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It's a New Day, It's a New Hip

I mentioned in a previous post that we are waiting on a few things to be done before we bail on California. One of which is done, I had a minor medical procedure. The other is a big deal, Darin is getting a hip replacement. The prep for replacing a major body part is a bit intense. We have a date set for the surgery and after that we have some work to do, as in physical therapy. The prep prior to surgery is pretty specific and if you are a rule-follower you will do just fine.

However, Darin and I both like to color outside the lines so this part is a challenge for us but we are in-it to win-it. Here's the short list:

Arrange Caretaker - check - that would be me

Exercise hips daily to build/maintain strength - check

EKG, for obvious reasons - check - all good here

Labs, blood work and all that - check - all good here

COVID Test - check - now self-isolate until surgery

Skin Prep - beginning four nights before surgery - nightly shower with special soap and change bedding daily. Really? Yep, that is what the doctor ordered. Oh, and no animals on the bed under any circumstances. Doctor's orders. Since our black lab is old and also has bad hips, he can't jump on the bed anymore but our old cat can. Tonight will be very interesting... I'll let you know how that goes in a later paragraph because this is happening now...

The things the Caretaker requires prior to self-isolating... groceries and hobby supplies. I am the caretaker - so these are my needs. I have to have things to do throughout the day. My hobbies are directly connected to my sanity. Fortunately there are plenty of things to keep me busy that are van related. We make bug screens and always need to add to our inventory. We also make lots of other things for vans and van conversions. Check out our Shop HERE.

While we wait we are deciding where to drive first, that is still undecided but we are headed to Canada as soon as we are cleared to do so. Route planning will take on a different role in our travels than it has before. There will be shorter drive times to incorporate more walking and stretching - the new hip will need that. We plan to stay at least two nights in a location before driving on to the next, we want to take in sights and explore more areas. Our hope is to slow our pace and live life to the fullest.

We've made many trips up and down the West Coast, the scenery never disappoints. Our tentative route would take us to Oceano, CA and the Thousand Trails campground in the area.

San Francisco is on the list as usual. Bernal Heights has some spectacular views and a couple of nights visiting my uncle on the way up the coast is just what I will need by then.

We have rushed out of California in the past to get to a destination, not the plan this time. We will likely stop in the Eureka area to take in the rough beauty of the NorCal coastline and breathe the best of California air before leaving without a return plan. Table Bluff County Park should provide us with a couple nights of cool ocean air.

My best guess for after leaving California will be to stop in Florence, Oregon and Ocean City, Washington. At that point we would head east to Port Orchard to make some decisions on our next home base. From there we will head northeast to Bellingham to visit my brother and then at long last cross the border into Canada for an epic tour. In the mean time, we wait and recover.

We've followed the doctor's orders pretty thoroughly I'd say. For the past three nights we have both showered and slept on freshly laundered sheets and have kept the four-legged members of the family off the bed. One night and a wake up to go. We are to arrive at the hospital surgery department by 7am.

These few days have been very strange, a strange that can't be described really. I'd be lying if I said we've only entertained positive thoughts. We've tried to stay worry-free but with all the information that is at our fingertips these days it is hard if not impossible to do so. No matter what, there is one certainty as we approach tomorrow's surgery. Our lives are about to change.


We were told to arrive at 7am to check-in this morning for the 9:15 surgery. We arrived at 6:30am and waited in the car for a bit. Once upstairs and checked in we received a call from the surgeons nurse. She told us that the first patient had cancelled and that we could get in early. Woohoo! Good things happen when you follow the rules.

Once they collected Darin, I was asked to leave the building... COVID precautions suck. So here I sit, waiting in the car. Thank GOD the expected high today is only 73. I get irritable when it heats up to 72 but I think I can manage under the circumstances. I mean, at least I'll leave here with all my parts after all.


Not long after returning to my car I received a text, yes a text, from the hospital letting me know the procedure had begun, this was at 8:38 am. Since I assumed this would take a few hours, I started a new blog post focused on the 20 year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on our country.

Less than 2 hours later, I got another text letting me know Darin was in the recovery room. That's crazy right? So I went upstairs and joined them for physical therapy instructions. They literally had him stand up and walk the halls to the stairwell, up a flight of steps and back down. Then just like that, they discharged him to home. It is an hour drive to home from the hospital. Darin started his prescribed hourly walks at 1pm and continued that until about 11pm. I did not wake him to walk, although I considered it, being as I am his very own Nurse Ratched. He did get up every 2-3 hours overnight because of all the fluids they had pumped into him and all the Gatorade they told him to drink.

It's a new day... with a new hip. Darin restarts his hourly walks and the Physical Therapists comes over to check in and provide instruction and assistance. Piece of cake...

At this point, a couple of weeks have gone by and Darin is progressing insanely well. He used the walker for less than a week and transitioned to a cane. His stride is still a bit off due to years of limping with a bad hip but he is aware and diligently working on that.

In the meantime, orders are coming in for our van related products and excitement is building for us to hit the road full-time. Just a little TMI for you... the most difficult task for Darin since the surgery is wiping his butt!! Eeeewww, I won't bother, bore or provide you with graphic details, just take my word for it.

One of the essential pieces needed for us to function well on the road is a more powerful electrical/solar system. We have been doing business with InergyTek, a battery system manufacturer, for a few years now. We ordered their most up to date and powerful system over a year ago. That's right, over a year ago. Well, it finally arrived. This Covid pandemic and the resulting global supply-chain shortages have impacted their ability to maintain a reasonable turn-around time for their products. At long last, here it is:


Isn't it beautiful!?!? Ok, maybe not, but it is one giant leap toward our dream journey.

We are so close, but have so much to do in order to drive away. Let's discuss all of that in the next blog post... Oh send me your suggestions of where to visit in Canada.




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