Vagabond Medical Emergency

I feel like our Vagabond story keeps coming back here. I’m stuck in evaluation mode. My goal when I started my Full Timing lifestyle four years ago was to experience this new life fully. I had expectations from my research, including other bloggers who have gone before me. Many of those expectations came true these last four years and some were well beyond what a had ever dreamed. Probably my most important goal was to stay active in my early retirement years. Of course, there were difficult times. Mostly due to repairs that were necessary on the Workhorse and Coach, and the cost associated. It’s hard to have your house worked on while you are moving down the road. Now maybe one of the most difficult times to date and it revolves around my health and my planning for emergency healthcare.

Yellowstone Buffalo

Yellowstone Buffalo

My decision and thought process I’ve shared with you, including my re-evaluation a month ago, was to continue at least one more year even though repairs to the Coach and Workhorse were busting my budget. It’s important to me that I finish the five-year commitment that I made to myself when I was retiring. Once complete I hope to again reevaluate where I am at that point and possibly change my traveling style.


Visiting The ER

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Wyoming Skies

Fast forward a week after my last Vagabond re-evaluation. I wake in the middle of the night with a pain I had never experienced. By the next afternoon, I found myself in an Arizona urgent care facility. While I don’t know how I hurt my back, they prescribed a muscle relaxer and rest. Early the following morning I woke with even worse pain. Eventually, I ended up going to the ER, again in the afternoon. An x-ray, a few more tests and I once again released with some additional pain medication and instructions to rest, no lifting.

Two days later and I repeated the visit to the ER only at 4 am. This time they did more testing and admitted me in the hospital for a few days for some serious testing. The result after numerous tests to eliminate problems, several CT Scans, Endoscopy and an Ultra Sound, their diagnosis a Pressure Fracture of “T8” vertebrae. A full timer’s worst nightmare. I can barely move my body, let alone hitch up the Coach and move on down the road. This will be a real test for me and I’m due to move my location in just a few days.

After the panic subsides, what’s real?

Yellowstone Grand Canyon

Yellowstone Grand Canyon

I’m thankful this happened before leaving the Arizona area, mostly because I have family support here.

An import decision someone considering the full-time lifestyle is health insurance. I am not very knowledgeable in this area so my sisters’ insurance agent helped me navigate the process. As most of you know an HMO insurance will not cover your needs when full timing. I ended up choosing a PPO plan (Blue Cross – Blue Shield of Montana). I also chose the Plan F which has no deductible. I’ve used this insurance several times now and whether I’m in Montana, Tennessee  Arizona or California it has worked well. As a backup, especially traveling solo as I do, I purchased “Travel Assist” from Good Sam. While I haven’t used it (hope I never have to) it stats they will cover medical emergency evacuation to a facility nearby or your home. They also provide transportation of your RV and tow vehicle back to your home. Also they provide airfare for a travel companion, including your pet!

Wyoming

Stormy Colorado Skies

For now, though, My children have opened their homes to Jagger and I. We have moved out of the Coach into my Son’s home, taking over the guest room. With the help of my Son and Daughter-in-law, we moved the Coach into a storage facility for a few months and my daughter is babysitting the Workhorse. (I can’t drive due to the pain medication I am currently taking). I will be following up with the doctors and physical therapists here locally and if the Orthopedic doctor is right, I will be back on the road again in four to six weeks. I might note that Jagger is also having a great vacation with his German Shepperd friend Phoebe, here at my Son’s home.

One of my “nightmares” revolved around medical assistance and I learned early on, even at my age, that it’s nothing to fear. Help is usually closer than you think. I will keep posting here as I progress. Maybe I will actually get “caught up” on my journal from last Summer before it’s time to hit the road again.

Safe Travels…Gary and Jagger

Note: I posted a few random pictures here from our Summer trip South last year.

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14 Comments

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