Monday, December 4, 2023


RV Life in a Coronavirus World: “Cutting up old scrubs to make masks”

CAVEAT: Comments, posts and/or tips in our newsletters are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of or its staff.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We have asked readers to tell us how they are adapting to life these days. Here is Sheryl’s story:

I have been a nurse since 1975 and a travel nurse since 2005. We have been full-timing since then. I am a NICU nurse and a volunteer lobbyist on behalf of the March of Dimes and mothers and babies. I was a flight nurse for 20 years. When our helicopter crashed I got right back on the new copter and flew off into the Florida night to rescue a sick baby. For the past 15 years I basically worked to travel. COVID-19 will put an end to all that. In my isolation, I had a hard time getting fabric to make masks. I am cutting up my old scrubs and bleaching the fabric to make those masks. This is my retirement party. I am so happy to just fade out of nursing living right on the Pacific Ocean.

I have had my “hero” days and have really had two families for 45 years, my babies and the family I actually gave birth too. As a NICU nurse, I have been witness to thousands of births. I am a compassionate expert at supporting families as their child slips from this world. Unfortunately, I am not going to rise to this COVID-19 challenge. My family is thrilled I choose my health and them this time.

We MAY have flattened the curve here in San Francisco so, as a result, a large bay area hospital has announced they are going to lay off staff. So much for the business of health care, which believes it is okay to throw away “heroes.”

When the virus first started to hit the city that I fell in love with, I felt intensely guilty because I was unable to help out. Now I look out over the replenishing waves and my soul is renewed. I sent my husband away in early March to “protect” him from a COVID-me. My night in shining armor has loaded up the RV and is on his way back to me. I will leave a part of my heart in nursing and in San Francisco but life, love and travel are constants.

Sheryl Zampino

Your essays wanted

Here is your assignment (should you choose to accept it): Write an essay no longer than 500 words on this subject: “How I have adapted to a life in self-isolation.” Tell us what you do with your time, how you keep active physically and/or mentally, how you communicate with friends and family and other ways you occupy your time. Have you taken up a new hobby? Started writing a novel? We can’t pay for these articles right now, but you could earn a place on our staff if you impress us with your creativity. Submit your article here. Please include a photo of yourself or of something that helps illustrate your essay. We’ll post many, if not most of these every day in our RV Daily Tips Newsletter. If you’re not subscribed, sign up here.

Emily Woodbury
Emily Woodbury
Emily Woodbury is the editor here at She was lucky enough to grow up alongside two traveling parents, one domestically by RV (yep, Chuck Woodbury) and the other for international adventures, and has been lucky to see a great deal of our world (and counting!). She lives near Seattle with her dog and chickens. When she's not cranking out 700+ newsletters for she's hiking, cooking or, well, probably traveling.



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Ellen (@guest_75713)
3 years ago

Sheryl, I just retired early being a lab tech for 30 years . I left due to my lack of immunity and Covid arriving in my community here in Ohio. I also felt guilty leaving my lab but my health was more important. It really struck me when the person who replaced me was exposed to Covid. Thankfully he is fine. My retirement of traveling in our RV will be on hold for now.

Linda (@guest_75660)
3 years ago

Thank you Sheryl and all other nurses who replied. My daughter is also a nurse. It has been a very stressful time for her as well.
I sent her and her group of nurses a platter of sub sandwiches from a local restaurant and she said it was most appreciated. So, if you have a little extra and want to help the nurses and local restaurants just pick up the phone and place an order for delivery. I’m sure they would be very grateful.

Destinee Jewell (@guest_75645)
3 years ago

Thank you for your many years of heroic service. I am in awe of your strength and perseverance. I have had the pleasure of working alongside your daughter, Mary, for the last 4 years. In that time, I have often wondered how she came to be the charismatic, kind and fearless leader that she is. I know now that is because she had such a strong example in you.

Blessings to you and your dear husband. I am forever grateful that you gave me the gift of knowing your daughter!

LiVan_Life (@guest_75619)
3 years ago

Thank you, Sheryl, for your years of dedication to the medical field. You sound like one tough lady! Let’s pray that we all get back on stable footing sooner rather than later. Enjoy your next stage of life!

Gman (@guest_75603)
3 years ago

Sheryl, THANK YOU for your dedication and service! You are truly blessed and as your SoCal neighbor, stay Cali strong!

Mitzi Agnew Giles (@guest_75588)
3 years ago

Sheryl, am thankful you chose yourself and family this time. As have I- nursing left me so physically and mentally traumatized after 35 years that I had to retire early- the concept of you have to fill out incident reports but we will penalize you for doing so- penetrated my brain that thought all health care workers and administrations were in it for benevolence after 36 years. The concept that nurses eat their young had to spread from somewhere and it was probably from our employers. I shouldn’t be surprised that after begging retirees to come back to work the hospitals are now laying off the older, more experienced and more expensive nurses. Nurses need unions- not just state professional associations (in FL one of the options to increase the number of nurses was not to support the formation of more part time jobs, but to buy commercial time on TV and run ads ” to improve the image of nursing” direct quote from their newsletter. Wonder whose friend or relation owned an advertising firm?

Wayne Sasser (@guest_75586)
3 years ago

RV Life in Coronavirus…..

Wayne Sasser (@guest_75583)
3 years ago

My wife and I have been married 49 years. She had graduated nursing school when we met on the 3-11 shift in a local hospital. I had just been discharged from the U.S. Navy and wanted to pursue a career in healthcare. I had served as a H0spital Corpsman and in Viet Nam. Joan was working as Charge Nurse on a Medsurg unit. she is 5’2, blond, dancing eyes and looked was so beautiful in her white dress, hose and cap. I immediately fell in love with her. We were married on Thanksgiving Day, 1970 and moved 339 miles from home to start our life. I think that was the smartest thing we did, we became best friends and lovers so far from family.

Joan continued her career, and to our family we added 3 children. Nursing was something Joan loved as much as our family. She was awarded four times for her commitment, service and dedication to her profession,

She retired two years ago but continues, volunteering at a church sponsored clinic for indigent people as a staff nurse for a couple days, and volunteers at the local food bank 1 to 2 days a week. She has made 4 trips to Honduras to work in a church sponsored clinic and operating suite with other dedicated nurses and doctors and technicians .

When COVID19 hit our town she supported the nurses and physicians by taking them a full homemade lunch in appreciation before that was considered the thing to do. She spent 17 years in the local Emergency Department, serving as Charge nurse on the day shift. When the call came for masks, she went through all of her fabric and began putting masks together for distribution.

Nursing and caring for people is her blood and her very caring and giving spirit cause me to pause and take inventory. I am painfully short in that arena, and I love her deeply, as do the people who continually praise her.

God Bless the women and men who have chosen this honorable profession.


sheryl (@guest_75657)
3 years ago
Reply to  Wayne Sasser

My husband and I were high school sweethearts and married 3 days after I finished nursing school so I could support him complete his degree. I think I still walk through his dreams wearing my short white uniform dress with my long long hair tucked up under a cap.

Will (@guest_75566)
3 years ago

These daily essays have been epic! I hope they continue even after the current troubles.

I love nurses. My wife and I almost lost our son at 6 months old due to a bowel obstruction. During the panic period from diagnosis, to surgery, and through recovery, it was the nurses who calmed us,, kept us informed, and made the entire process less stressful.

And recently my 92 year old mother passed away, but her caregiver for the last two years, an LVN, knew so much about geriatric care is was crazy. Literally she would write down medical questions to ask my mother’s doctor when we all would go in for an appointment. A couple of times she actually texted me from across the exam room with a question for the doctor, knowing the doctor wouldn’t entertain a medical question from an LVN, but he would from the patient’s adult son. And she was right on with her questions about the appropriateness of certain medications.

God bless the nurses!

Stephen Malochleb (@guest_75557)
3 years ago

Ladies and gentleman nurses. First thank you for what you do and have done. I personally put more faith in a nurse over a doctor. Staying safe right now is a priority, but you will to help is always there.
Check out a local Medical Reserve Corp, this is a group of all volunteers helping their community. You don’t have to be in the front lines, but your skills could be used as safe guidance. Your role as an adviser could keep others safe. Plus in quiet times there is always training for first aid and cpr to those volunteers. Again Thank You. Director, Greater Westfield Medical Reserve Corp. :):)

Sheryl (@guest_75602)
3 years ago

Wow. Thank you. I will look them up. I have never heard of them

littleleftie (@guest_75556)
3 years ago

I second those happy wishes for a good retirement! I graduated from nursing school in 1978 and worked in hospitals in all aspects of nursing for 40 years. Upon my “retirement”, I went to the Canadian Arctic to nurse casually and now work in a Travel Health clinic part time. So much different from hospital nursing! And I echo your thoughts that your family is thrilled that, for once, you have chosen yourself and your family over putting others first. So is mine. I, too, felt guilty when the first waves hit—thinking that perhaps I should offer up to “go back in”. Nope. I got over those feelings surprisingly quickly! A nurse is always a nurse. I, too, am sewing masks. Not for sale, though. I refuse to take a penny. I give them away to anyone who requests one. Keeping people healthy and safe all of my life doesn’t end at retirement. Enjoy your freedom and think of us all when you sit watching tonight’s beautiful sunset. Hugs….

Rosy (@guest_75555)
3 years ago

Thank you for your service to those too small to ask and to their families. I began my nursing career in 1969 and retired in 2015. You will always be a nurse. It stays in you, in your brain, in everything you do and think. Enjoy retirement. Enjoy your travels. You are a blessing, yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

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