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speck posted a topic in Outside the USAThinking about heading down to Harlingen/McAllen TX to go to Reynosa Mexico for cataract surgery. Any comments?
Medical insurance while in Canada
Trecking posted a topic in Outside the USAWho can tell me about having medical insurance while traveling in Canada? Where to buy, Who is reliable? WHo has actually collected Additional all relavent information. Thanks
Best Motorhome Insurance?
tkrickard posted a topic in RV InsuranceWe're doing comparisons of all the RV insurance plans available and wonder which is the best. Do any of you have recommendations? Who do you use?
I Can See Clearly Now
tbutler posted a blog entry in Tom and Louise on Tour in North AmericaI can see clearly now, the rain is gone, I can see all obstacles in my way Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind It’s gonna be a bright, bright Sun-Shiny day. Those are some of the lyrics from I Can See Clearly Now, by Johnny Nash. It is one of my all time favorite songs and I've been whistling it a lot lately. What follows is a detailed description of my encounter with a common eye condition, cataracts. If you have cataracts and have had them surgically removed, you know the story. If you have them and haven't had them removed, you should read the detail. In many cases, the surgery can give you good vision again. But first, I've got to share with you some conditions that may alert you to your failing vision because this comes on slowly and as with all small slow changes, you hardly notice. My apologies to Jeff Foxworthy for what follows. If you think newspaper ink has become almost the same color as the page, you might have cataracts. If your birdie putt disappears but didn't go into the cup, you might have cataracts. If the screen on your GPS on the dashboard is getting fainter so that you can hardly see the map, you might have cataracts. If you have noticed that there are more hazy days lately, you might have cataracts. If road signs have become impossible to read from a distance, you might have cataracts. If the left turn arrow of the traffic signal is too faint to be seen, you might have cataracts. If your nose is touching the computer screen, you might have cataracts. If you've quit reading books and magazines, you might have cataracts. If you haven't seen a sky filled with stars lately, you might have cataracts. If you are seeing fewer birds, you might have cataracts. In 2002 my optometrist advised me that I had a small cataract in my left eye. There was an area of cloudiness in the lens of the eye. It didn't seem to be causing me any vision problems so he said we would monitor it to see if and how it progressed. At each biennial exam he would comment on its progress or lack of progress. It didn't seem to be much of a problem. This past year I have noticed more and more difficulty seeing (see the list above), but the problem seemed to be my right eye, not my left. In March I was back in Missouri and stopped in to see my optometrist. He found a severe cataract in my right eye. He said the left eye had progressed some but was still borderline. I wasn't staying in town long so I would have to find an ophthalmologist when I got back to Texas. I started with the internet, learning about cataracts and cataract surgery. I found out that cataract surgery is the most common surgery in the US. I also learned that it is 98% successful and that the most common complications are relatively minor and affect people who have other serious health problems. The web site was an excellent source of independent information. All the types of replacement lenses which are available are described with their benefits and limits or problems described. There was one very interesting entry, a description of his own cataract surgery by an ophthalmologist. There are numerous articles which address many aspects of eye health, cataracts are just one topic on that site. The site is operated by Access Media Group, a healthcare publishing company specializing in eye care. The company's primary business, All About Vision®, is a website providing information to consumers about all aspects of eye health and vision correction. A friend, a retired optometrist suggested one way to find a good local ophthalmologist would be to consult professional organization web sites so I went to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). Entering my zip code gave me a list of a half dozen ophthalmologist within 30 miles of our home. I also found a listing of local surgeons on another web site, Eye Surgery Education. Finally, I asked my physician for a recommendation. I now had three sources and a number of possible surgeons. My physicians office made an appointment with their recommended physician. When I arrived for the appointment I learned that the doctor wasn't in, hadn't been in all week. I was welcome to see another doctor in the group. I wasn't happy with that arrangement, after all they had called to confirm the appointment only a few days before. I left discouraged, it would be another week or two before I could get an appointment with another doctor. The second doctor I chose had an office which was definitely high end. He was a very professional doctor but had one particular premium lens that he liked to install and talked down all others when I asked about them. Then we were sent to a scheduling consultant who reminded Louise and I of the worst used car salesman we could ever imagine. He exaggerated, misrepresented, and exhibited an alarming lack of knowledge about lenses. He informed us of the doctors fees which were well above the charges that web sites indicated for premium lenses. It took me about ten minutes of this to walk out on this sales pitch. I still can't imagine that doctor sanctioning his presentation. It would be another two weeks waiting for the next appointment. I went back to my list and picked a doctor from the AAO list. I read about this doctors background, education and years of experience. Everything looked promising but I was now leery of the whole genre of ophthalmologists. When I arrived at this office I was first tested by an assistant who did an excellent job of explaining the testing and measurements she was taking. Then I went to see the doctor and she completed her exam and we talked lenses. I told her what my concerns were and what I expected from a lens. I wasn't after the most expensive, nor the most convenient. Some lenses can allow you to do away with glasses entirely. Some have different focusing zones, others are flexible like the body's natural lens and can be flexed to focus on different distances. The lens I chose is a fixed lens which will give excellent distant vision but will require reading glasses for close vision. Dr. Alexander agreed with me that given my concerns that was a good choice. We set up surgery dates for both the right and left eye, one week apart. By the way, both of the doctors I saw agreed that I needed cataract surgery on both eyes. The left eye didn't have the spot that was in the center of the right lens but it was generally cloudy throughout. We planned to do the surgery on my worst (right) eye first. Surgery was done in a surgery center. Prep included about 4 dozen eye drops, some to sterilize the eye, some to numb the eye and finally the ones to dilate the iris. I had an IV with a sedative to relax me. Then I was wheeled away to the operating room. Dr. Alexander came in and began to work. She works through a microscope for the entire process. I am pretty much immobilized by a protective cover on my eye which is fastened to the bed. I can see light but can't feel a thing, no pain, no pressure. The light keeps moving and Dr. Alexander requests one thing or another from her assistants. I have read about the surgery and seen movies simulating parts of the surgery so this all sounds familiar. Soon she announces that she is finished with the surgery and everything is fine. I am wheeled out to recovery where I get some juice to drink, the IV and heart monitor are disconnected, I am put in a wheel chair and am on my way home. I have a clear cover on my eye, I can see but I'm looking through plastic. It has holes around the edges for ventilation and the central area is transparent. I can see, everything is blurry and way too bright, sunglasses help. At home I am able to eat for the first time since midnight. Slowly through the day my vision is improving. I notice that the houses are really white, the grass is green and cars are really colorful. I'm like a railroad crossing signal, right eye, left eye, right eye, left eye. Wow, my left eye is really bad! It is just the first day and I'm looking through a plastic cover and I'm seeing better with my right eye than with my left. Following surgery I have to continue eye drops and sleep with the patch on for a week. There is no pain following surgery, no discomfort, only the steady improvement in my vision. The next day I have an appointment with Dr. Alexander. The plastic cover is removed from my eye and I can really see how clear my vision is now with the new lens in place. I'm on restricted duty, no lifting or bending so I catch up on some of the light work around the house and on the computer. Later in the week I do some painting that we'd put off for some time. By the weekend I'm able to mow the lawn. The following Monday, May 20, I'm back to the surgery center for the left eye. The story is much the same, I remember more of the operation this time but the results are the same. I'm writing this just hours after the plastic cover has been removed from my left eye. I have a pair of reading glasses purchased off the rack at Walgreens that function as my reading glasses for now. I can see clearly now. We stopped at the grocery store on the way home this afternoon and the experience of walking through the produce section was amazing, the colors are now so bright, vivid compared to what I was seeing only two weeks ago. It is as if I am seeing the grocery store for the first time. I am amazed how far down the highway I can see, even reading signs from distances I could only imagine a few weeks ago. I can see all obstacles in my way. The old hazy gray world I was living in is now gone. Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind. It’s gonna be a bright, bright Sun-Shiny day. Have you had your eyes checked lately?
accsys posted a topic in Membership/BenefitsI understand that we have lost Medical Assist as one of our benefits of membership during the last director's meeting. It is also my understanding it will be available to members but at a very substantial extra fee. That benefit is the main reason why we, and I know many others, have remained in FMCA over the years. While I understand we are trying to reduce expenses, this is not one of the items FMCA should have dropped - it will result in many people getting out of FMCA with the resulting loss of revenue. Instead of growing the membership as they continually strive to do, this will do the opposite - not smart in my opinion. There had to be other ways to keep this essential benefit.
MEDICAL - RX
DUMBBOY posted a topic in General DiscussionWe have been full timing for a lil' over a year now. My wife has Fibro Myalagia and Myofacial disease. We have had a very difficult time getting her medications. Currently, we have our home town pharmacy send her meds by Fedx, but that is 22 bucks a pop. We have tried going to local pharmacies, but they all have told us that you can only transfer once and then you have to stay with that pharmacy. Does anyone have any suggestions on how she can get here medications timely and more convenient?
Travel Log From California to Southern Texas
tbutler posted a blog entry in Tom and Louise on Tour in North AmericaWe recently made a typical trip that included some sightseeing and maintenance stops. I submit this description as an example of full-timers' travel experiences even though we are no longer full-timers. This trip is like many drives we have made as the final trip of the summer travel season. We left south Texas in early May of 2011. We visited family and I had knee replacement surgery during the summer. We left Missouri September 7 and arrived in California on September 16. After a stay of a month we departed our campground about noon on Thursday, October 13. We had an appointment to have our entry door lock repaired at Paul Everett RV in Fresno on Friday morning. They have an adjacent area with water and electric hook-ups. By sunset we were parking and hooking up electric. We had water and empty sewer tanks so no need for any other hook ups. We had been to Paul Everett for service before and they were always willing to take us in even though we have never purchased a motor home from them. Friday we lined up for service as the shop was opening. After a brief check in the motor home went into the shop. I browsed the parts store and found a few handy items we needed including a new propane detector. They were happy to install that for us. With the lock repaired we were departing Fresno just after noon. Our next destination was Albuquerque, New Mexico. I had Southwest Airlines tickets from there to St. Louis for a 12 week check-up after knee surgery. The doctor appointment was for Wednesday the 19th so we didn't have to push too hard. Still, I'd rather be sitting in a campground than driving an extra day so we didn't let any dust collect on the tires. Friday night was spent at Wal-Mart in Barstow, CA. Saturday night we parked at the Wal-Mart in Winslow, Arizona. Sunday night we were in the Santa Fe Skies RV Park in Santa Fe, NM. We talked over plans as we traveled. When it became apparent that we should be near Albuquerque on Sunday we decided to spend some time in the Santa Fe area. This was not our original intent but it was going to work well on several counts. I could take the car to the airport, leave it overnight and pick it up the next evening. Louise would be fine in camp for a day and a half without a car. We would be better off making one trip to Albuquerque for the plane flight than staying in Albuquerque and making multiple trips to Santa Fe for sightseeing. Monday we spent most of the day exploring Santa Fe. Tuesday I left for the airport shortly before noon arriving in St. Louis just after dark. Wednesday morning I saw the doctor and got the OK for six months until the next appointment. I was back in Santa Fe by 9:00 p.m. Wednesday evening. On the drive back to Santa Fe I was listening to the St. Louis Cardinals beating the Texas Rangers in World Series Game 1. Thursday we did more touring in Santa Fe. Friday we decided to drive to Taos. As we drove through the gorge of the Rio Grande on the road to Taos we enjoyed the brilliantly colored leaves so much that we made numerous stops to photograph the scenery. We picnicked along the river in the middle of a grove poplars with bright golden leaves. We barely made it to Taos when we decided to return to Santa Fe. The trip in this case truly was the destination. We would return to Taos another time and explore the area further. Saturday we left Santa Fe taking the most direct route toward San Antonio. Saturday night we stayed at the Wal-Mart in Lamesa, TX. By Sunday night we were parked at Cummins Southwest in San Antonio. Monday morning, October 24 the motor home goes into the Cummins shop for an oil change and lube. We're out of the shop before noon. We had a rock hit the windshield during our drive from Santa Fe. I used the waiting time at Cummins to arrange a stop at the glass shop for the afternoon. They were very flexible. We pulled up and parked on the street in front of the shop. Ten minutes later they were at work on the windshield. I called our next service appointment while work on the windshield proceeded. We would be at Iron Horse RV after their lunch hour. They had installed a water pump which had failed. A second had been installed and it was showing the same problems the first pump did. They made some adjustments, I changed water filters, it was working better. Will it last? We'll have to use the pump for a while to see. Now I called ahead to Texas RV which had ordered parts for repairing our toilet. They would accommodate us for the night on their lot with electric hook ups. The next morning, Tuesday, we had a tech at work removing the toilet. Inspection showed that we needed new vacuum breakers. They hadn't ordered them and it could be several days before they could be shipped from the manufacturer. After some checking they found them at another dealer in San Antonio. Now it is 2:00 p.m. and we are leaving San Antonio. We used our passage through San Antonio to take care of several maintenance items so we would be ready to go next spring. Tuesday as the last light faded from the sky we were pulling into our winter residence in Edinburg, TX. We park the motor home next to our mobile home which makes the unloading process easier. Still, late in the evening we pretty much settle for just getting a few items into the house before hitting the sack. The next day we would take the motor home out for its annual safety inspection. Once that is done, we can park for the season. By Wednesday evening the motor home is on its wood pads, leveled and we're unpacking and storing the contents in our house. Several days later we close up the slides. We left the campground in California on October 13 and have parked the motor home for the winter on October 26. Thirteen busy days from summer travel to parked for the winter.
A Day of Exploring
tbutler posted a blog entry in Tom and Louise on Tour in North AmericaOur summer has been one of little travel and few activities beyond medical care. Fortunately, this has not been life saving medical care. The medical care was more like quality of life care. My left knee was replaced on June 2 and my right knee replacement was done July 28. As a result, I haven't been getting out and about as much as normal. Exploring has been a big part of our life since we started living full time in the motor home. We've traveled all 49 RV states and most of Canada. Along the way we drive, hike and explore our surroundings. This summer we have missed that activity until this last week. With the healing well under way, I'm becoming more mobile. A fellow camper here at Goldstrike Village in San Andreas where we are staying mentioned that California highway 4 was a wonderful scenic drive into the Sierra Nevada mountains. Having nothing scheduled on Friday we decided to explore that route. Our first stop was in Angels Camp to drop off our water pump at the UPS customer center. It's going back to the factory center to be repaired. Leaving Angels Camp our next stop was at Murphys to top off the gas tank, always advisable when heading into the mountains. From there it was a steady uphill drive. The highway is excellent here with a good stretch of new pavement that hasn't been painted yet. We stopped for lunch at Bristol's Ranch House in Big Trees, a fair sized town near the state park of the same name. Louise had the special for the day, stuffed peppers and rated it first class. I had one of the best French Dip sandwiches I've ever had. Prices were reasonable and we were able to eat outdoors on the deck and enjoy the nice weather, sunshine and comfortable in short sleeves and shorts. Leaving Big Trees we were headed into high country. We passed up Big Trees State Park wanting this to be a thorough exploration of highway 4. The state park is close enough to our base that we can visit it another day. Once we are at higher elevations scenic view points start popping up. We stopped at several, enjoying the view taking pictures and doing some light hiking. The first stop had just a short trail out onto the white granite bedrock. At the second stop we found longer trails through a feature named H*ll's Kitchen. The granite bedrock was strewn with granite boulders weathered from the native rock. I guess you could picture it as a very messy kitchen. We walked around the whole area taking our time and plenty of pictures. This was my first real experience with rough terrain since my surgery so I was slow and deliberate. My right knee is just nine weeks old and I'm still favoring it a little when it comes to up and down grades. I was also being sure footed when picking my way along the trail. Scattered over the landscape are giant sequoia trees which dwarf the tall pine trees among them. Still, these are not the true giants which are found in the state park and further south in Sequoia National Park. It felt good to be back out on a trail. As we left this area we passed a sign for the Spicer Meadows Reservoir on the Stanislas River. Louise asked if we could drive to the reservoir and I agreed. It was a ten mile drive into the valley on a smaller, unmarked road through some spectacular scenery. There was very little traffic and one hardy bicyclist on the road. We took our time and enjoyed the ride. The reservoir is beautiful with the surrounding scenery being truly spectacular. I've seen the California reservoirs dreadfully dry in past years but this year the level was quite good for the end of the summer. We walked onto the dam as far as the Department of Homeland Security would allow, then drove below the dam to hike to a view of the generator housing and discharge pipe which feeds the Stanislas River below the dam. There was a full flow of water coming from the six foot diameter discharge pipe and additional water coming from two active generators. This put out a nice spray which the wind drifted to us from time to time. We enjoyed viewing the resulting river rushing downstream as we walked over a low bridge. After returning to highway 4, we continued on east toward Pacific Pass and Ebbetts Pass. It was now getting late in the afternoon. As we drove the road narrowed and became serpentine. The road was entirely unpainted, not even a center stripe. Signs cautioned snow plows not to continue past the point where the road narrowed. They also indicated permits were needed for vehicles over a certain size. This was going to be true mountain driving. We continued on for about a half hour, passing over Pacific Pass and descending to the bridge over the North Fork of the Mokelumne River. We had about an hour of daylight left. I elected to abandon further exploration so we could return over the narrow steep curving road in the daylight. We had already had a pair of deer stare us down and there were sure to be more as darkness descended. Besides, who wants to drive on a narrow snake of a road in the dark with oncoming traffic. No thank you! We made it all the way back to the town of Big Trees before stopping for dinner. The final 30 miles back to Goldstrike Village were done in the dark but on much better road. We had seen some spectacular scenery, walked among some of the big trees. I felt like an infant that had taken their first steps, I was going to get better and we would be returning to our life of exploring.
Preparing for Departure
tbutler posted a blog entry in Tom and Louise on Tour in North AmericaThe weather is taking one last lash at us. Temperatures have been in the high 90s and into the 100s the last three days. Friday and Saturday are forecast to be in the 100s and then we should see cooler temperatures for the remainder of our stay here in Missouri. My right knee was replaced on July 28 and is now 5 weeks old. I'll see the surgeon for the 6 week check on September 7 and then we are leaving. I will need to come back for a 12 week check and will do that by flying back to St. Louis for the appointment and then returning to the motor home the next day. I got a bargain fare out of Albuquerque on Southwest Airlines that will be cheaper than driving the motor home all the way back to Missouri before heading to Texas for the winter. Meanwhile we have two granddaughters waiting for us in California. Next week will be busy. After being parked for over 3 months, there are always plenty of things that need to be stowed in the motor home. In addition, we've collected some family heirlooms from my mother who is cleaning house. We'll take them with us to California and then to Texas. Mom saved all kinds of memorabilia from my childhood and career. I'd have discarded lots of the stuff at the time but now, looking back they are more interesting. Some make me laugh, others are serious stuff. It is funny how our lives seem pretty routine, just getting by one day at a time. When you look back at it from a historical perspective, it becomes so much more interesting - at least to me. So we'll head west the end of next week. I sure hope the fuel prices plummet after the holiday. It is funny how the price of gasoline fluctuates wildly while the price of diesel remains pretty constant. I guess the trucking industry keeps the demand pretty constant. I checked the fuel prices along our route and as usual they increase as we go west. We'll pay about $0.30 more in California than we do here in Missouri. That means that as a rule, I'll keep topping off the tank before leaving each state. I'm looking forward to getting the wheels rolling again. Even though we've been over this route dozens of times over the years, it is always good to be rolling down the road. There is no greater freedom!
tbutler posted a blog entry in Tom and Louise on Tour in North AmericaToday we become house sitters. Our daughter and her family are off for a family vacation. They are leaving, our motor home remains parked in their driveway. The summer continues to melt away and we aren't going anywhere. Normally, we're long gone by this time of the summer. One of our reasons for buying the motor home in the first place was to escape the unbearably hot mid-west summers. This summer we're stationary and the rest of the world is on the go. Despite my whining about our being parked, it was planned this way. My knees have been getting more painful as the years have stretched on. In the last several years, they have tolerated my activity only at the price of long recovery resting periods after each period of activity. I was spending more time sitting in a chair than on the go. It's not the lifestyle we wanted. I've done knee braces, medications of various kinds and modifying my activity, all with diminishing returns. So finally after all this, we decided this was the year to rebuild my knees. As of last Thursday, I now have two shiny new knees. You can tell by looking, the zippers are evident. Today I start home therapy for my right knee. A visiting nurse will arrive this morning to assess my condition and guide me through the next three weeks of my recovery. The therapist arrives this afternoon to lead me through the first exercises to recover full use of my new knee. I know the drill, still it helps tremendously to have some guidance with the whole process. I see one of the great values of this kind of attention being that a professional is assessing my condition and prescribing activities to challenge me appropriately to keep the recovery going at a fast rate. Without professionals monitoring me, I might go too fast or too slow. My right knee seems to be recovering much faster than the left knee. I'm experiencing less pain and greater mobility. So today my daughter and her family are off on vacation and we remain parked, a reversal of our normal situation. We'll stay here for the next six weeks. After the six week visit to the doctor, we are going to head for California to visit another daughter and her family. We'll spend a month there then return to the mid-west for the final visit with the surgeon before heading south for the winter. In the meantime, I am having a number of interesting experiences. On Saturday, I was in Wal-Mart, waiting for the pharmacy to fill my prescription. I had three separate discussions with other customers. I don't usually visit with other customers at Wal-Mart, it is a place to shop not visit. Most people are there on a mission and aren't looking to visit. Sitting there by the pharmacy, one after another, three people came up to me to comment on my knee surgery. The first, a man, his wife and daughter approached. He asked me about my knee surgery, did I have them both done recently? I told him they were eight weeks apart. He lifted his shorts a little to show me his scars. He had both knees replaced in one surgery and we discussed his recovery process. Later a younger man came up to me and asked about my knee surgery. He talked about the pain and difficulty of movement he was experiencing. He is planning to have his knees replaced in two months and was full of questions about the process and the recovery. Then a lady approached. She was picking up medications for her husband who had just had a knee replaced. She was surprised to see me out and about so shortly after my surgery. Her husband was having a much more difficult recovery. So I'm part of a club. I guess I'll be meeting lots of new friends. At a picnic for the local pilots organization last week I picked up several more new friends who noticed my scar. We visited about our surgery, recovery and current condition. Who knew there were so many of us? I certainly didn't know until now. I'm joining another club today. Today my insurance switches over from the insurance policy of my employer to Medicare. Yes, I'll be 65 this month. Having insurance with my employer has been a mixed blessing. They haven't been paying for my insurance, only keeping me in the group. Being in a group means I have insurance, good insurance and won't be dropped. It also means that I have expensive insurance and the cost has been an increasing burden on our budget. Medicare will reduce my insurance costs while providing good insurance and a guarantee of not being dropped. At my age, I would not want to be without good health insurance. When we went full time, being tied to my employers insurance meant that we had to return to Missouri for all of our medical care. Louise has been in the same situation, being tied to her employers insurance. We've managed to do the routine stuff without problems by planning to swing through the area each spring and fall. In the case of my knee surgeries, we've had to change our routine to be in Missouri for this surgery. Now with Medicare, we'll be able to get our medical care wherever we are. It gives us a bit more freedom. Still, since I have a good doctor and a favorite surgeon here in Missouri, we'll keep returning as long as it is convenient. The whole Medicare enrollment process has been an interesting challenge. It took me quite a bit of reading, searching and questioning to arrive at an understanding of the possibilities available to me through Medicare. Both Louise and I have elected to go with the "original" medicare for the simple reason that it allows us to travel and receive medical care anywhere in the US. With the right supplemental policy, we are even covered for trips outside the country. It is a little more costly than some other routes but compared to what we have been spending on medical insurance, this is a real improvement.
A Lot of Work for a Little Mouse
tbutler posted a blog entry in Tom and Louise on Tour in North AmericaI haven't been doing much work around the motor home lately. My left knee replacement is healing well and I'm up to getting out and around more these days. The water filters in the basement needed replacement so I waded into the midsection of our home. As I began removing stored equipment I noticed little chewed bits of the blue shop towels I use. So now my task becomes a project. Sure enough, there are more and more signs of a mouse. We haven't had one for eight years but it has finally happened again. As I dig through the stored materials, more signs emerge. Under the sliding drawer in the forward storage area I find bits of acorns. Somebody had a picnic here. There is only one answer here. Everything has to come out and a good cleaning is in order. One compartment after another is emptied and cleaned. Our son-in-law brings the shop vac which speeds the cleaning tremendously. The trash bag of mouse debris keeps growing. I've grown careless over the years, there are rags that should have been secured that now are waste. A used sponge has been gnawed to a nub. The motor home hasn't been cleaned this well in years. Did I mention that the temperature is 97 degrees on a clear sunny day. I have the large awning out and some shade on the other side of the motor home. I'm pushing hard to get done before the sun gets to the door of each compartment. Our grandchildren are enjoying the swimming pool and our daughter is supervising. We visit during breaks. I have to stand up and sit down occasionally. My new knee doesn't take well to all the bending and kneeling. I'm drinking water like a fish at every break. The mouse or mice have been throughout the basement. We have seen no evidence in the living area but the storage area has evidence in every compartment. It takes me four hours to finish working through the storage areas. I check every access point. The sewer hose has gaps around it so I rearrange my improvised collar to better block the space around the hose. Everything else looks secure, so this must be the access point. I have two old traps from our only other encounter with these critters. These are baited and and placed in the utility compartment. A quick trip to town secures four more new traps. Every compartment has two traps ... now I'm waiting. It's possible that our daughters family cat, Miss Race Car (named by our grandson when he was six years old), a Norwegian Forest Cat, has already caught up with the offending mouse. I had a conversation with Miss Race Car, who sleeps under the motor home regularly. I impressed upon her that I had been counting on her to keep the motor home free of mice. If she hasn't already done so, I'll get the little rascals. The water filters are changed and we have a good flow of water for my well deserved shower. Louise fixes me my favorite libation and sends me out the door to fire up the grill. We'll have steak tonight! We enjoy sitting outside even with the heat. One of the really unusual things about this heat wave is that there has been a light breeze constantly. I lived in Missouri for most of my life and my recollection is that when the weather got really hot the air would be deadly calm. This year we have a breeze and it makes the heat almost bearable. I'm glad to be out and about and back to work. There will be only a few more work days before my right knee replacement on Thursday next week.
It's a Great Life
tbutler posted a blog entry in Tom and Louise on Tour in North AmericaI was standing at the window of our daughter's home looking at our motor home parked in their driveway. I was baby-sitting two of our grandchildren, the payment we make for camping in our daughter's campground. I do the early shift because our son-in-law and daughter leave for work earlier than Louise likes to rise and shine. I enjoy the early shift. If I'm quiet, the children will sleep until my shift is over. I can use the time to read the paper and catch up on my computer communications. Anyway, back to my original thought. Looking at our motor home, I realized that our motor home offers everything we need to be at home. This is not a new thought, we've been living in it for 9-1/2 years. We are able to live independently of our daughters family even though we are parked right next to them. We interact as much or as little as we or they desire. For an extended stay that could turn into mooching on the kids, the motor home allows us to stay independent and out from underfoot. We have been here for almost two months and will be here for another two months until both my knees are replaced and I'm healthy enough to travel again. When we do hit the road again, we'll head west to California to visit with another daughter and her family and see two more grandchildren. We aren't traveling right now. We aren't parked in some exotic scenic location. We aren't in a cool summer location. Parked or on the road, our motor home enriches our life. This is one versatile machine.
Life Returns to Normal or Close to Normal
tbutler posted a blog entry in Tom and Louise on Tour in North AmericaI am one month from my left knee replacement and life is returning to normal. Once off the powerful medication, I began driving when I returned to the rehab facility. I'm slow getting in and out of the car but once there, completely comfortable driving. Rehab is progressing from stretching and improving range of motion to building strength. The pain level in the knee is decreasing and I'm able to sleep better at night. My surgeon has me on extra strength Tylenol now. I thought I would see if I really needed the medicine a few nights ago. I was sleeping well and woke up about time to take the next dose of medicine but decided just to go back to sleep. The next morning it was obvious to me that I wasn't ready to give up the medicine just yet. I've made several outings lately. There have been several shopping trips, just a store or two. Wal-Mart is a long walk by the time you get to the back of the store! I've been to the bank and the office supply store. My first real excursion was Friday afternoon. Louise and I joined my daughter and her family for a trip to Herman, Missouri. Herman has a great German heritage from the early 1800's. Early immigrants brought wine making skills to the area and it remains the pioneer wine making area of Missouri. I had received an e-newsletter advertising a BOGO sale at the Stone Hill Winery so we planned a trip. The car trip through the back roads of central Missouri was a delight. My daughter and family and ridden the KATY Trail State Park from near their home to Herman a year ago and this trip was a chance to refresh all those memories. "Look kids, here is the bridge where dads bicycle broke down." We saw plenty of high water as we neared the Missouri River but it isn't flooding seriously in the Central Missouri. At the Stone Hill winery we tasted a flight of wines and picked out a few to take home. Then we had a late lunch in the Vintage Restaurant at the winery. The kids enjoyed eating lunch in a horse stall in the old barn building. The food was excellent and we even had dessert. We followed that with a trip back via another route. There were more memories of the bicycle ride and some close looks at the bank full Missouri River. Saturday night my daughter had snagged VIP tickets for the fireworks display at Innsbrook, a local recreational community. Her employer had contributed to the fireworks and then gotten a bad case of poison ivy so wasn't going to attend. We arrived at 7:00 p.m. to take advantage of the picnic lunch before the fireworks. This was a fine show, plenty of music playing during the picnic. Kids swimming in the lake. Boats gathering near the fireworks display. It was a very warm summer evening. They used periodic salutes to mark the time. As dark neared the music changed to marches and the fight songs of the branches of service. This ended with the fireworks accompanying our National Anthem. The fireworks were spectacular and we were watching from directly across the lake from where they were being fired. I had to walk to and from the car on grass on a hillside but managed that without any problem. The last visit to my surgeon we scheduled the replacement of my right knee for the end of July. I have four weeks to turn my left leg into my strong leg so I can support my right leg when that knee is replaced. Despite my summer of surgery we're getting in a few interesting events. Our plans now are to be here in Missouri through September before hitting the road again.
tbutler posted a blog entry in Tom and Louise on Tour in North AmericaIt has been two weeks since my last entry. In that time I've made great progress in my recovery. I had doubts about the wisdom of doing the recovery from my knee replacement while living in the motor home. After two weeks any doubts have been erased. Actually I believe that the recovery has been easier in the motor home than it would have been in an actual home. From the time I opened the door and faced the five steps to get into the motor home I found everything worked very well. There are grab bars on both sides of the entry stairwell so it is easy to find something to hold onto. While holding the grab bar on the dash, I was able to also brace myself against the floor in front of the passenger seat. Then I could use the seat and the dash to steady myself. Once inside, my recliner was just a few steps away. The walker I was to use was pretty much unnecessary in the interior of the motor home. I had a cane also and with it, I was always within reach of a counter, chair or table to steady my other hand. So getting to the toilet was about eight steps from my recliner and the bedroom another three. I could prop the cane against the wall by the bed within easy reach. The trip from the bed to the toilet was a three step dance. Even getting onto the toilet was easy. Cane in one hand and the other braced against the magazine rack. There are built-in courtesy lights in the bathroom and the kitchen so I could get up at night without turning on the overhead lights and still see to get around. My knee is healing nicely. The staples have been removed and the incision looks clean and infection free. Swelling and bruising are both in serious decline and I have recovered full range of motion. There is still some discomfort when I sit in one position too long and walking isn't completely pain free. Each day brings noticeable improvement. I'll see the surgeon in less than a week for my first follow up visit. I'm almost ready to take on the replacement of the other knee! The motor home has been a great place to recover!
Bad to the Bone
tbutler posted a blog entry in Tom and Louise on Tour in North AmericaOur travels after Denver were easy to plan. We drove about three miles from Golden Terraces RV Park to I-70, headed east and stopped when we got to Foristell, Missouri. Another three miles south of I-70 and we were at our daughters' home where we are parked for an extended period of time. Our activities since arriving here have included a dance recital by our granddaughter, a barbeque on Memorial Day weekend which included several killer games of croquet, and now a brand new knee for me! We've visited with my mother, both of our children and their families including our four grandchildren in the St. Louis area. Our granddaughter loves to dance and it shows. The dance school has a huge performance about this time each year. The participants range from 2 and three year old dancers up through high school and beyond. The really young ones are cute beyond description. The older dancers have amazing ability. Our granddaughter is somewhere in the middle. She does love to dance and it shows in her performance. The show starts at 1:30 and runs until 4:30 for a full afternoon of dancing. We treated everyone to ice cream at Fritz's, the local ice cream shop. The next week included hitting the doctor's offices including getting surgery for my knee scheduled. Louise has had a persistent cough, ear congestion and swollen glands. The doctor diagnosed a sinus infection and bronchitis. She is now on the mend. My orthopedist scheduled my knee surgery for June 2. This set off a series of visits for tests and exams at the GP and a pre-surgery visit at the hospital. As part of my pre-surgery routine, I set about getting everything top shape on the motor home. I had no idea how long it would be until I was able to work on fix-its after my surgery. One of my projects was to install the day/night shades from MCD Innovations which we ordered on our way out of Texas. The shades arrived on Friday after our arrival in Foristell. I had them installed by the following Monday. So now we have first class shades in the motor home. Louise loves how dark the night shades are. She has been sleeping late trying to shake off her bronchitis and sinus infection. At 5:30 a.m. on June 2, I reported to the surgery unit at St. Anthony's Hospital. Two hours later I was in the operating room and two hours after that I was waking up in the recovery room. It is now the 4th of June and I'm resting comfortably at home in the motor home. My orthopedist prescribed a rigorous pre-surgery exercise and conditioning program and it has paid off by getting me home quickly. Now I'll continue with the follow-up therapy. Once this knee heals, I'll have the other replaced. I thought perhaps I didn't need to have the replacements but a week off the pain medication I've been taking for the last several years settled that issue. Once both knees are replaced and healed completely, we'll break camp and head down the road for more motor home adventures. In the meantime I'm really ddddddddddddddddrowsy. Those hospital beds aren't all that comfortable. I only got about six hours of sleep the last two days. It turns out I'll be enjoying those MCD Innovations shades also!