Rick Learns to Walk & I’m the Chauffeur

In April 2016, we flew to France for our dream vacation. Rick’s back and bulging disks had other ideas. We did achieve one goal: celebrating Rick’s 70th birthday on top of the Eiffel tower! A few days later, Rick was admitted to the hospital where the doctors injected cortisone into his spine to reduce the swelling and pain. This made it possible to fly back to the States. After impressive coordination between French, US, and Mexican doctors, he ended up having three spinal surgeries in San Diego. After the first surgery, in July, the sciatic nerve was pinched and Rick could not walk. His right thigh muscle atrophied. He could not control the gas and brake peddle; he could not drive. I hadn’t driven for 10 years and suddenly I’m the family chauffeur.

A spinal fusion in October & November 2016 corrected the nerve problem, however, Rick had to rebuild his thigh muscle and learn to walk again. With guidance from the surgeon in San Diego, physical therapists in the San Diego hospital, and an outstanding physical therapist (PT), here in Mexico, he met the challenge head on. After a year of hard physical therapy sessions, he regained enough muscle strength to support his weight. He donated his walker and crutches to a local Vets rehab center and switched to a cane.

I was scared to drive in San Diego, but there was not other option.  I stuff my fears in my belly and gripped the steering wheel. I drove rental cars in commuter traffic, at night and in the rain. January 2017 we returned to Mexico, and I continued to drive. I call the Mexican streets, “Mr. Toads Wild Ride.” Rick’s job was to walk again and my focus was driving, running the household aboard La Vita and filing hundreds of insurance claims. I’ve kept a diary of our adventure and hope to get back to writing for our blog soon. I happy to say I’m still running the La Cruz Writers’ Group and folks continue to be inspired and most are meeting their goals.

Rick’s been going to rehab three times a week for nearly 18 months. He still deals with daily back pain, but his strength and balance have improved greatly. He’s just about ready to toss his cane. And he started driving in August.

Failure To Launch Part 3 of 3

CONTINUED FROM FAILURE TO LAUNCH, Part 2

Failure to Launch is three-part follow-up series to the summer of 2014 when we invested blood, sweat, and tears to prepare LA VITA for the next leg of our long distant voyage. These events were chronicled in Count Down To Launch.

THE FINAL CHAPTER: FAILURE TO LAUNCH, Part 3

The needle pricked each time it entered my arm. On her third try, I trembled, “What’s the problem?”

Your vein is collapsing.” The nurse hovered over my wrist, hypodermic in hand. She shook her head in frustration and marched away.

Confused, I asked Rick, “What’s going on?”

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Failure To Launch Part 2 of 3

CONTINUED FROM PART ONE

Rick and I are on high alert. We’ve been driving for three solid days on this endless gray highway.  The detour sign is missing. A truck driver, using hand signals, shows us which lane to take.  “Look out,” I shout, pointing straight ahead. Traffic is diverted into our oncoming lane. We proceed on faith.

“Good grief, we’re on the wrong side of the double yellow line.” I warn.

ONCOMING TRAFFIC

ONCOMING TRAFFIC

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Failure To Launch Part 1 of 3

Dock lines are curled and ready to toss. Waypoints charted from marina to destination. LA VITA is ready from mast to keel. Rick and Lynn are primed to go. It’s two weeks before Christmas 2014.

“Time to raise the dinghy and tie her down on the foredeck,” says Rick reaching for the halyard. “I’ll pull the dinghy on board while you crank the winch, okay?”

WINCH and HANDLE

WINCH and HANDLE

“Sure, I’m ready. Let’s do it,” Lynn replies.

Lynn grabs the winch handle with both hands and pushes. The winch barely moves. Lynn slumps on the deck, rubbing her arms. Her shoulders ache. She fails to raise the dinghy.

“What’s wrong?” Rick asks.

“I can’t turn the winch. I can’t raise the dingy. I don’t have any strength.”

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Count Down To Launch

We busted our butt getting LA VITA shipshape. It was a long, hot, and wet summer.

Lynn The Drowned Rat

Wet Bunk and Soggy Saloon

A leak developed over our bunk and in the saloon. Thank goodness the soggy pillows were on Rick’s side of the berth.

(Please click on image to change size.)

Our Comfy Berth LA VITA‘s Saloon

Using a hose to simulate rain, Rick determined the leak was most likely under the mast base plate. We agonized over the decision to pull or not to pull. What if his diagnosis is wrong?

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Dog Fight & Lynn Visits ER!

“I think I’ve been bit!” I said in disbelief as I put down my camera and discover two holes in my leg. I just  became collateral damage in an angry territorial dispute between local mongrel dogs.

http://youtu.be/YckAZ-dTkVw&w=320&h=240&rel=0

(Video: Click to play) Mongrels in Action

It’s 7am and we are on our daily walk along the malecón (seaside promenade) and were standing in front of the fish market.

Click Read more for the rest of the story

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Lynn In The Lazarette

Where do I begin? It’s been nearly a year since I wrote about life on LA VITA.

We’re alive and thriving. You probably guessed the ‘alive’ part because I’ve written this post. Thriving is subjective, but I’d say we are.

Over the past months we’ve tackled huge projects, both personal and boat-related. I’ve wanted to describe the details and share my fears and triumphs. But I couldn’t. Why? I set two priorities: improve my writing style and enhance our Website.

I dived into the world HTML code and got lost for several months. After all my fiddling, I hope our blog loads faster and the pages are easier to read.

I’ve been studying the art and craft of storytelling. The hardest lessons: tell one story, make if brief, and make it personal. Apparently, long technical posts are no longer in vogue. This post is my best effort.

Special thanks to our blog followers and my writer friends for your input, suggestions, and encouragement.

I am forever grateful to three special writers that stuck by me as I fought my way along the learning curve.

Marie, Peta, Lynn, Marie
(LCWG: La Cruz Writers’ Group Members)

My retreat is over! I’m back. I’m writing. I’m posting.

~~~~~ _/) ~~~~~ _/) ~~~~~

Lynn Looking Out of Lazarette

To discover what I learn in the lazarette, click

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Daniel n Art

Many years ago, Daniel (my grandson) visited me in San Diego. I was working on an art exchange video.

Here is an excerpt of the video featuring Daniel. It is very short video (1:12). Daniel is opening an envelop. Inside is a picture drawn by a child living in Estonia. (no audio)

http://youtu.be/ppT0-vImesA&w=320&h=240&rel=0

Daniel was about 5-years old when he starred in this video. Today he is a department manager for Lowes, married, and has a young family of his own.

Please forgive me for bragging, but Daniel was the youngest person promoted to manager in the entire Loews national chain.

Three Kings Day

In our last post we listed Kids’ Wish list for Santa as written by some very special young people. You may remember these little ones are living at a local children’s shelter, Casa Hogar, and are cared for by Manos de Amor (Hands of Love).

Kids Having Loads of Fun

Click here to see a bunch of happy kids!

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Lynn Visits Santiago

(A special thanks to everyone for giving me permission to take their picture. Note: click on picture to enlarge.)

My adventure begins during Rick’s fourth hospital visit.

Ibana, one of Rick’s nurses, has invited me to visit her mom, Julia in Santiago. Santiago is a small town five hours north of Puerto Vallarta, near San Blas. She, Jose (her husband), and two sons are leaving that night. I had to make a difficult decision quickly.

LUNCH: Shrimp

During each hospital stay I’ve been with Rick almost everyday and slept in his room nearly every night.

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