MUSHY'S MOOCHINGS: February 2010

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Okay, so this has been a busy week for me and I'm very tired. I don't need another one like it for at least a couple of more weeks! That's probably about how long it will take for me to see about other issues discovered this week!

My week actually began last week when I had a preliminary procedure to size up my prostate problem. The actual corrective procedure began at 1PM Tuesday. The short acronym for the procedure is TUNA, which stands for "Transurethral Needle Ablation".

It is a procedure used to treat benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). It is performed by placing interstitial radio frequency (RF) needles through the urethra and into the lateral lobes of the prostate, causing heat-induced coagulation necrosis. The tissue is heated to 110°C at an RF power of 456 kHz for approximately 3 minutes per lesion. In my case there were 7 points that were heated.

The idea is the prostate tissue will die away, leaving a space that allows the urethra to expand into, therefore increasing urine flow.

So, that amounted to 4 injections into the sides the prostate, done rectally, and then 7 needle heating treatments into the prostate from inside the urethra (up the penis)! Then there was an antibiotic show in the butt for good measure!

The worst part of the whole deal was that it's necessary to wear a catheter for two days. I hated that more than anything.

One must disregard all modesty while undergoing the preliminary testing an measurement, the actual TUNA procedure, and even coming in 2 days later to have a nurse remove the catheter. There is no dignity left and you really don't want to be wild and free again.

All this could have possibly been avoided had my body tolerated Flomax or Uroxatal, but those drugs dropped my blood pressure and cause all kind of gastric problems. Therefore, I endured all the above humiliation in order to lower my PSA numbers and to put an end to frequent urination issues.

All in all it's worth it...I'm already reaping the benefits for a younger prostate size.

So, that all ended on Thursday with the catheter removal.

Then on Friday, I got up early and at a light breakfast and too my normal medications for the day. That included an antibiotic to help heal the prostate and urethra from the procedure on Tuesday. That big pill set off a chain of events. I began to have heartburn between my male boob area. I got my allergy shot in Oak Ridge at 10, then came back to my care and took a sip of water. It didn't want to go down.

I have had this esophagus spam problem for almost 20 years so I knew what was happening. I began to hiccup, and so I took another small sip, all the while saliva began pouring down my throat. At the point of the heartburn, all this liquid began accumulating and moving up toward my windpipe. I told Judy to pull over and I through up that's all clear, no stomach contents evident...ever.

Usually after that I can again sip water and it will go down. However, it did not go down, but began another round of liquid accumulation. We had to stop again about half a mile down the road.
I finally made it the 10 miles to my mom's and got out and ran to the edge of the yard.

Inside, I repeatedly tried water in small sips, but after about 10 episodes, I knew I needed help.
Judy took me to the Harriman emergency room since no of my normal doctors were in town. Luckily my friend Terry Bingham was on surgical duty that day.

I enter the emergency room at 2PM. By 3PM I was taken back to a room where I sat until about 4:30. By then I felt better and was in no pain.

Dr. Bingham came in around 5:30 and gave me the once over. He said I think we need to do a esophageal dilation on Monday.

He asked me to eat a cracker and down a cup of water. I thought I was okay, since I hadn't had to put my finger down my throat since 3. However, the cracker stuck and sips of water finally slowly moved it around something, probably the hiatal bulge that can be seen in the photo. I watched as I struggled and then turn to my nurse and said, "We'll go ahead and do it tonight!"I really appreciated it, knowing that he had been there working all day. However, he's a good guy and a good surgeon.

In the actual photo above you can see my esphogus opening. The Doc said it was only about the size of his little finger. After the balloon passed (photo on right) the opening is greatly increased. However, it's this area that needs to be repaired by surgery.

At about 8PM I got to the operating room, was sedated and back in a room by 9PM. Everyone enjoyed my withdrawal from the anesthesia and wanted to keep me over night to entertain them, but I was determined to go home.

I was born at home and have never spent a night in the hospital. That will remain my goal for as long as I can remain conscious!

I'm eating well now, but have to discuss a hiatal operation soon that may correct this life long problem. I think it will be a small price to pay.

I have long been embarrassed over the condition, especially when eating's time to end it. If you have spent any time with me you have seen me either regurgitate or leave the table quickly and seek out the nearest restroom.

Further, I have now been advised that my EKG indicated an arrhythmia and SVTs...which means I may have had a small heart attack sometime in the past. Therefore, I need to have that attended too soon.

UPDATE: No heart problems were found, so I scheduled my hernia surgery for March 30th! Wish me well.

I've concluded that retirement is for ensuring you have plenty of time to make doctor appointments, travel, and see grand babies! More the former than anything else it seems.

With your prayers and thoughts, I'll make it until my next appointments!

Monday, February 22, 2010


I recently found an old friend on Facebook, and I began combing through the “Mushy’s Moochings” archives looking for something I thought I had posted about our friends Steve and Jenny. However, I must have overlooked the great stories from my time in “The Land of Oz”! Maybe it’s because they hurt so much.

It was Jenny that I was fortunate to locate one night while doing searches for old friends and lost loves! Jenny and Steve are no longer together, but the time I spent with Steve, and later with Jenny after their marriage, were some of the best times of my life.

Steve and I went through a divorce at the same time back in the late 70s, and we supported each other through the sad withdrawal period that always occurs after such a traumatic event. We wrote poems/songs; very sad stuff, sometimes defiant things, and shared them with each other. At the time we worked in the same office, so we spent a lot of time swapping what we had written and laughing out loud at the rhymes and digs we made. It was good therapy and it took us all the way to the wedding alter again; each promising that we had learned our lessons and swearing we would get it right this time.

However, there were many nights and weekends before either of us got to that kind of happiness again. We spent the weekends listening to the music of the Allman Brothers, Black Oak Arkansas, Bob Seger, Foreigner, the Nuge, the Eagles, and he introduced me to Lynyrd Skynyrd. For that last item alone, I owe him much!

We were the original “party hardy” boys, running the dance scene in our open collared polyester shirts and gold chains! We could boogie with the best of’em and we heard disco music in our brains as we walked the halls and streets at work!

I lived in Harriman and Steve in Oliver Springs, which was separated by the blurriest ten miles of rolling blacktop in East Tennessee. The road got a little straighter every time I leaned into the steering wheel of my ’78 Trans Am, with “Smell That Smell” blaring from my tape deck. However, the stereo couldn’t quite overpower the headers and companion “cherry bombs”! The “Black Max” knew its way home – it must have, because I always made it when, God knows, I shouldn’t have!

Often times, I would wake up on Steve’s couch, so I just headed for work in the same clothes. Up until about noon, I’d swear I’d never do it again, but after lunch a “second wind” came over me and I was down for more craziness that night.

Steve and I spent quiet time too. We would sip our drink and discuss our feelings. We both hurt, and we both had family issues, but our common interests bonded us into a brotherly relationship.

We always shared our new “gals” with each other too. We would put on parties with loud music, lots of friends, more girls than guys, and we would sneak time to ask the other what they thought of the “new girl”! We even had a rating system, just like in the movie “Semi-Though”. One of my favorites was “never says no, even in a comma!”

If the girl didn’t measure up, we would be honest in our appraisal, and we would move on!

When we had dates, we would often call the other one at home and say something stupid like, “When things get going, throw the phone over in the bed,” or we would ask, “What are you doing…a little RALO?(short for: rip a little off)

It was wonderful to have a friend with which you could share you innermost thoughts. I knew him and he knew me…we could even finish each other’s sentences. We were tight…best buds.

Steve met Jenny and immediately he was happier than I had seen him in a long time. She was younger than he was, but she understood the inside jokes, the music, and best of all, she understood Steve. She also understood our need for each other. I guess that’s why we did so many things together.

Needless to say, Jenny got my approval. She even went along with the silly phone calls I used to make to her. She worked at an insurance agency and I’d call, with Steve listening and about to bust a gut, and say, in my best hillbilly voice, “Uh, yeah, I gots some hogs, they’s real good’uns ya know, and I was wonderin’ if’en you all sold hog insurance? She passed my test by turning it around on me!

I met Judy…or found her again after sixteen years! I fell for her “Betty Davis Eyes” all over again, and soon she was at the parties, and getting Steve’s blessing. I think she sealed the deal the night she walked bare-footed into the “Time Out Deli” in Oak Ridge! What a woman Steve and I remarked!

There is actually more to her than that, but that’s all I can say here!

One weekend, we got a suite in Pigeon Forge, complete with kitchen and Jacuzzi tub. The photo above was taken that weekend – me with the two girls and him with the two girls in bed. We also splashed water out of the tub more than once and had a ball! We could be ourselves – wild and free!

But something happened along the way, and several years ago I lost my best friend, and why I’m not sure. The best I can figure it was a big blow to Steve when he lost his job at Oak Ridge. After that, I saw him less and less, until one day he as much said, “I’ll call you when I want to see you again.

To say that hurt me is an understatement. It hurts and haunts me to this day. I may never know…and frankly, I suppose it doesn’t really matter now. Steve and Jenny are no longer together, so the times could never be the same.

However, I’ve promised Jenny that Judy and I will meet her for breakfast or dinner one day soon. I’m going to try and not discuss the past or fish for the reasons why. I just want to sit and enjoy her company once more and remember "Est'a Bono" (a name he game his alter-ego). He can’t take away my memories of him.

UPDATE - Jenny has sent along her memories of our times too! Please read the comments!

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Well, it's the 4th anniversary of my blogging career!

Many of you have been with me the entire way, and so 69,000 hits later I find myself still in the game.

Mostly I'm on my own today, since viewership has fallen off, but that's my fault. I seldom write like I used to. It's mostly about current events and family today, not of much interest to many, but it's really my purpose, so I'll continue whether I get readers or not. This is a family pilgrimage and record and thus it's serving its purpose!

, there is a new post coming in a couple of days that is worthy of being included in "The Laugh and Times of Mushy". I hope you enjoy the post. The true story is very important to me and I still hurt over the loss of my friend Steve.

Friday, February 19, 2010


The Knights took the Dragons out for Valentine's Day on Saturday evening. They decided they wanted to try Carino's, which used to be Johnny Carino's, in Knoxville.

The place was already jumping when we arrived, but by the time we relinquished our 8-seat table, the lobby was standing room only.

When Judy and I arrived the others were gathered at the bar having wine, margaritas, and Fat Tire draft. I ordered a pull, and by the time I paid they had called our names.

We love to meet'n eat and exchange magazines (PC, Photography, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, and Playboys) and vampire and forensic mystery books in the parking lot. Naturally, all the dirty family secrets are cussed and discussed, and time is taken to make fun of each person in their own order.

The food seemed to please everyone, even the pickiest. Judy had the Jalapeno Garlic Tilapia - Pan sautéed in lemon butter cream sauce with spinach, tomatoes and angel hair pasta. I liked the looks of the Spicy Shrimp and Chicken - Penne pasta, cayenne pepper Romano cream sauce, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes and green onions!
We split the wonderful Italian Wedge Salad - Applewood smoked bacon, candied pecans, Gorgonzola, Roma tomatoes and apple slices with roasted garlic ranch! So very satisfying and almost a meal in itself!

Judy and Terri decided to join Tracy and Katie at the Ice Bears game across town, while Steve and I elected to go on home and watch the Olympics!

Of course, being the romantic that I am, I stopped off at Kroger's and bought my traditional jar of macadamia nuts, Snicker bar, and a Valentine card for Judy. She was quite surprised when she got home, around midnight and found my offerings under her pillow! What a man!

Oh, did I mention the great shrimp
meal Judy and I had at Calhoun's Thursday!?

Then there was the P. F. Chang meal Judy brought me the other, love that place!

The food has been great lately!

HINT: Double click on all the food photos and you can actually smell them!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Monday, as you may know, is the day we pick Lily up after her "Wee Pre-School" day.

Sometimes we go straight home and read books, build with her blocks, color, or play games on the computer. Other days we stop off at a local playground and watch her try out new things on the slides, swings, tunnels, and climbing devices. But some days she announces right off that she would like to "eat out"!

She is very good in restaurants, she plays with the things on the table, or things she's dropped under the table (in her cave), or tries to look out the windows! What she doesn't do well out is eat! We wind up taking most of what we ordered home and she picks over it later.

This week we went back to the “Good Ol’ Days Diner”, where I can't resist corn-nuggets, and Judy cannot leave without having a chocolate milkshake! Trouble is, this week she had to share it with Lily...don't tell her mother!

My burger and corn nuggets were great, but, according to Judy, her slaw-dog and fries beat my burger hands down!

Anyway, Lily was so thrilled that she danced for the entire diner and kept asking, "Who's that?"
We would say, "I don't know...ask them!"

She started walking toward them and then turned around and ran back to the safety of Judy's lap. She is getting braver these days, finally overcoming her earlier shyness. No longer does she keep her eyes closed all the way from school to our house before opening them and talking to us. Now she's singing to us before we leave the church parking lot.

We love it!

Later, we took Lily over to her Granby's, where her sister Kinsley stays when both Tia and Corey are working. We played with them both for quite a while, and I took this photo of Kinsley before we left. She's a doll, and has just started walking. She will be 1 this coming Saturday!

I'm beginning to think that Kinsley is a mix of Connie (Corey's mom) and me, while Lily is pure Tia!

Sunday, February 14, 2010


First let me get the food out of the way! I had some good stuff over the past week, including "Fried Pickles" at Hooters. However, their wings leave a little to be desired, and what I desired while eating them was some "Wild Wings"! Next time, if there is a next time, I'll order plain wings with the sauce on the side. I'm not sure how I got back to Hooters, but someone wanted to go and I obliged.

So years back I banned myself from Hooters over an incident that still rubs me raw. I mean, I may be old, but I got money too!

We sit down in Hooters, the Knights and I, any finally a young girl (notice there was no "lady" included in the description), with midriff bulges all around, comes over to a table of the 4 or 5 of us and takes a our drink order. We would probably have eaten there had this gal put just a little effort into fulfilling our needs. A smile would have gained her an extra five bucks!

See turns and walks to the bar and turns in our drink order and then returns to the table of young'uns we had previously broken her away from, and picked back up on the conversation she was having with them. I noticed that the beers are opened and placed on the bar, but she pays no attention. We sit and wait, thinking about how warm our beers are becoming and then watch her laughing and having a ball.

Finally, after about 15 minutes, Ron gets up and goes to the bar and picks up the beers and brings them to the table. No one seemed to care or notice, so we drank them down. The cool beers do nothing to cool the fire burning inside us. The incident only proved that the waitress knew nothing about old men and their generous tips! Had she played us, she would have been rewarded generously, but the longer we sat there and waited for a return visit the more we fumed while staring holes in the back of her head.
It may not have been so bad had the routine not repeated itself a second time.

She finally returns, not even noticing or remembering that she hadn't brought the beers to the table. "Would you guys like to order?"

"No," I said, "just give us a check for the beers."

"You guys gonna leave me?"

"Yes, we're going somewhere with better service," I said calmly.

" mean I haven't given you good service?"

I couldn't hold it in any longer. "Hell no, you've been over there stuck up those young dude's butts since we arrived!"

"I brought your beer..."

"Bullshit, we went and got them ourselves! Now give me a check," I said firmly without taking me eyes off her's.

A manager was sent to the table and he started to jump us for being rude when I broke in and explained how things went down. He backed off...I threw money on the table, minus a tip, and we left. Had she just given us some courtesy she would probably have made fifteen to twenty bucks from us.

This last week was the first time I had been back in 3 or 4 years, and little had changed except we did receive better service, and they had added Fat Tire and fried pickles to the menu! I still don't like the wings sauce!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Couldn't believe it, but Judy, born and raised in Harriman, had never been to Petros to see the old Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary! So, on Thursday, that gloriously gloomy day, we took a little road trip from the house up Bitter Creek way, and turned onto Coal Creek Road and went to Coalfield, Tennessee.

In Coalfield we turned back toward Wartburg, Tennessee on 62 and then off onto 116 to Petros. The prison sets against the farthest mountain you can see driving back through Petros and is still guarded, but there is no public access.

I talked to the guard and an old gentleman standing at the main gate for a bit. The guard said there were a few tours just after the prison was closed, but nothing was being allowed in at this time. I told them of my 70's visit, when the prisoners had been moved to Nashville, and about Geronimo, the whitetail buck that was once a pet of the inmates. The older fellow remembered the deer and we enjoyed reminiscing about that little known fact, and the guard added that there were currently about 6 deer living within the fences at Brushy.

Even though the light was not perfect for photography, it was a good day for a circuit through Roane and Morgan Counties. It seems we look for more and more things to get us out of the house lately. The weather has locked us away much too long. After all, there is just too much beauty in our East Tennessee backyard to stay in all winter!

We passed the prison and rode up a way on Bald Knob Road, past three sandstone cones of rock just on the side of the road. Apparently these piers of rock are capped with a much harder layer of stone. After the road was cut by them, the elements have eroded them from the side facing the road. They make a very colorful addition to the area's beauty.

I didn't stop to take any photos, but we did notice that this hollow has a great abundance of Rebel Flags and Camaros!

Leaving Hwy 116, we turned back west toward Wartburg and then made a southerly turn onto Liberty Road over to Mossy Grove, and on back down Hwy 27/29 to Bitter Creek, completing the circle.

Thursday, February 04, 2010


The better question is, "Did you get out and play in the snow?"This was our first "real" snow is several years, still not like it used to be, but it was measurable snow of from 4 to 6 inches.The Dragons (them) and Knights took the opportunity to do a little hiking and photo shooting at the nearby Frozen Head State Park, near Wartburg, Tennessee. I always get a few comments about the town's name when I post it, but it really is a nice community about 8 to 10 miles from my house.

Tennessee's Frozen Head State Park is a lovely wilderness pocket nestled between two mountains, and just past the Morgan County Correctional Complex on Flat Fork Road.

We just wanted a short distance walk, since we all getting hungry, so we took the Interpretive Loop, which is around .4 miles long. However, the loop
offers many wildflowers (in season), a roaring creek, water falls, bridges, old foundations from the CCC era, and wildlife, such as the 4 deer we saw quietly watching us from across the creek.

Everyone got some great shots and enjoyed the walk in the winter wonderland, especially being with family and being ourselves! Of course, being ourselves usually means there will be no wildlife within a mile of us!

However, I think the meal at Ruby's later was the highlight of the Sunday afternoon. Once someone mentioned Fat Tire, every action then become a means to an end! The Lobster Carbonara was very tasty too!

There are more shots on my Flickr page!