“I have to climb Kangzhag Ri.”
Dr. Szalinski shook his head. “No way. Your heart can’t take it.”
“I’m making these plans, doc. I’m here to get a target ejection fraction.”
“You’ve had this disease since you were two, Joan, you know your limits.”
“It was done in twenty seven days in 2007. I’ve been practicing. How low? Eighty five? Seventy five?”
Dr. Szalinski throws his hand up in the air. “There is no number. Healthy people have died scaling mountains. Get your adventure some other way.”
“You can’t stop me.”
“I won’t help you kill yourself.”
“I don’t want to die. I want to live.”
“I don’t understand you, Joan. I don’t think I ever have.”
“You don’t need to understand me to tell me the risks.”
The cardiologist takes a deep breath, filling his healthy ventricles with oxygen-rich blood.
“Did you get this crazy idea from a new boyfriend?”
“I will make it.”
He thinks she’s joking. She says it like she is. But the conversation ends when Joan leaps out of the chair.
“Take it easy, doc.”