Friday, July 30, 2010

Tuesday is THE day….

It has been a little over a week since I last posted to this blog. I apologize but there really hasn’t been anything new or exciting to report. It’s getting old for me to write about my aching back, the numbness in my feet, my lack of mobility and having trouble sleeping. This wasn’t my plans for this blog for sure. But anyway, I did see  the specialist this past Tuesday and this coming Tuesday, August 3rd, Barbie will take me to the Mountain Lakes Hospital for my 9:00am appointment. They will take me to the ER where Dr. Long will give me an lumbar epidural steroid injection.  In this approach, a steroid is injected directly around the dura, the sac around the nerve roots that contains cerebrospinal fluid (the fluid that the nerve roots are bathed in). Prior to the injection, the skin is anesthetized by using a small needle to numb the area in the low back (a local anesthetic). Injecting around the dura sac with steroid can markedly decrease inflammation associated with common conditions such as spinal stenosis, disc herniation or degenerative disc disease. It is thought that there is also a flushing effect from the injection that helps remove or "flush out" inflammatory proteins from around structures that may cause pain. I must take a valium tablet before going to bed the night before and one in the car on the way. I guess that is to relax me. Dr. Long spent 40 minutes with Barbie and I this past Tuesday reviewing my case and explaining the procedure. He seemed confident (70% is the number he used) that this procedure should give me relief from pain and with the reduction of inflamation around the nerve roots, the numbness should start to go away in my feet. He made us feel at ease. So if I could ask each of you to say a little prayer on my behalf, I’d be grateful. I hate asking but I’ll take all the help I can get at this time.

Our Roamin’ Rigs friends, the Gregorys and Wares, stopped by and visited with me since last I wrote. They spent a few days up in Franklin, NC (20 minutes north of us) on their way to Niagra Falls and Canada. It was great seeing them. They also took Barbie out to eat last Sunday at the Dillard House. I had a rough night Saturday so I stayed here in the motorhome but Sandie made sure Barbie brought back plenty of veggies for me to eat.

Barbie continues to be amazing taking care of ALL that needs to be done. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers as well. Taking care of me is a pain! Well, ‘til next time……

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

When It Rains…….It Pours

You know we love rving and wouldn’t trade it for any other lifestyle. When things are working as they should, it is like the never-ending vacation. But eventually you know “things” are gonna happen. Just like your homes, things break and you ‘ve gotta fix them ‘cause after all-it is your home. I’ve documented plenty already the issues I’m currently having with my back and mobility. That hasn’t changed and on top of that Barbie was in the kitchen yesterday midday and I heard an expression of frustration (pretty good choice of words huh?). So when I asked she told me water was spewing up from the faucet up onto the counter. Of course, I can’t fix this so I begin asking her questions. See if it is leaking under the sink in the cabinet-NO. Is it still leaking when you turn the faucet off-NO. So at least we (or should I say, Barbie) didn’t have to turn the water off to the rig outside. It is the original faucet in this 2001 Kountry Star, so the faucet is shot. Just more rain on our parade. We know an rv business, Appalachian RV, north on Highway 441 that we’ve utilized before was a possibility but Barbie went up to the office and found a card for a gentleman who comes to your coach to service it. She gave him a call, he asked her a few questions about what we had etc and said he would be to see us tomorrow (today). I called Appalachian who we had dealt with before and they couldn’t come to us for a week and a half. Bottomline, Tom Marsden, showed up at about 1:15pm today. He had a “repair” kit for our faucet but in trying to open it up etc, found our faucet to be rusted and the new kit wouldn’t help. So Barbie followed him  to the Dillard Reeves Ace Hardware (and they have everything) and picked out a new Delta single lever faucet for him to install. They came back, he installed it and even added shutoff valves to our sink faucet so it we ever needed to shut off that line, we could still leave the water on for the rest of the motorhome-just like all of our stick built homes. It looks sweet and most importantly works great. He charged us 1 hour of labor and a service call fee. He comes from over the mountains in Cashiers, so I feel good about the charges. Best part is we found out his expertise is really in diesel engine mechanics. That’s good to know for the future—even though I hope that rain never falls on us.

Before signing off, since my last post, I appreciate the email we received from the Olivers in Florida, an email from Steve Coleman(wherever he and Linda are) and the phone call I got from Ron Kemerer down in St. Pete. ‘Til next time…..

Friday, July 16, 2010

Motorhome Sweet Motorhome


Finally! We moved back into the motorhome Wednesday, 7/14, after spending the nine previous nights in motel rooms. The motel rooms served their purpose making it easier to get around as I learn to deal with the movement issues I have now. The reason we love the rv lifestyle is that we are always at home and never have to live out of suitcases  or sleep in a strange bed. It’s great to be home! Now, let me backtrack a little. We got the call from Dr. Pennington’s office to report Monday, 7/12, to review the MRI results. The results identified my issues. I have lumbar spinal stenosis in my lower back in the L4-L5 region. Basically it is a narrowing of the spinal cavity causing compression of the spinal cord. I had severe inflamation and  back pain but now we have the pain pretty much under control with muscle relaxants and pain meds. The numbness I feel only in my feet is the big problem. I couldn't get up at all and put any weight on my feet initially-thus the wheelchair we rented. Now I can get around (albeit slowly) with a walker. This didn’t develop overnight but has been coming for awhile. Many folks have this, some less serious than mine at this point and some more serious than my case. I am now awaiting the appointment to meet with a specialist. From the reading and research I've done online, it appears some sort of epidural steroid injection into the area could help. We'll see----I appreciate your thoughts and prayers and will keep you posted. Inside the motorhome I use a walker to get around. To go somewhere loading and unloading the wheelchair into our car (GMC Terrain), is really tough on Barbie. Let alone when we get somewhere for me to wheel around or Barbie to push me is a hassle for sure. So we made the decision to buy me an early birthday present. From the Franklin, NC, Command Mobility store we bought a Victory 10  mobility “scooter.” Mine is blue not red.

Victory 10 scooterWe also purchased a portable 6 foot ramp that folds up like a suitcase. The scooter and ramp fit in the back to the Terrain and it is actually much easier for Barbie to load and unload (without lifting) than the wheelchair. It can be used indoors (not in motorhome obviously) and outdoors and has all the bells and whistles I would need to comfortably get around. With this we will be able to get around doing things we want to do much more easily. Even when I am able to walk without a walker, this will be an invaluable aide to assist me with mobility.

River Vista has been pretty full. Unfortunately with my appointments etc, we were not able to spend time with our Tampa friends Danny and Nancy Puig that were camping here for a few days, although we spoke on the phone and communicated on Facebook regularly. We’ll make plans to hook up at another time. There have been several rv group rallies held here. Barbie and I were particularly intrigued by the GMC club group that had 20-25 rigs here. Here are a couple of the beauties.




So, I’ll quit for now. ‘Til next time………………..

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Homesick for the “Castle”

A couple of blog entries ago I was complaining about having “Castle Fever”- we weren’t able to get out of the motorhome because of my back issues. Well, as I sit here today I take all that back as I would love to be back IN the Castle. You see on July 5 the Rabun County EMS folks came and got me out of the motorhome to take me to the Franklin, NC hospital ER and I haven’t been in the motorhome since. The Franklin ER folks prescribed a couple of meds and sent us on our way. I knew we couldn’t get me back in the motorhome at that time so Barbie booked us a room in the Knights Inn in Dillard, just 5 minutes from the motorhome. We also rented a wheelchair for me since I still am not able to walk due to the numbness in my feet. I also made an appointment with a local doctor on Wednesday, 7/7. Dr. Pennington saw me, prescribed some meds for pain and a muscle relaxant. But he also said that I needed to have an MRI so he could determine the next step in my recovery process. His office folks got the MRI set up for me within about 24 hours at the Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s Imaging Center in Gainesville, Georgia. We changed hotels at his point to a wheelchair accessible room at the Mountain Valley Inn also in Dillard. It is so much easier to maneuver in this room-it is open with lots of floor space. It is an older place but certainly functional for now. Dr. Pennington’s office had told us to be ready to go Thursday as it may be a short notice to squeeze me in. Well, we got the call at 12:15pm Thursday and had to be in Gainesville by 2:30. Barbie somehow managed to get us there by 2:17. You ever had an MRI on your back? Geez, what an ordeal! First of all I am there because my back is killing me. Then they lay you flat on your back on a hard(felt like marble) slab and tell you that you need to be perfectly motionless for 30 minutes. They did put a small cushion under my head and I told them I couldn’t bear that position. Then they put pillows under my knees and in the MRI “tube” I went. Well, I lasted in my estimation 15-20 minutes and had to push the button for them to get me out---excrutiating pain! The female tech proceeded to tell me since it wasn’t completed, they must start over from the beginning. Are you kidding me? I tried to relax with my feet hanging off the table for a few minutes, then in again I went for try number two. I really thought I could make it- even starting over-at least that was my plan. I sang to myself, relived Barbie and my wedding day, and I believe every rv trip we have ever made. You think that would have taken at least 30 minutes. WRONG! The pain got worse than anything I EVER have experienced so I hit the buzzer. The tech’s voice came over the speaker saying I had 15 more minutes to go. At that point it destroyed me-no way I could make it another 15. I told her to get me out again. She was totally frustrated by me I’m sure but when she said “I know how you feel but….”, I nearly lost it. I told her in no uncertain terms that NO WAY did she know how I felt. Once again I dangled my legs off the table prepping for the next run when a male tech came in and told me he was going to get me through this “last try”. He explained that three attempts is all they do-if I couldn’t make it my doctor would have to proceed without the MRI. Well, that is no option so maybe that helped me mentally prepare for the third try. Just like baseball-three strikes and you’re out! Well, on the third time, I remember little other than trying to name all 2000+ songs I have in my IPOD library. Yes, I was still hurting and maybe I was out for awhile, I don’t know but I heard the tech’s slow southern drawl say “Mr. Boldt, we’re on the last zone, you’ve only got 5 more minutes.” I still don’t know if he was telling me truth then or not but I made it!  They had told Barbie I’d be gone maybe 45 minutes when they wheeled me away and I was gone 95 minutes. She said that is was a good thing her battery in her watch had died days before so she had no concept of time or she would have been more concerned. I was spent after that ordeal so on the way back we stopped at OINKERS, a great barbeque restaurant in Clayton and Barbie got two takeout dinners for us. We are to get a call tomorrow, Monday, when to go to the doctors office for the results and plan from here. As a high school principal, I thought I was nervous awaiting FCAT scores for my students and our school grade. Needless to say this redefines “nervousness” for me.

Barbie and I get out of the room at least once a day now to take a ride at least. Yesterday, we stopped at a local favorite “The Creamery’ for some homemade ice cream after making a stop at the motorhome. It was tough watching Barbie go into the Castle and I could only stay in the car- I can’t climb stairs…..yet. Thank goodness we have had our computers to keep me occupied. Between emails, blogs I follow and Facebook I am distracted some. Friends of ours from Tampa, Nancy and Danny Puig, have been traveling the country in their motorhome and yesterday’s entry said they would be staying in a Dillard, GA, campground. Back to the Creamery, I’m sitting there eating the blueberry and peach scoops when I see the Puig’s motorhome with car in tow headed south to Dillard. We went back to River Vista as they were checking in-small world huh? It was good seeing them and hopefully we can catch up with them later in the week as they plan to stay 6 days in River Vista. Finally, yes finally, I want to thank all of our friends and family  that have offered get well wishes and assistance to Barbie and I during this difficult time---I can’t begin to tell you how much I appreciate it. Pat and Sandie,  your generous offer to come up here and help us get back to Valrico is so thoughtful and much appreciated. I hope however, we do NOT need to take you up on that offer. I’m done for now, and we promise we’ll include some pictures we’ve taken……..’Til next time.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Raise Your Hand….

How many of you can say that you woke up this morning with your windows open to a temperature of 58 degrees? Raise your hand now. Yes, in these beautiful Dillard, Georgia mountains the weather has been exceptional the last two days. Light breeze blowing through the trees and my hair when I rode around the campground in our golf cart invigorated me. Jeff is still nursing his back so he hasn’t been able to get out and enjoy it yet. But he will in time.

How many of you can say you saw a parade today to celebrate the 4th of July? Raise your hand now. We were fortunate to have two parades in our campground. Our place is very crowded this holiday weekend so they decided to have two golf cart parades. One was on Saturday at 11:00 A.M. and the other one was today at 2:00 P.M.  People were having a great time flying their flags and waving as they go by. I decided not to participate this year. But we both still celebrate the 4th of July. This evening I will barbeque a skinless, boneless chicken breast and have some vegetables to go along with it. We had a simple late lunch of tomato and onion sandwiches, which was very good! The tomatoes were big and juicy and accompanied the Dukes Mayonnaise very well.

How many of you have had sciatic problems? Raise your hand now. Will someone please let me know when it will end? Jeff is impatient and expected it to go away in one weeks time. Yeah, right! I told him it takes time. If I can get him to walk better I will have him in at the doctors this week. I know it is very frustrating for him to sit inside all day . His pain has diminished somewhat during the day but you would swear that he is drinking caffeine to keep him and me awake during the night. He can’t get comfortable until 3:00 or 4:00  in the morning. In addition to that I am waking him up after he gets to sleep to take his meds. So, if anyone out their in cyberspace can give me some time line, we would appreciate it. We know the time frames will be different for everyone depending upon their situation. But it would still be nice to hear from you.

I am hoping to get some pictures tomorrow and will post them on the next blog. Remember…… ENJOY THE MOMENT!