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Valentina Lisitsa La reine du piano

Valentina Lisitsa
La reine du piano

As you may already know, I collapsed yesterday at Riverpark Square while downtown to get a haircut. I was sitting drinking some coffee at Nordstrom’s when I felt a sudden dizzy feeling. And that was it, lights out, my defibrillator went off to counter an attack of ventricular fibrillation. When I came to on the floor there were people around me, and the paramedics had been called — the great guys from Firehouse #4 got there just in time for another round of v-fib. After that I was taken to the hospital. It was like some sort of crazy dream.

At the hospital they looked me over, put some fluids and medication in me, took an EKG and eventually an upload from my defibrillator. I had a long talk with the Guidant technician (who I actually knew from a few years back), and we discussed the event and the outcome. Strangely, this was the first time since getting an ICD in May 2007 that I had ever felt those cannon ball like shocks. Eventually the ER physician handling my case got in touch with Spokane Cardiology to see what they wanted to do. Doctor Goldberg being off, my former Doctor Fuhs handled the case. They suggested that I get checked in to the hospital. But I decided not to do that. Granted, I was definitely thinking about seeing (or the possibility of not seeing) Valentina Lisitsa the following night. But honestly, I was scared of more shocks. And I felt that at home I would be less nervous, and being less nervous there would be a lesser chance of going into v-fib again than if I were at the hospital and worried about the possibility of not seeing the concert. So I checked out and went home.

As it happened, that was the wrong decision. I spent most of the night fearful of more shocks and regretting I didn’t have the support of being in a hospital. So I toughed it out until this morning, then called Spokane Cardiology. The cardiologist on call got back with me and said that if I hadn’t had any shocks since yesterday morning then it was not likely I would have more, at least not right away. He said that if I did suffer more than one shock this weekend then of course I should call 911 and check into Sacred Heart. But if not, then it was totally acceptable in his view that I could just “lay low” (his words) this weekend until Dr. Goldberg could be brought in on Monday.

And so I had a decision to make about the Valentina Lisitsa concert. There is nothing that says that it is likely that I would go into v-fib if I attended the concert tonight. In which case I could live the dream I have had as a fan for many years — to finally meet Valentina, get an autograph, maybe even a photo with her. And of course hear her play live again.

But from yesterday I knew how fast those v-fib attacks can come on, and unannounced. Things might go okay if I attended the concert. But also, perhaps not. And we are not talking about a sudden wave of nausea where I could rather quietly leave my seat during the show. No, v-fib would knock me on my ass. The crowd would grow concerned. Eventually the music would stop while, once again, the EMTs made their way to me. Perhaps not likely, but still a possibility.

It would be bad for the concert-goers. And more particularly it would be bad for Valentina. With all of the political bullshit that has been going on lately I think, speaking as her loyal musketeer, that what she needs is a really successful concert on American soil amidst her fans. Something she could move forward with. And I do not want to risk being there and disturbing the good things that would hopefully flow from all that.

And so, this old musketeer has decided to take another lead ball in the leg for his Queen. Because sometimes that’s what you have to do. Even though it be unpleasant. Even though it might break your heart.

Ah, the things we do for love. And of course it’s not only about Valentina. It’s about my mom, too, considering that I am 60 percent her caregiver these days. And it’s about my beautiful doxie Sasha. Who would pick out Sasha’s meat if I wasn’t around, give her the nightly chew treats, or be there for her when she goes into one of her epileptic seizures? That I do not even want to think about.

And so I will stay home this weekend. I will “lay low.” I will watch Wonder Woman and Star Trek and Svengoolie. And eat a burrito. Not exactly the weekend I had been looking forward to for two years. But I am alive.

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