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.