Thursday, January 09, 2020

The Best Medicine by Dellani Oakes - Part 1


Tanya O'Toole is a radiologist who works wicked hours at the hospital. She's recently ended her marriage, and lost her grandmother. She needs something in her life, but right now, she has no idea what that is. Luckily for her, that's about to change.

Tanya O'Toole walked briskly down the hall to the semi-dark room where a wall full of X-rays and MRI's awaited her. Slipping her reading glasses unobtrusively onto her nose, she shoved the door open with a tired sigh. She'd worked a double shift, covering for another of the doctors who was recovering for an emergency appendectomy. She was exhausted, but doing her best to remain alert.
"It's what I get for changing my emphasis at my advanced age," she mumbled as she straddled a stool and examined the images before her.
She was hardly old, but she felt it when she had to keep pace with her younger peers. Sometimes she felt more like a babysitter than a colleague. Putting a microphone up to her full lips, she dictated her findings on the set of films in front of her.
"The patient is a fourteen year old male. Radiographs of the left wrist with comparison views of the right wrist are submitted for evaluation." She took her glasses off, wiped them on her blouse and rubbed the bridge of her nose. Stifling a sigh, she continued. "Multiple views of the left wrist show that the distal radius and ulna are intact and are unremarkable. There is normal bony development." She continued in a bored tone of voice giving the pertinent information to the transcriptionist.
Her readings would be typed up and filed with copies sent to the physicians. Their office staff would call and give the news, in this case, good. The bones were not broken, just a nasty sprain. She wondered how the teenager had injured his wrist, but knew she would never find out. That was the only thing she missed, the interaction with the patients. However, since her grandmother's death, she felt compelled to become a radiologist, rather than the family practice doctor she had initially trained to be.
Gran's death was unexpected. A healthy woman of seventy-five, she'd developed a rare form of Cancer which had gone undetected and untreated until it was too late to save her. Taking action was something Tanya did well and she had promptly changed the emphasis of her residency. It meant more training, but she didn't regret the decision. If she helped even one person catch a problem before it progressed too far, she would feel validated.
Her dedication and passion about her work encompassed her life. She did nothing social, attended no parties, except for those required by her position. She didn't even date much anymore, though she would go out in small groups occasionally. She even watched episodes of Grey's Anatomy and laughed. There was no hot humping in the on-call rooms or supply cupboards. Those people obviously didn't work for a living.
"Honey, you need to relax," her mother fussed the last time she'd been home. "You're exhausted. You know you aren't as young as you were."
"Thanks, Mom. You always make me feel so good about myself," she'd snapped.
That was two weeks ago, and she hadn't even called her mother since. It was on her list of things to do, but she was too tired for the inevitable arguments that seemed to enter into every call. She knew her mother spoke out of concern, but it still annoyed her to have her age pointed out to her like a frailty. She was thirty-two, not sixty.
She examined the last set of X-rays and left the room, dragging her feet on the linoleum floor. Even the best shoes did not keep her from having sore feet by the end of a sixteen hour shift. She shuffled into the staff lounge and collapsed into the nearest easy chair, putting her feet up on the coffee table.
The room was empty except for another doctor dressed in surgical scrubs. He looked absorbed in the science-fiction book he was reading, so she leaned back and closed her eyes. Before she knew it, she'd fallen asleep. A sound startled her and she jerked awake. She blushed as she realized the sound that had woken her was her own snoring. Mortified, she glanced at the doctor, but he hadn't raised his head from his book. She shifted in her chair, straightened her shirt and closed her eyes again.
"You should head home if you're that tired," the man said without looking up from his book.
"I know," she sighed. "I'm just too exhausted to drive. I'm afraid I'd have an accident, and end up back here, taking up bed space."
He chuckled, setting his book aside. "You'd get some rest anyway."
"No, I wouldn't, I'd have all you bloody doctors poking me to see what made me tick," she managed a soft chuckle and nestled further into her chair.
"We'd save special tests just for you. The most intrusive possible, with blood drawn every hour. I'm sure we could find ways to occupy your time."
"No doubt," she said, starting to get annoyed now by the conversation. She wanted to rest and she wanted to be left alone, neither of which was happening. "Look," she said, sitting up in her chair. "I don't really mean to be rude...."
"Sure you do," he smiled, looking up from his book for the first time. He was quite attractive, but had a smug expression on his face as he clasped his hands together between his knees. "You say that so I won't think that you think I'm being intrusive. But whenever someone starts a sentence with things like, I don't mean to be rude, or with all due respect, they mean just the opposite."
Tanya pressed her lips in a tight line. She glared at him for no reason other than he happened to be in the line of her stare. He smiled at her, his teeth flashing white in his well tanned face. When did he have time to get a tan? Tanya was pale from all the extra hours she spent indoors in dimly lit rooms. It was bad enough he was gorgeous and tall, with dark hair and dancing blue eyes, but he was tanned, muscular and had on a cologne that smelled so good, it made her dizzy.
© 2020 Dellani Oakes

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