Tropical Colds, a Sandstorm and a Ride in an Ambulance

This was to be our transition from big city San Diego to the peace and tranquility of the desert.  Not so much.

First of all, our two-month stay in San Diego meant that we were pretty dug in, so it took us a couple of days to unpack from our trip, do laundry, re-stock our food, do a little maintenance and stow everything.

We were both feeling a bit under the weather but thought it was the after effect of our trip to Miami and the three hour time zone change.

sandstormBut as it turned out, our fatigue developed into colds.  And Hector’s was a chest cold with a nasty cough that had me a bit worried.  But we continued our trip as planned and drove to our next campground in Palm Desert, fortunately only three hours away.


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sandstorm  006
sandstorm  004Hector was pretty wiped after setting up so we just took it easy the day we arrived.  We were in a commercial campground, not the most scenic setting but it was in a date grove so had lots of cool palm trees.

Our plan was to spend the next few days in Joshua Tree National Park, but in the morning, the wind kicked up and we waited to see what the weather would do, since this area is known to be prone to sandstorms.

The wind died down briefly, only to kick up into what locals later told us was a much worse than normal sandstorm. stock-vector-cartoon-man-coughing-155484689

And I wound up driving to the pharmacy during the sandstorm to pick up more cold medicine for Hector.   Good news was there was no traffic and there was a pharmacy just a few blocks away.coughsandstorm  003

The next morning we had sand everywhere in the coach, it was so fine it had seeped in through the closed windows.  There was even sand in the refrigerator.   We cleaned up inside and washed our barbecue.  There were lots of people washing down their coaches, but we decided to wait in case there was another sandstorm.

When we started the car, tons of sand blew in through the air conditioning, so we had to cleanup the inside of the car as well.  We are still finding sand in nooks and crannies. Note to self:  next time we’re in this area, if the forecast is for winds, leave!

Late that afternoon we finally headed out to Joshua Tree National Park.  We drove around on the park road, but didn’t hike that day, since we had Angel with us and dogs are not allowed on National Park trails.  But it was the day before the full moon,  so we also stopped to watch the moon rise by one of their campgrounds where dogs are allowed. Stay tuned for our post on the park.

The next morning, on the day of the full moon, as I woke up and before I opened my eyes, I realized that I had a splitting headache.  Which is very unusual for me.  But I thought maybe it was from drinking cheap wine the night before.

vertigoI opened my eyes, and the room was spinning, I just couldn’t get my bearings.  I tried focusing on different parts of the bedroom to no avail.  So I called out to Hector who was up, and he came over to the bedroom.  I told him I was dizzy and nauseous asked him to help me to the bathroom (fortunately not a very long way).

Hector searched the internet to find lots of possible causes for severe dizziness.  He said I should try sitting with my eyes closed and I wound up sitting on our tiny bathroom floor with my eyes closed for a while.   I asked him to help me to the couch (fortunately not a very long way), where I again sat with my eyes closed.  But I still couldn’t find my equilibrium.

emtAt this point, Hector, thinking I might be having a stroke or heart issue called 911.  And about a minute later I heard the siren, then a couple of minutes later it was outside.  I heard Hector, usually very calm under duress, sounding pretty freaked out when telling them what happened. And then there were three paramedics in our rig.

They checked my vitals and my blood pressure was high, also unusual for me, as I normally have low blood pressure, but probably explained by the fact that by now I was pretty nervous.  But although other vitals checked out and I answered all of the stroke questions appropriately, since I was still severely dizzy, nauseous and really pale, the paramedics determined that they should take me to the hospital.  Oh boy.

At this point, the RV park had gone into emergency mode, and little golf carts were blocking every row in order to allow the ambulance to get out as quickly as possible.

sandstorm  007And I was in the ambulance getting an IV, since they’d not ruled out dehydration.  That’s when I heard the lead paramedic say “Your husband is taking a photo of the ambulance, that’s awesome.”  Even when he is freaked out, he is always the photographer.

photo-21imagesWell, to make a long story less long, after several hours in the emergency room, some tests, and anti-nausea and anti-dizziness medication, I was released with a diagnosis of “a bad case of vertigo” and a prescription for more medication. Inflammation in the inner ear due to my cold was a likely cause, but it wasn’t certain.   But the doctor did rule out a stroke or heart issue.

Back on Island Girl, I slept the entire rest of the day into the evening, and luckily woke up feeling much better.

But I was still pretty exhausted and the doctor recommended I rest for 48 hours, so we didn’t return to the park the next day.   I did some laundry and other chores inside while Hector hosed down the rig and our outdoor stuff  which was all a pretty big mess.

I was disappointed that we didn’t get to see more of Joshua Tree National Park, but we figured it was time to move on and leave this experience behind us.   And we’re both relieved and grateful that my bout of vertigo turned out to be nothing serious.

~ Brenda

27 thoughts on “Tropical Colds, a Sandstorm and a Ride in an Ambulance

  1. Did you check inside your ears for SAND?

    I am so glad that it turned out to hopefully be nothing. You guys have been so lucky with good weather, good folks and except for some leg/foot/eye stuff, good health.

    Take care of each other, as you always do and maybe plan to “camp out” in our guest room for a couple of weeks!

  2. I feel for you, I had BPPV – Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. Tiny calcium “stones” inside your inner ears that moved out of place, only the Eply maneuver works , no medicine. I had it for months. You get it when you lie down and go to bed. For months I had to lay propped up, it was HORRIBLE. I know what you went through. get well soon

    • Thank you, fortunately whatever caused my vertigo seems to have gone away – probably inflammation which can also affect the “stones” but temporarily this time it seems. The doctor did tell me if it didn’t go away in 48 hours that I might have to have the Eply maneuver, but fortunately that didn’t happen. I can’t imagine going through it for months, sounds just awful. I’m glad it’s over for you.

  3. Hi Brenda,
    I am so glad you are feeling better. I hope that never happens again. Take care of yourself. Good job Hector to get her checked out. : ) Karen

  4. Your misadventures are as delightful to read and see as your adventures. Glad you’re ok. I went through a phase if vertigo a few years ago. Not cause ever determinined. I learned that if I felt dizzy, I should not get out of bed or the vertigo went into hyoerdrive and i was sick all day. If i went back to sleep for a few hours, it would usually go away.

    • Thank you, misadventures can be quite entertaining as long as they end well, right? Good to know about not getting up when vertigo strikes, in case it comes back. I think I was pretty lucky that it seemed to be a one day experience.
      Take care,

  5. Oh Im so glad you are okey now Brenda, and it is only Vertigo! I had Vertigo years ago and it is not a pleasant feeling.
    That sandstorm is nasty! We experienced one like that at Death Valley NP and agree the sand do get into the rig no matter how much you close everything.

    Take care now and safe travels.

  6. Wow! Frightening! Glad you are ok now. The pic of the sand storm was amazing. How did Hector get that pic? From the safety of his car?

    • He went outside for a brief moment, covering the camera until the moment of the photo. Probably not the best idea, but he got the shot.

  7. Glad to hear all is well now , Brenda:) Leave it to a man to remember to get a picture (but glad he did). It is amazing how something as small as the inner ear can wreck havoc on our body. Good to know it wasn’t something more serious. Sounds like you had good care from everyone involved.

    We have not been in a dust storm with the MH and hope we can avoid them. We did, however, experience one while on a motorcycle trip out west. Talk about scary and getting dust in every crevice (this time our bodies).

    Take care of yourself:)

    • Thanks, it really is fascinating what the inner ear can do. I really didn’t want an ambulance but Hector took charge.

      Wow, a dust storm on a motorcycle sounds awful, we’ve been in a big rainstorm (out east) on a motorcycle but at least the water dries. I had sand in my ears for days just for getting in and out of the car to go to the pharmacy. Can’t imagine what it would have been like on a motorcycle.

  8. Oh, goodness gracious what a scary turn of events!! I’m very happy you’re ok, but that must have been terrifying. Good vibes to both of you for healing…and no more sand!


    • Thanks, we are both doing well now, but still finding sand. They said the sandstorm was probably worse because of the long drought, although now as I write we’re near Monterey Bay and it’s raining 🙂

  9. Oh my, so very sorry to hear. It’s no fun not feeling well when there’s so many sites to see and things to do…..speaking from experience. I’m glad to hear you two are feeling better and hope you don’t have to deal with that vertigo again. Safe and healthy travels 🙂

  10. So glad you guys have each other, and that you’re feeling better. Be gentle with yourselves and maybe take it easy for the next little while. : )
    Sending lots of love and a big hug,

  11. How scary that must have been for you, Brenda! I wonder whether it’s not a virus: a friend here had the same thing a few Saturdays ago, and so did 5 other people in the ER at the same time as he…!!!! He was treated similarly to you and has been fine since. I hope you are saying the same!!! xoxo

    • Interesting. The nurse mentioned that it might be viral amongst the possibilities. There seem to be many of those, tough to really know which one was the cause. I’m just glad I got over it quickly. Thanks!

    • Thanks, Rob. It was just such a weird feeling, unlike anything I felt before. I hope it doesn’t happen again, but if it does, I’ll be better prepared. Hope you’re continuing to heal and feel better.

  12. Wow Brenda. I’m sure it was a pretty scary day for you both. Glad that it was relatively short lived and you had a good outcome. I do, however, have to comment on Hector’s penchant for “getting the shot” no matter the gravity of the situation. Remember when I went skiing with him in CO.? Ski patrol had to sled me down the mountain cause I injured my knee and Hector didn’t have a camera. He was so concerned for me that I could hear him yelling Al! Al!… Finally, he skied up as they were loading me into the ambulance and he looks down at me and says… Al, give me the camera!!!

    It was his second failed attempt on my life! : )

    Cant wait to see you Wednesday!!!

  13. WOW — just reading this now. Phew! Scary and Exciting! So happy it all is behind both of you. xoxo

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