Seattle tried to kill Graham last night. After a 3am visit to the ER, oxygen, two breathing treatments, steroids, and a prescription for a rescue inhaler (finally!), he’s a little weak but mostly okay. Also, my next-door neighbor is a wiener.
Awhile back, Graham developed what seemed like allergy-induced asthma. He’d always reacted to strong allergens (like when he once fell asleep on a couch covered in cat hair and woke up wheezing for air), but ever since his bike accident and resulting facial reconstruction, it’s gotten worse. While intense exposure to cats (like, petting them for extended periods and then touching his face) still did the trick, other things did, too. Like mold, damp, heat, strong odors, or smoke. He had a pretty intense episode when we came to visit Seattle last December, but found a Primatene inhaler at the local grocery store and had been fine with a couple of hits per week ever since.
Then the inhaler ran out, and because they’re really bad for people and the environment, he couldn’t get another since they’d been taken off the market. So, when our friends’ long-haired cat provoked their long-haired dog on Thanksgiving in a house full of people, food odors, and smoke, Graham started having trouble breathing and, unlike all of the other times, it didn’t go away.
He’d been coughing and wheezing for a few days, the problem getting bad enough that he couldn’t lay down to sleep and eating made it even more uncomfortable. He’d made an appointment to go to Urgent Care this morning, but last night it was so bad that he couldn’t shuffle more than a few feet without wanting to collapse and couldn’t form a sentence without gasping for air. Swallowing the ugly thought of the bill, I decided that we were going to the emergency room.
Fortunately, there’s an ER right down the street from our place, so even though it was difficult to drive with my windshield all fogged up and no time to de-fog it, we got there quickly (partially due to Graham hanging his head out of the window for air and saying “Hurry up, but don’t kill us.”) and, because it was 3:30am, didn’t have to wait. Graham was in a wheelchair and hooked up to oxygen within 3 minutes of walking in the door, and when the doctor put a stethoscope to his back to listen to him breathe, he said “Oh, jesus.” It’s both gratifying and scary when a doctor says that. I mean, I like confirmation that we’re not wasting anyone’s time, but then I start thinking about what if we’d waited for Urgent Care, and how was I supposed to get Graham’s body out of the house?
We were there for an hour and some change to go through the breathing treatments, steroids, and whatever it is that Graham does to make hospital machines panic and assume he’s dying (he’s not, it just happens every time he’s hooked up to one). The doctor said that it probably wasn’t the cats, not really, but was probably environmental and in the meantime, Graham is not to smoke. Anything. Or be around it. Which is a bummer for him but it makes sense to me, because he always got worse after smoke exposure.
Like I said, he now has steroids and an inhaler with two refills (finally!), and he feels a little weak from coughing and wheezing for several days, but he’s good. This morning in bed, he rolled over, squeezed a boob (why else does anyone sleep together?), and said “thank you for saving my life.” Which he’ll retract when he sees the bill, but that’s fine.
Oh, and my neighbor? He’s taken to leaving passive aggressive notes on cars, telling people not to park in his driveway. Which isn’t actually his, because like the other driveways here (more like sloping sidewalks, Seattle is weird), they’re public spots and he rents. In every city, there are neighbors who are decent and there are neighbors who delusionally think they’re entitled to street parking spots, and it looks like we got the latter. He left a note on Mike’s car last night, so in retaliation, we wrote “WIENER” on it and threw it in his yard. That’s kind of passive aggressive, but it’s also funny and, most importantly, accurate.
I don’t put up with that kind of assholery, nor does Graham put up with a city whose environment tried to murder him. As he said, “Next time I catch Seattle with its dick out, I’m stepping on it.”