Jump to content

Full Timing and getting ready for surgery


Recommended Posts

Back in 2017 we retired, sold our place, put everything in storage, and hit the road with our 35' travel trailer.   The plan was to do some traveling, visit where my ancestors lived, find family graves, etc. and then return back to Texas, buy an acre or two of land and put a manufactured home on the property and settle down.  

In late 2019 we returned and got a long term site rental at an RV park in the area where we wanted to buy property and started looking around.    Well the corona virus started up and things started locking down.  Initially, it seemed that all real estate was taken off the market but after a few months into 2020 people from all over the country decided they wanted to leave where they were (e.g., California, New York, etc.) and move to Texas.  You also had people living in the city deciding that they wanted out of there and were buying up property as fast as it was being listed.   Some of the land/lot purchasing was done sight-unseen and the prices went sky high.  So, we haven't been able to find anything that we can afford (or, we haven't been quick enough to beat the sight-unseen buyers) and we are still here at the RV park.   It's a nice, clean place with lots of room but the travel trailer is getting a bit tight to be living in.

Now, on top of all this, I looks like I'm going to have to have neck surgery (degenerated discs:C4 thru C6).  From what I have read on various neck surgery related forums the recovery from this may take some time and special precautions to heal up properly.    Is anyone else going through this sort of thing?   Have you had to make modifications on your RV or change living style to help with your recovery?

Thanx.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jinx had lumbar disc surgery Dec 2019.  We stayed in the RV through recovery which was about three months for functional recovery and six to ten for full recovery.  We have a bigger rig than you do - 37' 5er designed for full time living.

The first thing we did was talk with the doctor about just what to expect.  Surgeons seem to be particularly bad at this discussion.  Our discussion with his nurse worked much better.  She gave us an idea of what to expect.  Then we talked about it.  Her side was "I don't want to be a bother."  My side was "I don't want you to get hurt."  We reached a compromise.  She agreed not to attempt things that might injure her.  I agreed to shut up and trust her judgment.

I went through the rig doing trial runs of activities to determine where she might have trouble.  Narrow places and falling seemed to be the big issues.  I added one hand grip and made sure there were no rugs or mats over which she could trip.  We moved most of her everyday articles to shelves/ cupboards that were accessible without bending or lifting.  Snacks or things she would get were put at the same level in the cupboards and refrigerator.

Make sure maintenance is done before surgery.  You do not want to be bothered by RV techs or malfunctioning equipment.  This includes propane and caulking.  If you have duties that neither of you will be able to do, make sure you identify them first and make appropriate arrangements.

On a daily basis I made sure the floors were clear.  We got through it ok. Her back is great now.  Good luck.

Wayne & Jinx
2017 F-350 diesel, dually
2006 Carriage Carri-Lite 36KSQ

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Unfortunately,....or fortunately, depending upon how you view this.🎸 I can't really ad anything useful, but I do want to follow this thread to learn as I can.

 I wish all the best for your recovery. I guess one thing I do know, is since you are going under the knife as they say, make certain to heed the written directions for body cleansing prior to going in. I do know it is very important for infection fighting to make certain you do everything you can to be as clean as possible going in. My gf will be going in for cancer surgery on the 20th. I plan to make certain that I to am as clean as possible with freshly laundered clothing and I plan to even wipe down the car handles etc. Infection, especially in your case where your surgery will be at your neck, is to be avoided at all cost.

 Again, I do not know what to do regarding your rv, but make certain you have some good shoes to wear to avoid any slipping or rolling of the ankle etc. while you recover.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What about stairs Wayne?  I have just a temporary issue that is making it difficult to get in and out the door of my pretty low travel trailer.  And the position of my toilet has caused a pain issue and getting down and up.  Great that you are a couple.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't have much to offer in terms of answering the original posters question but want to comment that I'm watching this thread.  Great question..... and I appreciate the chance to learn from it.

We live in a 5th wheel and owned a travel trailer before. I would think the travel trailer would be easier to get around in while recovering because of no stairs inside.  

I have also recovered from a back injury, although we were not living fulltime in an RV.  The emotional side effects are note worthy as well.  It can be depressing when you are not able to do the things you have done in the past for an extended period of time. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I certainly understand the situation that you face as we went through Pam's first major surgery in the RV and then after getting a home-base she had an ankle and a hip replaced as well as lumbar surgery. Comparing the two situations there were 2 major issues which a home-base resolved, in addition to the extra space. The first is that is is difficult to get out of and into any RV when you are dealing with recovery from major surgery. The advantage of having no steps of any kind between the car and the couch was a tremendous improvement. Even a bigger thing was the ability of the patient to enter and leave the bathroom while using a walker and the space for a second person to assist them in bathing or toilet use. While we managed in the RV, life was far less difficult in the stick home. 

At this point, I think that you may find it a better choice to consider some type of RV home-base with an existing home, rather than raw land. As it happens, I know of a possible answer to your dilemma. I am thinking of Bass Lake Christian Retirement Community.  It is a unique community that is organized much like the Escapee co-op parks but with small homes. We lived there for 8 years and as a former president of the co-op, I can answer most questions and share both the pros and cons of the community. If you click on the Lots & Homes for Sale it will download to you a document listing 6 or 7 available properties there. While it is organized as a Christian community, it has no single denomination connection and has a growing number of non-practicing or rarely practicing members. If you have questions, feel free to drop me a private message.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good luck with this and I wish you a speedy recovery.  I can’t really add anything to this discussion since I’ve never had anything done to my neck, though I’ve talked to someone in the park where I’ve spent the winter who had neck surgery recently and is doing fine.  I think they live in a destination 5er.

It’s possible to recover from surgery when you live in a travel trailer.  I had cancer surgery 4 months ago and I’m single, living in a small travel trailer half the size of yours.  I needed more help than I had expected after the surgery and was lucky enough to have friends who came down from where they live with their own travel trailer and help me.  But it also meant that I had to re-organize things so that my friend could sleep on my dinette after surgery, until I was capable of managing the nights on my own.  I used the time prior to surgery to do some spring cleaning, getting rid of some things and repacking others.

Each surgery is different - hopefully you will get some good answers from your medical team as far as what to expect with your recovery.  Think of it all as a puzzle or a challenge to be solved - bathroom access, galley access, if you will need adjustments to your bed, etc.  It may take some imagination to come up with solutions that will work for you.  It all depends on what you’ll be able to do after surgery, you’ll have different challenges than I had.

Wishing you all the best.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

27 minutes ago, Kirk W said:

Kirk,

Clicked on the Lots link to see what was available and nothing happens.  Possibly no lots/houses for sale?

 

27 minutes ago, Kirk W said:

 

I certainly understand the situation that you face as we went through Pam's first major surgery in the RV and then after getting a home-base she had an ankle and a hip replaced as well as lumbar surgery. Comparing the two situations there were 2 major issues which a home-base resolved, in addition to the extra space. The first is that is is difficult to get out of and into any RV when you are dealing with recovery from major surgery. The advantage of having no steps of any kind between the car and the couch was a tremendous improvement. Even a bigger thing was the ability of the patient to enter and leave the bathroom while using a walker and the space for a second person to assist them in bathing or toilet use. While we managed in the RV, life was far less difficult in the stick home. 

At this point, I think that you may find it a better choice to consider some type of RV home-base with an existing home, rather than raw land. As it happens, I know of a possible answer to your dilemma. I am thinking of Bass Lake Christian Retirement Community.  It is a unique community that is organized much like the Escapee co-op parks but with small homes. We lived there for 8 years and as a former president of the co-op, I can answer most questions and share both the pros and cons of the community. If you click on the Lots & Homes for Sale it will download to you a document listing 6 or 7 available properties there. While it is organized as a Christian community, it has no single denomination connection and has a growing number of non-practicing or rarely practicing members. If you have questions, feel free to drop me a private message.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Jinx & Wayne said:

Jinx had lumbar disc surgery Dec 2019 ...

  We moved most of her everyday articles to shelves/ cupboards that were accessible without bending or lifting.  Snacks or things she would get were put at the same level in the cupboards and refrigerator.

Wayne & Jinx

Shelves & cupboard accessibility is a good idea!   I'm having neck surgery so I don't know if  bending at the waist is a problem but, I'll have to wear a neck brace for quite a while and I understand that bending the neck may not be possible anyway, depending upon how extensive the surgery will be.

I've also found a folding desk that I can use to raise my laptop and tilt it so I can see the keyboard and screen without having to bend my neck.

Thanks!

Edited by DavidCD
Link to comment
Share on other sites

46 minutes ago, jc2 said:

Clicked on the Lots link to see what was available and nothing happens.  Possibly no lots/houses for sale?

No, the link does work but the page downloads into your downloads folder and you have to go there in order to open it. There are pictures and information on 7 lots, most with housed on them. Or if you pm me your email I'll attach the document to an email to you if you can't find it I do think it was supposed to open online, but isn't doing that.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, bigjim said:

What about stairs Wayne?  I have just a temporary issue that is making it difficult to get in and out the door of my pretty low travel trailer.  And the position of my toilet has caused a pain issue and getting down and up.  Great that you are a couple.

 

4 hours ago, Kirk W said:

...  The advantage of having no steps of any kind between the car and the couch was a tremendous improvement. Even a bigger thing was the ability of the patient to enter and leave the bathroom while using a walker and the space for a second person to assist them in bathing or toilet use. While we managed in the RV, life was far less difficult in the stick home. ...

Last year - before any of these neck issues became apparent - our neighbor in the next site, who had been working for an oil service company was leaving because the well workovers were being halted and he gave us his really nice, wide tubular steel and expanded metal set of stairs that he had fabricated.   They fit perfectly, just below the threshold of our TT door and have hand rails.   It is really heavy and steady so, I'm grateful to have it - I won't have to do a balancing act as I try to climb the fold down stairs that the trailer is equipped with.

Now, the bathroom is another issue - ours is one of those tiny - 4' x 5' - spaces with a shower/tub that is better suited for storing cleaning equipment than any use for personal hygiene.  I'll probably use the RV park's handicapped shower and, I guess, experiment with various options to use the commode ...  hmm .

DCD

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My current issues is Knee on left side, hip on right.  There is almost no distance between the toilet and shower so I can't keep the knee straight.  I put an upended five gal. bucket to give some way to help push up. The sink cabinet on the other side helps but the height is wrong so of limited help.  Knee is getting better by the day but the hip won't be ok until it is cut on some day.  I can do a sink bath for now as long as I can keep everything straight up.  Reliable handrails on the outside steps would be a  real boon. Canes and crutches seem to get in the way there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have worked many years in the OR. Every patient and every procedure is different depending on many factors. I have avoided and will avoid the OR as much as possible. My most recent I convinced the Surgeon to do in office and not in the OR. It was a lot more painful, but the outcome was the same and less expensive which made the pain less important. I do have a better understanding of post op pain now though. 

My home on wheels has a large stair case and significant hand rails. I also only have a 4 inch step up from the garage and the living area. the rest is a full flat floor. I would not attempt to use a cane or crutches on any of the standard RV step systems available in a off the lot RV. It's a disaster in the making. Find a friend or relative in a sticks and bricks, build a real stairway and small deck  or rent an apartment or hotel room for your recovery. It only takes one fall to the back of the head to make life so much different. 

Good luck with your procedure and be happy. 

 

Rod

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It sounds like you might not have room for this but when I had my knee replacements done I learned I could turn the walker backwards over the toilet then use it to lower and lift myself.

I think washing dishes could be a problem so you might want to stock up on paper ones.

Linda Sand

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Amazon has a lot of handicap aids... toilet risers may help.  As Linda stated... if you have room placing the walker on the sides of the toilet could give a lift & also could stabilize a man as he stands.

Crutches are dangerous.  Get a walker instead.  For a knee replacement you want to use that leg immediately. Don't baby it.  Check the city you're in and many times there are places to borrow medical equipment. Ask your doctor.  Definitely don't try to use crutches coming out of a RV!

We both had knee replacements and other surgeries while living in the RV & honestly, we thought it was easy to get around because there's always something nearby to hold onto.

They make very large disposable bath wipes.... not the same as a shower but they really help for the first week or so.

Getting outside.. we were lucky to have a nice large grabbar to one side and the door was on the other side so had something on both sides to hold onto.  Having someone to stand there helped, also.

When discharged from the hospital quite often you're assigned a home aide crew.. nurse, physical therapy and occupational therapy.   Medicare pays for it. Therefore, you don't even have to leave the RV to have PT.  They will come to a RV & they have lots of good ideas on how to do things.

Many have had surgeries while in the RV so it can be done.  You'll figure it out as you go.

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=handicap+bathroom+aids&i=hpc&ref=nb_sb_noss_2

Edited by 2gypsies
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, lappir said:

My home on wheels has a large stair case and significant hand rails. I also only have a 4 inch step up from the garage and the living area. the rest is a full flat floor. I would not attempt to use a cane or crutches on any of the standard RV step systems available in a off the lot RV. It's a disaster in the making. Find a friend or relative in a sticks and bricks, build a real stairway and small deck  or rent an apartment or hotel room for your recovery. It only takes one fall to the back of the head to make life so much different.

Hi Rod - Thanks for the info ...  as I mentioned above, a former neighbor gave us a nice, heavy set of stairs with a 3'x4' landing at the doorway - I'm glad to have it :

Stairs.jpg.0193b8b2f802bc0387432f6c95e30629.jpg

1 hour ago, 2gypsies said:

They make very large disposable bath wipes.... not the same as a shower but they really help for the first week or so.

 

When discharged from the hospital quite often you're assigned a home aide crew.. nurse, physical therapy and occupational therapy.   Medicare pays for it. Therefore, you don't even have to leave the RV to have PT.  They will come to a RV & they have lots of good ideas on how to do things.

Many have had surgeries while in the RV so it can be done.  You'll figure it out as you go.

Thanks 2gypsies - 

Where do you get the large bath wipes?   Is there a particular brand that is any better than another?

I'll make sure to ask about a home aid crew - I'm sure it beats the hell out of trying to drive down to the hospital for PT appointments.

DCD

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here are Amazon's selection.  I don't recall what brand we used.  Get big ones - 12x12 for all over wipes.  They're expensive, unfortunately but for short-term perhaps doable.  Get a pkg. of smaller 10x9 or whatever, regular size wipes to supplement.

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=every+hero+full+body+wipes&ref=nb_sb_noss

Your steps are perfect!  You'll do just fine!!

Edited by 2gypsies
Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, bigjim said:

What about stairs Wayne?  I have just a temporary issue that is making it difficult to get in and out the door of my pretty low travel trailer.  And the position of my toilet has caused a pain issue and getting down and up.  Great that you are a couple.

Thanks.  She is terrific.  We work well together.  At least I think so.  She may have a different take on the matter.

Check with rehab and a medical supply store.  I'm pretty sure there is something to deal with the toilet issue.  You are not the first.  Regarding stairs, it it too late to have a ramp fabricated until you are ready to travel again?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fortunately the biggest problem for now is pretty short lived but I am thinking about anything that could happen in the future.  I have a young friend that completely uses a wheel chair that rises on a winch to the bed of his truck.  Because of my temporary deal it made me think about how he goes about gasing up his vehicles if he is alone.  I could barely get in the drivers side last week on my truck and I was thinking back to when you could get someone to pump your gas.  I could not think of a single place in this area that you could go to now.  I think Oregon or Wash. St. still does.  I meant to call him and ask him about it sooner but forgot.  If memory doesn't fail me I will ask soon.  Last year I left  a little ahead of him and we had a pretty good snow so I cleared his windshield after mine which is hard enough. Otherwise he might have had to sit there and idle on defrost  a long time to clear that much with windshield wiper. I can learn but sometimes I am pretty slow. I guess it often doesn't dawn on us until it affects us or someone we know more closely.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I once spent 17 days in the hospital without being able to shower because of multiple IVs.  (I had a knee replacement and acute pancreatitis at the same time.) The nurses would give me a ziplock bag once a day full of maybe 8-10 of those cheap washcloths and soaked in this no rinse body wash.  https://www.amazon.com/No-Rinse-Body-Bath-Refreshed-Odor-Free/dp/B003MX07I2/ref=sr_1_5?crid=221C9JP2M9N3H&dchild=1&keywords=no+rinse+body+wash&qid=1618036240&sprefix=no+rinse+body+wash%2Caps%2C282&sr=8-5

They would put the washcloths in the bag and put in some diluted body wash until they were soaked, then stick the whole thing in a microwave to heat it up.  I would sit on a towel on the shower bench, but without the shower turned on, and go through the bag of wet washcloths one at a time.  It smelled fantastic and felt great! 

You can buy stacks of washcloths in a pack at Walmart's cheaply and having a couple dozen would really be helpful for a lot of things.  Get the white ones so they can be bleached.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, 2gypsies said:

Here are Amazon's selection.  I don't recall what brand we used.  Get big ones - 12x12 for all over wipes.  They're expensive, unfortunately but for short-term perhaps doable.  Get a pkg. of smaller 10x9 or whatever, regular size wipes to supplement.

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=every+hero+full+body+wipes&ref=nb_sb_noss

Your steps are perfect!  You'll do just fine!!

 

3 hours ago, Solo18 said:

I once spent 17 days in the hospital without being able to shower because of multiple IVs.  (I had a knee replacement and acute pancreatitis at the same time.) The nurses would give me a ziplock bag once a day full of maybe 8-10 of those cheap washcloths and soaked in this no rinse body wash.  https://www.amazon.com/No-Rinse-Body-Bath-Refreshed-Odor-Free/dp/B003MX07I2/ref=sr_1_5?crid=221C9JP2M9N3H&dchild=1&keywords=no+rinse+body+wash&qid=1618036240&sprefix=no+rinse+body+wash%2Caps%2C282&sr=8-5

They would put the washcloths in the bag and put in some diluted body wash until they were soaked, then stick the whole thing in a microwave to heat it up.  I would sit on a towel on the shower bench, but without the shower turned on, and go through the bag of wet washcloths one at a time.  It smelled fantastic and felt great! 

You can buy stacks of washcloths in a pack at Walmart's cheaply and having a couple dozen would really be helpful for a lot of things.  Get the white ones so they can be bleached.

Thanks for the Amazon product links !

Dave

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 hours ago, bigjim said:

I put an upended five gal. bucket to give some way to help push up. The sink cabinet on the other side helps but the height is wrong so of limited help. 

My rig came with a handhold next to the toilet for getting up.  You might try adding one.

Wayne & Jinx
2017 F-350 diesel, dually
2006 Carriage Carri-Lite 36KSQ

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So ....  throughout the day I've been trying note when and where I do something that requires me to bend my neck - e.g., dressing, putting on shoes, just about anything in the bathroom, taking care of the dog, etc.    I sure do it a lot.

If I can't turn my head or bend my neck, I'm wondering if I'm not going to be totally disabled! 

Has anyone installed a "MirrorEye" or blind spot camera ( https://www.amazon.com/blindspot-camera/s?k=blindspot+camera ) on their truck so you can look at a rear view monitor of the passenger side ?   Viewing the driver's side mirror is not too much of a problem but the passenger side mirror would probably require me to turn my whole  body to see ...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another thing to think about is your wardrobe.  I don’t know what limitations you’ll have physically but I couldn’t lift my arms over my head at first and I only have tee shirts and jeans - I now own shirts/blouses that button in the front.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...