We are right in the middle of making the decision about where to have a neck surgery procedure done for Patty. Surgery is needed to eliminate (we hope) her of Brachial Radial Pruritus. Big word, but it is the name of the issue that makes Patty’s arms itch. We first made the decision to get the surgery done here in Texas which would mean that we would stay here in Texas for most of May. Then today, Patty has had second thoughts about having surgery here and now thinks she may want do the surgery in Buffalo NY. I tend to agree with her that she should have this type of surgery done where she is the most comfortable. And, we both are not real comfortable with the neurosurgeon we are seeing here. He is probably OK, but..... After a brief search, we were unable to find anyone that we liked any better here in the RGV either.
Patty had 2 shots of nerve block in her neck last week and they didn’t help at all. We had the choice of either going straight to surgery or having the nerve block. We chose the nerve block as it was less invasive and if it didn’t work we would then know for sure that surgery would be the next only remaining thing to do.
Patty has 3 cervical disks in the neck that are compressed which we believe were damaged during an auto accident 17 years ago. A few years later, after the accident, she began to have the itchy arms issue. At first it was somewhat minor and would go away quickly. Now the itchy arms have spread to her upper torso to include her shoulders, upper back, and upper chest. I believe she has tried every cream/lotion on the market plus several Dr. prescribed compounds to no avail. She has seen many doctors in 4 states in the past 4 years; 3 GP Drs., 3-4 Dermatologists, 2 Neurologists, 2 Allergists, an Accupuncturist and even asked her Gastroenterologists and now a (Neurosurgeon (surgical neurologist) here in Texas. She has been diagnosed as having Brachial Radial Pruritus (BRP). BRP is oversensitive skin nerves caused by the compressed cervical disks. This oversensitivity causes the itchy arms downstream from the compression. Surgery to cure BRP is still very new and is considered experimental. The surgery procedure is not new, just the use to cure BRP is. To say the least, this itchy arms thing has been a long haul.
We were going to leave here yesterday, Sunday the 19th. Then, Thursday, last week we decided to get the surgery done sooner rather than later. Patty would have the surgery done before we left to go north instead of waiting until we come back in November. So, in anticipation of staying, we moved to another site within the same park. We thought we were going to stay here in the RGV until the day after Memorial Day so we also canceled going to an RV rally we were signed up for at that time in North Carolina.
Well, now we are thinking we may leave after our meeting with the Neurosurgeon here on May 1st. However, we are still waiting on an answer from the surgical practice in Buffalo if they will take her. If Buffalo will take her, we are thinking we will hit the road on the 4th or 5th of May which will give us time to make my 40 year class reunion on the 16th and then to make the RV rally in North Carolina on the 23rd. That is the plan at this minute anyway!
On the issue of Patty’s bowel issue, the Dr. believes that she should stay on the drug Lomotil for the immediate future. She has been taking it and it has worked for her so far. If in the future she has issues with this drug or her symptoms return, she should then contemplate having a surgical procedure performed. So, for now, we are done with that issue!!
I am hoping that we fix the itchy arms and coupled with her bowel issue being treated, Patty will again more control of her life. This should go a long way to also helping her with management of her diabetes. So that is where we are at this time with the health issues.
As I said above, Friday last week we moved in the park to another site. This is the same site we are trying to get on to next year. The new site is smaller than the site we left, however, the new site backs up to a 10 foot high berm with vegetation on it. We are now surrounded by trees and vegetation. We like this site very much so the next few weeks we will get used to our new surroundings before heading north.
|Our new site #60 at Natures Resort. We really do like this site and hope we get it next year.|
In the past week we took a road trip to the town of Los Ebanos on the US side of the Mexican Border. This is the only port across the border that uses a human powered barge to cross the border on the Rio Grande River. The town looks just like we are already in Mexico and it is surrounded with State Police and Border Patrols. We must have seen over 25 police and border vehicles within just 5 miles around this little town of around 300 people. This crossing was at one time a nice crossing with many shops surrounding the area. That is all gone now as the drug violence has increased in this area.
There was at one time a group from our park that would cross the border with bicycles on this barge and then ride to a restaurant for lunch in a close Mexican town and then return. This has not happened now in many years. What a shame!
The first thing we noticed is that the US Customs and Border control building on the US side is just like any other and is a relatively new and modern facility. The reason this facility is noticeable is that the crossing is a dirt single lane path into the water just past the US Border facility. It is a very stark contrast.
There are no official signs or instructions about how to cross the border here. There is a hand written sign written in really bad English and Spanish telling you what a vehicle, motorcycle, and foot passenger cost to cross. The place where you pay is just a little shack with kids running it. We paid $1.25 each to cross from the US to Mexico on the barge. There is no ticket, they just yell down to the barge in Spanish and let them know we paid. There are only seats for maybe 5 people and room for 3 vehicles on the barge. The barge leaves about every 10 minutes. We took the trip over and walked up to the Mexican border facility that was manned by the Mexican military. They seemed to not really care about us or even what we were doing. There is nothing on the Mexican side either, no shops, not even a vending machine. You can see the town about 3 miles away in the distance.
|These are the vacant shops from when this border crossing was safe (this and the next picture). It's a real shame that the drug crime is so bad now! There were several border patrol helicopters covering the area too.|
|Picture looking from where our truck is parked toward the border crossing. That is Patty up ahead.|
|The border crossing view from the US side.|
|Patty walking toward the historical marker for this crossing site.|
|The historical marker for this border crossing. This site has been in use since 1740s.|
|Picture of the cable that connects from this tree to a tree on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande River. The cable is used to take the barge across the river by hand.|
|Picture of the crossing from the US side. The barge is picking up vehicles on the Mexican side.|
|The barge returning to the US side.|
We didn’t know how to pay to get back. There was no pay shacks like on the US side and not even a "bad" sign to tell us what to do. We asked one of the military guys if they spoke English, but no they did not. So we just got back on the barge and they came around and took our money, $1 each to return.
|We are on the barge going across to Mexico.|
|Looking back at the US side.|
|We are back to the US. We couldn't take pictures on the Mexican side. Note the dirt road, very primitive!|
I asked the US border crossing agent that checked our passport about going into the city on the Mexican side. She was very nice and said that she would not even cross the border let alone going to the town. I said that I might if I had a group and someone knew what they were doing. She said she wouldn’t even go then! OK, we have now been there and done that, no more dangerous Mexican Border crossings for us!
Since we were going to leave this past weekend, we took on some chores that we only do when we are leaving. I cleaned out the basement of the RV. I took everything out and swept out the floor and then rearranged the items we keep in there. I try to do this a couple of time a year. We also had the inside rug professionally cleaned. We do this once a year professionally and then once we steam clean it ourselves during the summer. There is not a lot of carpet but it is a pain to clean as it has many corners and needs to be done with a small handheld cleaner tool. I also checked the air pressure in all 4 of the RV tires. I was really amazed that all of the tires were exactly what they should be, 115 lbs. I didn’t need to add any air which doesn’t happen that often after sitting for 5 months. I fixed a storage drawer and tightened some loose screws in the dining table base as some other items that I had been putting off. We are now ready to travel!
|The guy charges $60 to steam clean the Rig.|
|Taking all of the stuff out of the "basement" to rearrange and to vacuum.|
|I'm sort of OCD about the wheels and tires on the RV. Since these are custom wheels and tires I like them to be clean so I hand clean the wheels every week or so while traveling.|
Not much happening in this upcoming 2 weeks as we wait to see the neurosurgeon here on May 1. The biggest event will be me getting a new pair of glasses at Walmart. So the next Blog post will be probably after the 1st after we see the surgeon.
|This ambulance is decked out for breast cancer. We thought the sayings were funny on the side and rear. On the right side rear it says "A feel a day keeps the doctor away". It's printed in silver so very difficult to see.|
|Then there is this one, "Feel For Lumps Save your Bumps"|
|This is just a random sculpture at Natures Resort.|