How to live the RV Lifestyle in turbulent and unsettled times – Part 4
By Bob Difley
In last week’s post I wrote about several ways RVers can reduce their expenditures immediately. These ways are doable because of the flexible mobile lifestyle we live and our ability to move quickly when necessary. But there are other ways that are not as clear for reducing expenses, ways that don’t immediately reflect our actions. One factor that could drastically affect our financial situation is the condition of our health and what we can do to avoid unforseen medical costs.
Some of these ways are as basic as changing habits. For instance if you stop smoking, lose weight, and start exercising you will help your body in preventing heart disease, diabetes, and other maladies. However, if you don’t get any of the diseases or illnesses (because you are practicing healthier living) you may not be fully aware that the results–fewer diseases, infrequent illnesses, etc.–are in fact connected to the changing of bad habits. No doctor can definitively state, “If you hadn’t changed those habits, you would have diabetes, heart disease, etc. now.” And there are plenty of people who will argue with you that nutrition and exercise really don’t matter in the whole scheme of life (I am definitely not one of them).
However, in some situations, there is good data that make a strong case for certain actions. For instance, Dr. Anthony Kim, a stroke neurologist, wrote in the Thursday, June 28th San Francisco Chronicle that “modern advances in the prevention and treatment of stroke . . . have led to a more than 30% decline in the mortality rate from stroke over the last 30 years.” Besides the changing of bad habits connected with stroke, one of the other advances is proof that the speed in which a stroke victim receives medical help is vitally important.
Unfortunately, in many instances the stroke victim, as well as those close to the victim, often do not realize that a stroke has occurred and that it is a medical emergency and do not therefore seek help until much later when more identifiable symptoms appear. Symptoms can be similar, but also different, from those of a heart attack depending on the area of the brain affected. In fact, only 18% of the population can correctly identify the signs of a stroke.
This is important to us RVers since when we are doing our thing–traveling and camping in our rigs–we are not usually within range of our regular doctor’s help. we might be out boondocking in the middle of nowhere, on the road in a strange state, or miles from a city and hospitals and adequate medical care. And we may even say to ourselves, “I’m OK, it’s just a passing thing, I’ll see the doc when I get home.” That delay could make it too late to prevent severe damage to the brain.
And that is the reason that we road warriors need to be more self reliant when on the road than at home. Dr. Kim recommends that everyone learn the FAST acronym, committing it to memory, to give yourself and your mate that necessary leg up if a stroke does occur.
F – Face
Ask the person to smile. Does the face look uneven?
A – Arm
Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift down?
S – Speech
Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase, such as “The sky is blue.” Does their speech sound strange, or are they unable to understand you?
T – If you observe any of these signs of stroke, call 911 immediately.
Knowing these symptoms could help prevent what could be huge medical costs–and worse. It pays for us all to learn as much as e can to be able to make informed decisions when necessary.
Check out my website for more RVing tips and destinations, and for my ebooks, BOONDOCKING: Finding the Perfect Campsite on America’s Public Lands (click here for Kindle version), Snowbird Guide to Boondocking in the Southwestern Deserts (Kindle version), and 111 Ways to Get the Biggest Bang out of your RV Lifestyle Dollar (Kindle version).