6-23 February 2015 Texas - Burleson with Gout

Friday 6th Feb

At Rustic Creek we have a nice end of row pull through site. There are a lots of activities here for kids, but because it is February there are few children around and the site is not full. There is a trail through a wooded area that is good for the dog. The weather is slowly turning back to summer temperatures 21 degrees and bright sunshine. We're pleased with everything in the van, it is very comfortable, we can find nothing we don't like. Found a place called Lowe's which is similar to Homebase. Here we got stuff like bucket, brushes, mops etc. It's like setting up home again. Came back to Rustic Creek and sat outside to have our lunch. The park is just off the I-35 between Alverado and Burleson and there is a row of restaurants just down the road. We went to a place called the Outback Steak House for dinner. It was very busy but they got us a table within 15 minutes. A really good knowledgable waitress advised us on all the available steaks. We had Caesar salad to start then Tony had a 'large' ribeye (GOUT WARNING) and I had a filet mignon with stacked (mayo, bacon and cheese ) baked potatoes. Delicious, the steaks are so good here, the best.

Saturday 7th February

Went to Camping World to get a few more supplies, like a longer sewerage pipe! We are all set up now with electric, water, sewerage outlet, all plumbed in and very easy to do. Put our feet up and did some reading this afternoon - I LIKE THIS RETIRMENT LARK. Later took the dog for a walk through the woodland trail. There are quite a few activities going on this weekend at the park and several families have arrived. Each RV camp site has a fire pit and garden table, the smell of wood smoke was about in the evening as everyone lit their fires and barbecues. We settled down for a night in with music and tv. There is a really neat Pioneer music system that has speakers inside and outside the RV and a usb connector for the iPod.

Sunday 8th Feb

Had a lazy morning, me catching up with the log and Tony unfortunately suffering from Gout in his feet and a problem with a ligament behind his left knee, no option but to take the tablets and rest up. The weather is glorious and we have been sitting outside at the garden table in the sunshine. We have been to Brookshields supermarket in Alverado to stock up with food and paid a visit to Dollar General, which I think is the equivalent to Poundland. Unfortunately, Tony did not do his bad knee any favours getting in and out of the car which caused him some pain. For dinner we had Caesar salad first - the American way - and then roast chicken with gravy which is a white peppery sauce, very tasty.

Monday 9th Feb

Tony suffering badly with a very painful knee, he had a terrible night. Again we had a day around the RV, the weather is glorious. The park has a fishing lake with benches here and there around the edge. On one of them has a life size statue of Yogi Bear sitting crossed legged. Sandy took fright at this and did a cartoon dog jump away from it - all four legs off the ground.

Tuesday 10th Feb

Tony no better. Stayed around the RV again today, weather very good. The site is peaceful, nobody much about which is nice. I took Sandy for usual walk around the fishing lake and saw no one. She is very animated about the squirrels that are around the site. There is also a lot of birdsong, some of it sounds quite tropical which I believe is coming from what looks like a long tailed crow.

Wednesday 11th Feb

We are still grounded today, Tony thinks his knee is a little improved and he had a better nights sleep but it was still painful and swollen and difficult to put weight onto. We're getting concerned about the lack of improvement and have started to contemplate contacting a doctor. Got a few jobs done in the RV and did a bit more reorganising. We had Domino Pizza takeaway this evening and very good it was. When calling in the order the girl at Domino's was very taken with my English accent. I had another good look on the Internet (when I could get wifi) regarding Tony's knee condition. It does seem that it is a strained or torn ligament or tendon.

Thursday 12th Feb

Tony had a particularly bad episode of pain this morning. I went across to the campsite office to book in for a further two nights and to enquire about how to contact a doctor. As luck would happen there was a nurse/paramedic booking in at the desk when I got there and she overheard the conversation. I had a chat with her and she advised me on the best combination of painkillers to use. I also got information on which health centre to call. So far I had not driven the car and I needed to familiarise myself with using a left hand drive car before I got onto the road. I took it around the site a few times and soon got used to driving in the wrong seat and using the gear stick with my right-hand.

Friday 13th Feb

Ventured out in the car for the first time on American roads. The local access road outside the RV park runs parallel to the Interstate 35 and cars coming toward you have right of way to zip straight across the oncoming traffic to access the I-35. As you approach these access points there are small triangular 'Yield' signs which can be easy to miss and there is no guarantee the oncoming vehicles will indicate - quite hairy. Then there are the junctions, everyone stops and whoever got there first goes. Surprisingly this works very well. I went to Brookshields and got some food supplies and returned. On the way back there are access points for traffic to come off the I-35 on to the access road, this means when you come up to a 'Yield', you need to look to the left and slightly behind you to check if anything is on the slip road because they come off the Interstate at speed and have right of way. I suppose you get used to it!

Saturday/Sunday/Monday

All much the same. Tony is still suffering and unable to stay up for very long. He has developed gout in both feet which makes it really difficult to walk. Monday was Presidents Day and therefore a Bank Holiday. Guess what, the weather was awful, cold wintery and rainy - some things never change wherever you are.

Tuesday 17th Feb

Yesterday I found a tick on Sandy's ear. I put some antiseptic on it and pulled it out with tweezers, but I wasn't sure if I had got the head. We had been advised by our vet at home to see a vet on arrival in the US, to check local conditions and if Sandy was covered for everything. I thought this was an opportune moment to do this and get the tick head issue checked out. We went to the vet in Alverado and I persuaded Tony to have ago at getting into the car to have a ride out, he had been RV bound for over a week. It was a struggle but he managed to get into the car and out again to come into the vets. We saw what I presume was a trainee vet first who assessed what was needed. I had kept the offending tick in a bottle in a solution of Bacardi (the advise is to put them in alcohol to ensure they are killed off). The vet examined it through the plastic bottle and thought the head was out and dispatched the bottle to the bin. The Doctor (vet) then came in and gave Sandy a check over. He looked at the tick site on her ear, there was still a lump there but It wasn't inflamed and he thought all was okay. There is rabies about in Johnson County in the wild animal population and they recommend an annual booster of rabies vaccine. The Police can stop you to check if the animal is covered. Sandy was due in June so we went ahead with that. There is also heart-worm about in this area and across in Arizona where we plan to go so that was another shot to cover her for six months, plus six months supply of a skin application product similar to Frontline, to protect her from ticks and fleas. All in all we came out 184 dollars lighter than we went in but she's worth it. I picked up some supplies at the supermarket and then we headed back. By this time Tony was in pain, particularly with his knee.

Wednesday 18th Feb

Tony's condition is no better. The gout is under his feet making it really difficult to walk and it seems his right knee is now stiffening up. Another day of rest and pain killers. It is usually 7-10 days for gout to dissipate and we were getting concerned that although some areas seemed to improve he would then have pain in a new place.

Thursday 19th Feb

Tony had great difficulty standing today, he is really incapacitated now. Both feet and knees are affected. He is not sure if he has gout in both knees now. I called the travel insurance company and they put me on to their local agents to arrange for Tony to see someone in the area. They gave me the name of a health centre about three miles away and I called them. The problem now was how to get him there. He has great difficulty putting weight on his legs and really needs a stretcher. It seemed the only way we could get that was to dial 911. We decided to wait until tomorrow. If he takes anti inflammatory tablets and keeps as still as possible he can be reasonably comfortable.

Friday 20th Feb

With great effort Tony managed to get to the car so that I could take him to the health centre to see a doctor. The centre was in Burleson shopping centre just about five miles down the road. I dropped him off outside the Medical Center were he waited, clinging to the outside of the building until I parked the car. I got him inside the health centre which is very similar to the GP practice at home. I had to fill in the paperwork which was set up for US citizens with health insurance and I don't think the reception staff had seen a UK person with Travel Insurance before. After much photocopying of documents the form was filled in and we were good to see the doctor. The outcome was as suspected that Tony had gout in both knees and both feet. The treatment agreed was a steroid injection which would have an effect in about six hours and a course of stronger anti inflammatory tablets. The staff had now supplied Tony with a wheelchair as the effort of getting to the health centre meant he was now finding it really difficult to stand. On the way out one of the waiting patients helped us to the car. When we got back Tony just collapsed in the bed exhausted from the effort to get about. Fingers crossed now that the steroids work their magic.

Saturday 21st Feb

Hurray! Tony is feeling a definite improvement in his painful knees and feet. Gradually through the day he found that he gained more movement and the debilitating pain of the past 12 days had lessened.

Sunday 22nd Feb

Tony is up and about feeling much better. He has been very carefully testing out how much he can walk. By the afternoon we decide to go out for a drive to do some shopping at Lowe's and Camping World. Tony still finds it awkward to get in and out of the car because it is so low but he was eager to have a go. We decided that we would move on from Rustic Creek Ranch tomorrow. however there was a bad weather warning for the area. There was a nasty cold front coming down from the north of the country bringing with it ice and sleet.

Monday 23rd Feb

We are not going anywhere. There is layer of icy white sleet/snow everywhere and the advise is not to drive unless essential. The only one enjoying the weather was Sandy, she was tearing about in the white stuff playing like a puppy. We watched the continuous weather reports on the local TV news - in fact there wasn't any other news. The main roads all around Dallas that would normally be packed with Monday morning commuter traffic where practically deserted, none of the schools were operating and many businesses were closed. The TV station camera crews were out monitoring the main roads. One very high flyover in Dallas looked like a ski slope and behind the commentator could be seen the odd vehicle appear over the brow at the top of the flyover and gingerly proceed down the slope, some sliding all over the place - scary stuff.