Page 14

Booming Voice

Heart to Heart Bill Levine

Recently, during my 9-year-old Boston terrier’s second echocardiogram appointment, I was not, unlike the first appointment, focusing on the intimacy of Cookie’s beating heart tissue and blood flow on the screen. At this six-month checkup there was less awe and more trepidation on my part. Cookie’s last echo showed that she had a leaking mitral valve, a bane of her breed, which indicated the beginning of congestive heart failure. Thus, this time I was paying more attention to Dr. M., the vet, as she jotted down numbers from the ultrasound procedure. I was hoping the numbers would add up to stability in Cookie’s condition. They didn’t. “Cookie’s leakage has increased since last time,� Dr. M. said with professional concern. Not wanting to dive into the ultimate prognosis, I waded into the shallow end of the pool, asking Dr. M. if we needed to change Cookie’s meds. She became more upbeat, saying that as long

as Cookie is not showing any symptoms, like shortness of breath, we could keep her on the same meds, and even if she did begin to retain fluid in her lungs, there were meds that could mitigate this congestion for a while. I looked at Cookie on the examining table, reassuring myself that she could jump off it, her leaping ability still half-cat and half-dog. Even at 9 ½, at home she still does the notstupid dog trick of jumping on a chair and then onto the dining table to pilfer my meal with a gastronomic interest ranging from salads to stroganoff. Then, when yelled at, she can, with aplomb, dive off the table to stake out her position for dessert. My initial echocardiogram four years before Cookie’s was nerve-wracking. A day out of surgery for a broken ankle, I was wheeled on a tortuous gurney journey to a deserted wing of the hospital, where the echo-cardio room resided. The echo was uneventful, except for the

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January 2018

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50plus LIFE York County January 2018  

50plus LIFE — formerly 50plus Senior News — is a monthly publication for and about Central Pennsylvania’s baby boomers and seniors, offering...

50plus LIFE York County January 2018  

50plus LIFE — formerly 50plus Senior News — is a monthly publication for and about Central Pennsylvania’s baby boomers and seniors, offering...