A&A Challenges Of Mobile Living (600 Days)
End of Week #86
Neapolitan Cove RV Resort, Naples FL
Miles traveled since last week's post = 0 miles
Total miles traveled to date = 11,997 with trailer
We are in the final few days of our stay here in Naples, before we head north along the Gulf coast. To make the most of this time, in the past week we have checked out some local events, such as the big Naples farmer's market on third street, and a cars & coffee event at the outdoor mall. We were also able to connect with an old boss of mine, from when I worked in Minneapolis, as she was in town visiting her son who moved to Naples. Mixed in with a few beach days and a few walks through the Florida jungle, of course. All in all, it's been a great month, but I think we are both ready to move on to the next chapter of 2021. Life hasn't been as crazy for us this month as it has been in the past, but it still has presented it's own set of challenges while we have been here.
As you know by now, every 2 months I go over what challenges we face and how we are choosing to work through them. This episode is primarily focused on our Bengal boy Roscoe, and all the crazy things we unfortunately continue to go through with him!
If you missed my previous post about the challenges of mobile living at 540 days, you can check it out here.
CHALLENGES OF MOBILE LIVING - 600 DAYS
I used to preface a lot before making these challenges posts, that by no means is this an opportunity for me to speak negatively about the life choices we have made to go nomadic. I am absolutely not implying that we are unhappy in our situations or that we wish for things to be any other way. I like to continue to write these posts every 2 months to keep it real with you - to shed light on the ups and the downs of full-time travel, living in a smaller space, and navigating life on the road. (Especially over the past year of this pandemic.) When it comes down to it, I do not have any complaints at all. I simply have before me, new opportunities to learn and grow in new places, while continuing to fine tune the lifestyle of my dreams.
With that being said, let's dive into the 600 day marker!
Roscoe the Bengal Cat
My Roscoe Boscoe, the love of my life, is still in the challenges spotlight this time around. Unfortunately he is still not his best self, and has been struggling for a few months now with digestive issues, random coughs, and other behavioral signs that I have since learned to be symptoms of food allergies. No joke, I have probably spent like 15 or more hours researching things about cat health in the past week... honestly it's probably more like 20 hours. This is also the primary reason I am late on this weeks' blog post, as I have just not been in the mood to write it because my mind is so preoccupied on my fur babies - especially Roscoe.
Last Friday I took Roscoe to a vet here in Naples, to examine a random wet cough he has had every few days since mid December, and to examine his... butt, as he hasn't pooped solid in two months and that can lead to a lot of other butt problems in cats. I took him to a cat only clinic, which I quickly realized I fully prefer over any other type of vet clinic. I was not able to go inside with him, just like in Fort Lauderdale, and the appointment was just as depressing as every other one he has had in the last few months, because the vet called me with terrible news that didn't even have to do with why I took him in to see her in the first place...
The vet found a mass on Roscoe's arm/shoulder/chest within the first few minutes of examining him, something that was NEVER mentioned to me with all his appointments in November and December. At this point in the appointment I was invited inside to discuss things further with her. I pretty much immediately broke down as soon as she let me feel the mass - out of fear for Roscoe, out of anger for all he is going through, and out of anger at myself for not noticing this before. It seems to be a theme of mine to break down in a lot of veterinary offices or parking lots in the past few years...
While I was there I decided it was best to have her do a fine needle aspiration on his mass, which is a way to grab cell samples and look at them under a microscope to see if they are fatty in nature (benign) or something else. We hadn't even gotten to discuss his poop or cough yet, but I told her to please do it immediately. It only took about 10 minutes and she was able to confirm to me that his samples were fatty... good news for now! In her professional opinion there was no point to send the sample on to a lab to confirm fatty or not, as she believed it would be a waste of time and money as they would show the same results. We discussed options to move forward, as this is something that has no cure in cats and is not able to "shrink" or dissolve with any kind of treatment. You essentially live with it or you remove it. There is no distinguishable cause for why they happen, but through hours of research on google, I learned that they can be attributed to food and environmental factors, genes, and weight. (It was also confirmed Roscoe would benefit from losing about 2-3 pounds.)
As a next step from the vet regarding his poop... he was prescribed a nasty gel that is supposed to help firm up poops, along with a probiotic that I had already been giving him for a week before his appointment (two weeks now while I'm writing this). She was not concerned about the cough at the time, as it was so sporadic and he was only having 1-2 instances of it per day when he would cough. Although she did ask a lot of very great questions about things that could be causing the cough or irritating Roscoe.
It is now a week later from this appointment and a million hours of independent research, but I'm still just as stressed out as I was last week. I just feel so much empathy for him, as this is not his fault, he is not able to communicate with me what is wrong or what he feels, and he has already been through SO much. I did not feel comfortable putting him through another surgery after he just had one in December, and with his current digestive issues, however I DO wish to have his mass removed. I've decided this would be the best course of action while he is still at the age he is, and IF it were to grow back, which it can, by the time it does he may be so elderly it won't matter as much then as it does to me now. I am concerned about it's placement and if it were to continue to get bigger over time (which they do), as it could intertwine with his muscles and also start to prevent him from walking properly. I have decided as soon as I can get his gut health back to "normal", and stable for at least a month, AND once I can find a trustworthy vet that would be wherever I am once I get to this point... I'm having it removed.
I am also at my wits end for what to do to help him get his poops back to normal as so far nothing has helped. After countless hours researching cat foods and cat food allergies, I've ordered some new wet foods online and am still deciding what dry food I trust at all, as they are pretty much all a toxic mess. I'm also considering putting him on an elimination diet of just chicken and rice for awhile to help "reset" things... as I don't really know what else to do anymore. It is NOT good for him to continue to poop the way he is and he is essentially not absorbing nutrients like this. My heart just can't take any of this if I'm being honest. It's been a lot. And it's pretty much been all I've been able to think about lately. Lots of tears.
Not to mention... in all my research on cat behaviors, I'm noticing other things both Roscoe and Rahja do that are directly correlated to food allergies in Roscoe and potential dental issues now with Rahja. Specifically Roscoe's snoring (inflamed throat), his vomiting that has been a vet mystery for YEARS, and the way that Rahja eats on one side of her mouth sometimes and get's food "stuck" around her tongue. So now I also need to put a vet dental check up on my list of things to do for Rahja in the near future too.
Red tide in Naples
On another note, a difficult thing we have been dealing with in our general location has been something called "red tide". Essentially it is a algae growth problem that happens in the Gulf of Mexico sometimes, and causes fish and other sea life to die, but also causes respiratory issues in humans. It's been present the entire time we have been in Naples, and it's been noticeable as soon as you get about 3 or so blocks away from the beach. The first time we went to the beach here we did not know it was a thing and immediately were met by a tickle in our throat we could not get rid of. I remember walking the Naples Pier and hearing so many people coughing and thinking to myself... what the heck is going on here? But then it all made sense as it is the red tide. There was one day we went to Naples beach for the afternoon, but only lasted about 45 minutes because it was so present, so we gave up and came home and had happy hour.
As of late, the red tide seems to be better. We have been able to go to the beach twice this week without any issues at all. The signs are still up when you enter the beach (which we didn't notice the first time), however no coughing at all. It feels normal again! This issue has been present in just southwest Florida right now, and the algae blooms that cause it can last anywhere from a few months to a few years!
Other NEW challenges:
No schedule right now... We went from 5 months in Gualala, to 2 busy months on the road traveling almost 4,000 miles, to 6 busy weeks selling Christmas trees... to absolutely nothing. It was completely wonderful for about the first week, and then it started to get difficult. You start to accidentally get into the habit of staying up really late, and staying in bed really late, and wasting the day away - and I hate that. I'm all for free range days off, do what I want, abide to no one and nothing - but at the same time I enjoy a level of routine, and am not always the most motivated to set it up for myself without accountability. And this month we sure have not had any kind of accountability!
Not much to do at this RV park or surrounding area... I hate to admit it, but I think we have started to get a little on the bored side this month. We are used to having more activities to partake in when we have a month stay like this, and unfortunately this park we are at is just so small there is not much to offer. There is also not a whole lot to do in the surrounding area, unless you are in the mood to spend money. There is really only one section of beach we can get away with going to without paying for parking, and if only we had two bicycles that would open up some more opportunities for us. We have been doing the best we can to stay busy with walks in various parts of the Florida jungle, and other adventures, but we would also find ourselves out spending money (on rood or happy hour) when we weren't trying to do so. Needless to say, we will be ready to move on from here next week!
Cold weather & expensive beaches... I think Adam and I both had a little bit more excitement towards coming to Naples because we fully expected wonderfully warm weather, and a TON of time at great beaches. To our dismay, it's been rather chilly here and there - a lot more than we thought it would be in southwest Florida this time of year. And the beaches have been costly to go to, unless you go to the same one. As well as our pretentious nomad asses can't get over the fact that the water on the East coast is extremely more turquoise, warm and inviting than it is on the Gulf coast. Ha! You live and you learn.
Things we ongoingly continue to work through:
RECYCLING, missing friends and family HARDCORE, being away for celebrations-birthdays-deaths-milestones-dinners-holidays, being away from people we know and people in general, being away, etc….
Solutions to some previous 540 day challenges
My vision... I finally got an eye exam here in Naples! My last exam was spring of 2019, before we went fulltime. Unfortunately, and as I expected, my vision did get worse and I had to get a new prescription and thus new prescription glasses and sunglasses. It was not ideal, but I had anticipated this to happen as I was starting to notice that my distant vision was not what it used to be. Overall, the rest of the health of my eyes appeared to be up to par, as a new fancy photo technology was used to look at my entire eye. It was a costly combination of everything, but I guess it's the price I have to pay to be able to "see" the world...
Mail... It's always a challenge to stay places short term and not have an option to have mail sent to an address, or to stay somewhere that doesn't allow it as an option at all. It was a huge relief this past month in Naples to be able to order supplies we need online, some new clothes for the both of us and other cat products. We also received mail packages from friends and family and just finally felt like a part of society again. Having the ability to receive mail is always a luxury on the road!
Previous 540 day challenges, that are STILL a challenge
Spending vs. saving... We are back to this part of our journey again, as it all comes full circle and ebbs and flows with the different "seasons" we experience in this lifestyle. Here we are at the point where all we seem to be doing is spending, versus saving. I have mapped out a lot of ideas to supplement income for the next few months, but it can definitely be a challenge when you are in the "down time" between workamping jobs and you have to ration what you have. Budget, budget, budget - and it all just stresses me out sometimes. Thankfully we have three workamping jobs lined up as the year goes on! (And thankfully I have some ideas up my sleeve to hopefully make a few bucks in the near future.)
The Bengal Cats... I hope by the next time I write a challenges post in a few months, that I can finally report ongoing good news about the Bengal cats. I hope to report back that Roscoe's gut is healed. I hope to report back that there are no new issues with him or Rahja. I hope I can get them both in tip top shape for the next chapter of their lives, as they still have over half of it to live, if you ask me!
Things that are still NOT a challenge another 60 days into it
As our time in Naples comes to an end, I will take some time to review our stay here and things we did during our time in this part of Florida. One month sure goes fast, and although we would have liked to spend more time at the beach, we still found a handful of other activities to keep ourselves busy!
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