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Rated: E · Short Story · Personal · #2124344
Thank goodness there is humour to be found in the horror of modern medicine.
         Dorothy twisted the hard plastic identification bracelet strapped to her wrist. She was still trying to understand how the admitting clerk had heard, and or typed 'Dolores' as her name on the first band. Shifting her weight on the gurney, she moaned. As if on cue, a pretty, young nurse pulled open the curtain.
          "Hello, Dorothy? I just need you to change into this gown. Sorry, it's the last clean one."
         As Dorothy shrugged into it, she noted the garment's shabbiness, and generous size. Smoothing the wrinkles, she watched the curtain part again.
          "Dorothy? Hi, I'm Dr. Myles. He studied a clipboard, and then stared at her face. "What brings you here to see me, today?"
         Dorothy felt her mouth gape open, and she struggled to voice her complaint. Could he not read her report? Did he not see the swelling, and the purple, mottled bruising of her ankle? How could he not notice the throbbing? She pointed to her injured ankle, and grimaced.
          "Hmmm, I see now. It's probably just a sprain, but to be safe, I'd like to order x-rays. Is it usually this swollen?"
         Dorothy shook her head. She shook it anew when the nurse returned with a black permanent marker, and directed her to mark her injured area with an 'x'.
          "It's protocol. Not everyone has the time to interpret the orders. This guarantees accuracy."
         The nurse helped Dorothy to her feet, and pointed her in the direction of the imaging department.
         "Sorry, we seem to be short on wheelchairs, and the porters are on strike. Follow the arrows."
         With a deliberate shuffling , Dorothy set off to find a radiologist. It only took a few such steps to feel a cool breeze wafting up her exposed backside, so she clutched the gown's gap in one hand. Each movement stabbed, and stung.
         With a sigh of relief, her hobbling ended. Yes, the metal x-ray table made her shiver, and the technician admonished her to stay still. Dorothy chuckled when she was asked if she could possibly be pregnant. Was this girl blind? Silver hair and wrinkles were evident in her patient. Slipping from the table, Dorothy's gown caught on a corner. Momentarily, she felt over-exposed.
         After her torturous limp back to the treatment room, panting and gasping, Dorothy again met the doctor. He glanced at the fresh x-rays, and dismissed them.
          "I requested films of this woman's ankle. These are only of the foot. I'm certain I attended medical school, and I was taught that the ankle is part of the foot."
         Dorothy whistled. Her injured, screaming ankle was most definitely attached to her protesting foot. If she could kick someone, anyone, she would.
         To add insult to her injury, Dorothy was once again directed to the imaging department. Each placement of her battered foot brought tears to her eyes. She stumbled. She teetered. A few times, she lost her grip on the thin garment barely containing her dignity. She trembled. Dorothy declined to laugh. If she could face the genius, Dr. Seymour Butts, who'd designed the easy-open, emphasis on 'open' hospital gowns, she'd give him an eyeful. She could flash with the best of them.
         "Huh, you're back?" The x-ray technician stated the obvious. She muttered, "I know what a foot is. The doctor does, too. He did not specifically request film of your ankle. Why can't he write out the word? I'm not a mind reader. Hop up on the table."
         With the second set of x-rays, the attending physician announced, "Dorothy, I knew it. You have a sprained ankle. I advise you not to walk on it, and keep it elevated. It will most likely be painful. Remember, do not exert yourself. Take care of you."
          As he departed the cubicle, the doctor patted Dorothy's tender ankle, and he jumped when she shrieked. (639 words)
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