Well folks, we've hit a bump in the road.
We were having a great time on our first big adventure in New Mexico and we were trying to decide where to go for the winter when Rick became ill on October 14th. Thinking it was just an upset stomach that would pass we left SantaFe, finding a nice State Park west of Albuquerque. We could dry-camp there for one or two nights while we made our final decision on exactly where to go.
We had applied for work-camping jobs in Southern Texas and Northern California; both of which ended up requiring us to stay from November 1 through April 1. We had to decline both jobs as we had already made our Frebruary/March commitment at the YaQuina Head Lighthouse just outside Newport Oregon.
Rick's illness got much worse during our first night at the St. Park so I searched our "Next Exit" guide and found the nearest town with a hospital. That ended up being Gallup, NM. As sick as he was he drove the 30 plus miles the next morning. It was up to me to get the fifth wheel ready to go. Thank goodness we didn't un-hitch.
We disconnected as soon as we were positioned in our space at the KOA and I got the rig all set up while Rick layed on the picnic table giving me directions. As I was walking Anna later in the afternoon I struck up a conversation with a traveling nurse. She and her sister were working in Gallup and Fort Defiance. Once she learned that Rick was sick she commented that we should NOT take him to this hospital. Without giving you detail, I can only say that she gave me very valid reasons supporting her statement.
Oh boy, now what do we do?! I got out our maps and calculated mileages...Flagstaf? Denver? Salt Lake City? or home to Twin Falls? Not wanting to take a chance on medical care we made the decision to get our tails home to Twin Falls as soon as he felt a little better.
I convinced Rick that I could drive the rig (never done it before, but I just knew I could...."No Fear" was my motto). On the third day we hit the highway. Each day Rick would drive for thirty to sixty minutes, then I would take over. We got to Monticello, Utah the first night, Provo, UT the second night and pulled into the fire station in Jerome, Idaho at 4pm on the third day of travel (Thurs,October 21). He now fondly calls me his "little truck driver". Once home we were set up in fifteen minutes and in the Emergency Room of the hospital in Twin Falls by 5pm. (I had become somewhat of a pro setting up and packing up.)
The E.R. doctor decided that Rick had been suffering from food poisoning, gave him intervenous fluids and sent us home with a prescription for nausea.
Friday afternoon he still wasn't feeling any better so back we came to E.R.
Long story short; his appendix "perferated" - you and I would say "burst" - and on Saturday morning an absess the size of a football, approximately fourteen inches of colon, the secum and appendix were removed. Rick spent fifteen days in ICU and has been in the post-surgery ward the past week. He has made very slow, but continual progress. His kidneys have most recently shown signs of trying to do their job, so we are hoping that he will not have to go through any more dialysis. We have no idea how much longer he will have to remain in the hospital.
We rely on fate and faith that we were suppose to get back to Idaho for medical care. Had we been anywhere else we would not be blessed with the support of our dear friends and family.
I have struggled with the thought of posting our most recent challenge but after talking to some good friends we have decided to tell all. (Thanks Greg!)
We expect to get back on the road just as soon as Rick is healthy again and pray that we can still meet our work-camping commitment on February 1.
Our most sincere thanks to all those who have been praying, sending up positive thoughts, visiting, calling, emailing and just thinking of him. Neither of us could have gotten through this without each of you!!