Sunday, March 27, 2011


click photos for enlargement

It had been pouring rain for three hours last Thursday night.  I was emailing friends in Pennsylvania and catching up on the news in the Pittsburgh area.  As I was about to shut the computer off, an email popped up on the screen sent by a close friend who lives North of me in the Lake Norris area.  It said a tornado is passing Knoxville and coming directly at you.  Huh!  I no sooner read the note when the front door to the habitat blew open and high wind with very heavy rain blew straight into the room.  All the dogs, including Douglas, ran to my side.  Then the lights went out.  I searched for a flashlight and found it, with difficulty, still packed in with the camping equipment.  The wind became fierce.  I remember thinking to myself; "there goes my little boat and trailer."  Within seconds the infamous freight train sound became audible.  I always wondered about experiencing a tornado and now I got my chance.
The fact that it was night time increased my concern as I couldn't look out a window and determine danger like a daytime event would allow.

The train seemed to pass over top this building.  Rain and wind instantly stopped and then resumed about a minute later.  I rushed outside to find that my boat and trailer were turned sideways in the parking lot.
I gave a sigh of relief at that discovery.  With the power being out;  there was nothing to do but go to bed.  The next morning I drove from town to Route 411 and turned left toward Maryville.  The tornado indeed did pass right over this building and came down to earth a little over two blocks down the street and proceeded to cross a pasture field wiping out a barn and removing the roof from the home.

The devastation could be seen from that route.  Entire houses were picked up off the ground and broken to pieces;  the pieces thrown in all directions littering the farm land.  I couldn't linger in the area long as the sheriff's department kept traffic moving along.

Some buildings lay in a neat pile of scrap wood and twisted, crumpled up metal roofs.  Toilets, kitchen sinks and furniture of all types lay about in fields and along the highway.

Cars and trucks were upside down and I saw one truck laying on its side on top a collapsed house.  The boat factory was all but destroyed;  the entire front of the building pealed off as if a giant can opener were used on it.

Boats were laying in disarray about the property. The tornado that did this damage had 160 mile per hour winds.  Can you imagine what a big tornado would do?  Good Grief!

The twenty telephone poles were replaced quickly the day after the incident.  My thoughts were; "Great Scott;  I am more fortunate than previously thought."  I can say now that I've experienced a tornado first hand and never wish to do so again.

I am writing this little entry while at the old state park where the ruins are.  The dogs are all home.  I had two pain free days in a row this week.  I thought at last I was gaining an upper hand on this sciatica problem.

Last night was a pain filled night.  The torturous agony would not stop no matter what I did.  I could not even lay down in bed or on the floor without intense pain.

I tried and tried but the pain in my right thigh prevented any possibility of sleep.  Walking was next to impossible also.
 I sat at the computer and read the "Life and Times of Davy Crockett" on line.  I had to sleep somehow.
The camp mattress was thrown on the floor with a sleeping bag on top.  Try as I would I could not sit or position myself to lay upon it without excruciating pain and agony.  I couldn't even get down to where the mattress was on the floor, the pain was so intense.
Tears actually filled my eyes as I screamed with each jab of pain.  I would have to make the computer chair work somehow.  I could sit.

I was able to fabricate a sort of horizontal facsimile of a bed out of the computer chair, a picnic cooler and a table.

With much effort I situated myself upon the mess and fell asleep.  The pain was still there in the morning.
I needed to see something different than the inside of this building.  Even the dogs were beginning to get on my nerves.  One of the puppies chewed up one of my favorite hats while I was gone this morning in search of a walking cane.  I wasn't happy to see my hat torn apart laying in the yard.
Thank heaven it wasn't my good, favorite Tilley hat.  That would have caused a state of war around here.
All the dogs sat looking at me with innocent faces.  But, I know it was the puppies.  I know it.  And, they know I know.
 It was good to get away from the habitat and out of town.  I went to the old state park and stayed in the truck, watching the landscape and trying to assume a calm peaceful state of being.  The pain is constant today and it's hard not to be on edge.

The blog entries may not contain the usual adventures for awhile but, I will keep it going.  I appreciate all the "well wishes" from readers who check in routinely.  For now;  I'll see what the rest of the day holds in store.  Thanks for reading my blog.  I appreciate it.      One thing for sure;  no matter how bad I feel, there are those who are worse off then me.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011



I'm still dealing with the sciatica problem.  I had an appointment with the chiropractor yesterday and after arriving couldn't lay down on his examination table due to the pain.  We changed the date of the next session to Thursday this week.  When I awoke this morning all pain was gone.  This is how sciatica plays with ones head.  I immediately called my chiropractor to tell him I'm pain free and asked if he would like to crack some bones this morning.  I went; he cracked bones and I came home feeling fine.
I mean I felt like a million dollars.  I gathered up the dogs and grabbed the camera for a ride down to the old state park.  There weren't too many photo opportunities there, however.   I noted the flowers were beginning to bloom and photographed a few. 
Even periwinkles were coming out.  Spring is definitely here in East Tennessee.  A very green grassy spot was beckoning me to come and sit down for awhile.  I like to write in a journal when I take these little stops.  The dogs were having a great time of it, to say the least.
Shade, the black lab, had just stepped upon a rabbit.  She was crashing through thick bushes that line the carriage trail at the ruins when she simply stepped directly on the rabbit.  Of course that started a chase.  She is so absolutely humorous when she  finds rabbits.  The rabbit runs full out curving left and right and Shade follows the rabbit's course perfectly.  The scene sort of implies that the dog must follow the rabbit in the rabbit's exact path.  We couldn't take the shorter distance to the rabbit.  We have to stay exactly behind the rabbit and follow precisely where it ran.  It's so funny to watch!  She, like Douglas the golden retriever, doesn't stand the slightest chance of catching up with a rabbit.
The chiropractor told me last Friday morning at the end of our session not to sit in one position for long periods of time and no lifting.  He also stated no motor boat, motorcycle or canoe until we get this sciatica under control.  I felt great late Friday morning so, I loaded up the canoe and paddled the top of Tellico Lake.  Then in the evening the dogs and I drove to Calderwood lake for a camp out.  Those two incidents are in this blog below.
Saturday morning was horrible.  I was in terrible pain from the instant I woke up in the morning until I fell asleep that Saturday night.   I was totally incapacitated.  I couldn't walk, sit or lay down without excruciating pain.
I finished writing my journal entry and made a careful attempt to stand up.  Ouch!  The pain was back.  Amazing!  I can't even sit or lay down in the beautiful grass without ending up with pain.
I slowly completed the task of getting up.
So;  the chiropractor asked me, "what did you do Friday?  We had this sciatic nerve issue well on the way to stabilization?"
I told him, "I just took a little canoe ride and later in the day took the motor boat to Calderwood Lake for a camping trip."
He replied, "we're back to square one.  Everything we accomplished in your last three visits has been negated."
Great I thought!  I promised to do better.  He shook his head as he stared at the floor of the examination room.  I felt embarrassed. 
I know now why people have vertebra's fused when they have sciatica.  The cure by chiropractic manipulation is a long one.  Sciatica is sneaky.  Just when you feel great;  it reappears offering pain ten fold.  Excruciating pain can disappear within a footstep.  It can also reappear in a footstep.  This "feel better get worse," off and on routine seems endless.  I believe there is a frustration factor in the pain equation that forces a person to go ahead and get the vertebrae fused so the pain will end.
A person named Paul who resides in the United Kingdom sent me an email stating he also has an affliction much like mine.  He also made a nice comment about my blog.  Like myself, he is a canoeist and when he sits for long periods at a time, his feet ache or become tingly.  One has to respect the sciatic nerve.  Thank you Paul for responding to me.  I think you and I could tolerate each other on a lengthy paddle trip.  We do have things in common.
I leaned against the old foundation with my right side, arm straight down and I pushed against the stone.  Then I squatted down and rotated my upper torso left and right.  When I stood up I felt a bit better.  Half way back to the truck all the pain left instantly as if it never was.  There is a distant ache in my right leg now, reminding me of what is to come.

I hobbled back to the truck and drove home.  A quick run across the highway to the cafe and a bite to eat was in order.  When I stood up after lunch and took a step;  the gremlins were back.  I don't know how much of this on off pain I can endure but, I'm certainly not at my limit yet.  I am very disappointed in losing this great weather.  It's perfect weather for any out door activity.

I apologize if this entry presents myself as a complainer.  I normally am not one to complain about much of anything, accept where politics are concerned.   It's just that Winter has held on a long time this year and finally the gorgeous weather I waited for so long has arrived.   And, here I sit at this computer in pain.  I'll give it another week.  If things don't improve I'm heading for another camp out by canoe.

Thanks for looking in on this blog.  If you have a sciatic nerve problem;  you have my sympathy.   I promise I won't mention the state of my health after this entry.  Well, maybe a tiny update....