I have come to know parts this town rather well over the last twelve days (at least the route between my hotel and the hospital)
First, an update on Jill. She was due to move from the hospital to a rehab facility yesterday but was suffering some problems caused by one of the new antibiotic pills that was giving her reflux and nausea. Her transfer was delayed for a day, but around 1.00 pm today she was discharged from Harris Regional Hospital and I drove her to Skyland Rehab Centre which is on a hill behind the McDonalds Restaurant here in town. On the way, we did a five minute tour of the town. She is bright and chirpy but she doesn’t like much of the hospital food so she hasn’t been eating much. She will have some intensive physio over the next seven days and hopefully the doctor will then certify her as being well enough to fly home.
Sylva is a nice little town and there could have been far worse places in which we could have been stuck. The most significant building in town is the old courthouse which is now the town library. It’s located on a hill overlooking Main Street, It opened on Feb. 28, 1914 and cost $30,000 to build. In 2011, the building was remodelled and re-opened to house the Jackson County Public Library Complex and Genealogical Society. Today, the courthouse is one of the most photographed buildings in North Carolina.
There is a great view of Main Street from the top of the steps.
Sylva has a population of 2,700 and sits at an elevation of 2,036 feet. It averages about 47 inches of rain per year, 7 inches of snow, an average high of 22 C and an average low of 8C. I invested a few dollars in a warm jacket tonight at the Walmart store as the forecast temperature is dropping to a minimum of -2 C and a high of 13 C over the next weekend. Next Tuesday is forecast to snow with a low of -7 and a high of just 4 C. Without Jill’s illness, we would have been out of here well and truly before this cold weather struck and we only have clothes suitable for cool weather, not cold weather like this.
In the middle of Main Street is the First Baptist Church. They have adopted us in a wonderful way and various members of the congregation, along with their Pastor, have called on Jill in hospital, bringing her flowers and gifts. I have been attending their weekly community meal and going to church threre on Sundays. I can’t thank them enough for their support. They were a great help to me in those first dark days of feeling scared and alone.
At one end of town is the Information Centre. Now that Jill is out of the woods and through the worst of it, I intend to call in and ask them to point out any nearby good photo locations. I can now spend a little time exploring the area while Jill is doing her physio sessions.
Next door to the Information Centre is the Police Station. Like other buildings in town, it was all dressed up for Halloween. I was confused about the roles of various types of law officers – e.g. Police Officer, Sheriff and State Trooper. The best I can work out is they have different roles and authorities. The police officers are the men and women in the city police force whose jobs include the pursuit and arrest of criminals, response to emergency and non-emergency calls, and enforcement of motor vehicle and criminal laws.
A sheriff, in America, is the head of the county police force and is an elected official (along with deputies) who operates under the county government (a number of cities). The word “sheriff” is actually derived from the old English word “shire reeve,” which was the tax collector in medieval England. These days, some sheriffs are still the tax collectors for their counties. Sheriff responsibilities can vary from serving papers and providing security for the courts. In some states, the sheriff is also in charge of the county jail. And most states look to the sheriff’s office to provide general law-enforcement services (so, police officer–type services) to cities that don’t have their own police forces or to unincorporated parts of the county.
On a larger scale, state troopers work for the state. They serve as highway patrol or as part of state-wide police agencies.
At the other end of the town is a paper factory. Jackson Paper is a recycled paper manufacturer that produces 100-percent recycled corrugated cardboard for corrugated box makers throughout the United States. Its chimney can be seen from all over town and it constantly emits a large column of steam
Near the paper factory is the large and impressive Fire Department building. It houses eight fire trucks and the Highway Patrol is also based in the building.
The hospital in which Jill had her surgery supports the health of surrounding towns. It also is famous for appearing in a movie – The Fugitive, starring Harrison Ford as Dr. Richard Kimble, a prominent Chicago vascular surgeon, who comes home one evening to find his wife brutally beaten and shot. The emergency entrance was used as the scene of a hospital in the movie.
I discovered today that Jill’s surgeon, Dr Stephanie Hornbuckle is actually a Cherokee Native American., She has a wonderful bedside manner and I had complete confidence in her surgical expertise.
I haven’t discovered it yet, but Sylva is also the home of the Western Carolina University. This is where most of the student nurses at the hospital are studying. It is also the home of the very well respected Smoky Mountains High School.
As we left the hospital this afternoon, I was quite sad to have to say goodbye to Darvin and his dad, Doyle. As I have written previously, they have struggled through some very tough times over the last two weeks with Darvin’s mum being very ill. The hospital were planning to cut off her life support today. However, they have diagnosed her illness as Myasthenia Gravis. This is a type of chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease that causes weakness in the skeletal muscles, which are responsible for breathing and moving parts of the body, including the arms and legs. While there is no cure, they are pleased that they have defined the problem and this gives them hope that it can be treated. They looked more positive today than anytime that I have seen them over the last eleven days. I plan to keep in touch with Darvin after I get home.