Wednesday, September 26, 2007


I think we have waited long enough, don't you? The day finally arrived, for what we hope will be the cure for Craig's pain. Sure the physical therapy helped him to get out of the wheelchair, but we are still waiting for the day he is pain free enough to return to work, and life as we knew it can return to normal. We know now that we will have to do things differently. Along with daily exercise and stopping and doing a walkabout around the truck every hour or so, we also will need to take more breaks. No more staying out for four months at a time. We will do our best to schedule home time every 6-8 weeks.

We arrived at our scheduled time this morning for the epidural procedure. Only one other person sitting in the waiting room. Craig checked in and with every door opening we heard, the anxiety of waiting to hear his name called built up inside us. When his name was finally called, he was so focused on getting it over with, he never heard me tell him I love you, but I had his wedding ring right next to mine and that gave me some comfort as he walked through the door into that unknown room.

I settled in as comfortably as I could in the typical waiting room chairs, rotating positions from my right butt cheek and then to the left when it became sore from the lack of padding. You would think my own personal padding would have been sufficient, but alas, even that failed to make the chair any more comfortable. With my portable DVD player in hand, I set about watching season 3 of Nip/Tuck. I had barely made it through one episode when I saw Craig come walking out the door. What the #*&@^????? From the information given us prior to the appointment, they said it would take at least 2 hours and here he was back out in 60 minutes.

I tried to gather my stuff as quickly as possible, as Craig, ice bags in hand, started walking towards the car. I knew everything would be okay when the first thing he wanted after having to fast, was a visit to Carl's Jr. With him happily munching away on his Western Bacon Cheeseburger, I drove off towards home in Selma.

Good things come to those who wait? I've gotten good at this waiting game......too good. Funny thing is, after waiting for the epidural, now we wait see if it works. Good thing I have season 4 of Nip/Tuck ready to go!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


We met with Craig's primary doctor this morning. It was good to see first, the reaction from the nurse when she saw Craig, and then from the doctor, to put in perspective just how far he has come from when we were seen by them back on July 30th. Just when we thought we were making no progress, they come along and tell us just how far we have come in those 8 weeks.

Even though Craig still experiences pain throughout the day, he no longer takes any pain medication. He only uses the cane now, and it's more for balance when going up or down stairs or getting up from a chair, and he is back to sleeping in a bed, no more recliners! WHEW...... he has progressed, and now in seven days he has the epidural shot. After talking with the doctor about the shot and the limits of his mobility right now, we are very hopeful that we have just this one last hurdle to get over. Now, if only I could do something to alleviate my anxiety over my dentist appointment tomorrow!

Thursday, September 13, 2007


You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own.
And you know what you know.
And you are the guy
who'll decide where to go.
I've been doing my daily morning walk now for the past 18 days. Although my feet have only traveled on the streets of Modesto or Selma, my mind has taken me to many more places. As Dr. Seuss said, "You can steer yourself any direction you choose", and that's just what I do. I take off down the street, my steps in beat with the music, and my mind free to travel anywhere I choose.

I've been to foreign countries, I've run large corporations, I've bought & furnished my perfect house, because of course, money is no object, I've been on the cover of magazines, and I've been the perfect size 10 in the latest designer clothes. But then there are things that I see while on my walk that take me out of my dream state and send me crashing back down to earth.

Like the full glass liter bottle of beer, cap still intact, on the sidewalk of an upscale neighborhood, and my mind tells me that's not beer, that has to be some one's idea of a joke. The half eaten bag of Cheetos left on the edge of the lawn of a park and I think, "What was so important that they lost interest in eating?", after all, we are talking Cheetos here. I've gotten really good at finding coins on the streets and sidewalks, no need to question that, as I'm up to 59 cents and I'd say I'm well on my way to making my first dollar. And then you see this:
A pair of tennis shoes high up on the electrical wires. I don't know what caused me to look up, I'm usually looking down for those coins, but for some reason I looked up and saw them, which made my mind start to wonder.........WHY? There are several urban legends out there regarding shoes hanging by the laces from power lines. The ones about gangs marking territory, or the marking of a drug house. The time honored tradition to mark the last day of school. The military theory, when you were getting ready to get out and go back to regular life, you take your combat boots and throw them over a wire.

Or maybe it is just your everyday kid hijinks's like putting dish washing liquid soap in fountains, toilet papering trees, or the time tested phone call asking for Prince Albert in a can. It's either a harmless prank, a time honored tradition or rite of passage, or the end of civilization as we know it. I'll let you decide.

Monday, September 10, 2007


They come in all shapes and colors. Some are made of wood, others of metal. New or old, adjustable or made to specific measurements. Canes are there to give you that little bit of support to get you to where you need to be.
The cane Craig is currently walking with once belonged to his Grandfather who used it well into his 90's. Craig's Father used it while recuperating from knee replacement surgery. Here's hoping neither one of Craig's sons will have the need, but if they should, the Shantz household in Selma is fast becoming a cornucopia of medical equipment and supplies to help any one of them, or heck, even the rest of us, should the need arise.

During therapy today, the therapist wanted Craig to start walking without the cane around the house. A little wobbly at first, but once he established his balance he did very well. He even put some time in on the treadmill. Armed with the knowledge we have gathered from several resources that were recommended to us, we feel confident that we will be prepared to keep our backs in tip top shape once we get back on the truck. We know daily strengthening exercises are a must to keep ourselves as healthy and fit as possible. Now, if I can only do something about this butt of mine.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


They say the road to recovery begins with that first step. It often seemed that there were obstacles placed in front of us to keep us from ever taking that elusive step, but once Craig did, it seems like there is no stopping him. Since starting physical therapy he has gone from the wheelchair, to the walker, to now the cane. He is even taking several steps without the cane. We are both very hopeful that within a couple of weeks the possibility of returning to work will be within our grasp.
We have scheduled an appointment with his primary doctor a week before the epidural. We are so encouraged by his progress that we are hoping to be able to cancel the epidural......yes, I know how hard we worked to get it.......but I am more than happy to be able to cancel it and make someone elses day by being able to use our appointment time. Our vision is to be back in the truck by the first two weeks of October. Time and Craig's determination will tell if we will reach our goal.

I never thought I would miss the vagabond lifestyle we had as much as I did. I always knew I would miss taking photos and writing about our adventures and being able to share them all with you, the readers of this blog. I am forever grateful for the support and words of encouragement that have been sent our way. I am looking forward to once again viewing life from the passenger seat and taking you along for the ride.

Monday, September 03, 2007


It is often said the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. I am here to debunk that saying, and proclaim that the way to a man's heart is through an electronics store. If there was ever a lure to get Craig up and walking it would be to take him to either one of those mega hardware stores or to an electronic store like Best Buy. Since I would benefit from such an excursion, Best Buy won out over Home Depot or Lowe's.

Craig was feeling rather good on Saturday, so I loaded him and his trusty walker into the car and ventured out to our local Best Buy. We meandered up and down the aisles, Craig looking for a universal power adapter, and me, the more exciting, season one of Heros. I have to admit, he surprised me with the amount of energy he had as we went about our shopping. I think his physical therapist will be happy to hear how well he is getting around. Of course, I'm thinking, this week Best Buy, next week the mall, even if I have to drag him kicking and screaming the whole way!


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