I was at a pharmacy. The  pharmacist (who looked more like a concessionaire at Pirate Daze than a pharmacist) looked up over the counter and exclaimed “You’re getting THESE? …. Wow!” Should’ve been a clue. I let it slide.

But that’s not where this story begins.

At about the start of this year, I downloaded a running app on my phone. If you ever want to get motivated to run, download an app. With plans to run a half marathon, I followed that silly app over bridges and around hills.


Tacoma Narrows Bridge.


Mackinac Bridge run, Michigan.


Rainbow Bridge. Niagara Falls, NY.

It does everything for you and all you have do is keep up the pace. If you’re even mildly competitive, you’ve just gotta get the edge on it. When I drive, I’m always trying to beat the time the GPS says I will arrive somewhere. Try to ignore, just follow directions. Not happening. Anyway, this running app makes you feel like you’re winning. It presents you with awards and color level achievements. I went from the 3rd green level to ALMOST the blue level (2.019 miles from blue!) and something went awry.

But that’s not where this story begins.

I’ve been dealing with a vision issue for about a year and a half. Posterior Vitreous Detachment. (PVD) I can get the surgery done anytime, the eye doc says. It’s going to be a long recovery, so I’m trying to set it up … whenever. (Perhaps AFTER I achieve the coveted BLUE LEVEL?) I still have some weddings on the books and what bride wants her photographer to show up wearing an eye patch?


I bought a professional cat-eye make up kit. That, and that swanky camera, and I'll bet you no one notices the eye patch.

I bought a professional cat-eye make up kit. That, and that swanky camera, and I’ll bet you no one notices the eye patch.



There was this house in the middle of nowhere in Colorado recently.


But this isn’t where this story begins.

I was working toward that half marathon. And I actually did it. At the very end, both of my eyes blanked out. I wasn’t dizzy, it was just a very weird thing. I considered sticking my phone in my mouth and taking a picture to share … it was like, there were outlines around most stuff, but the colors were gone and the in between space was black. There really wasn’t a way to get a picture though.

But that’s not where this begins either.

We were fostering this dog.

One azure blue eye.

One azure blue eye.

I think it was the day after the half marathon, I bent down to give this cutie a scratch and something started coming out of my nose. Fluorescent yellow fluid. I saved it so I could show Bob later. WebMD had tons of info about this stuff. Happens all the time. Of course the ONLY story I read was the lady who actually ended up have brain fluid leaking from her cranium, or something. That was way more interesting than, “Yeah. This happens all the time.” I let it slide.




That is not where this story begins either.

There was a nurse at the hospital. He was kind of a silly guy. Complained about his daughter not being able to get her shit together. She was making money, just eeking by,  selling her blood products to blood suppliers. I’m listening to this story as the bag of someone else’s blood platelets slowly snakes its way into my arm. I let it slide. At the time, I referred to it as a blood transfusion, but I’ve since learned it’s actually an INfusion. I’m infused, like a tea … or vodka!

Platelets (as Dr. Bradford from Tacoma General Hospital described to me) are these little miniature plate-looking things. Hence “platelets”. Tiny plates. I like the name. It’s cutsie and unscientific. Think about it. Scientists discover this stuff…. new species and stuff… and they have this grand opportunity to give this thing a name for all time. Sometimes they do right by it and give it an astounding name. Sometimes they squander their opportunity and call a bird a “red-winged-black-bird” (oh yeah, it rolls off your tongue now, but think about it. The ONE chance you get to name something cool and you come up with THAT?)

 But that’s not where this story begins.

One day, and I’m already realizing I think this is the middle part of the story. A part which had seemed at one time to be the beginning… my friend, Dana, and I were on “the island” at Tokeland. You can access “the island” at low tide and run dogs and have a great time and generally not be bothered.

Riley on the island.

The island.

Maybelle’s nose suddenly alerted to the water. (Hey! I think this IS where the story begins!) She was, like, “I’m getting me THAT!” It was a crab pot buoy. Out in the bay. At first it was funny. When she got half way there, it started getting somewhat serious. It wasn’t THAT far, but once she made her way out to the float, she gave up. She snapped her mouth onto that float and quit trying. She began floating along with the current, crying. I’d already begun setting my stuff aside – phone, jacket, keys. Dana doesn’t swim. I swam out there and snagged that stupid dog. Grabbed her head and undid her from the float, shoved her toward shore. She was forced to swim. Wouldn’t you know, she got halfway back and TURNED AROUND back toward the float. I grabbed her again and forced her in front of me. I did not get into this bay only to have Maybelle drown anyway. Afterward, on the beach, we were laughing about getting Dana swimming lessons for Christmas. Riley, Maybelle’s brother ran to me and jumped up – a tiny jump. A slight touch (for Riley). Sort of a “Thanks for saving my sister.” That’s how I took it. It was absolutely nothing.

At home … peeling off the wet clothes. What’s this? Where Riley had touched me, there was a HUGE bruise. I rarely bruise. I turned around.  In the mirror the back of my legs looked like I’d been hit by a truck. It was either later that day or the next day, I was sanding something. I hadn’t even actually cut myself. Wearing rubber gloves, my skin was somehow scratched. That glove filled with this weird goo… there was some red … but mostly, when I pulled the wet glove off, just weird goo.

So, I’ve been diagnosed with an immune system disorder. I went for a five mile run the morning I visited the doctor’s office. Blood samples were taken. I got a call on my way home from the doctor instructing me to go to the emergency room and I would be admitted. I felt fine. The first thing I packed was a gown. I knew this was going to be a boring hospital stay. There’s no hematology department in either of our hospitals out here, so I had to be transported to Tacoma. (Thanks Central Park District #2!)

Late nights in the hospital, messing around with pictures – Bob brought my camera gear later.


At the hospital they instructed me to don a gown. I’m, like, RIGHT ON!


Discharged! And I’m taking this facial tissue with me because my insurance paid for it!

This thing is called ITP. Some people get macho-sounding diseases, like “Crankenhammer’s syndrome” (I made that up), but I get something with “TP” in it. Low platelets. My blood doesn’t want to clot. My doctor says, “The survivors survive right?” (What exactly does that mean?)

 The first thing they do is they prescribe massive steroids. From what I’ve read this works for absolutely no one. The steroids are an azure shade of blue. When you’ve been prescribed such a beautiful-looking drug, you simply MUST have a gown to go with.

‘Roid rage leaves me with a constant Rage Against The Machine soundtrack in my head. Here’s my take on it:


Rally ’round your family. With a pocket full of [sea]shells.

Those steroids mess with your mind. Beer tastes harsh. I no longer like the taste of peanuts. Yet, I pick up dog poop from the yard and it smells just like fresh baked bread. Makes me hungry.




I wonder about my neighbor back at the hospital. Donna. She was supposed to be discharged in time to attend her family gathering. However, those doctors were running up and down hallways, popping in and out of rooms, dashing hopes like medical Whack-a-Mole.

Insurance willing, I’ll be staying at the Tacoma General Hospital-owned hotel “Treehouse” while they do the next treatments. The insurance… I’ll save that topic for another day. Probably won’t let that one slide.

So, don’t worry!