Thursday, October 31, 2013

Harrisburg to Canyonville Oregon

We were up and out very early this morning.  We had to take the bus down to Davis Cabinets to get one of our MCD shades unstuck.  It wouldn't roll up past the mid-point.  When it would roll up, it would veer off slightly to one side.  The fix is to completely unroll it and put a masking tape shim on the roller on the side that's bunching up.  Then we were back to Elite for new drawer glides on the silverware drawer.  The old ones were shot, and the drawer would open while we were driving.  Bad, very bad.
We went down to the Monaco plant to pick up some parts.  We saw this on the way south.  Is this a cute little windmill or what?  Cute, cute, cute.

On the way back we saw the rain coming.  We had a fairly damp departure.

After driving south for about 90 minutes, the weather improved.  This part of the state is so pretty when the sun is shining on it.

Now we are at Seven Feathers RV Resort and Casino.  This is one of the best parks anywhere.  The interior roads are paved, the sites are concrete and it's just lovely.  The sun was out when we arrived, we could hear the angels singing.

And now for a foot update.

I'm wearing flip flops.  Yay!!!!!!!!!  They're so much more comfortable than the boot.  I can now get to the shower without using crutches.   I'm still having the random nerve pain.  Now it's in the tip of my middle toe, the one that has virtually no nerves left.  It feels like someone is sticking a needle in the end of my toe and applying electricity.  It makes me yell when it happens.  Poor Jim has slammed on the brakes more than once thinking I was reacting to danger. Hopefully this will not be a permanent feature of the new foot.
So, we've decided just to put our heads down and head to Tucson.  While there is much to see and do between here and there, I'm still very limited in how much walking I can do, so we're just going to go south for the winter.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Day With Elite RV and Remodel

We are in Harrisburg, OR in the Riverbend RV park.  It's about three minutes away from Elite RV, which is why we stay here.  It's not a bad park, its biggest drawback is the water.  If you come here, bring drinking water and turn off your ice maker.  The Brita is defeated by the water here, even the filtered water smells of swamp.  Other than that, it's a fine place to stay.
This is from this morning.  It was a lovely start to the day.

Since I still have limited mobility, we spent much of the day hanging out in Erik's yard waiting.  In the early afternoon we were dispatched on a parts run for a new vacuum breaker.  Monaco doesn't stock them anymore, but Northwest RV Parts had them.  The nice lady who works there pulled one for us so we were in and out quickly.
This part of Oregon is very agricultural and it's very pleasant to look at.  The fields and the hills are extremely bucolic.  This is a recently harvested field.  Way out in the distance is a fire.  There were several little fires in the distant hills.  Controlled burn didn't seem to make sense, but we also didn't see anyone dumping fire retardant on them.  It's a mystery.   Nonetheless, it was a very pleasant drive down to Eugene.
This billboard has been here as long as we've been going to Northwest RV Parts.  I just don't know what to say about this.

Tomorrow we have one item left on the punch list.  We might be able to head south at mid-day.   I am so ready to be heading back to the desert.  The warm dry air is calling to me.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Stitches Are Out

It rained yesterday, and took the fog away.  Finally!  Today was cool but with brilliant sunshine.  It was a good day to go the the doctor and have the stitches removed.

Here is before.  I had enough pain meds on board that it wasn't too terrible.  I know Dr. Lewis thinks I am a total wimp, but actually it's because I am a delicate flower.  He said my toes still look like snausages.  There is also a lot of swelling on the underside of the ball of my foot.  I couldn't figure out why my foot felt so lumpy when I walked, it's because the sole of my foot is hard from the presence of so much fluid.

Here is the after.  Eventually the incisions will flatten out and fade.  I am really looking forward to washing my foot.  After three weeks wrapped in gauze and an ace bandage, it really needs an application of soap and water.  I'm not supposed to soak it for another week, so I guess I'll continue showering while sitting on the foot stool in the shower stall.

Tomorrow we are leaving. We're having a continuation of the feeling of unreality; first that we were back here in October, and now that we are finally leaving.  We have the walkie-talkies on the charger, Jim has filled the fresh water tank, we've laid in food for a couple of days and we are ready.  

Thursday, October 24, 2013


If you watched the NBC Nightly News tonight, you saw a clip of the Seattle fog.  They're calling it Fogmageddon.  Cliff Mass wrote about it a couple of days ago, if you're interested in the meteorological reasons behind it. Basically, we have a huge ridge of high pressure, a temperature inversion, and no wind to move it all along.  Here are some photos borrowed from the SeattlePI.
These are the cranes that unload the container ships on Harbor Island.

Downtown Seattle.

The land on the left is Alki, in West Seattle.  That's fog on Puget Sound.

Today we went to the Redmond Town Center.  True to the nature of Redmond, it's a huge shopping mall.  The town itself is just amazing.  It used to be a nice little bedroom community, now huge apartment buildings have sprouted everywhere.  Roads have not sprouted along with the apartments, I can only imagine what traffic will be like in a few years.  These are now everywhere.

Have you ever spent any time in a wheelchair?   Today I used the chair instead of walking into Macy's because of the distances involved.  People will not look at me.  I have to force the issue to make them look at me so I can ask a question, such as where is the ladies room.  People are very uncomfortable with people in chairs.  And then there are the ladies rooms.  Yes, there are handicapped accessible stalls just about every where, but look at the door to the restroom.  It opens out, it's heavy.  Imagine sitting in your chair and pulling on the door.  The brake on the wheelchair has to be set to get any leverage on that door.  Then one must yank on the door, release the brake, back up the chair, rinse repeat.  There are some doors that I just can not get open.  Jim has had to spend time in the ladies this week rescuing me from stalls that are too small to wheel in to, and doors that are too heavy to open. 
We took the wheelchair back to the rental place this afternoon, so I'm now committed to walking on the foot. May the force be with me.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

And the Lame Shall Walk

What, you wonder, am I doing here?  Why, I am walking without crutches! Yay!!!!  I can now move about the RV without the sticks tying up my hands.  It's really nice to be able to carry things around by myself.  Interestingly, rolling from heel to toe doesn't hurt, but I still can't leave my foot down too long because it accumulates tissue juice and swells.

Later we had an outing to Target.  They have the mobility carts for the disabled.  I became a hazard to navigation with my crutches sticking out of the basket.  One turn up an aisle took out a Q-tips display, but other than that no one was whacked in the head.

Here are Jim and Justin.  I took this sitting in the cart, hence the odd angle.  Justin is Jim's son.

Then we went to Trader Joe's and I crutch-walked through the store.  That was major.  We're feeling better about things.  Hopefully after Monday there will be no more gauze and Ace bandages on the foot.  After awhile it gets really old and your skin hurts.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Trip to the Foot Doctor and Ikea

It's been a difficult, foggy week.  Over the weekend the pain on the bottom of my foot was excruciating.  That much pain was not really something I'd anticipated.  There were a couple of days where we were pretty depressed, filled with angst and the fear that I was having another failed surgery.
This is what the days have looked like; gray, gloomy, devoid of color.

This morning we headed out to the doctor's office.  The trees across the freeway were lit by a sunbeam.  The sun actually came out today, it's very nice to see.

Here's the foot.  It looks much better.  Stitches are coming out MONDAY.  Yay!!!!!!!!!  The pain underneath my foot was from the cut nerves.  Apparently when a nerve is cut, it sends out signals (which are pain) looking for the other part of the nerve, because it wants to reattach.  I did not know this, it would have been useful information.  I really thought I was going to be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life.
My toes and foot are still fairly swollen.  None of the bones in my foot are visible.

After the doctor, Jim took me on an outing.  He pushed me through Ikea in the wheelchair.  Back when he was in a chair, I would take him to Ikea, it's flat, and it's easy to get in and out of.  We handled much merchandise and looked at all of the furniture.   The food section is the best.  This is the Swedish festive drink, Dryck Julmust.  It's a hop flavored carbonated drink.

Swedish ketchup.

This is lutefisk.  It's a Norwegian delicacy.  If you don't know what it is, click on the link.  This is actually a local product, from Poulsbo.   Poulsbo was founded by Scandinavians, which is why there is lutefisk.  No one else will eat it.  I know, I know, it's rude to be disrespectful of another culture's food, but really, dried fish soaked in lye?  Ewww.

According to the packaging, these are deep water prawns.

Salmon paste and crab paste are also available.

We're two weeks out from surgery.  When wearing the boot I can put about half my weight on my foot.  The screaming nerve pain has pretty much died down.  Hopefully by Monday I can return my crutches to the doctor's office.  The wheel chair has to go back on Sunday.
We're leaving either Monday after stitches removal, or else early Tuesday morning.  I'd like to go Monday and get part way to Harrisburg.  It's only 287 miles, but getting through Portland can be a bear.  The reviews of all of the RV parks in southern Washington are just dismal, so I don't know what we're going to do.  It's really good to know we're heading south for the sun.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

One Week out from Surgery

Yesterday was the one-week-post-surgery bandage changing.  I can't say that it really looks much better than it did.  Bruising is down, but the incisions are still fairly unattractive.  Dr. Lewis says it looks fine, and not to worry about the pain in the bottom of my foot.  As I suspected, spreaders between the bones were used as well as a fair amount of digging around in the foot. It will be nice when I can put some weight on that foot.  My right hip is beginning to complain about the amount of time I spend standing on one foot.  This has, however, considerably streamlined my post shower beauty ritual to the bare minimum.
It's not raining this week.  We've having fairly dense fogs which take half a day to burn off.  These were taken yesterday on the way to the surgeon for the previously mentioned re-wrapping of the foot.

See the fog in the background?

Here is the foot, one week out.  It's still sort of damp along the edges.

We're hoping to leave next Wednesday after the next bandage change.  Dr. Lewis has a colleague in Phoenix, and we're thinking we could go see her for the removal of stitches.  We just can not stay here for the entire month of October.  The bus needs some attention at Elite RV and we would really like to be south of the Siskiyous mountains before it snows.  I hate me some snow in an RV! 
I am just beyond bored.  Jim is bored, as well.  The highlight of today will be a trip to Walgreen's.  If it's not too cold, maybe Jim will push me over to Fred Meyer's.  Whoo hoo!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Renting a Wheelchair

Greetings from the post-surgical ward.  Jim and I were talking about it this morning, and we've decided that if anyone ever becomes chronically ill, we will be buying a house.  It's difficult convalescing in a RV; there's no where to go, nothing to do.  We've watched movies, gotten caught up on television series and now we're watching BBC America.  I'm not crazy about the current Dr. Who.

We rented a wheel chair today.  I needed to get out of the RV, badly.  When I had the first foot surgery, I relied on crutches.  NEVER DO THIS.  It puts 100% of your weight on one foot.  Plantar fasciitis is frequently caused by rapid weight gain, you know, like a 100% increase.  So, for a year after the first right foot surgery, I had to deal with my left foot as well. Lesson learned, use wheels.  It's kind of a crappy wheel chair, the handles are too low and Jim has to lean way over to push.  But it did get me out for a bit.
Sorry the posting is so pitiful.   It's the nature of the beast.  Hours of tedium followed by more elevating the foot.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Gruesome Picture of my Foot

Today we went in to get the surgical site rewrapped.  I have to say that this procedure has been more painful than the other two on my right foot.   I would guess it's due to there being two incisions and the number of nerves that were removed.  To get to the nerves, the transverse metatarsal ligament has to be cut, and in this case cut twice so the nerves could be resected.

It was good that I got it done.  Bad things were going on in my foot, and they were not going to get any better.   The normal foot has one nice little nerve that goes up between the toes in the second and third spaces.  My nerves had thickened up between the toes (the neuroma) and had sprouted branches everywhere.  All of those little branches had to be pulled out, as well as the main trunk of the nerve.  That was a fair amount of digging.
Now, you have been warned.  The next photo after this drawing is my foot.  If you're squeamish, now would be a good time to click away.

The skin is everted like that to provide as much surface area as possible for the cut areas to adhere.  Over time they'll flatten out.  Since the ligament is now cut in two places, the skin has to take up more of the slack in holding my foot together.

I'm to keep it elevated 6 inches higher than my hip for 72 hours.  It's really tedious.  Dr. Lewis said I didn't have to use crutches, but I am very glad I have them.  Nothing is that far away in the RV, but keeping the foot off the ground is good.  So, that's what's happening here.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Vacuum Breakers and Feet

Do you know what this is? No?  Neither did we until yesterday morning.  We had a bunch of serendipity.  Jim was out dumping and flushing the black tank.  While waiting for the tank to fill, he was looking in the storage bays to see if there were any mice stuck to the sticky traps.  While looking, he noticed water running down a bulkhead that contains the Aladdin electronic sending units.  Bad, so very bad.  Water and electronics, never a happy combination. So we started the search for the source of the water.  We traced it to this brass thingy that looks like a hat, conveniently located behind where the washer/dryer used to be.  It's a vacuum breaker.  The fitting below the teflon tape had loosened up, allowing water to leak out and run down the blue pipe into the storage bay.  We had to text a picture of it to Erik at Elite Repair to find out what it was.  Who knew?

The top of the hat.  I like the name Cash Acme - it reminds me of a Roadrunner cartoon.

After the great weekend, the weather turned on us.  This morning we had sideways rain mixed with ice pellets.  Yea!!!!  There were also some short lived sun breaks.

So today we went back to Costco with my new sunglasses that are incredibly painful on my nose.  They took them back, which really surprised me.  I gave the other pair that didn't fit to Jim, so now he has new good sunglasses.  Prior to today I did not know I had to ensure that the temples could be bent far enough behind my ears to hold them tightly on my face, and that the space between the lenses needs to be small for my "high narrow bridge."  It took about 90 minutes to settle on something.  My most favorite pair I ever owned broke the other day, very tragic.
After Costco we went to Safeway and swiped produce bags.  I plan on bagging my foot and taping it off with painter's tape when bathing. 
Tomorrow is surgery.  We have to be there at 6:30 in the morning!  6:30!!!!!!  Argghhhhh!!!!!!!!  I really hate getting up early.  Dr. Lewis already wrote me a prescription for Oxycodone, which makes my wonder how bad this is going to be.  The two right foot surgeries were not all that painful, except for when the bandage rubbed all the skin of the top of my foot on one of my bony protuberances.  That was really the worst of it.  Anyway, it'll be something.
There may not be blogging for a couple of days, so stand by for further updates.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Glorious Weekend in the GPNW

The weather this weekend was a gift.  The sun was out, and it was just glorious.  I had to laugh at us yesterday.  When we lived here, we rode all winter.  We had our clothing choices for the bikes calibrated in 10 degree increments.  For a given forecast we knew what to start off with and what would be coming off as the day warmed up.  Yesterday we left when it was 55 with a chill in the air, neither of us could decide what to wear.  After significant rummaging through the bike box we found the toe booties and the head socks.  As it turned out, they were over kill, but the rest of the kit felt pretty good.
Today we went out to Fall City.  It was 70 at the end of the ride.  This is very unusual for this time of year.  Sometimes it's unusual even in the summer.   The water buffaloes were out, the ones foreground are wallowing in the mud.  They looked happy.  They're so far away, it's tough to get a good picture of them.

The always lovely Sikes Lake.  There were no geese today, only ducks.

It's pumpkin season in Carnation Valley.  Jubilee Farm is running horse drawn wagons out to the pumpkin patches.

Tomorrow a new system will be visiting the GPNW, bringing us rain.  It's ok, we must vacuum, clean the tile floors and defrost the freezer.  If we wait much longer, the ice maker is going to freeze solid and quit making ice cubes.  That would be bad.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Das Boot(s)

Woe, woe is me.  We went to see the surgeon yesterday.  For some reason Jim and I both had it in our heads that stitches would come out in 1 week.  No, stitches come out after 3 weeks.  We live in an RV,  there is no bath tub.  Personal hygiene becomes difficult when you are wearing a giant inflatable walking boot and you can't get your foot or the boot wet. The COs have graciously granted me access to their bath tub, but one hates to intrude.  However, one probably will have to a few times a week.
The good news today was that insurance will cover a second boot.  I have to sleep in it, as well as walk around outside in it.  I don't sleep in my shoes and was not looking forward to sleeping in a boot that had been outside.
I'm sort of despondent about it being three weeks before the stitches come out.  As I've said before, I'm starting to feel like an RV.  It's always something.  We were really looking forward to getting back in shape after the three month hiatus after the heart procedure.  Now there's at least another month of inactivity.   I have noticed that as I get older, the length of time required to get back strength and cardio increases.  However, it is what it is.
This is the look I'll be sporting after surgery.  Fortunately my new jeans have a wide enough leg that I can roll them up.  

Today was a glorious day.  The sun was out and it got up into the mid-60s.  It was unnerving how warm and nice it was.  The weekend is supposed to be good as well.  I'm thinking we'll dig the road bikes out of the bed of the truck and go ride, albeit slowly. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Rain, Fish and Feet in the GPNW

The climate in the GPNW is not as terrible as it was over the weekend.  Tuesday we were able to get out for about an hour's walk in Issaquah.  That's Jim walking over the Issaquah Creek bridge amid the leaf muck.  The horizontal(ish) element is a partially downed tree branch.

Today we went over to Bellevue Square to mall walk.  We really need to stop doing that, we're engaging in way too much entertainment shopping.  I will say that recently I was finally able to find a pair of jeans after searching for months - $20!  Today's entertainment was a new toaster.
Afterwards, we went out to the fish hatchery.  The fish are coming home.

Some were doing a backflip.

Others just performed a straight on launch at the weir.

This morning we discovered the carpet next to the wall, near the driver's seat is wet.  We think it might be due to water running off the top of the slide when we brought it in when we left Spokane.  There's no water on the wall. We're running the space heater at it to dry it out.  I'm using hangers to hold the carpet on the slide up, and as a ramp to tilt the heater.

I spoke briefly to the podiatrist's office staff today, the results of the MRI are in.  I have not one, but TWO neuromas.  TWO!  Count them, TWO!  They're in the spaces between the 2nd & 3rd and 3rd and 4th metatarsals.  It's no wonder my dang foot hurts.  We have to get up early tomorrow to go have a pre-op appointment with the podiatrist.  While the thought of more anesthesia is not a good thought, the idea of pain free walking is very seductive.  After surgery, maybe there will be new shoes, maybe there will be cute shoes.  That would be cool.