Health Issues on the Road
by Julie and Kel Kohlhaas
(Paw Paw, MI)
Kayaking in Lake Superior in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan
Kel and I (Julie) have been retired (at 50) and have been RVing for 13 years. We pull a 20-foot travel trailer with a F-150 pickup, loaded up with kayaks and bikes, and are on the road for about 5 months total of the year. Since we have a solar panel installed on our trailer, we are self-contained and boondock camp almost exclusively. We are leaving January 22 for our usual 3-month trip throughout the southwest.
Our major challenge on the road has been health issues--make that heart issues. I had by-pass surgery March, 2000 at Phoenix Memorial Hospital. Going through major surgery 1,500 miles away from my family in Michigan made a difficult situation even more so.
Dealing with the on-going issues of heart disease has not stopped us very often from making extended RV trips. Visits to emergency rooms (and, consequently, hospital stays) have interrupted and/or cut short some of our trips but our love of the RV life and living in natural settings keeps calling us back. What we have finally come to is that heart issues may happen whether we're at home or on the road.
The main reason we took early retirement was to live this traveling life and, even though emotions run high during a crisis, we have learned to live one day at a time and not to make decisions out of fear about how to live our lives.
After my bypass surgery, my children weren't exactly happy to see us get back on the road again but, over the years, they have gained more confidence that we can stay safe on the road. They also know how much we love our travel life.
Even though we have had our share of health issues, they have not stopped us from doing what we love.