Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Today Odel and I did something he probably wasn’t supposed to do: we went for a two mile walk!

During the past week, Odel has used the car to make a few quick trips around town, and has resumed responsibility for most of the many tasks he handles around the motorhome.  He works hard on his knee exercises and rehabilitation each day, but hadn’t taken a walk of any duration yet. 

The past few nights, he has had a very difficult time sleeping, and it is the opinion of his PT that he doesn’t sleep much at night simply because he is “at rest” most of the day.  Remember, this is a guy who walked 4-5 miles each day before his surgery; now that he is overcoming the effects of surgery so well, it seems that maybe his body is ready for more exercise.

So, today he decided he was going for a walk.  And I decided to go, too.  We walked (slowly) along the Sacramento River levee, behind Cal Expo, talking about his knee, my allergy, and where we want to go when we leave here in two weeks.  It was almost like old times.  :)

Although Odel’s knee is not pain free, he has less pain now than he did prior to surgery.  It is easy for us to imagine long walks and hikes in our future – maybe on the beach in Oregon, in Olympic National Park in Washington, in Glacier National Park, all places we plan to visit later this year.

As for my problem, it is still a mystery.  I went to stay with Sydney and Frank for 2 nights, leaving the Sacramento Valley with all its wind and pollen, and leaving anything in the motorhome that could be causing my problem.  Absolutely NO improvement; if there was any change at all, it was for the worse.  Benadryl (taken at maximum dosage and maximum strength) did nothing but turn me into a depressed zombie.  Neither Allegra nor Zyrtec has had any effect.

Finally, I made an appointment with my dermatologist, who I saw yesterday morning.  She was shocked by the look of my eyelids, swollen, red, and raw.  I think her exact words were “oh, you poor thing!”.  That was the perfect description!  She said it is not a food allergy, but is caused by contact with an allergen.  We went through everything again… any new shampoo, makeup, nail polish, bedding, detergent, soap, fragrance, drugs, nutritional supplements, on and on and on.  Drew a blank.

She sent me off with a tiny sample tube of Halog (a steroid ointment) to apply sparingly twice a day, and a prescription for hydrocortisone cream to use when the Halog is gone.  I filled the prescription, then went off to the health food store for organic vegies and fruit, having decided to embrace a diet of organic fruit, vegetables and grain (along with copious amounts of vitamin C) until whatever this is is under control.  (At least none of that is fattening – I have lost 7.6 pounds on Weight Watchers since we have been here.)

Last night, for the first time in many days, I slept through the night.  When I awoke this morning, I could see an actual improvement since yesterday – slight, but real.  I feel about 1% better – not much, but a welcome move in the right direction. 

The steroid ointment is helping the symptoms – but I still have no idea what is causing my problem.  As we walked along the levee this morning, we both looked forward to moving out of the Sacramento Valley in a few weeks, hoping will we will my allergen behind.  Until then, a little more improvement every day would be most welcome!


  1. So happy for Odel, it must feel so good to walk again!

    But I am so sorry for you Laurie, hope you get rid of that nasty "thing" soon.

  2. While you have been on Weight Watchers have you been using any kind of artificial sweeteners?
    Aspartame, Splenda, and sucrose have very bad side effects, and break me out in hives.

    My other thought was, have you been around any of the old arsenic based treated lumber, decks, porches, picnic tables? Or maybe you are allergic to the new kind of treated lumber?

    Extra Vitamin D prevents and cures a lot of ills, and not very many people take enough.

    I do hope you continue to improve, that is so distressing for you.

    Happy Trails, Penny, TX

  3. About 8 years ago I developed hives the day after flying in from Seattle. Never did figure out what triggered them, either. Sure hope your new prescription does the trick. And congrats to Odel on the long walk and steady improvement. Hugs, J&C

  4. Things are looking up for you guys! Maybe the steroids will do the trick. My guess is that the allergies are related to the stress of the were so worried for Odel!

  5. I am so glad to hear that there has been some improvement, even if it's small at this point. I'm hoping that you discover the culprit before long...

  6. You two have sure gone through alot in Sacramento...It will do you both well to leave there...Allergies are sooooo hard to diagnose....But it sounds like Odel is doing great ..and you will too, if you can just get through the next few weeks....Sending good karma your way!!!!

  7. I hope you continue to find some improvement. Even if you could continue at the 1%'s not much, but at least it's improvement! It seems very strange that it came on so sudden and isn't going away.

    On the flip side, great news about Odel's recovery. I'm sure it felt great to get out for a 'long' walk. Hopefully, he doesn't have any setbacks.

    I'll keep you both in my thoughts!

  8. Hi Laurie, so sorry about your ailment. Thought I'd mention this: my mom had a similar, yet more mild facial allergy that could not be identified. She went through all the trials and treatments until they discovered that she has a mild allergy to nickel, and her new glasses frames contained a small amount of nickel. Do you have new glasses or sunglasses?

  9. Good to hear Odel is getting better every day, and here's hoping that whatever is bugging your system heads south when you head north.

    And of course you remember that when you get to Kalispell you have to go to Moose's for what we think is the best pizza on the planet.

    The other thing that should be at the front of your mind when you get up into Montana is that Dogpound North and some of the world's most beautiful places are just a few short hours north of Glacier Park.

    We would love to see you both north of the Medicine Line.

  10. glad to hear you are back outside walking!..hope the allergy problem is getting better!..

  11. Good news with Odel.

    With your rig changes, did they use any types of adhesives or chemicals that may have left a residue?

    Hope you feel better,

    Fred & Jo

  12. Hi- Glad to hear Odel is doing so well. I had a two have been spending a lot more time in the RV than normal, what with the recuperation and the rainy weather. Do you think there's any possibility you could be having an allergy to any of the adhesives, fibers from your renovations- new carpets, varnish, etc?
    I do hope you get better soon....

  13. Back to a long walk again -- good for both of you! And good for you on your weight loss too! But allergies that you can't identify are a nasty!

  14. Glad to see Odel is improving and walking more. Glad to hear the cortisone is helping, hope you can figure this out.

  15. So happy to hear about Odels continued progress... I am thinking next winter I'll be taking the plunge to get mine fixed. I sure hope your eyes get better and you find the culpret that is causing it.
    Have fun & Travel safe

  16. Glad Odel is back to walking...allergens are really a mystery to figure out sometimes..we're in California in Coarsegold and with the explosion of spring breaking out all over in the trees, flowering bushes, maybe it's just a profusion of pollen getting into your eyes...have you tried a little air purifier on board? Everybody's ideas about different possibilities are all excellent suggestions!

  17. Have you been around poison oak, or near a camp fire burning collected wood that might include poison oak branches?

  18. Glad to hear that Odel is doing well.

    Sorry to hear you are still having your issue. I hope you start to feel better in the next few days with the help of the steroid cream. I'll cross my fingers.

  19. I am so sorry to hear about your allergy attack. My thought was possibly a reaction to formaldehyde, which could be in the new fabrics, carpeting, bed spread etc in your motor home. Think of the FEMA trailers after Hurricane Katrina. I was just reading about it and one of the symptoms is contact dermatitis. Good luck!

  20. Good to hear you are outside walking!.. sorry about allergy problem.

  21. Good news on Odel, bad news on you! Hopefully whatever is getting to you is something local and will be left behind in CA.

    It will be interesting to see how Odel's knee reacts to driving and being in the same position for long periods. Tell him to use cruise control as much as possible and keep the knee moving as he drives. Hopefully he has room to stretch it out a bit under the wheel.

  22. We are glad Odel is doing so well post surgery!I hope your two mile walk wasn't too hard on him. I had a few thoughts on what might be your problem and I see several others thought along the same lines of the new renovations on your rig and you spending a lot more time in your rig. The other thoughts I had was the fact that Sacramento has been getting record rain lately. Maybe a mold of some sort or maybe something in the standing water or another thought, something that is blooming that doesn't do so unless it's a very wet year. I do hope the new steroid will help your outbreak get better.

    Hugs, Sharon & Ron

  23. Still hoping that you are going to find what is causing your allergy. Hope your percent of feel better goes up by at least 50% in the next few days.

    Congrats to Odel on his first post-surgery "hike".