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Old 04-25-2016, 08:22 PM   #1
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Orthopedic transport bus?

OK, folks, here's an off-the-wall one for you. Any medical folks out there want to respond? Or just cooler heads than mine?

I want to buy a bus as a moving van and temporary RV for the move. In preparation (expect this in 2-3 years) I've been doing a lot of reading and back-of-napkin sketches.

But I got word today that my 97 year old mother just fell and broke her pelvis in three places. And my sister and brother-in-law who live Minnesota near her have to move to the coast of Oregon in a few months. This will leave my mother on her own (well, in a skilled nursing facility) until she's ready to travel to join them.

Travel options for a 97 year old with a broken pelvis seem limited. Already they're three or four hours from the Minneapolis airport. And I don't know how well she would tolerate a plane flight. Medical transport van charges for 2000 miles would be astronomical, I should think, as would a chartered plane.

So (being creative and not particularly realistic) I suggested we get a bus a year or two early, and put a hospital bed in it and make it a medical transport vehicle.

But after I dried my eyes from laughing at the thought, I began to wonder if it might actually be a good solution: full medical bed, room for wife to play nurse, room for beds for the two of us, stop when we want for no-motion, for restroom breaks, at night for undisturbed sleep, or to watch the sunset. Ability to cook for her. No walking or waiting in lines. Not being cooped up in an airplane seat. Mount the hospital bed just behind the driver to reduce bounce, and drive like I had a load of eggs, or course.

It would be a 2000 mile trip for her, through Cheyenne to avoid the worse roads further north (or 3200 if we use the southern route). Not to mention 1230 miles to get from our place TO her and 2800 miles back. And maybe in the winter... with factory insulation and a propane wall heater...

Am I being ridiculous? Well, any more than usual?
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Old 04-25-2016, 08:47 PM   #2
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Old 04-25-2016, 09:03 PM   #3
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a cross country trip in a school bus is not for the timid. school buses are loud, bouncy, rough riding and slow. i wouldn't put my mother through it.
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Old 04-25-2016, 09:08 PM   #4
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a cross country trip in a school bus is not for the timid. school buses are loud, bouncy, rough riding and slow. i wouldn't put my mother through it.
Maybe I should get a Prevost or a VanHool? Point well made. Will cool my jets.
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Old 04-25-2016, 09:35 PM   #5
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a cross country trip in a school bus is not for the timid. school buses are loud, bouncy, rough riding and slow. i wouldn't put my mother through it.
Nor would I, even with air ride.
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Old 04-25-2016, 09:44 PM   #6
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Not even with air ride? I would. Get a really comfy lazy boy and an air ride suspension, she'd never know she was moving! The noise, well that's another issue all together....
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Old 04-25-2016, 09:48 PM   #7
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anytime i've let my SO drive and i go lay down in the back..... when she bumps the rumble strips on the side of the roads, it will wake you up and curl your nerves like fingernails on a chalk board. oh, you know your're moving!
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Old 04-25-2016, 10:02 PM   #8
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Not even with air ride? I would. Get a really comfy lazy boy and an air ride suspension, she'd never know she was moving! The noise, well that's another issue all together....
Well, she can't hear, so that may not be a problem...
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Old 04-25-2016, 10:39 PM   #9
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That doesn't sound difficult at all. Modifications to the bus always take more time and money than expected, but I think it would work and I think she'd like it and here's why.
I haven't been able to slow down the aging process so I'm setting up this special needs bus, I mean van, so I can use it and continue to travel at my own speed. What I'm getting at is I have a craftmatic bed, and the surface of the bed with mattress is about four inches lower than bottom of the tinted windows. Very easy to see outside through the window and used ones are not expensive. Sometimes you have to repair the electronics that raise and lower the bed. There are also used hospital beds that you can get but they look a little industrial.
I'd pay good money for someone to drive me across the country while I laid in bed and looked out the window. If you're using a generator for AC while traveling, the bed would have power so she could change her positon and she could even watch TV if you're taking your DVR/dvd.

On the other hand I haven't fractured my hip in three places. I think this is a wonderful opportunity for you to get your bus early. Did you say mother, or mother-in-law? If you got your bus early you could put a bed in it and take her out to see how well she tolerates the ride, plus I'm sure she'll be ready to get out of the house for a while by time you get the bus together. One of these special needs buses would be nice. I use the L-track to anchor down the bed, barrels of water, file cabinets and fridge.
I think that's a very cool idea and I think she'd like it. I'd definitely want to try it out to see if she could tolerate it. Ambulances are rougher riding than buses even without air suspension. Biggest problem I can see is dealing the bathroom issue.
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Old 04-25-2016, 10:46 PM   #10
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It would be pretty callous to use her misfortune to promote an earlier bus purchase. Sigh. I hardly ever have untainted motivations.

Problem (for testing) is that she's in Minnesota and I'm in Virginia, with no bus. Oh, well.

Another source suggested mounting the bed (I was thinking hand-crank, since my wife and I are right there) on its own air-ride system. We would have the room, and I live near Virginia Tech. Wonder if any Mechanical Engineering students need a senior project still?

Mother-son bonding time! Yay!
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Old 04-25-2016, 10:58 PM   #11
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It's not promoting an earlier bus purchase, it's necessitating it. It's a sign.

A wheel chair capable bus would be quite practical in her situation.
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Old 04-25-2016, 11:18 PM   #12
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If it were me, I would buy a good used Ford E250 or 350 extended van with a 4.6 V8 NOT A V10. Even better if you find one with a 7.3 diesel but I think it would be easier finding a Unicorn. The seats are easily removable. Get it comfortable. Do whatever traveling you need to do then sell it.
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Old 04-26-2016, 03:50 AM   #13
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If it were me, I would buy a good used Ford E250 or 350 extended van with a 4.6 V8 NOT A V10. Even better if you find one with a 7.3 diesel but I think it would be easier finding a Unicorn. The seats are easily removable. Get it comfortable. Do whatever traveling you need to do then sell it.
How 'bout this Eagle? I'm sure my wife would approve if it was for my mother...
https://stlouis.craigslist.org/rvs/5496361033.html

Actually, I think I found your unicorn. Just need the $10K - fully as mythical so far as I'm concerned: http://winstonsalem.craigslist.org/cto/5519380648.html
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Old 04-26-2016, 06:56 AM   #14
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Amazing what a good night's sleep will do for one's thinking. At this point I'm leaning towards hiring a limo for her to get the 175 miles from Morris to Minneapolis, then First Class from there. Prolly lots more comfortable and way cheaper than any crazy scheme I might come up with. Points for creativity, though.

Aside from how I would feel if the time should come while driving. Sorry for being morbid, but 97 is pushing it already.
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Old 04-26-2016, 08:00 AM   #15
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Amazing what a good night's sleep will do for one's thinking. At this point I'm leaning towards hiring a limo for her to get the 175 miles from Morris to Minneapolis, then First Class from there. Prolly lots more comfortable and way cheaper than any crazy scheme I might come up with. Points for creativity, though.

Aside from how I would feel if the time should come while driving. Sorry for being morbid, but 97 is pushing it already.

as much as it may help for her to lay down while on a trip.. I think the repeated having to get up and down for restroom breaks might be worse than getting her in a wheelchair and through the airport to a first class plane flight.. Airlines (be it right or wrong).. DO treat first class passengers different than coach... you can also hire an ambulette to get her to the airport.. they often have a much better ability to get someone on board of the van, and have higher ceilings than a traditional limo does..

once at the airport, first class usually has MUCH LESS line-waiting and many airports have special shorter security lines for first class. she will be pre-boarded and on the front of the plane, where things are much better as the Lavatory is right there.. typically rarely in-use as the first class Lav is for first class only. book a flight that is on a full-size (non regional jet) plane..

even air-ride school busses ride a bit rough unless fully loaded.. then its not bad... crerating an air-ride bed may very well make her motion sick.. (ever notice how much air-ride driver seats bounce?)..

obviously she has to be medically cleared to fly first.. but I think you talking a little bit of time first?

-Christopher
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Old 04-26-2016, 11:03 AM   #16
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Very thoughtful Cadillac. I'm going to come see you when I break my pelvis.

Dapple, 97 is pushing it. I thought you were talking about someone in their 60s. Obviously flying would be the most efficient way to transport her. So yes, I'd be kind highly concerned about taking a drive like that with a healthy 97 year old. That would be quite labor intensive for your wife and stressful for both of you even if nothing went wrong. Your mother in law is likely quite medically fragile. On the other hand I think she would probably like that Eagle bus. What does your mother in law think about making the trip?

If I was that age I'd love someone to drive me across the country. Cadillac, I'm going to need a recliner and a craftmatic in about 20 years.
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Old 04-26-2016, 07:24 PM   #17
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I imagine a broken pelvis bouncing around in a bus would be excruciatingly painful at best. I'd run this by the doctors and see what they say about her ability to deal with it.

The one thing that would make me just crawl up and die would be causing her to re-injure herself.

I think your heart is truly in the right place, but this may not be a good solution. Dunno. Maybe take a ride in a representative bus and see what the dynamics are like.
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Old 04-26-2016, 08:41 PM   #18
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Yeah, nobody knows better than you guys. Well, the pelvis owner's opinion counts too. Enough pain medication and she'd float all the way.
Honestly I can't say I'd take that risk with someone of that age with that type of injury, unless she was into it.
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Old 04-26-2016, 09:38 PM   #19
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Thanks, all: made a decision. Will not pursue this. We'll hire a large van or medical transport or limo to get her to the airport, buy First Class tickets, and play the age/medical card. Thanks for the reality check.
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Old 04-27-2016, 09:27 AM   #20
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And after all this good... well... advise anyway. Ok, no more jokes and no puns.

I'm sure you have made the right decision. That is honestly a very long trip for anyone with injuries and I wouldn't want to take the risk either. At her age she is very medically fragile with that kind of injury. I hope things work out well during the trip.
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