Tag Archives: Tail of the Dragon

Epic “Day Off”, dragons and surgery – happy happy

In The Fugitive, Harrison Ford, at least in camera tricks, jumped off the Cheoah dam on the Eastern side of The Dragon, successfully surviving another dangerous escape. The dam is at the start of an extremely treacherous 11 mile stretch of Highway 129 in the most epically beautiful region of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Look up “the tail of the dragon” “highway 129” and you’ll see what I mean. This was part of my epic “Day Off, again.” I live in the most beautiful parish in the world.

Having to go once again up to General Surgery at the teaching hospital of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, I was very happy to once again to slay The Dragon, twice, there and back, with brand new hug-the-road Yokahama tires on Sassy the Subaru. I have waaaay too much fun. Unlike the Cooper tires, the Yokahamas don’t sing, drifting on the curves, at all. They’re like glue on the tarmacadam.

At about mile 3.5 on The Dragon, there’s a warning sign that says “DIP”. Ain’t no lie, that. In about 25 feet it drops about 6 feet on a super-sharp curve. If you straighten the curve from outside to inside you’ll go airborne, pretty much no matter how slow you go. But don’t ever straighten any curves, especially on this road. Waaay tooo many people die because of that.

Right after this on another super-sharp curve there were two police SUVs and a wrecker, and one uninjured motorcyclist standing around, looking bewildered. Obviously, he did the right thing and jumped off his cycle as the cycle went over a cliff and down, and down, and down. Clearly, he knew how to fall when having fun, and had no fear to take the fall instead of death. That’s the first skill you have to learn, how to fall. The good thing about The Dragon is that there are zero guard-rails, or “slicers” as I call them. That’s actually to save the lives of those who fall and slide off the road while their cycles go flying.

Meanwhile, a safe arrival at the hospital parking ramp. I always take a mnemonic picture of where I am:

This is such a great hospital. Getting a tag at the front door took only seconds:

Then the registration was just a few minutes all told:

Up I went: receptionist, initial interview, then into the examination room, strip down a bit, all to have the internal and external scarring progress checked. I must say, truly, this was a great experience. Happy, happy. I’ve had a lot of bad experiences elsewhere, but everyone here was in a great mood, very respectful, all good. That speaks to great management, great teaching, great learning. Very professional. Kudos to everyone at the hospital.

Thanks for your prayers:

  • I’ve been behaving myself quite well regarding not lifting anything heavy as per doctor’s orders. I’m to keep doing that for quite a while, even months. “There’s only one good chance to heal,” she said. “If another chance is necessary, it won’t necessarily be a good chance,” she said. “Behave yourself,” she said. “Yes, ma’am! I said. :-)
  • But I had a question: “Why is there deep weirdness, like a couple of inches deep, into the lower-inside right-thigh quadriceps (opposite side of the surgery), kind’a like an onset of paralysis above the knee?” No comment on that, especially because the surgery was left-side abdomen. I get why there was no answer. If it has to do with the epidural between L-3 and L-4, that’s a completely different medical group, nothing to do with the surgeons. I get that. All good. So, that’s a wait and see how it goes event.
  • I was told to expect, coming up, the possibility of very sharp bolts of pain from the abdomen down into the left leg, down to the knee. I’m happy to be forewarned of a mere possibility. I thrive on too much instead of not enough knowledge, and I was humored. Happy-happy.
  • Along those lines, she gave me the reasoning for the opportunistic rampage of the trauma of the surgery on neighboring organs. She gave me excellent advice on how to deal with this rampage of the trauma. Perfect. But this is another wait and see how it goes event. This might bring on other surgeries. Last night was… how to say?… difficult. But we’ll see. She invited me to make another appointment and just cancel if necessary, but I didn’t take that opportunity, wanting to be optimistic.
  • Finally, as long as I was already cut open (and this is a benefit of open surgery vs laparoscopic), two tumors, one fibrous and the other insanely cell-multiplying, quite a bit larger than what might otherwise be seen, were successfully excised. I love that altogether. Go in for one thing and have others, unknown to have existed, now already fixed. Can’t get better than that. I’m so happy to have opted for the epidural over against general anesthesia.

Thanks to all doctors, nurses, office staff. As I say, they were all happy, respectful, professional, great attitudes, are actually interested in the patient. That goes a long way with me. An epic “Day Off”.

And then, the best part of all, was the nice lady who takes $3.00 for the parking ramp on the way out. She asked how I was. I said I was really doing well, that at my post-op visit just now I was told that two tumors no one knew were there were taken out successfully, besides the surgery I had gone in for also being successful. She was so happy for me, saying that that made here day, and that therefore the $3.00 fee was on her. I thanked her also for that wonderful moment of shared joy. That was a perfect gift for my journey back to slay The Dragon one more time. Happy happy.


Filed under Day Off

Facing off with the dragon once again

Those of you who have ever fought The Dragon and merely avoided getting swatted by the not so infrequently Tail of the Dragon will recognize this overlook high above the Calderwood Hydroelectric Dam. Sassy the Subaru’s tires (even the new stick-to-the-road more expensive tires) were singing on the curves in the height of leaf-lurker season. Spectacular.

This was on my late-afternoon-into-the-evening return on the 5-hour round trip to do up the Last Rites for a parishioner in an out-of-state hospital, not a rarity as the chopper service bringing patients from our tiny hospitals to larger campuses (always out-of-state) seems as busy as the M*A*S*H choppers back in the day. This was the day after the epic-day-off trips to hospitals. There was time for chaplets of all sorts and very many rosaries. Apologies to the Breviary, but I had to put that on an electronic voice read-out while battling The Dragon, permitted, well, tolerated… :-)

Hopefully today will be a slightly slower day, though crossing The Mountain, perhaps using the Trail of Tears, another Dragon and much more dangerous, is once again is again on the schedule. All of this travel is great for Rosaries being said. I love it. And right now it’s so very, very beautiful. I’m continuously thanking Jesus through whom all things were made, as the Prologue of John’s Gospel, what’s called the “Last Gospel”, itself parallel with “The First Gospel”, the Proto-Evangelium (Gen 3:15), makes clear. Jesus, ever Ancient, ever New.

Meanwhile, during these last weeks I’ve been writing a post about another Dragon’s lair in Sankt Gallen, and my time in Rome. As I say, I think best through my keyboard when details are important. Threads appear in writing that I only noticed in a cursory manner previously. Looking up cvs of names was stunning. I’m seriously too stupid to do the obvious – Google – even for years, decades. But then I do, finally, as in these recent weeks, and… oh my… It’s like a ton of bricks falling on one’s head… or like facing off with a fire-breathing dragon.

Whiskey, Tango, and you know the “old meanie” nickname which Jesus Himself gave to Herod.

I really got to think about whether or not to give it another big edit and publishing it. Many are dead. But many are at the top of their game right now as Sankt Gallen’s prestidigitations come to fruition with the fire-breathing Blah Blah Synod™. I don’t want to drag the innocent down with the guilty. But the smoke of the dragon is to be seen coming in through the open windows through which we hear a lot of blah blah blah. There are dragons and there are dragons.


Filed under Road danger, The Blah Blah Synod™

“Day Off” Slaying *The Dragon* x 4

Tail of the Dragon road map names

The day off started with the alarm ringing at 1:00 AM. Early to bed, early to rise and all that. After feeding the dogs and taking care of some chores, I jumped into Sassy the Subaru with a full tank of gas and put on 548 miles round trip that also involved the most intense road one can find anywhere in the world, that is, for a “normal state maintained road.” That’s for the second time in a week. So, four times on that stretch of road. I love it. The motorcycle crowd and sports car crowd come from all over North America to do this ride. There are no guard rails, as these slashers are more dangerous to those one two wheels or three.

I’ve had some scary incidents on the southern stretch of the Taconic Parkway heading down to the Big Apple during morning rush hour – wow… – but the “Tail” is an intensity of another kind, with the emphasis not only on constant acceleration and braking, but also on gear shifting even multiple times every few seconds… for more than 11 miles, with a steering wheel continuously wildly spinning 180 degrees+ in one direction then immediately in the other. Not for the those who fear heights or are not used to an adrenaline rush, that is, if you’re actually trying to keep up with the 30 mile-an-hour speed limit. I’ve never been able to keep up to the 30 mph mark through all the curves, hairpin turns and switchbacks. Nevertheless, the tires did sing, or was this the dragon’s tail itself, the Subaru making the dragon scream, slaying the Dragon and all that?

On a sad note, and as a warning, a deadly serious warning, you have to be careful when dealing with dragons: don’t mock them, don’t push your luck. There is this:

Tail of the Dragon road map deaths

Even Saint Michael the Archangel did not mock Satan:

  • “Yet the archangel Michael, when he argued with the devil in a dispute over the body of Moses, did not venture to pronounce a reviling judgment 1 upon him but said, ‘May the Lord rebuke you!'” (Jude 1:9)

Let the beauty of the nature of the ride, the joy of the ride conquer the Dragon.

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Filed under Day Off, Nature

Tail of the Dragon today making tires sing!

I was escapading today on the Tail of the Dragon. Being named after Saint George I had to slay that dragon, making him scream in pain. Or was that just my tires singing on the curves?

This being Tuesday, this being the infamous day off, I figure I always have to do something spectacular. Today I’m due to get a good talking to by a bishop from the Holy See, that is, me and other troublemakers like me. More on that after the fact.


Filed under Nature, Road danger