Sunday, July 11, 2021

MY DRIVING SCHOOL, ON 11-10-2016 (7/11/2021 ADDENDUM TO “3/21/2021, SUNDAY: MY 'BIONIC' EXCUSE” AND “MY 'BIONIC' JOURNEY, SO FAR: 3/29/2016 to 3/29/2021”)


If you click the links -- to my 3/21/2021 and 3/29/2021 articles -- you will understand one reason why I write this addendum today. I had forgotten to write about “driving school.”

The other reason for this addendum is to give a friend and his wife (my friend also) an opportunity to laugh, before my friend does his “driving school,” on Tuesday, 7/13/2021. I hope that all my readers enjoy a good laugh! “Driving school” was fun, folks!

I will pause on a sad note, but I will end on a funny note! The sad note will honor the doctor who was in charge of my care, while I was at Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center, in Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. (University of Tennessee Medical Center had me from 3/29/2016 to 4/19/2016, when I went by ambulance transfer to Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center. I was there from 4/19/2016 until discharge to home, on 5/4/2016 – “May the Fourth be with you.”)

My 11/10/2016 Driving School

I wrote about several details, in my 3/21/2021 and 3/29/2021 articles. I had forgotten to write about “driving school!” I do so now.

Dr. Robert Chironna was in charge of my medical care, at Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center. He visited my room daily, about 7 AM, even on most weekends. (Mrs. Appalachian Irishman stayed with me day and night, sleeping on the vacant bed beside mine, in my private room. She knows as well. Thanks, dear, for tending to me!) Dr. Chironna spent about ten or fifteen minutes with us every morning. He was congenial, mild-mannered, and very intelligent. He and I had similar senses of humor. (His was more subdued, but he liked my humor.) His purpose was to monitor and oversee the progress of my recovery.

After my discharge to home, I had four appointments with Dr. Chironna, at his office (6/27/16, 7/25/16, 10/25/16, 12/5/16). Mrs. Appalachian Irishman drove me to all but the last one. I got my '06 Nissan Frontier, on 11/25/2016. I drove myself to my final appointment, on 12/5/2016. Dr. Chironna “released” me to return to work. I returned to work on 12/19/2016. I did not need a medical “release” to work. I am a free man, in a once free and great nation. I could have changed jobs. My state employer required the “release.” I jumped through the bureaucratic hoops, since I didn't want to change jobs.

At my 10/25/2021 appointment, Dr. Chironna suggested (as he could not require) “driving school.” I pondered the idea. I decided that “driving school” would come in handy – if, God forbid, I was in another accident – in which the guilty driver (not me) had an attorney, who could discover that I had a concussion -- on 3/29/2016, when I almost died.

11/10/2016 was a Thursday. It was the 29th birthday anniversary of the daughter of my wife's sister. It was also “driving school” day! Mrs. Appalachian Irishman drove me to Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. (The total time from and back home was from about 11:30 AM to 4:30 PM.) We met Nicole White (Occupational Therapist / Driver Rehabilitation Therapist). Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center has a Comprehensive Driving Program there.

Nicole and I understood each other instantly! Our sense of humor matched perfectly! I hope that she is doing well. I haven't seen or communicated with her since that day.

First, I had to play a little while. Nicole and Mrs. Appalachian Irishman watched me, as I used my “bionic” left arm and right arm to punch little red dots on a board that hung on a wall. It was like whack-a-mole! (It was a test to check my vision acuity and peripheral vision.)

I passed 100%! My damaged left eye had not been seeing double for months! Nicole and Mrs. Appalachian Irishman enjoyed my humor as I whacked those moles!

Next, I had to play gas pedal/brake pedal game! While seated, I watched red and green lights that told me when to press either the fake gas or brake pedals. (The gas didn't take me anywhere, and the brake didn't stop me at any point. It was some type of test.) My “bionic” right knee and right foot had no problems! I did not have to sit too long. That was good.

Finally, I had to drive a fairly well maintained but older passenger van. Nicole rode shotgun. I drove that van about an hour and a half. I drove to west Knoxville and back, a couple of times, taking various side roads. At some point, Nicole knew that I could drive well. She relaxed and enjoyed the ride! My left shoulder, right knee, and right foot suffered but endured. My left shoulder “talked to me loudly,” every time I turned my head left to look out the window. I passed “driving school” with flying colors! (I knew that I could drive well. I didn't need “driving school.” I did it anyway.) We were very glad to get back home. (Mrs. Appalachian Irishman was quite bored, while she had awaited my 1.5-hour drive.) My “bionic” joints and related muscle groups had taken enough. I did “driving school.” It was done. Molly, our doggy, was glad to see us at home!

My Friend's 7/13/2021 Driving School

My dear friend and brother in Christ, I know that you will read this article. I hope that reading this article gives your wife and you a few laughs!

Don't concern yourself with “driving school!” You will do great! I hope that you get Nicole White, at Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center! If you do, tell her that I said hello! Keep getting better, day by day, by God's grace and your stubborn will! I'm still doing so.

By the way, I hope that you share a few photographs of your “driving school!” Neither Mrs. Appalachian Irishman nor I took photographs of mine. My photographs are only in my mind.

Dr. Robert Chironna

During, my last appointment (12/5/2016) with Dr. Robert Chironna, we conversed on several religious and philosophical topics – aside from the mundane topic of my ongoing recovery. I told him about my still yet unpublished and incomplete book, “Light at the End of the Tunnel.” He had requested an autographed copy, once I publish. I had promised and remembered.

I gave Dr. Chironna my notes, since my 10/25/2016 visit to his office. He read my notes. My notes included the following:

Spiritual: Since college, I have pondered, written, and spoken on the “problem of evil.” I have continued to do so, as it relates to my life situation. God is still there, and he is good. He has saved me by his grace, and he has used me in his service. The providence of God has been a specific focus point of my thoughts and writings. God either acts or does not act providentially, according to his will. We may never know why God acts or does not act in providence, in certain situations. (For example, slowing down or speeding up the driver who failed to yield to my right of way, by even five seconds, would have kept this from happening to me.) We, however, trust in him, for he knows the everlasting result of our continuing faith.

Sadly, by research for this article, I learned yesterday that Dr. Robert Lawrence Chironna, at age 65, went home on December 14, 2017. I had seen him the last time, on 12/5/2016. My sadness yesterday was overcome by joy! Dr. Chironna has met Mom and Dad – as well as many, many others! He is HOME! His legacy continues. This final segment is written in his honor. He does not need my book, once I publish it. He has already met Mom!


The light at the end of the tunnel calls us all home – eventually. Will home be heaven? I hope so! The other option will be rather hot and unpleasant!

School yourself in life. Learn how to drive Home! My website shows you how to contact me, if you would like to talk by e-mail privately.

Let's end on a funny note, shall we? We shall! Today, 7/11/2021, is 7-Eleven Day! 7-Eleven will give us one FREE small Slurpee any day in July! I haven't had a Slurpee in decades! Who knows? I may hunt me a Slurpee this month. I still have time!

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