All right, I want to talk about horrific scenarios this week.
I’ve long enjoyed horror and horrifying scenarios. It started when I was a teenager sitting at the feet of my mother. Why I was sitting at her feet recalls unspeakable horror that I will not try to convey.
Anyway, my mother was a fan of murder mysteries and horror books and liked to imply I could be her first real-life victim. My mother was quite the hoot. She never actually killed me; she was so sweet. However, she did try to get the dog to devour me, but her powers of persuasion were not that great as dogs have minds of their own, you know.
So, anyway, there’s this thing called the “Big Seattle Earthquake” coming up. I’ve talked about this nasty thing before because I live on the ground floor of a high-rise apartment building in Japantown four blocks from the fault line. There are 10 floors above me, all ready to pancake down and crush me between my floor and ceiling — ouch. My fantasies about this possibility have never been healthy, so I’ve shared them in detail here for my sanity.
Being crushed like that sounds really bad. So let’s talk about tsunamis instead.
Now we’re talking fun! I work at Real Change, and our office is about 25 feet above mean sea level. According to Seattle.gov, the worst case in recent history was in 900 AD when we had a subduction quake that gave us a 16-foot tsunami.
Hahahaha! I spit on your silly, puny tsunami! You are pathetic.
Oh sure, you’re going to inundate the Real Change office, but odds are I won’t be there. I’ll be at home, 100 feet above sea level. You suck, tsunami!
I live six blocks east of the Real Change office, but 75 feet up from it. Why? Because I’m four blocks from the fault line, and every subduction quake raises First Hill up higher. So the same quake that causes a puny tsunami is also going to increase my elevation faster than my building can accommodate, so I will be crushed. There’s no escape.
Let’s change the subject again. About three weeks ago, my doctor was listening to my heart on a stethoscope and said she heard a heart murmur. She said not to panic, they can come and go so it’s nothing to be afraid of, so I said, “OK, I won’t be afraid then and how about we move on,” and she said she wanted me to get an appointment to get my heart imaged.
I asked what the technology around getting my heart imaged might be, and you’d think I’d asked for state secrets. I guess the technology changes by the week, so she didn’t want to go out on a limb saying it would be one thing and it ended up being another.
I was really sure they were going to saw my chest in half, pry it apart and look inside.
I went to my appointment, and I got a nice doctor who had me take off my shirts and lie down for about an hour and a half worth of ultrasound. I thought, “Look at me, I’m getting an ultrasound, and I’m not at all pregnant.” The worst part was the ultrasound probe had gel on it, and it was cold. The second worst was she periodically changed the settings on the machine, so not only could she see my heart beating in my chest, we could both hear it amplified.
It’s a bit disconcerting when the sound of your own heart fills up an entire examining room. It sounded like “SQUORSH-woosh, SQUORSH-woosh, SQUORSH-woosh.” Yikes.
After she was done, she said she’d send the results to the cardiologists and they’d make a diagnosis. So I guess the whole thing was recorded so the cardiologists could play the audio and video backward and forward — most impressive.
The cardiologists will report back to my doctor, and there could still be the horror of having my chest sawed in half and pried open, my beating heart played with by bloody surgeons. They’ll probably make me take a purgative ahead of time, too, just to add insult to injury. That’s just how surgeons are.
My mother always said I took everything too personally. “If I kill you, that’s me, not you,” she would say.
I felt cared-for and understood.
Read more of the Feb. 7–13, 2024 issue.