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06seruer readers are SMART PROGRESSIVE INVOLVED INFLUENTIAL GOOD LOOKING are \( sertier oavertisers r Get noticed by Texas Observer folks all over the state and nation. Let them know about your bookstore, service, restaurant, non-profit organization, event, political candidate, shoe store, coffee house, boutique, salon, yoga studio, law practice, etc. \(11 Q Th*Texas Observer ADVERTISE IN THE OBSERVER! REASONABLE RATES GREAT EXPOSURE Call 512-477-0746 and ask for Julia Austin or e-mail [email protected] 06server readers r Consider advertising your business or non-profit in the Observer. GOOD FOR YOU GOOD FOR THE OBSERVER that something wasn’t right, because he ordered a heart catheter probein Jackson, Mississippi. I couldn’t wait for the state to enter the 21st centurythe hospital had proved unable to so much as send me an e-mailand began doing research online. Experience has taught me that federal funding flows in direct proportion to political might. Given that Texans have occu pied top offices in the executive branch for 27 of the last 48 years, Texas should have made out well. Then I found out that the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center’s namesake was the pioneering surgeon who’d basically invented the coronary bypass and had been key in developing the artificial heart. Not only that, he’s still alive at 99, having himself undergone the surgery he invented, administered by someone he’d trained. When I discovered that the outspoken DeBakey had been placed on one of Richard Nixon’s infamous enemies lists, I was hooked. In my book, there’s no better recommendation than that. Though it took seven visits to cardiology, along with at least six follow-up calls, arrangements were finally made to get me seen in Houston. I’d been told the problem was that my heart wasn’t getting enough blood. I figured I’d have to get another stent, or a bypass. The flight was direct and smooth, my baggage arrived the same time I did, and the DeBakey Center provided a cab that drove me to a Howard Johnson’s a few miles away. I had the rest of the day off to relax. It felt fantastic to be back in civilization. The next morning, the motel’s shuttle took me to the hospital, where I went up to the third-floor cardiology department. The receptionist, Janice, smiled and addressed me by name before I even announced myself. My Filipina nurse, and pretty. The cardiovascular surgeon, Jose Baez, carefully answered all my questions with authority. He explained that of the three main heart arteries, one of mine was so naturally small as to be insignificant. The other twothe ones I’d been told were mostly blockedhad to carry the whole load. When I had my heart attacks, my heart was getting only about 20 percent of the blood it needed. He explained that the next morning they were going to give me a mild sedative and local anesthetic, cut the femoral artery, insert a thin probe, shoot some dye into my heart, take some pictures, and see was what happening in there. “Oh, so you’re going to talk to me 30 THE TEXAS OBSERVER MARCH 21, 2008