Here's "just a taste" that I hope will whet your appetite:
Hope’s high heels clicked against the tile floor and reverberated in the emptiness as she hurried down the medical clinic’s long corridor. She glanced at her watch and grimaced. Great! Late for her appointment with her new doctor. Some first impression she’d make. The thought brought an immediate chuckle. Silly her for thinking doctors ever sat and waited for their patients.
Her moment of glee faded and her palms dampened at the prospect of the ritualistic feminine torture called an exam. On the menu today loomed the dreaded mammogram. That test had to have been developed by a man with a genuine hatred for women. Another female would never think of putting a ‘sister’ through such agony. She clasped her breast in anticipation and grimaced. If only she was on a beach in Hawaii instead of feeling like she was on her way to the gallows.
A slight pause before entering Dr. Carlson’s suite helped fortify her for the coming trial. It seemed odd to see an unfamiliar name on the wall plaque, especially since she’d been a patient of Dr. Daniel Smith’s for so many years. She blinked back tears, feeling she’d lost an old friend.
After a deep breath, she turned the knob and stopped in the doorway to gaze at the packed waiting area. All eyes turned to inspect her, sending a warming flush up her neck. With a forced smile, she crossed the ecru carpeting, wrote her name on the check-in list, and searched for an empty seat. The only remaining one was in the far corner next to the water cooler. Convenient, since the long walk from the parking lot left her feeling parched.
Hope traversed the room, avoiding the crossed and puffy feet clogging the aisle. It appeared she was the only person there who wasn’t pregnant… and clearly the oldest. Why didn’t OB/GYN doctors have separate waiting rooms? She felt like the lone spotted pup in a litter of black ones, only not quite so cute.
Rather than leave her chair, she stretched across the armrest to fill a cup. The water soothed her dry throat but did little to quell the nervous feeling in her stomach. Despite being familiar with the process, it still made her queasy. She glanced at the door and took the last sip of water, fighting the urge to leave.
Her gaze searched for and found the trash receptacle about six feet away. Not eager to become the object of unwanted stares again, or lose her seat, she wadded the pleated paper into a ball and risked a rim shot at the can. Luckily, the cup teetered on the wastebasket’s edge then fell inside. Another woman watched from the other side of the room. Hope shrugged her shoulders and flashed a childlike grin, then sheepishly picked up a magazine. While she absentmindedly thumbed through the pages, her gaze wandered to the swollen belly of the young lady next to her.
A pang of sadness stabbed at Hope’s heart. The girl probably had a husband…and a home that would soon hold a complete family. Thoughts of Alan, her beloved husband taken three years ago in an automobile accident, blurred Hope’s eyes. Although she’d prayed for children for years, they’d never been able to conceive. Evidently God hadn’t heard her pleas.
At forty-nine and a widow, the parent ship sailed long ago. The only baby in her life was Chloe, her Maltese puppy. She blew an upward stream of air to dry her eyes then surveyed the crowd. Opening the magazine again, she settled in for a long wait.
The reception window opened with a squeal reminiscent of fingernails on a blackboard. She shivered and flashed back to grammar school—an amazing recollection given the time passed.
“Hope Harrison?” the woman behind the counter called.
Hope went to the window. “That’s me.”
The gray-haired receptionist handed her a clipboard. “I need you to fill this out. Since you’re a new patient, we need to update your file.”
“But…but I’m not new, the doctor is.”
The elder woman clearly forced an impatient smile. “Well, dear, you’re new to the doctor, so please…”
Hope accepted the form and turned in time to see someone claiming her seat. Her feet hurt from being stuffed into pretentious shoes she never should have worn, and now she had no place to sit.
She glanced around the room, counting patients. How many did this doctor see in a day? The wait would take forever. Maybe she should reschedule. There! She’d found the reason she needed. Stacks of tapes at home were in need of transcription. Just as she convinced herself to take flight, a nurse appeared in the doorway and summoned her.
Hope’s eyes widened. How could that be? She’d been one of the last to arrive. She waved the clipboard at the woman. “But, I haven’t completed my form yet.”
“That’s okay. Follow me and you can finish in the exam room.”
They stopped first at the scale. Hope grimaced, but stepped on and closed her eyes. Her efforts to remain in the dark were for naught when the nurse announced her weight for all to hear. Hope’s cheeks warmed, but at least she knew why her clothes felt a little tighter. She’d gained fifteen pounds since last time she’d stepped on a scale. When had that been?
The nurse motioned toward an open door.
Hope sat in the lone chair and completed her paperwork. Her eyes occasionally wandered to the draped table and waiting stirrups; dread gnawed at her. She still had time to leave. But, with a deep breath, she squared her shoulders. Fleeing was a preferable choice, not an option. It wasn’t like she was the only woman in the world who endured this torture. Besides, what could be worse than finding out she didn’t weigh one-twenty-five anymore? She’d weighed that since her wedding. Visions of Jenny Craig and NutriSystem flashed through her mind.
“Be brave,” the little angel on her right shoulder whispered in her ear. She turned a deaf ear to the little devil on her left shoulder who encouraged her to run like the wind.