Saying Goodbye to Brownsville

As we prep to leave, I’m realizing that I feel reluctant to say goodbye. It’s true that our whole stay has been dominated by medical appointments, many due to mistakes made by the amazingly incompetent and uncaring medical community here that forced me into repeat appointments and tests. So, yeah, this winter has been a shit show medically, but, if you put that aside, I’ve really warmed to the area and am looking forward to coming back for our third winter here. A do-over.

Can you believe it? All last year as Tracy told people that we winter in Brownsville (the dominant topic of conversation among full timers), I’d cringe a little. Is this really where we’re set to spent three months every single year, when the Florida Keys are out there, the green desert of southern Arizona, the companionship of friends in Southern California and New Mexico? But yes, Brownsville has won out.

This Silly Resort

It feels odd to say that this almost-treeless, gringo RV resort we chose this year has made a difference, but it has.

Last year’s more urban mobile home park has mature flora and fauna (citrus trees!), the rare parrots flying overhead each morning and night, a central location that let us bike to incredible food, and a community of locals in the park who live together, not just vacation together. I miss all of that.

But damn the lots in that park are small! We were up in everyone’s business there, and likewise. The fact that I’ve felt less anxious in this barren park—with no way to explore nearby without the truck and surrounded by isolationist midwesterners—shows me how important a little more space is to me.

I’ve written before how a predator view calms the mind. Over and over, I’ve felt happier when the view from the trailer is vast.

This experiment in Brownsville—comparing the closed-in but otherwise-preferable park of last year with this year’s expansive one—seals the deal. (For the next year of travel we’ll be in tight spots more than any other year, but now that I’ve named what causes me anxiety, maybe I can win over it.)

Next Time in Brownsville

I had my weird bike accident a mere 11 days after we arrived! Next year I will be glued to that hot tub. I will get social with these midwesterners. We’ll go to isolated Boca Chica beach.

We’ll check out the new microbrewery and enjoy the rodeo and colorful Charro Days—celebrating with everyone the close relationship between the people of the Rio Grande Valley on both sides of the river border.

Tracy’s going to have more free time to bird. Already in Cameron County he’s identified 134 species, many rare. Just sitting behind the trailer looking out at the little resaca behind us, he’s seen 32 species. Heck, maybe by next year I’ll get motivated by birds!

What I do know is: we will not repeat the golf cart rental.

After years of having made fun of people who take their golf carts camping, turns out they are fun. But, turns out just as true: I like walking even better, and riding my bike, and I’ll be excited to do both here next year. Look out, Jetstream Tropical Trails Yadda Yadda Resort, I’m coming back for a real do-over.

Health Update

The outcome of two+ months of appointments here is mixed. The knee is on the mend, for sure, thanks to that surgeon in Houston and my local savior, aka my physical therapist. I am now equipped with ankle weights, resistance bands, full-leg compression sleeves, a freezer full of ice packs, and instructions from the PT for an hour of exercises each morning, plus ones I can do in the truck on travel days.

Bless him. This is how much I appreciate his help: I gave him a gift certificate to one of those hunting and fishing stores. Me! I walked in myself (well, limped) to buy it, too. Heck, he’s going to check in with me from the road, so it’s the least I can do.

News on odd lab results is more dubious. If you remember, this fall when we did our annual physicals in Houston, a few weird results came up in my blood and urine, and I was experiencing this acute anxiety some mornings that would completely disappear by afternoon. Weird. That set me on a winding trail with an endocrinologist here, who got fixated on one hormone: the level of cortisol being produced by my adrenal glands. After two months of testing, she’s declared that not to be the problem.

Is there a problem elsewhere though? Who knows, because we are out of here! Okay, I’m forwarding all my lab results to my doctor in Houston for review, and it would be peachy if he knows an endocrinologist who would give me a second opinion without me having to see him or her in person. If not, though, I’m going to keep moving forward. Navel-gazing and I are parting company, I tell you that much.

Sweater Complete!

Another recap: the What-to-do-when-immobile Project was a success! My first sweater is a little big, but seeing as how it’s 100% wool, I can certainly continue to shrink it, little by little.

I’m excited to knit another one because I want to see if I can avoid the mistakes I made with this one, so I’m going to knit Finn a sweater on the road this year.

Heck, that’s a good strategy for my life on the road: Continue to make mistakes, and learn from them, and move forward. We have a coast to explore!

9 thoughts to “Saying Goodbye to Brownsville”

  1. I hear you about expansive views, I have to have elbow room and distance from other people to relax. Some of your views have been stunning.
    Glad your knee is healing well and you’re ambulatory again. That must have been hard for someone so active.
    The sweater looks great. Bet it’s nice and warm too.

    1. I’ve been told the knee recovery takes s full year, so no big hurrahs yet. I’m still not even walking the dog, much less hiking. I’m going to follow instructions and take care of it and make sure I am in full swing next December though, that’s for sure.

  2. I hate rubbing elbows with the neighbors. It’s no coincidence that each house I’ve bought has had successively more space between it and the next. If I ever do move again, it’ll probably be into a cave.

    1. A fulltime friend and I joked last night about buying tiny houses and putting them out in the dessert, far from everyone but within a yelling distance of each other. I think that’s a great plan – you don’t get lonely but no forced shared experiences, either.

  3. It saddens me that you are quicker to comment on the mess ups and mistakes rather than celebrating the fact that you have had major surgery and a successful recovery with no complications but then, I live in a country where we don’t pay for medical care (and similar mix ups and administrative mistakes occur – I suspect they are common in all complex systems). The downside is that you could wait longer for surgery here… But it’s great that you are able to get back on the road so quickly – may your progress continue! Ah yes – and the more tests you take, the more likely you’ll find something “wrong” – beware the wellness screen.

    1. I didn’t explain very well, sorry. The mistakes happened nearly every visit for healthcare in the town where I was staying for the winter. If I were to enumerate them, you’d be shocked. It’s why I traveled to another town for surgery. I am very grateful that went well!