Some of the things we are doing to prepare for nomadic life are kind of like getting the car ready for a road trip. We wanted to get going on this lifestyle while we were still “young enough” to do it, but we both have some imperfections in our physical bodies that hold us back from doing as much activity as we would like to do. So, while we are stationary, have great doctors and the time we decided to do a little maintenance.
For me, my knees are always a weak point. I am getting arthritis in them now and about 18 months ago it was getting really hard just to get out of a chair. I tried knee injections, Synvisc, from my orthopedist. The first round was incredibly successful. Pain was eliminated almost immediately and lasted about 6 months, just like the best case scenario for the injections. When it wore off, I was approved for a second round of injections and for some reason they had no effect whatsoever. Ugh, to have tasted pain free only to be robbed of it again! In all honesty, I was about 80 pounds overweight and have tried for the last 25 years to lose weight, resulting in swings of about 25 to 40 pounds up and down, never able to keep the weight off or lose enough in the first place. It was becoming painfully (haha) clear that I was going to have to lose the weight if I wanted to keep my mobility so I made an appointment with a doctor specializing in metabolic issues. He prescribed Victoza for me and so far I have lost 40 pounds without suffering. My knees feel almost fine, my feet feel better, none of my clothes fit and I hope to lost another 40 over the next 8 months or so. That has been a big overhaul for me.
I also had a shoulder that was giving me all kinds of trouble. Cortisone injections and physical therapy were not working to decrease the inflammation so my orthopedist went in to see what was going on. Luckily all he had to do was clean up some rough bone and shredded muscle, but no repairs so the rehab isn’t too bad on it and I will be good as new soon. Another maintenance issue addressed before hitting the road!
Dan has had trouble with his foot for years. A broken toe in his teens resulted in a huge knuckle that no longer bent, he had one hammer toe, 2 toes ripe for hammer toe, a stretched tendon that was irritated in a golf game and was now causing his whole foot to give way so that he would fall. It was painful, dangerous and debilitating. He was afraid that it was going to keep him from exploring as we traveled the globe, and it was causing real trouble for him at work too. He saw a doctor who had reconstructed my ankle a couple years ago and was told that with 6 or 7 surgical procedures he could fix him right up. Yikes. It was scary, but good news. The tendon issue needed to be addressed to keep him from falling anyway, and the rest of the work would make it so much more comfortable for Dan to walk, which we were both afraid wasn’t possible, so he scheduled that surgery.
Dan is 2 weeks out from his surgery, and it was major. It was 7 procedures, took 2 hours and he hasn’t been able to put his foot on the ground yet. Physical therapy won’t even start for at least another 2 weeks, but he is assured that he will have a much better foot than he did before the surgery. I am about 6 weeks out from my shoulder surgery and feeling pretty good. Still need a little physical therapy, but going to be right as rain. Lose those extra pounds and we both should be good to go for the next 100,000 miles or so.