Is there a Doctor in the house

8 June 2017

AT – 454 miles (Low Gap, US421)
Today’s – 17.9 miles
Time – 9.5 hrs
Speed – 1.88 mph

This morning I woke up at the Vandeventer Shelter after a cool night with Santa Max trying to spoon me all night.  So…I didn’t get much sleep.

However, at the shelter was a small group of 3 section hikers. One, John, was a retired Army SF Sgt Major with some medic experience.  When I mentioned my leg issue, he took a look.  His assessment was….

Drum roll please…

Cellulitis.  That’s 2 guesses for that condition.

This is NOT what I wanted to hear since I did a little wiki search on it.  Infection that could turn Bad, VERY BAD, if not taken care of.

So, I pondered this All Night.    Maybe it wasn’t Santa Max who kept me from getting a restful night’s sleep?  Maybe it was my wondering?

However, new plan came to mind.  I need to see my doctor and soon.  So I called myWife and started the wheels moving for a simple extraction from the trail.  She’d drive the 15 hours, pick me up, take me back to Missouri, I’d get my local doctor to fix me up, I’d take a few weeks of rest AND I’d get to see my granddaughter. However, she hadn’t planned on leaving TODAY!  Maybe tomorrow with a 2 day drive.

Chaulk change #1 and she was quickly loaded and rolling my way.

I then decided to call my physician and make an appointnent for Monday next week.  That would allow us time to make the return trip to Missouri in 2 days vs one big day of 15 hours of driving.


Chaulk change #2 was the “Ask A Nurse” and my doctor felt I needed to be seen BEFORE then!  Some type of infection by what tried to explain to them.

WHAT?????   Does this mean it’s serious…more serious than I imagined?  I hope not.

When I received the call from my doctor, I was 3 miles back to the neatest road or 4 miles to the next road.  They had secured me “service” at a Bristol clinic IF I could make it there during “business hours”.  With a bum leg and 4 miles to go…that wasn’t happening.  Then to even slow the hike, I ran into a mother bear with her two cubs.  One of the cubs kept climbing up and down a tree next to the trail.   Even with all the noise I was making, I couldn’t scare the little bear off.  So…I chanced it with the cub far up in the tree.  I needed to get to the hospital and this was burning daylight.

Good thing the momma bear and other cub had headed aeay from the trail.   I watched them very closely to ensure she wasn’t coming back to defend the other cub.  Whew…I made it past and down to the road.

Now I found myself wondering how I’d get to town?    When along comes a nice gentleman who gave me a ride i to Shady Valley – an unincorporated town with a crossroad to Damascus, Johnson City and Bristol.  I figured I’d have a better chance of hitchhiking from here!

So I stuck out a thumb until myWife and myDaughter start finding me a ride.  They used Facebook to contact an old friend from years gone by.

So another family friend who lives near the hospital I needed to go to stepped in and drove to get me some 50 minutes out of her way!  If Amy Johnson Arnold hadn’t done it, I was calling on The Powers (Tony & Brenda) who’d already rescued me once from the trail.

The Trail Magic I’ve experienced has been…AMAZING!  Friends, acquaintances and strangers helping crazy, homeless looking hikers.  It’s hard to explain this piece of American folklore that still exists along the AT.  But it is COOL…

And guess who checks me in at the ER?  “Redman” — he did the AT in 2010.  The trail community spreads far and wide.

Redman told me some AT stories too…good thing it was after I stayed at the Vandeventer Shelter.

After hearing I was hiking the AT, everyone came by the exam room to “get a look” at that crazy old guy.

However, I was treated and released.  They think some kind of infection and antibiotics were the remedy.  I have to go back in a few days for a reevaluation, so I get to hang out visiting (read that as bothering) some old friends.

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