose to stay and wait. My cousin had word puzzles and my mom brought a book. They sat in a sequestered lobby and waited. I got in to X-rays very quickly. Then waited in the waiting room.....for 6 hours before being seen. Appendix boy went ahead of me, crying baby was seen after an hour or so, cat-bite girl finally got in and broken rib guy (I felt really sorry for him), was also seen over that 6 hour wait.

Finally, I learned that I had indeed broken my wrist. Well, "fractured" was the term the doctor used and I later learned that it was in more than 7 pieces. They put my whole arm in a splint, gave me some pain meds, recommeded I see an orthopedic surgeon soon, and finally sent me home. I think it was 3:30 or 4:00 a.m. when I got back. 

Lynne and I then realized we had a problem. I could not drive the motorhome. Lynne could not (and would not) drive it. We were supposed to leave for home that morning, taking two days to get home beating some incoming inclement weather and getting home in time fo Thanksgiving. Crap. What were we going to do? Very stressful. Clearly, we had to extend our stay for at least a day.

I called a couple of large RV dealerships and left messages with their transport managers asking if they knew of someone who could drive the coach to Northern Colorado--they never called back. I called an RV transport company (Horizon, I think), whose job it is to transport RVs around the country, no response. My sister starting using her contacts and my cousin was helping us look for a driver. Meantime, we explored the idea of storing the RV somewhere and renting a car to get us home. But, we could not find a rental company willing to do a one-way rental, especially not over the Thanksgiving holiday. Crap.

My sister's contacts would do it, but not until after the holiday. Should we just stay in Albuquerque for a week? What about the need to see an orthopedic doctor? We did not want to do that away from home.

Finally, my cousing put us in touch with a guy from the Denver area that she knows well. He was willing to fly down to Albuquerque early on Tuesday morning and drive us back to Colorado over the next two days. I could drive an automatic car okay, so I could then take him home. With that as the current plan, I started looking at possible flights...on Tuesday a.m....between Denver an Albuquerque...one way...

While I was doing that, Lynne let our neighbors in Windsor know that we would not be home on schedule. They also have an RV and take frequent trips and we each look out for the other's property while traveling. And, the most amazing offer I've ever heard was made by Connie, our neighbor. 

She would drive her car down to Albuquerque and stay overnight Monday with her brother who has a home there. Then, she'd drive the motorhome back over the next two days while Lynne drove her car back. Given that it was already about 2:00 p.m. this was an amazing offer. And, we took her up on it.

She got to her brother's place around midnight, and met up with us at the RV park around 8:00 the next morning. After some briefing on driving a motorhome, and a bit of practice in the park, we took off. Connie has lots of experience pulling a large travel trailer and driving large trucks, so she took to it quickly and we were soon on our way home.

We made it to Raton that day, and got home mid-afternoon on Wednesday (before Thanksgiving). Since this is getting kind of long, I won't detail that whole trip, but suffice it to say the motorhome handles pretty well in high winds and did great in the snow. It is impossible to state how grateful we are to Connie. We have wonderful neighbors!

The dogs riding in the motorhome while Connie is driving

On the way, I got an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon for the following Tuesday, seven days after the injury.

Once the motorhome was parked at home (we'd winterize it on Thursday or Friday then put it in storage), I suggested we take Lynne to urgent care. Her foot was not feeling any better and she had just driven well over 500 miles using that foot. She agreed. 

A couple of hours later, after X-rays, etc. we learned she had broken her foot in her fall nearly a week earlier. She was given a boot, and told to stay off her foot--it would heal on its own. We wanted a second opinion, so we made an appointment with a podiatric surgeon for the next Thursday, thirteen days after the initial injury.

On Thanksgiving, despite our handicaps, we made a great dinner with roasted turkey, Lynne's phenomenal stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, peas and pearl onions. Pumpkin pie for dessert. Yum.

Everywhere we went over the next few day, we were quite a site. I had my left arm in a massive splint and sling, and Lynne was clomping around in an orthopedic boot. Nurses offered to wrap us up in bubble wrap.

I saw an orthopedic doctor on Tuesday and learned the true severity of my injury. Surgery with another, more experienced doctor, was scheduled for Friday. On Thursday, we learned that Lynne had what's called Jones Fracture. Not good news as that, while common, is one of the worst foot injuries one can have. And, there is no agreed-upon best treatment. Some say, leave it alone and let it heal, others suggest that surgery is the best solution. When the doctor learned that the injury was two weeks old, and given the bone separation that had occured in that time, he leaned toward just keeping it in a boot and giving it a month to heal, then reassess the situation. Lynne agreed. So, we left there with a new, more comfortable boot and a set of crutches for Lynne.

The next day, I had surgery. It took about 2-1/2 hours, I guess. I now have a plate and some screws in my wrist as well as some donated bone (I thank the donor's family!) I left with a smaller, lighter splint, and some awesome pain meds. By Saturday night, I was feeling pretty good. 

After two weeks I had the stitches removed and am now in an even lighter brace and an able to wiggle fingers and squeeze my hand. At my next follow up, a month after surgery, I hope to get clearance to start some exercises to gain my mobility back. I sure miss my weaving hobby. Clearly, I can wiggle fingers well enough to type this.

Stitches are about to be removed

We'll keep you informed.

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Posted under: Stuff You Gotta Know!Travel • by Rick on 12/17/2021 at 10:12 AM
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Friday, August 06, 2021

Welcome!

You might expect to see our Off-the-Grid blog site when visiting, but since we've sold the cabin property, that is no longer the default site. Temporarily, you've been redirected to Rick's old "Ramblings" blog site, which has not been updated in several years. Over the next few months, we'll figure out if and how we want to continue blogging, and this site will likely change to a new site that follows our ongoing adventures!

Stay tuned!

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Posted under: Stuff You Gotta Know! • by Rick on 08/06/2021 at 04:52 AM
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Tuesday, April 03, 2018

I’m Back

I have not posted to this blog in about 2 years as Lynne and I explored an “off the grid” life. We are now back on the grid and living in Northern Colorado. So, our daily lives have changed dramatically and I’ll get back to sharing my ramblings on this blog. Nothing to say beyond that right now. Actually, this is more of a test to see if everything is working!

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Posted under: Stuff You Gotta Know! • by Rick on 04/03/2018 at 09:16 AM
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Saturday, April 30, 2016

I am “Retired”

I've made the announcement over on Off the Grid, but thought I should record the momentous date on my personal blog, too. Yesterday was my last day at work. I formally retire on 13 May, but have taken two weeks of vacation to stay at home and take care of the final preparations for the move to the cabin in Colorado.

It is a big deal. One's day of "retirement" is up there when it comes to life events. Schedules change, priorities change, attitudes change. As one friend said, "you go from W2 to 1099". Something to think about. 

I'll miss the people at work, the products, and the many, many friends I've made over the years. Thanks to all who have supported and helped me!

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Posted under: Stuff You Gotta Know! • by Rick on 04/30/2016 at 05:48 AM
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