Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hitting a Low in Texas

Here in Livingston, Texas, we are hitting a low-point as we enter what seems to be the next leg of our journey. On this blog, we try to share the high points and joys of our trip, peppered here and there with hints of the challenges faced along the way. But today, our spirits are low, our bodies are suffering, and we want to share some observations about what's going on with us.

First, my back is out, and even though I live with chronic pain every day, this is an acute low back pain that has been dogging me for several days. Late this afternoon, Mary took me to see a local chiropractor for me to get some needed treatment, and although I didn't detect any chemical aura in the office when I arrived, I became saturated with something during the almost three hours that I was there (two of which were spent simply waiting to be seen in an uncomfortable, fluorescent-lit treatment room). While the treatment was marginally helpful, I often find that chemical exposures make my back pain worse, and this particular exposure may indeed negate many of the positive benefits of the treatment for which we paid out-of-pocket, of course.

Meanwhile, when I returned to the rig, Mary's eyes began burning and she had respiratory symptoms in reaction to the chemicals on my hair and clothes, so I had to take a shower while we were parked right there in the parking lot, simultaneously hand-washing my clothes in the shower. (We can't use laundromats and other people's laundry facilities because of the fragranced and often toxic laundry products that most people use.) For more information on Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, please visit The Canary Report.

As we continue the trip, Mary's MCS is seemingly worsened by the diesel fumes from our rig (and others around us), and we are now contemplating trying to sell it, although we're aware that there are a number of things needing attention, including a slow leak from the transmission and engine block, among other things.

On the bright side, we successfully registered our rig and now have Texas plates, something that will help us to blend in a little more without our tell-tale "Mass-uh-too-shits" license plates. Lamentably, we can't get our Texan drivers licenses until we register our car in Texas, a car which currently lives with our son Rene in Taos, New Mexico. Details, details.......

At any rate, this is yet another low that will no doubt be circumvented and superceded by subsequent highs, but for now, on this evening of January 20th, we struggle with pain, chemical sensitivity, and a sense of rootlessness that, while admittedly self-imposed, is nonetheless disconcerting at times.

Thanks for listening, and sorry for a less-than-entertaining blog post.



  1. This is all part of your journey and we your readers are here cheering you on. I have no doubt that the two of you will figure out this dilemma and will continue to plan, adapt, adjust your routine in order to survive and thrive on this incredible journey that you are on! I too suffer with chronic back pain ... so I'm not being a Pollyanna here. Ice/heat/stretching ... and gentle movement pulls me through. Also a good night sleep in the arms of a sweetheart is kinda nice! My best to you and your dear Merry Mary!

    ps: posting this via Google reminded me that I started a blog once upon a time. Time to revisit this! Thank you Mary and Keith.

  2. I hope even as I write this that the tide is turning and you are both starting to feel better. We're surrounded by so many chemicals it's amazing any of us survive!

  3. Keith and Mary, am so sorry to hear that you are both at a low point right now...I hope that you can be outdoors in some really good fresh air as much as possible. You guys have done a super job of keeping us posted on your adventures, doing it with gusto and a "realness" that I so appreciate...will be keeping positive thoughts for you....Big Hugs.

  4. Sorry to hear of your troubles, but glad you shared. Hoping you are better soon!
    BTW, why do you want Texas licenses and plates...are you planning to permanently relocate to Texas? Missed that detail somehow.

  5. Nancy, we are seeking a legal domicile in Texas for tax reasons, to allow me to have a Texas nurses' license which is good in 20 states, and for other reasons of ease of relocation to the west! Mary's parents also live here, and it makes sense on several levels. Our legal domicile through gives us a legal address here in the Lone Star State.

  6. Hey y'all....I don't remember meeting you, but I must have. Otherwise, why would I have subscribed to your blog?
    I have lived with rheumatoid arthritis for 35+ years, so I am no stranger to pain. Have low back pain myself, but I found a help: a wrap made of the softest sheepskin that you wear under your clothes and over your ouchy lower back. No chemicals, no smells. You wear it 24/7. My back pain eased up after 2 days... Check out Honest, I have no connection to the website other than buying one.
    Hope you both feel better sooon!
    Namaste, Nina in The Woodlands