Heart troubles: Fact-checking in the cardiac ICU, post-bypass

image Cardiac worries arise in several places in The Solomon Scandals. My father’s heart attack was one of the defining moments of his life and even mine. Scandals is fiction, not a memoir. But his attack took place in his early 40s when he was about to show us a movie, just as reporter Jon Stone’s father does in Scandals.

Heart disease is also a metaphor that Margo, Stone’s girlfriend, uses when discussing Vulture’s Point, Solomon’s rickety office building housing IRS and CIA workers.

The issue at hand is whether anyone can predict if or when Vulture’s Point will fall down. “Oh, maybe a decade or so, with tip-offs,” Margo says. “Like if the elevators stopped working, or the windows won’t open. It’s like heart problems, normally. You get sick before you kick the bucket. I mean, the cracks still aren’t that large.”

A skeptical Stone responds with word of his friend the marathon runner who, minus the least warning, died at 25 of a massive coronary. “Just what was ‘normally’?” Stone thinks.

In real life, only a month or so after I wrote the above dialogue, someone suffered a heart attack, then had his chest cracked open for a quad bypass. Me. I have a message. Don’t trust treadmill stress tests alone. Get the full trimmings: an MRI or whatever. I was a false negative. All of my valves were well-clogged, and at least one doctor says that confused the testing gizmos. So much for the virtues of consistency.

I did some of the fact-checking for the cardiac-related scenes while in the cardiac ICU at Inova Alexandria Hospital (photo) following my quad.

Except for an occasional little cough, a temporary complication from the operation, I’m coming along fine now, and on cardiac matters, I’m more confident than ever that Scandals is authentic.

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David Rothman

4 thoughts on “Heart troubles: Fact-checking in the cardiac ICU, post-bypass

  1. This is ALL very intersting, Sir David! I didn’t know. Who knew? Landsman, landsmann, we are all one big mishpocah, one world, one people, and an interesting mixture of genepools turning our humanity one amazing plot! I, for one, salute you, sir. And I’m glad to hear your bypass has turned out well, too. I haven’t got there yet, but I fear the appt is being set up already in high places, and I will try to be ready when I get the call. Sholom Aleichem, one of my favorite storytells from yesteryear, wrote a book or a story called “It’s Not Easy Being a Jew” and in Japan I became a big fan of 48-part series called “It’s Not Easy Being a Man! (Otoko wa tsuroiyo!”) that is basically the same universal story about life 1o1, no matter who we are or what genepool we stem from. So your newspaper blog here is wonder-full! Break a leg! One day, I will tell you my story about how Henry Kissinger almost got me fired from my job at ticket seller/projectionist at the AFI film theater at the Kenedy Center. What I most remember about riding up the elevator with him that night was how baggy his pants were, and this was 1975 or so. Funny story, and in the end I didn’t fired. But Henry was a bit angry!

  2. I’m not surprised to hear the the Kissinger story, Danny. Feel free to share more details about him, including your “almost fired” story.

    In The Solomon Scandals, I’ve got a very brief Kissinger reference about which I’ll leave you in suspense.


  3. David, I didn’t know about your quad bypass. That’s quite something to endure. Hope you are all better now. I’m afraid I haven’t read Solomon Scandals yet, but it’s still on my list. It’s great to see this blog. I think ebooks are going to get more and more popular. Thanks for being a pioneer of the first order.

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