July, 2012

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Memories of Seattle

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

Remember me?  :)  My arm is healing well, although to type, I still have to stick my right elbow way out…otherwise I can’t turn my forearm enough to get my fingers to the keyboard…still, my motion is greatly improved and I’m allowed to drive which has been nice.  I really like my physical therapist and I enjoy the social aspect of therapy (you know, stuff like “what happened to you?” and “who’s your doctor?”) :).  The main concern now is regaining my ability to pronate and supinate (or as my doc says “pay the bill, take the tip”).  You never realize how important certain movements are until you’re challenged to relearn them.

Anyway, an update on my arm isn’t really the reason I’m writing this post.  I wanted to share a story I heard on the radio yesterday…it brightened my day and I hope it brings some sunshine to yours as well, even if you’ve never been to Seattle:  http://www.npr.org/2012/07/06/156209461/wish-you-were-here-city-kayaking-in-seattle (I recommend listening to it instead of reading it…he’s a wonderful storyteller).

I was so moved by the story, I looked up the author and sent him an e-mail.  If I were a writer, I would certainly want to know how much my writing impacted someone…so here’s what I wrote:

Dear Mr. Walter,

I was driving in my car yesterday when I was transported back to Seattle…well, not physically obviously, but figuratively.  I had been contemplating my week and worrying about the future when NPR introduced the most recent story in their “Wish You Were Here” series, “City Kayaking in Seattle”.  I smiled and reminisced as you shared your love of both Seattle and Lake Union.

Four years ago, I was getting ready to move to Seattle from Northern Virginia for four and a half months.  To be more specific, I was getting ready to move to South Lake Union to the Pete Gross House, where I would live while receiving my stem cell transplant at the Hutch.  My family and I fell in love with the city, not simply because it was where I regained my health, but because the beauty of the city and specifically Lake Union, restored our spirits.  When I first visited the Hutch prior to making the final decision about where I would have my transplant, I looked out from the waiting room and watched seaplanes landing in Lake Union and boats and kayakers making their way through the lake.  Despite the fact that I was 3,000 miles away from family and friends, I felt content…only a couple hours later, my parents, brother and I walked down to Chandler’s and made the decision to come to Seattle for the transplant.  We sat by the water, toasted to my health with iced teas and called family and friends to tell them Seattle would soon be my new temporary home.

Doctors suggested I walk at least one mile each day, so when we weren’t at the Hutch or the University of Washington, we eagerly explored our new neighborhood and the surrounding city.  I kept a blog during my stay, and many people commented that it felt more like a travel blog than an account of my medical experience.  Even when I was in hospital isolation for a week because I had been treated with high doses of radioactive iodine, I bragged about the view from my room…it looked right out onto the Cut…I could see through the hallway to another window where UW fans cheered on the football team.

I had been to almost all of the places you mentioned and your description was so vivid, I imagined myself there again.  Thank you so much for sharing it.

Julie Matthews

Here’s to Lake Union and the beautiful, beautiful city that I will always consider my second home.


PS My favorite bugs are back!  I heard my first katydid on the Fourth of July…it seemed so appropriate to hear them on the most celebrated of all summer days!  I highly recommend heading outside to listen to these beautiful bugs of summer (here’s a recording I found…I’m pretty sure I’ve included this same one on a previous blog:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Q7cx8i4lUk).