Thursday, May 19, 2011


I had forgotten what it was like to visit a hospital emergency room until last evening when I took my dad there. He's fine now -- just a little sleep deprived after nearly seven hours -- most of that time - waiting.

It's a great place to "people watch," although I did bring along my Kindle in order to tune out during much of the overnight.  (We arrived at around 9:30pm and were checked out at around 4:30am.)

The place was packed and a nurse told me this is normal --- 'particularly just before, during and after a full moon.' It's crazy, she said, unable to explain the phenomena.

Anyway, there was 'barf man.'  A guy who kept walking around the waiting room with a bag -- barfing in front of everyone.  Finally, they called him up to check his weight and temperature. I'm sure he lost 2-3 pounds in the waiting room -- from barfing, alone. After the nurse pulled the thermometer out of Barf Man's mouth -- he took an extra few seconds to clean it. I joked to my dad that he would probably be called next for the weight and temperature check. Sure enough, he was. The same thermometer, now apparently sterilized, went into my dad's mouth.  We both chuckled. He seemed fine with it -- alcohol sterilizes everything, I guess.

Later, an elderly lady, who'd been sitting quietly in a wheelchair stood up and started walking around the waiting room. Suddenly, she started moaning as she walked. Finally, an attendant told her that if she really did have a fractured ankle she should not be up and about.  She continued to pace and moan. Heartbreaking. The nurse finally took her back to visit the doctor.

As I was sitting alone, waiting, a young woman suddenly looked at me and started speaking. Her first words were "I know this hospital well. My husband just had a massive heart attack at the age of 32. I'm here, she told me, because she had just had a hysterectomy and that green pus was now oozing from her body. I wasn't sure what to say to that so I just nodded and opened my Kindle.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Wolf Creek Falls

These falls are hidden away in the mountains of eastern Tennessee in Cocke County -- about 15 miles or so beyond Max Patch in Madison County, North Carolina.  It's a lot of driving on gravel roads, but the falls, themselves, are just a quarter mile off the dirt road.

The approach is from the top of the falls and then you scurry down the hillside through the mountain laurel to reach the base.

 I actually prefer reaching the falls from the base. There is something magical about hiking along and suddenly hearing the water and then seeing bits and pieces of the falls through the undergrowth -- then suddenly -- there they are!
 It was growing dark so we didn't stay long. This definitely requires a return trip -- on a hot day -- just to sample the pool -- and stand under those falls.