Orange Beach, AL, End of February, 2021


We saw the ortho doc for the last time a week and a half ago, all looked good. He had Susan switch to a soft brace — a laces and velcro sort of thing. She can now walk without the boot, the boot and crutches have been retired to our medical device hall of fame, the walker is mostly on standby duty and a new cane is now the mobility assistance of choice. She saw the PT person twice more as well.

A new soft brace.

Walking with a cane. Cold weather dress explained later.

Across the road the massive piles of concrete rubble have been ground up into even bigger piles of gravel. And every day the tree grinding machines are reducing the piles of hurricane damaged trees into mulch. The mulch piles are bigger than the tree piles. Semi sized trucks have been hauling loads of mulch off to somewhere and barges on the Inter-Coastal Waterway are getting filled with mulch or gravel. Most of the pile of building debris was hauled away but more keeps showing up. The rows of damaged boats are down to just a few. The big crane they were using to move them around has been busy.

When I went by earlier this week there was only one boat left and the crane was gone.

There is still much to repair in this area, every time we drive anywhere we see homes with tarps on the roofs. We checked out two campgrounds out on the road to Ft Morgan, cheaper, older, not as nice, more crowded. And we looked at a piece of property on the Lagoon which clearly had a home on it that had been destroyed and removed.

Heading for Nacogdoches.

The next thing we were going to do was to pack up and go to Nacogdoches in East Texas for some service work. Time to replace the suspension air bags, shock absorbers and the ride height control valves. We had an appointment for Monday Feb 15. It is an easy two day drive over there from Orange Beach, usually.

I am sure you heard about the big polar vortex thing that broke out of its arctic home and came flooding down into the US about the time we were getting ready to leave. On the Gulf Coast we had a couple nights just below freezing but nothing too bad. Then we started hearing about Dallas being below zero, ice storms, massive pile ups. Nacogdoches was in the single digit temperatures, it was snowing, power all across Texas was failing, water supplies in Nacogdoches were shut off.

The Mississippi River Bridge on I 10 was closed due to ice. Just 30 miles north of here there was freezing rain and ice. I 10 goes under the ship channel in Mobile Bay and it had ice on the roadway at the low point.

Everyone we know in Nacogdoches was without water and power, friends stayed overnight in their motorhomes because they could stay warm while their homes got very cold, some suffered frozen water lines and water damage.

This is what our friend’s back yard looked like. It just doesn’t seem right for Texas.

They got out the best of the snow removal equipment they had in Houston.

Needless to say we decided to stay put. Now it is a week later and warmer temps are coming. Power is back on in some places, water too. So we are heading to Nacogdoches in the morning, (2/20), a week later than earlier planned. But it is OK. We are pretty flexible. And our next stop in Fredericksburg, TX had snow yesterday! It is supposed to be spring time and the wild flower season. I guess we will see.

Life goes on. We somehow have no problem getting from one day to the next, always something to do.

We have been playing Skip Bo, a card game with numbers. Susan won 2, I said let’s do best of 3, then 4, then five. She won them all. Best of six? I finally won one. It is entirely luck of random cards turning up. As far as strategy goes, if there is one we haven’t discovered it yet. But of course winning 5 in a row means Susan discovered it and I haven’t.

I have been playing Words With Friends with several friends. I got sucked into this by my sister and have been wasting time, nope, that is, sharing time with others ever since. It is sort of like Scrabble but with a dictionary that makes no sense to a Scrabble player, much different from a Scrabble dictionary. And that is the reference of choice when we play Quiddler so there is always some confusion.

Some neighbors we won’t miss.

Susan has progressed to doing dishes, some cleaning and vacuuming. She is getting around mostly using her cane, even sometimes without it. It is very reassuring to see her progress. We will resume some level of PT in Fredericksburg, walk every day as much as we can and just keep getting better. There is lumberjack work and buckthorn removal to do when we get home. Maybe she will supervise.

More Later, Much Love,

Roger and Susan

Orange Beach, AL January-February, 2021

Our Big Break

Yup, Susan broke a leg bone on Friday 12/11. I picked more pain meds at the pharmacy the next day. Elevate and ice were the orders of the day. No weight bearing. Susan called the ER Room recommended Ortho Doc first thing Monday morning and we got an appointment for 10:30 AM. We had to get a move on to get there but we did. The Ortho Doc is next to the hospital so we sort of knew where we were going. It is a big practice with more than 30 doctors and several offices on both sides of Mobile Bay.

We got in on time, Susan was riding in a wheel chair. They removed the ER applied splint and took more X-rays of her leg. It was still broken, still aligned OK. Dr Eslava took one look and showed us where it was broken on the X-ray picture. He said surgery was going to be needed as well as some support for the tendons and ligaments that hold the ankle together. It was pretty swollen so he said to come back in a week. The splint and cast guy, Scottie, did a very nice job with the same sort of sock and wrapping and a fiberglass splint and more Ace bandage like wrapping. Elevate and ice. We got home and agreed we were comfortable with Dr Eslava and the direction care was going.

A week later the swelling had gone down enough for Dr Eslava to schedule surgery for the following week. A new splint and wrappings were applied. Elevate and ice. No weight.


Surgery was scheduled for mid afternoon and then moved up a couple hours so once again we had to get a move on to make the new time. And then we had to wait as things were running late. Pretty soon they called Susan in to get started and then called me in before she went to pre-op. The nurse said they would call me when she went in to surgery, that Dr. Eslava would call when surgery was done and that the recovery room would call when she was awake in post op.

For all of us who have waited during a loved one’s surgery I think the anxiety is common. The nurse called when Susan went in for surgery. The surgery was supposed to take about an hour. Dr Eslava called when they were finishing up, all had gone well. It was another hour before the post op nurse called. The wait made me nervous. Susan was awake, I helped her drink water and eat crackers and take some post-op pain meds, the same we had used after the initial ER visit. Susan was pretty uncomfortable. Her foot and lower leg was splinted in much the same way as before but with much more padding. After a while she was able to get dressed. We gathered her things together, got her discharge instructions, no weight bearing, elevate and ice, a new prescription and another ride in a wheelchair. We got home, Susan crutched her way to the coach, sat down on the steps, backed up one step at a time, up to the passenger’s seat and then into the coach using her crutches.

We had a followup appointment scheduled for two weeks. We had found a dry cover for her wrapped up leg and a shower stool so showers were possible and welcome. We came home from the hospital with two high tech ice packs. They got a pretty good work out over the next several weeks. They go back into the freezer after use and are ready again in just a couple hours.

So ice, elevate, pain meds as needed, no weight bearing and wait.

Looks pretty gruesome on the post op X-rays. The first few days were painful but that eased up pretty quickly. Tylenol during the day, pain meds at night for a few days and then just Tylenol.

Two weeks went by, pretty quickly or slowly depending on who gets asked.

The post op splints and wraps were removed and the nurse washed Susan’s leg. More X-rays. Dr Eslava was pleased with the progress and ordered the stitches removed, a hard cast and a return visit in another two weeks.

A pretty snazzy job by Scottie. This is a water activated fiberglass tape wrapped over the black sock and cotton batting wrap. One white layer and a second of the wearer’s choice. Green. And a classy non-slip boot.

Another two weeks. Getting around was easier, still no weight bearing, but easier.

The Boot

And then, the boot. The green cast was cut off, another leg wash and a boot. A big black thing, lots of velcro straps, extra pads where needed and a pump to increase the compression and fit. The bottom of the boot is curved so it rocks as you walk in it. Some weight bearing was now OK. The Doc said to get a walker and start Physical Therapy. We saw the PT guy, Patrick, that afternoon for an initial evaluation and then the next day. Twice more this week. Susan is now doing some weight bearing, walking without the boot inside (and a crutch for a helper). We walked 1/3 of a mile yesterday with her boot and walker. Yesterday and today Susan went in and out of the coach standing up using one crutch.


While all of this has been going on I have been gladly doing my part by doing the grocery shopping, laundry, cooking, cleaning, picking up take out on occasion and everything else I can.

We (I) have ordered quite a bit from Amazon as we needed it (or wanted it). It all comes right here to the RV Park.

It took me a few weeks to feel OK leaving Susan on her own for any length of time and then I started out on shorter bike rides. It is almost 8 miles if I do 3 complete loops through the RV park without ever leaving the park. And then I started back to the State Park. Those rides are 8-13 miles and I am doing that about 5 days a week. I am pleased to report knees and hips feel OK.

There are lots of armadillos here.


Quiddler is a card game whose cards have letters and you make words with the letters. All of the cards have a point value and you add up the value of all the cards you used minus the ones you didn’t at the end of each hand. There are bonus points for longest word and most words. You start the game with three cards and each hand gets one more card up to ten. It seems to work well using ZOOM, each site has their own game and an Official Scrabble Dictionary as a reference.

We play once or twice a week with our friends in Ohio, Oregon, Texas or Minnesota. Sometimes just four of us, sometimes as many as eight. We get to play a game, visit, stay in touch, see the dogs and laugh a bunch. We really appreciate the chance to stay connected.


I had some time and projects I had been thinking about. I added an automated electric valve at the incoming water supply that closes by itself when we are not using water and opens when we are.

I added Alexa enabled assists to lock or unlock the coach, turn on/off front step lights, outside patio light, red chili pepper lights and the awning lights. I also added assists to turn on/off and dim kitchen lights, dining room table lights, each side of the bedroom lights, each side of the bedroom window valence lights and the front and rear living room recessed ceiling lights. We replaced the recessed living room lights with new LED lights. About 2/3 of the original lights had burned out. All of this works in the coach using voice or from anywhere using our phones. Pretty neat.

I replaced the coach water pump, it was making an odd noise as it shut off. The new one had something wrong with it too so it is getting replaced again when we get to Fredericksburg. We are back to the first one now. They didn’t want the replaced pumps back so I am shipping them home.


Susan and I enjoy doing jigsaw puzzles together. It is a quiet, shared passtime.


We had visitors while we were here too. My cousin Sue and her husband Lloyd drove over from Panama City, FL. They stayed overnight in a nearby hotel. We had a nice visit, a good take out dinner and breakfast at the Sunliner Diner in Gulf Shores.

Forest and Cindy Olivier came and stayed for a week in their Foretravel in the site next to us. They are from Louisiana and were on their way to Florida. It was nice to see them again. We actually went out for dinner one evening. Cindy made Key Lime pie which was spectacular, Thanks.

Moving On

We have made lots of progress. Next week we see Dr Eslava for the last time and get marching orders for what comes next. We leave for Nacogdoches in a week or so for some service work and dinner at Auntie Pasta’s, maybe twice and to see friends there. And then over to the north end of Houston to see our friends Scott and Carol. And if we can work it in, Rudy and Carolyn and Keith and Jo too. And then we are on to Fredericksburg. We will follow up with PT as directed. We are hopeful we can get our Covid-19 vaccines as well.

We are very thankful and grateful for the support of the RV Park staff, the EMTs, the ER care and Dr Eslava’s team. We could have been anywhere when this happened but here has seemed like it couldn’t have been much better.

More Later, Much Love,

Roger and Susan