During the first two weeks of March, snow is still on the ground. The needle on the outdoor temperature gauge is slowly moving upwards past 30*F daytime highs. We were wondering if Spring would even come to the Inland NW. Five days later our question was answered with 60*F temps with full sunshine and mid-30s at night. The warmer temps meant we could take down our cold-aid blanket fortress since Spring is undoubtedly on its way.
I do not know if it had been the sudden change in the climate, or what, but the Cold Bug bit me! At first, it was just a sore throat, hoarse voice, and headache, which I contributed to possible Spring allergies. After a couple of days, it progressed into head pressure, runny nose, sore throat, and ear pain.
Oh, the joys of a common cold are just beginning. This was my first time being sick in the 5th wheel. It has some drawbacks that I never even thought about while we began our new full-time RV lifestyle.
No room to run
First of all, in a sticks-and-bricks house, you have plenty of room to ‘escape’ the sicko in the family. You may just spare yourself from getting the bug they have. In an RV you have no option but to utilize all the snake-oil internet cures to keep you healthy. If you are not so lucky with the online treatments, then I’m afraid to tell you, that bug will soon find you in the 32-foot 5th wheel. I know it found Don and typically he has done well to avoid my colds in our former house’s.
in the 32-foot 5th wheel. I know it found Don and typically he has done well to avoid my colds in our former house’s.
In a small space every cough you make, every sneeze you make, we can hear you. You are keeping us up with not only the sounds you are making, including the whistling nostril but the wiggling of the RV. So if the RV’s a rock’n, don’t come a-knockin, we’re under quarantine!
Not the smell
As an RV’er, you already know that cooking will stink up the home faster than anything. Now toss in several bags of cough drops, cough syrups, chicken broth and all the other must-have cold remedies available. That small space quickly begins to smell like a mobile nursing home, that requires a good airing out.
Not the bathroom
Of course, there is only one bathroom (typically) in an RV, if both of you are sick it gets tricky. Even more of a challenge is if you have a composting toilet where you manually separate your liquids from solids. Depending on your level of flu sickness, this will be a very unpleasant experience. For us, we have the traditional foot pedal unit where we regulate how much water we add to our ‘contribution’. Yet the toilet is still an RV style where the bowl is not as large nor as deep as you would have in your home. I only bring this up due to the cleaning factor from any explosion event you may have just had.
No spa day
When I am sick, the best thing I can do for myself is a long hot shower. This helps with the sudden cold chills as well as opening up the sinuses. When living in an RV full-time, unless you are on full water hookup and able to dump at the same time, then you will not be taking a long hot shower. Some RV parks have showers to utilize, so if you feel like walking down there to do that, then, by all means, seize the opportunity. However, if a bath is more up your alley when you are sick, maybe a family member or friend that is nearby can help you out as I do not know of too many truck stops that have this feature. Or, you can always check into a hotel for a night or two!
No, it’s your turn
Now that you are both probably sick at this point, there is one urgent task to do, and I do not mean going to the store for more tissues. Rather, it is even more important than getting more cold supplies. Someone needs to do their weekly chore of dumping the tanks, especially since the black tank has received more contributions than usual. To determine which sick party member gets to do this, I find that the good old ‘rock-paper-scissors’ game may help. Or maybe you are parked where you have full hookups when the cold bug hits, that would be perfect. However, we were not so fortunate and to make matters worse we had a valve on a tank break, forcing us to minimize water usage until the part arrived.
Not your space
Ideally, both of you are on the tail end of your cold or flu when you need to move to your next multi-night destination or one-night stay-over along your itinerary’s route. However, we know that most of the time the ideal situation does not happen, so you are faced with driving when you are utterly under the weather, and so is your partner. Neither of you should be driving, especially if you have taken certain types of cold medication.
Unfortunately, in the RV lifestyle, there aren’t too many options available besides: seeing if you can extend your stay where you are at or search for a closer overnight stop with the hopes that a quick nap at a rest stop along the way helps a little. Maybe you will be forced to cancel that dream destination and plan where to go next, instead. Whatever you decided to do, I would highly recommend researching where nearby hospitals and clinics are along your travel route, just in case.
Not a house
This was my first time in the 5th wheel, with no full hookups, catching the ‘common cold’ and passing it onto Don, which made me reflect on how different it is to be sick inside an RV vs. a sticks-and-bricks home. All I can say is during this cold bug bite; I really do miss some of the amenities of a house. And if it were not for the fact that the cold virus can go unnoticed for 2 days before symptoms, we may have prepared a little differently here, to save Don from getting sick too.
Hopefully, Don will get better quickly, since our ‘dump day’ is quickly approaching. Last weekend we had a handle break and have been waiting on a part so he could finish the dumping. Then the cold bug struck, compounding the problem since we had to watch our water usage even closer.
We will see you on our next Adventure!
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