Elizabeth attached a strip of packing tape to the box she had just filled and sealed it securely. Then she fetched an empty box from the dining area and set it next to her stack of CDs in the living room.
She wrapped them in paper and packed them in the box, and then remembered that one was missing from the stack. She retrieved the case for William’s jazz CD from its undignified resting place in a dusty corner on the floor, where it had landed when she threw it last night.
She ran her finger over a new crack in the case, and gazed at the cover photo of a pensive William at the piano. A deep sense of shame came over her, and she stood up and went into the bedroom with a sudden sense of purpose.
She dialed quickly before she had a chance to reconsider. At first she was disappointed when Sonya’s voice delivered the voicemail greeting. But on the other hand, it might be easier to talk uninterrupted.
“Hi, William. It’s Elizabeth. I’ve been thinking about last night, and I’d like to talk, if you still want to. I’ll be home all day, and tonight, too. If you could call—or better yet, stop by so we can talk in person—I’d like that.”
And now she would have to wait. If he called back, they would work things out one way or another. And if he didn’t … she would have proof that he had no further interest in her. Either way, at least she would know.
She returned to her packing with renewed energy. Charlotte had been right about calling William; Elizabeth felt much better.
“There they are!” Mrs. Reynolds exclaimed.
Richard saw Georgiana hurrying toward him, followed by Rose, moving at a brisk but more dignified pace.
Georgiana accepted the hug Mrs. Reynolds offered. “Is he …?”
“He’s going to be fine, dear,” Mrs. Reynolds assured her. “They’re taking good care of him.”
“What happened?” Rose asked.
“We were running in the park,” Richard said. He tried to sound calm, but his heart still hadn’t stopped racing. “He was having trouble catching his breath. We walked for a while and he seemed better, but then he started running again, and with almost no warning he keeled over. I called 911.”
“Is Dr. Rosemont here?” Rose asked
“She arrived a few minutes ago,” Mrs. Reynolds replied.
“How soon can we see him?” Georgiana asked, clutching Mrs. Reynolds’s hand.
“The doctor is examining him, dear,” Mrs. Reynolds answered, patting her hand. “They’ll come and get us when we can see him.”
“Have they given you any idea what’s wrong? I assume it’s related to his heart.” Rose’s voice was calm, but anxiety showed in the tight lines around her eyes.
Richard fidgeted with a loose thread on the hem of his sweat-stained Yale tee shirt. The whole experience had unnerved him beyond anything he could remember. “They haven’t told us anything yet.”
“Gran, why would you think it’s his heart?” Georgiana asked, frowning.
Mrs. Reynolds smiled. “Don’t let it worry you, dear. He’s going to be just fine.” She turned to Rose. “Mrs. Darcy, why don’t you sit down? We could be waiting a while.”
Rose took Mrs. Reynolds’s advice and seated herself. “Did he regain consciousness while you were with him?” she asked Richard.
“Yes. He came around pretty quickly; I was still on the phone with 911 when he opened his eyes. He tried to convince me to cancel the call, and he was pretty annoyed when I wouldn’t.”
“You did the right thing,” Rose told him. “Though I wish you had convinced him to stop running before this happened.”
“I tried, Gran, but you know how stubborn he can be.” Richard wouldn’t admit that he had been blaming himself for the same thing for the past hour.
Silence fell as they sat together, helpless to do anything but wait.
“How are you feeling?” Dr. Rosemont asked William. She stood beside his bed inspecting an EKG read-out.1
William was too frightened to conceal the truth. He pulled the oxygen mask away from his face. “I’m having trouble catching … my breath and it’s ….” The oxygen mask was helping a little, but his chest was still heaving.
“I know it’s unpleasant and frightening. I’ve ordered some medication that should help. I know it sounds impossible, but if you can manage to relax at all, it will help.”
“Why is … this happening?”
“From the EKG, you appear to be in congestive heart failure.”
Fear gripped William’s insides. I knew it. “It’s my … heart valve, isn’t it?”
Dr. Rosemont raised her eyebrows. “Is that what you think?”
“I’ve suspected it for … a while.”
“It could be the valve,” she said, her expression thoughtful, “but there are other possibilities. I’m sorry to make you talk when you’re out of breath, but I need to verify your symptoms. I’ll use yes or no questions as much as I can; feel free to just nod or shake your head. Have you been having frequent headaches?”
“Do they feel like something pounding in your head?”
He nodded again.
“How long ago did they start?”
William held up three fingers.
“Three weeks ago. Okay.
He removed the oxygen mask and said, “Months.”
“This has been going on for three months?” Her eyes narrowed.
He replaced the mask, nodding. He had known she would be annoyed at his procrastination.
“What about dizzy spells?”
He shook his head.
“And the breathlessness? It happens mainly while exercising?”
He nodded once more, following it up with a quiet groan. It felt like someone had placed an iron weight on his chest.
“Any leg cramps?”
He shook his head, but on further reflection, he raised a finger and nodded.
“Okay. Let’s get your pulse and blood pressure.”
She checked his pulse at his neck, wrist, and upper thigh and took multiple blood pressure readings as well. She finished these tests and then nodded. “That’s what I thought. A large pressure gradient, plus a weak lower-body pulse.”
William raised his eyebrows in a silent question.
“Your coarctation,” she said. “I think it’s recurred.”
He stared at her. He had convinced himself that his defective heart valve had finally failed for good.
“It happens sometimes. I’ll order some tests to confirm it.”
Despite the fear of doctors he had developed during his extensive childhood experience with medical professionals, William had formed an enduring doctor-patient relationship with Teresa Rosemont, his cardiologist. Her cheerful, no-nonsense style suited him, and he trusted her advice on medical matters, even if he sometimes failed to follow it.
“Will I need … surgery again?” he asked, surprised by how calmly he asked the question.
“I can’t say for sure yet, but probably not. These days we have good non-surgical alternatives. But let’s get the test results first, and then we’ll discuss treatment options.”
A nurse came in carrying three tiny bottles and some syringes. Dr. Rosemont spoke briefly to the nurse and then addressed William. “The nurse is going to give you the meds I ordered. They should help your breathing and also lower your blood pressure.”
He frowned and lifted the oxygen mask again. “I took my blood pressure … medication this morning.”
“You need something stronger right now. I’ve also ordered a sedative to relax you.” She touched his arm in a comforting gesture. “I’m going to go order the tests and arrange to have you admitted to the CCU. Don’t worry. We’re going to take good care of you.”
“Promise?” He had intended it as a joke, but he found himself waiting for her answer.
“Absolutely. You still haven’t recorded that Khachaturian piano concerto I’ve been bugging you about, and I have no intention of letting you get out of doing that.”
The nurse began injecting the medications into William’s IV line. He settled back against the pillows and, despite his labored breathing, did his best to relax.
Later that afternoon, William was resting in a private room in the hospital’s Cardiac Care Unit, his breathing much improved. He had graduated from the oxygen mask to a cannula, a slender tube attached to his nostrils. At least, he thought that was what the nurse had called it. At first it had sounded like “canneloni.” Mamma loved canneloni, didn’t she? I should ask Mrs. Reynolds to make me some.
It had been like this since the sedative took effect. He drifted in and out of awareness, finding it difficult to concentrate when people spoke to him and not making much sense even to himself. There was something he needed to do, something that had been flitting through his consciousness but vanishing before he could grab hold of it, leaving behind a sense of unease.
Richard and Georgie were seated in his two visitor chairs. He thought he remembered them telling him that the others were in the waiting room down the hall. He reached out for a memory from earlier in the day, trying to grasp it. Yes, there it was. The nurse had been willing to waive the usual two-visitor limit as long as the group stayed quiet, but Gran had protested, “William needs peace and quiet, not the six of us stumbling around making noise. We’ll take turns.”
He was sure she was enforcing the law with the enthusiasm of a general on the battlefield. He imagined her dressed up like General Patton, complete with a pith helmet, and he chuckled.
“Did you say something, Will?” It sounded like Georgie.
“Just a funny thought.” Was that his voice? It sounded thick and slurred, not like him at all.
He closed his eyes, and the next time he opened them, Gran and Sonya were in the chairs. Unfortunately, the face he most wanted to see, the one that had begun to appear in his confused dreams, was absent.
Elizabeth. At last, the elusive source of his unease crystallized in his mind. What if she had decided to call? Was it still Thursday? Did he have his cell phone? Where was it? He couldn’t remember seeing it since the night before.
“Sonya,” he said, his hoarse voice seeming to come out in slow motion.
He cleared his throat and concentrated on forming his words distinctly. “I need you to do something. My cell phone.”
“What about it?”
“Bring it to me.”
“Why? You hate that thing. I usually have to beg you just to leave it turned on.”
He lacked the mental acuity to invent an excuse and the truth was too embarrassing. “I need it.”
“There’s a phone here in the room. Besides, if you have any calls to make, just tell me and I’ll handle them. If it’s about Tanglewood this weekend, don’t worry, it’s taken care of. Maestro Ozawa sends his best wishes for a speedy recovery.”
“No, that’s not it.” Tanglewood? Ozawa? Oh, that’s right, I’m supposed to go to Boston. On Friday? Yes, on Friday, after Lizzy is gone. No, after Elizabeth is gone. I’m not supposed to call her Lizzy anymore.
Sonya was still talking; he wondered how much he had missed. “Were you expecting a call? Because if you need me to check your messages, I will.”
“No.” What if Elizabeth called, not to make peace, but to berate him further, and Sonya heard the message? “Just bring me my phone,” he murmured, rubbing his bleary eyes.
“I’m afraid cell phones aren’t permitted in the CCU.” William and his visitors looked up to see Dr. Rosemont standing in the doorway. “They make too much noise, and they can interfere with some of the equipment,” She stepped into the room, glancing at the monitors above William’s bed, which displayed his vital signs. “How are you feeling?”
“Better,” he sighed, struggling to stay alert and beginning to win the battle; the sedative seemed to be wearing off. “Are the test results in?”
“Yes, and it’s as I expected. Would you like the whole family to hear this?”
He nodded. “Sonya, would you go get the others?” This would break the two-person role, but General Gran didn’t seem to object.
Sonya returned with Richard, Georgiana, and the Reynoldses trailing close behind. Georgie walked up to the bed, grasped William’s hand, and gave him a tremulous smile.
Dr. Rosemont looked around the room. “I assume everyone here is familiar with William’s medical history?”
Rose shook her head. “Georgiana isn’t.”
Dr. Rosemont looked at William, one eyebrow raised. “Should I?”
William nodded. He and Rose had decided to protect her from this information until now, but it couldn’t be kept from her any longer.
Dr. Rosemont nodded back. “All right, then. William was born with a congenital defect called coarctation of the aorta. Do you know what the aorta is, Georgiana?”
Georgiana nodded. “Sure. We studied the circulatory system in biology.”
“A normal aorta is quite large, but William’s had a constricted section. Sometimes we find the problem as soon as a baby is born, and then we can fix it right away. But in William’s case, he wasn’t diagnosed till … how old were you?”
“He was two when we first noticed the symptoms,” Rose interjected. “It took several months before the doctors identified the cause.”
“Diagnostic techniques weren’t as good then as they are today,” Dr. Rosemont said. “Coarctation creates all sorts of problems, because the heart has a hard time pumping blood to the rest of the body, so it used to be misdiagnosed pretty often.”
“He was a very sick little boy for quite a while, the poor dear,” Mrs. Reynolds remarked.
Dr. Rosemont nodded and then continued. “Once the doctors figured out the problem, William had surgery to correct it. But occasionally it recurs years later, and that’s what has happened.”
Georgiana looked at William, her eyes huge. “You have to have surgery again?”
William waited for the answer; he was wondering the same thing.
“Not this time,” Dr. Rosemont said. “We’re going to insert a little mesh tube called a stent into the aorta. We thread a wire through the circulatory system with the stent attached, just a flat piece of mesh. Once we get it to the site of the constriction, we open it like a balloon, and that should hold the constricted area open.”1
“When will you do the procedure?” William asked.
“I have my PA checking the cath lab schedule; I hope to get you in there some time tomorrow. If all goes well, you may be able to go home as early as Saturday.”
“It fixes the problem that fast?” Richard asked.
“The results are usually quick. But I may want to keep William here for an extra day or two. This problem has been building for a while, and we need to make sure there hasn’t been any damage to his heart or kidneys.”
“What about the defective heart valve?” William asked.
Georgiana shot him a bewildered look. “You have a defective heart valve, too?”
Dr. Rosemont nodded. “It’s common for people with coarctation to also have that issue. Malformed valves can wear out faster than normal ones, so he may need to have it replaced one day. But so far it seems to be holding its own.”
Silence fell over the room. Dr. Rosemont looked around. “Any other questions?” She paused, but no one spoke. “If you think of anything, don’t hesitate to ask William’s nurse to contact me.” She turned to William. “I need to go back to my office, but I’ll stop by around dinnertime to check on you. I should know by then when the procedure is going to take place.”
“Thank you, Doctor,” Rose said, and the others joined in the chorus.
Dr. Rosemont nodded. “You’re welcome. Get some rest, William. That’s the best thing you can do right now.”
Elizabeth looked up from the box of clothing she was packing and checked the time. Although it was late in the afternoon and she had called William before lunchtime, he hadn’t responded.
He had told her that he hated his cell phone, so perhaps he rarely checked for messages. Still, if he was hoping to hear from her, he would have watched more closely. Heaven knows she had been listening carefully for the phone to ring!
Unless he had changed his mind. But what possible reason could he have to avoid the shrieking psycho who attacked him last night?
She decided to call him again, in case the first message had gotten lost. She dialed his number and, as before, heard Sonya’s voicemail greeting.
“William? It’s Elizabeth again. I don’t mean to bother you … I just wasn’t sure if you’d gotten my first message. I was hoping to talk to you before I leave for California. I know I suggested earlier that you could come over, but if you’d rather not, it’s okay. Maybe we could just talk on the phone. Anyway, please call me. Bye.” How ironic. She had thrown him out, told him she never wanted to see him again, and now she was the one begging for attention.
Voices echoed in the living room. Sally was home, and from the sound of things she had company. Before Elizabeth had a chance to investigate, Sally entered the bedroom.
“Here you are,” Sally said. “How’s the packing going?”
“We thought we’d give you a hand until we have to go to work.”
Jon poked his head through the doorway. “Okay if I come in?”
“Like it would stop you if I said no,” Elizabeth teased.
“Good point.” Jon strolled into the bedroom. “How’s it going?”
Elizabeth forced herself to smile. “Just great.”
“And how was last night?” Jon gave her a knowing smile. “Did the earth move?”
“There was no activity on the Richter scale,” Elizabeth retorted.
Sally smirked at Jon. “You owe me ten bucks.”
“And how was your ‘audition’?” Elizabeth asked with a smirk of her own.
Sally shook her head. “That crazy story was Jon’s idea. He thought if I cleared out, maybe you and William would be … what was your word?”
“Inspired.” Jon inspected himself in the mirror above the dresser. “But it sounds like it was all in vain.”
“Everything’s okay, though, right, Lizzy?” Sally asked.
“Of course. Why do you ask?”
“You look kind of tired and stressed out,” Sally said.
“I didn’t get much sleep last night.”
Sally nodded. “We all stayed up too late. So, can we help you with some packing?”
“Most everything is done, really, except the stuff that’s going on the plane with me. But could you see if I left anything in the hall closet?”
Sally nodded and left the room.
“Can I do your underwear drawer?” Jon asked. He wore a huge grin.
“Oh, like you’d care about that.”
“Of course I would. I love to look at pretty, lacy things.”
“You mean you love to try them on?” Elizabeth opened another drawer and found some items she had missed.
“That’s not my style at all” he retorted, puffing out his chest. “I’m much too studly to look good in lace.”
“I’m going to miss you,” she said, smiling. Jon had a talent for lifting her spirits.
“Same here, sweetie. You know I love you, right?”
She fought back the tears stinging her eyes. “Yes,” she whispered in a choked voice.
“Aw, now don’t cry, or you’re going to make me cry too,” he cajoled, wrapping her in his muscular arms.
Elizabeth clung to him tightly, a few tears rolling down her cheeks before she was able to regain control of herself. “I love you too,” she sniffled.
Sally returned to the room. “Is it time for a group hug?” she asked.
Elizabeth laughed through her tears. “Sounds good to me.”
“I swear, sometimes I think that woman has ice water in her veins,” Mrs. Reynolds sniffed.
“Now, Marcia, she just believes that you do your duty, no matter what,” Sonya replied.
Rose Darcy was the topic of conversation in the kitchen. Despite Mrs. Reynolds’s suggestion that Rose return home to rest, the indomitable woman had gone directly from the hospital to a charitable foundation board meeting.
Mrs. Reynolds set a plate of chocolate chip cookies on the table. “All I know is, it seemed insensitive for her to go to a meeting while that poor boy lies in a hospital bed fighting for every breath.”
Sonya almost laughed. Marcia could be so melodramatic sometimes. “William’s doing much better. Besides, she can’t do anything for him tonight, so why not live up to her other obligations? Stiff upper lip, the show must go on, that sort of thing.”
“Yes, yes,” Mrs. Reynolds said, sounding impatient.
“I think this is how she copes; she carries on as though everything is normal. But did you see her face when we left his room tonight? She’s as worried as the rest of us.”
“I know she loves him. I just wish she’d show it sometimes. Love isn’t worth much if you hide it away where nobody can see it.”
“Maybe she knows William is an adult and doesn’t need to be mothered or fussed over,” Sonya suggested with a sly smile, knowing what she would hear in response.
“You’re never too old for some mothering.”
Sonya grinned. “He’s lucky to have you to take care of that.”
Allen strolled into the kitchen and joined them at the table. Mrs. Reynolds poured him a cup of coffee while he helped himself to a cookie.
“Sonya and I need to be at the hospital no later than six in the morning,” Mrs. Reynolds told him. “They said they’d start prepping him for his procedure at about six thirty, and we want to see him first.”
“No problem,” Allen replied. “Is it just the two of you, or will Mrs. Darcy and Georgiana be coming too?”
“Mrs. Darcy hasn’t mentioned it, but I’m sure she’ll come. I told Georgie to wait till the afternoon, when he’ll be back in his room. I don’t want her having to hang around for hours worrying about him.”
“I think she’ll be fine, if she wants to come.” Sonya did her best to combat the tendency in the Darcy house to treat Georgiana like a timid seven-year-old. “And William would be glad to have her there.”
“We’ll see,” Mrs. Reynolds said in a dismissive tone. Obviously her mind was made up. “By the way, Allen, I’m planning to stay at the hospital till late afternoon, and then I have to come back here to fix dinner. I’m going to need you to go to the market and run some errands.”
“Who’s taking care of the house?” Allen asked.
“Serena said she could be here by nine.” Serena was the part-time maid who assisted Mrs. Reynolds. “Until then, you’ll have to manage. I’d rather not leave the house in that girl’s hands again tomorrow, but I don’t know what else to do.”
“She was here minding the store most of the day today, and she didn’t burn the place down,” Sonya said, winking at Allen.
Allen chuckled, and Mrs. Reynolds eyed them with a long-suffering air.
Sonya yawned. “I think I’m going up to bed. It’s been a tiring day.” She was staying in a guest room overnight due to their early start the next morning.
Mrs. Reynolds put a hand on Sonya’s arm. “Before you go, we have to make a decision about calling his friends.”
With all the patience she could muster, Sonya said, “We already discussed this. And as I said earlier, I agree about contacting Charles Bingley. In fact, it’s still early enough on the west coast. I’ll go up to my office and try to reach him now.”
“Did you clear this with William?” Allen asked.
“I’m sure William wouldn’t object,” Sonya replied. “Charles is supposed to go to Pemberley with William next week, and this will almost certainly change their plans, so he needs to know.”
Allen grunted and nodded.
“And Elizabeth Bennet?” Mrs. Reynolds asked, folding her arms across her chest.
Sonya almost laughed aloud at the intensity of Marcia’s challenging stare. “You see, Allen, your wife and I disagree on this point. She thinks I should call Elizabeth, but I think that should be William’s decision.”
Mrs. Reynolds blew air between her tightly compressed lips. “Imagine how thrilled he’d be to wake up and find her holding his hand. He’d thank us.”
“Maybe, maybe not,” Sonya said. “What if he doesn’t want her to know he’s in the hospital?”
“Why on earth wouldn’t he want her to know?”
“They only just started dating, and you know how William is about his medical issues.”
“I agree with Sonya,” Allen said. “William should decide about telling Ms. Bennet.”
“Well, of course I can count on you to disagree with me.” Mrs. Reynolds scowled at her husband. “But what if they were supposed to go on a date tonight? The poor girl is probably at home crying her eyes out, thinking he stood her up. Maybe that’s why he wanted his cell phone, to call her and explain.”
Sonya shook her head. “I specifically asked if there were any calls he needed me to make, and he said no.”
“Then why do you think he wants the phone?” Mrs. Reynolds asked.
Sonya shrugged. “Maybe he was expecting a call.”
Mrs. Reynolds’s face lit up. “Of course! A call from Elizabeth! We have to find out.”
“There you go again.” Allen said, shaking his head. “Privacy be damned; my wife wants to know what’s going on.”
“Oh, hush,” Mrs. Reynolds said tartly. “Sonya, you should check his messages.”
“I can’t,” Sonya said, “William specifically told me not to do that. Perhaps this is something he wants kept private.”
“Like a message from Elizabeth Bennet.” Mrs. Reynolds stood up and carried her coffee cup over to the sink. “All the more reason to call her.”
Sonya shook her head. “Sorry, Marcia. William can handle it tomorrow. He’s always been very clear about his privacy.”
Mrs. Reynolds stood at the sink with her back to Sonya, but she made her disapproval clear through a heavy sigh and some very loud clattering of dishes. It hadn’t been as clear-cut a decision as Sonya had indicated. She knew that Elizabeth’s departure for New York was imminent. But she also knew that William would resent anything that even vaguely resembled interference in his personal life.
“I thought he couldn’t remember where he left his phone,” Allen said.
“That’s right,” Mrs. Reynolds called over from her station at the sink. “We have to find it.”
“I don’t understand,” Allen said, his frown deepening. “If you don’t have the phone, how would you check his messages, even if you wanted to?”
“There’s a voicemail number you can call,” Sonya explained.
“Then why does William need the phone in the first place?” Allen looked and sounded baffled.
“He’s not exactly a cell phone expert,” Sonya said with a smile. “So he probably doesn’t know about the other way to get messages. I mean, he never showed much interest in his cell phone until—”
“Until Elizabeth Bennet came on the scene,” Mrs. Reynolds interrupted. “Which is why we should—”
“It’s going to have to wait till tomorrow, Marcia,” Sonya said, standing up abruptly. She was tired of arguing the point. “Good night; I’ll see you in the morning.”
An uneasy peace reigns over hospitals late at night. The atmosphere cannot truly be described as quiet, with monitors beeping and nurses moving from room to room, checking on their patients. Yet compared to the daytime bustle of doctors making rounds, orderlies with meal carts, patient-room televisions blaring, and visitors wandering the halls, a peculiar hush descends over the rooms and hallways in the hours before dawn.
On this night, a tall, rotund maintenance employee in green scrubs and paper booties pushed a floor cleaning machine in small circles through the halls of the Cardiac Care Unit, adding the sharp chemical smell of floor polish to the bouquet of odors instantly recognizable as the smell of a hospital. A patient somewhere in the darkness coughed repeatedly.
William processed these stimuli at a subconscious level, but his mind was more agreeably engaged.
He heard a noise and opened his eyes. Elizabeth stood in the doorway.
“William?” she said in an anxious tone, her face etched with worry. She hurried across the room to his bedside and grasped his hand tightly. With her other hand, she caressed his cheek. “I came as soon as I heard. I was so worried.”
“I’m sorry about last night,” he whispered.
“I’m sorry, too. I misjudged you; I know that now. I just want you to get better so we can be together.”
“I’m going to be fine, now that you’re here. I love you, Lizzy.”
She leaned over, kissing him gently. “I love you, too.”
He reached up and stroked her face. “I wish I could hold you,” he whispered.
She smiled, a conspiratorial gleam in her eyes. She began to fiddle with the bed rail, finally lowering it. William slid over to make room and she stretched out beside him, drawing him into her arms. With a contented sigh, he rested his head on her shoulder.
“Go back to sleep,” Elizabeth murmured, stroking his hair. “I’m here, and we’ll get through this together. You’re not alone anymore.”
William opened his eyes. He heard a rustling noise beside his bed. “Lizzy?” he murmured.
“It’s Kathy, your nurse, Mr. Darcy. I didn’t mean to disturb you; I’m just checking your IV.” She bustled around the room, hanging a new bottle of saline solution on the pole beside his bed. “Are you all right? Is there anything you need?”
William shook his head. “No, thank you.”
“Try to go back to sleep. If you have trouble, let me know. Dr. Rosemont left an order for more of the sedative in case you needed it.”
Kathy turned off the light and departed, leaving William with no company but the steady beep of his heart monitor. He longed to re-immerse himself in his dream—or fantasy—of Elizabeth, but now he was wide awake. He lay alone in the dark listening to the distant whine of the floor polisher and the quiet footsteps in the hallway, Frank Sinatra’s voice echoing in his head:
That’s the time you miss her most of all.
1 A disclaimer: The medical information contained in this chapter and those to follow is based on my naïve attempts to understand and synthesize dozens of web sites and medical journal articles. Some of this is probably wrong, but I did my best and I think I got pretty close.
2 If you’re interested, click here for a diagram showing the use of a stent to correct coarctation.