The CoolRVers were actually a couple of retirees, Judy and Luke Rinehimer and their rescue German Shepherd dog, Miss Shady Lady. We were "extended-time" travelers for many years with a homebase in Cool, California for 40 years. Luke passed away in May 2019 and I continued to RV. Many followed along with our travels throughout North America in our 40' "rolling condo" and our later downsized Class C motorhome, enjoying the RV lifestyle. Your comments are always welcomed.

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Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Fall of Yuma

No, this is not about seasonal travel in the fall of the year, but rather Luke’s fall off a step stool while cleaning the rig.  Since it made such an impact, pun intended, we’ll start with the fall and then catch you up on our other Yuma activities in our next blog.

[This delayed write-up is because Luke did not want any publicity about his fall.  Now that he is well on the recovery road, I will post the details for those that missed all the excitement.  If you’ve heard this before, see you on our next blog.]


Anyone who knows Luke, knows how proud he is of his clean motorhome,  If you ask him to clean your rig after he finishes cleaning ours, he has a standard answer:  “Once I finish this, it is time to start over”.

Like a good mechanic, Luke uses the right tools to do the job – well, most of the time.  RVers who have attended any vendor show are well aware of all the products on the market to help folks keep their rigs sparkling clean  – The Solution, 303 Protectorant, microfibers in every shape and color, mop heads, extension poles, buckets, etc.  We have them all and, when used properly, they make the coach shine to Luke’s standard.

Then there are times when one DOESN’T use the right tools, or, worse, uses the tools improperly.  So, you say, what the heck did Luke do?


Those were Luke’s words when he explained he was too lazy to get out his extension pole washing system and decided to add some leveling blocks to his 3-foot step stool so he could reach “just a little higher” without getting out his bigger ladder.



Yep, that was what he was standing on when he apparently lost his balance and tumbled backwards onto the adjacent brick-lined planter box and property wall. (We were parked on a Boomer’s private lot with the brick walls in the Foothills before we planned to move to the Yuma Fairgrounds the following week.)

We think his left elbow hit first, then his left side (hips and ribs) landed onto the bricks, and then his head bounced against the wall.  OUCH!

This happened about 5 pm while I was out playing golf.  By the time I got home a half-hour later, he had managed to clean-up a lot of his gravel road rash.  When I walked in he was holding his side and said he thought I might need to take him to a doctor.   Duh, when a guy wants to see a doctor, you’d better believe he NEEDS to see a doctor.


We were less than 2 miles away from a brand new Urgent Care, but unfortunately, it was approaching 6 pm on a Sunday night and they did not have an x-ray technician on duty since they would soon be closing,  We were referred to a 24-hour urgent care center downtown so off we went.

It took about an hour to be seen by a Physicians’ Assistant (PA) where he treated the abrasions and said Luke probably had bruised or broken some ribs.  They took a “chest” x-ray, but the technician was not certified to perform “rib” x-rays.  The x-ray did not reveal much so the PA was not too concerned because he said it didn’t really matter if the ribs were bruised or broken since they don’t do anything like wrapping for ribs.  Oh, and there looked liked part of the lung “MIGHT” be a bit deflated but “that might not be related to this incident.”  He did not think it was necessary to go to the nearby Yuma Regional Medical Center (YRMC) ER for additional x-rays.

Luke was told he would just “have to tough it out” and that he would be pretty sore for the 6-8 weeks the ribs would take to heal themselves.  So after a pain shot and a prescription for pain pills and antibiotics, we were on our way to a 24-hour Walgreens and then back to the RV.  The pain pills kept him doped up pretty well. 

By Wednesday, however, his prescription was running out and the pain kept intensifying.  This time we contacted the nearby urgent care and he saw a different PA who ordered a series of digital images with their onsite YRMC Digital Imaging Center. 

This guy was on the ball!  The images showed FIVE (5) broken ribs, including a jagged rib that was “grabbing” Luke’s lung, a partially deflated lung (probably punctured by the rib), and fluid (blood) in the lung.  He said we should head for the YRMC Emergency Room.

imageWe spent five hours in ER and the doctor said if Luke had been seen in ER the night of the accident, he would have been admitted for observation.   They ran plenty of tests, scans, etc. and sent us home with new pain meds.  He was referred to a surgeon for follow-up appointments regarding the deflated lung and fluid in the lung.  She saw him on Friday and again a week later after repeated x-rays.  Everything looked like it was healing on its own and she declared him released to travel when he felt up to it.

Coughing, sneezing, and plain ol’ breathing was VERY uncomfortable for the first three weeks.  He has not been able to sleep on his back or side in bed so he continues to claim his recliner as his bed. 

We were in Yuma to attend the Gypsy Journal Rally where I was scheduled to participate in a number of seminars.  We compromised our time so we could keep Luke in the RV on our Foothills lot and I “commuted” the 11 miles to teach my seminars.  His recovery really just involved resting while his injuries recovered over time.

As mentioned above, Luke did not want me to post about his fall, but friends at the rally soon learned about it and many of them made time in their schedules to come by to wish Luke well with his recovery.  It was also fun (?) to hear each guy share his story of broken ribs, legs, ankles, collar bones, and shoulders.  By the end of  Week 3 Luke was also getting cabin fever.  He began getting out of the rig, sitting in the sun each day and he eventually felt social enough to go out to dinner with our many friends. THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR CARING THOUGHTS AND ENCOURAGEMENT.

By Week 4 we had “hitch itch” so we decided to leave Yuma and headed for Apache Junction.  While I had become proficient in dumping the black tank, doing early morning dog walks (Luke’s normal job), and running errands, Luke was confident he felt well enough to drive the motorhome the 210 miles to Apache Junction.   For the record, I know how to drive the rig and was willing to do so, but I think his personal recovery goal was to prove HE could do it.  He DID it successfully. 

After a week in Apache Junction, a stop-over at the Escapees’ North Ranch RV Park, and now a week in North Palm Springs, we feel like we are back on the road. Today marks the start of Week 6 and, while still not fully recovered, he is well on the way.



hobopals said...

Judy, so glad Luke is almost to full recovery. I guess it could have been worse looking at how and on what he fell.

You probably don't remember me, but you plotted a route for me to Marin County and to pick up my daughter in San Francisco and back up the coast. I think of you often, Judy. Lord only knows where I would have wound up without your help.

Again, wishing Luke a full recovery.

Judy Rinehimer said...

Hobopals, YES, I remember your trip well. I was so glad all worked out for your daughter's visit. I just checked the SKP Discussion forum and saw you are traveling in the East. Can't help you out, but I did see your blog address. I've added your blog to my gReader, so will be following all your posts in the future. Safe travels. - CoolJudy

Nan said...

Our men! Will they ever learn? Probably not.... It is good that Luke is getting better and you two are on your way. Enjoy your travels.

Molly and Bob said...

Wow, Luke! Sorry about the fall, but sure glad to hear you are on the mend. No more "re-engineering" the ladders!!

Hugs to both of you!