I'm no good at being in a hospital and not on the time clock. After 20 years, when I'm in a hospital I want to DO THINGS. Things that visitors can't do, aren't supposed to know how to do, and certainly aren't supposed to want to do. There was an emergency on John's unit today; I sat there gritting my teeth and repeating to myself, "I'm not on the clock. I'm not on the clock . . ." Nurses are nice to me; after determining that I'm harmless, they let me do lots nursing things for John. Doctors are nice to me; they speak medical shorthand to me and I translate when John needs it, which isn't often after 34 years with me.
I must still ooze hospital from my pores - today a cafeteria cashier asked me if I wanted to pay with my employee card. I do still have the walk. John says that we'll be walking along together at the same speed, and when we walk through a hospital door my walking speed increases and I leave him behind. And I feel so at home in a hospital - any hospital, but the bigger the better. Today when I came back with my lunch I walked right past John's room; I was looking at the storage layout of the unit. Hospitals are in my blood. There's just nothing to be done about it.
Now to update everybody on John: After a bunch of testing they have demonstrated and quantified his mitral valve stenosis, and decided that they can repair the valve instead of replacing it. It will be a cath lab procedure instead of heart surgery, which is always preferable. They will thread a catheter from his femoral vein (the one in the groin) up to the right side of his heart into his right atrium, through the atrial septum to his left atrium, and then to the mitral valve. They will inflate a balloon in the valve opening, to spread the valve leaflets out and let more blood get through. His cardiologist said that surgery can be done if necessary, but this is certainly worth a try and will almost certainly do the trick. His mitral stenosis is quite severe, which is what I've been telling everybody, no matter how minimal it looked on echo.
Nothing will happen tomorrow, so we'll just be hanging out. We really enjoy just hanging out together. They'll do the valve on Friday or Monday, depending on the schedule. He should go home all fixed up. And I'll have learned my way around another med center. Off the clock.