I guess I should be leading with the boring, predicable results of the transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) . They were negative as expected. My heart is in good shape and not the source of any stroke. It was a relatively short and easy procedure. Mary accompanied me. I was given Versed, the drug that makes you sleep, or at least forget everything that happened while you were quasi-awake. I was really a little afraid because I was told I would need to be awake enough to swallow an ultrasound probe. I remember getting the spray that anesthetizes the throat but the rest, fortunately, is a blank. They decided to use a pediatric probe because of my messed-up esophageal anatomy and the possibility of some narrow passages.
With WMCAT over and my summer threatening to turn into autumn, I jumped into a couple of seasonal home projects. Number one was getting the pool open. That was easily accomplished by hiring a teenager to mop out the winter detritus and a pro to get all the mechanics going with all the proper maintenance tweaks that I otherwise might overlook. It always feels good to have a bubbling pool with clear water instead of a gaping hole littered with 8 months worth of tree debris. The second project was to finally convert that concrete, kidney-shaped, cracked wreck of a potential pond into a similar but functional pond that holds water, goldfish and maybe a turtle or two. I had attempted this a couple times before in previous using self conceived methods for patching cracks that seemed to make sense to a person who knows nothing about these sorts of things. This time, after powerwashing I invested in the over-priced pond-certified products that guarantee success; primarily, three coats of fish-safe, rubberized paint. It looked fantastic! But would it hold water? I could barely stand to wait the prescribed curing period.
The good news is that it holds water. The bad news is that it kills goldfish in relatively short order. I first tried three grocery store "feeder" goldfish. They cost 28 cents each but still they represented a life in my hands. They seemed so happy, exploring every inch of the pond, separating and regrouping in a mini-school. I watched them for a couple hours. After several hours break, I came back to find them all belly up. It was devastating! I talked to a friend who has worked in a pet store for 15 years and she offered to test the water. I brought in a sample and it passed all the tests with flying colors. We speculated that I might have gotten sick fish or maybe the city water was too fresh and full of chlorine, that now had clearly evaporated. She picked out 4, extra-healthy-looking and pretty "feeder" goldfish that I would be rescuing from a fate of being fed to pet piranhas. At the same time, Marlee brought home from school two large goldfish from her teacher's pond. They already had names so there was a bit of extra pressure there to succeed. This time, I followed a temperature adjusting procedure of floating the bags of water in the pond for 20 minutes. Once again, it was a joy to see them go from their claustrophobic little containers to the sprawling Ponderosa in my back yard. My friend Dave Hast was with me to witness. Four hours later, the little goldfish were dead. One more hour and the big ones were lying upside-down on the bottom. All I can figure is that the slotted concrete blocks i had placed in the bottom for raccoon shelter had been impregnated with some kind of poison during their tenure as lawn tripping hazards. So my plan is to pump out the water, remove the bricks, rinse out the pond, refill it, add some water plants and try again. Any fish lovers want to try and stop me?
I also accomplished my goal of getting my 83-year-old dad back on motorized wheels. We delivered a 50cc scooter to him and after a brief practice ride, followed him in a car to his local haunts. It felt like a success. His balance is still great and he can't get into too much trouble at a maximum of 25mph.
Chemo continues to be a drag on my energy levels but I am grateful that the side effects are minimal. Blood platelet levels continue to drop but not to serious levels yet. One side-effect of that is that I am subject to bleeding and bruising. I have some pretty sweet bruises commensurate with my klutziness. I also have about 8 days where ice-cold food and beverages are somewhat uncomfortable. I'm seeking out as much cold beer or ice cream as possible for the remaining days before the next infusion. The nausea is only slight and I still have my glorious locks of hair and robust appetite.