I Miss My Cats

I miss my cats.



Buckwheat, my housecat
Buckwheat, my housecat

During the extensive evaluation at the SCCA, I’d had an EKG that presented an irregularity. So, in order to follow up on every little health clue in preparation for the demanding transplant in my future, a visit to a cardiologist was arranged.

Early Monday morning we caught a shuttle at the SCCA, which took us to the University of Washington Hospital. This was an extremely bumpy ride. I think the bus needs new shocks. Once there, the cardiologist, Dr P, took a short history. (I’ve lost four pounds in two weeks!) He listened to my heart and likened the “abnormality” in my EKG to putting a stamp on a letter upside down. It looks awkward but has no effect on blood delivery. Being a postmaster, his metaphor was apt. Nonetheless, he thought it prudent to perform an echocardiogram and draw a little blood. Sigh.

OK. We returned to reception to schedule the procedure. At first, we were told they were booked up until September. Marilyn muttered, “That’s ridiculous!” (In her defense, I think she was grumpy because ABC tape delays the tennis at Wimbledon.) We re-grouped emotionally and informed them our people would call their people.

We returned to the SCCA. The problem was explained to our PA and scheduler. We walked back to our sweltering apartment. Soon, I received a call; the problem was solved. I guess my PA has some clout.

I returned to the UW for the echocardiogram in the afternoon. This time I went alone for two reasons. One was so Marilyn would not browbeat the reception desk. Secondly, she could not guilt-trip me when I bought some M & M peanuts in the gift shop to celebrate the weight I’d lost. Caregivers can be pretty mean people.

The UW Hospital is an incredible facility. The spacious corridors empty into comfortable waiting rooms. Artwork adorns the walls and interrupts patients on the way to their health destinies. Dreaded appointments become perambulations through the wonders of modern architecture and eclectic art.


Curly, my Post Office cat, napping on the desk
Curly, my Post Office cat, napping on the desk

My procedure took 40 minutes. I found the darkened room and conversation relaxing. The tech was friendly. I was able to watch my heart thrum happily along while she spread goo on my chest. Three years previously, the tech had adopted a Chinese child. Her given name was Linlian but they changed it to Katherine. The child, now four going on twenty-four, asserts however, that she is to be called Katie. I enjoy these odd intimate moments with strangers, brief half notes that underpin the orchestration of life. The sharing of such simple commonalities somehow reassures me that the universe is orderly in spite of the chaos suggested by news reports.

Afterwards, I went to the third floor’s Espresso Bar. Normally, I’ll have a tall Americano. But I was feeling European and ordered a double shot straight up. Doing so eliminated the middleman of 12 ounces of hot water, not to mention the urgency to pee caused by Seattle’s poor road surfaces and the shuttle’s inadequate shocks.

Later, Marilyn and I escaped the stuffiness of our apartment. We caught a bus to the University district. Once there, we went to a Thai vegetarian restaurant. The dinner was wonderful. Afterwards, we went to another theater showing independent films. This time we saw a Norwegian movie, Reprise. It’s good.

The vacation of my evaluation period is about to end. Today we have a data consult with Dr. B. Yesterday’s scheduling dustup did allow us to peek into the future of our treatment plan. Monday I am to begin a three-day stint of pre-transplant chemotherapy with a drug called Cytoxan. I’ll write more on the why of this, Wednesday’s catheter install, and future schedule later in the week.

Happy Birthday to Noah!  

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