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A Testing Time at My Exam
Garry Shirts, Primavera

Illustration Art Olson

I enter the small examination room at the hospital. A nice young nurse comes in and weighs me, takes my blood pressure and then starts to take my pulse. Suddenly, her face turns white. She drops my wrist and says, “I don’t feel so good.” Her eyes close. She starts to fall to the floor.

I hop off the examination table and ease her into a chair. I call for a nurse. A woman dressed in green rushes to her side. She cradles her in her arms and says in a loud voice, “What’s your name?” She doesn’t respond. “Stay with me now, keep talking. Tell me. What’s your name?” She makes a coughing sound, her eyes roll back and her mouth falls open. I’m sure she’s dead or dying.

Another nurse comes in and says to me, “Go get a doctor.” I step out of the door and see my oncologist down the hall. I tell him a nurse collapsed. He rushes toward the examination room and says to the nurse who’s following him, “Quick, go get a wheel chair.” She starts toward the door. She’s watermelon pregnant. She holds her stomach with two hands as she waddles penguin-style down the hall toward the door.

I say, “I’ll go get one. I bolt out the door. I get to the elevator and realize I don’t know where the wheel chairs are. I run back in and ask the pregnant nurse, “Where do I get a wheel chair?

“Downstairs by the front door.”

I run down the stairs two at a time and retrieve a wheelchair. A few moments later they wheel my sick nurse away. Her head hangs off to the side; her eyes are closed. Her color is a funeral parlor white.

Later when my exam resumes, the oncologist tells me my PSA score is .03 and my bone cancer is still arrested. I sigh in relief. I believe I’m going to outlive all of my diseases.

I then go into the next room to get my monthly infusion of bone strengthening medicine. About 20 minutes into the process, my sick nurse comes in as cheerful as can be. Her problem? A sugar deficiency. They wheeled her down to urgent care, she drank a glass of orange juice and, presto, she was back to being a regular person.
I left the hospital feeling very good. I’d helped someone - however small my contribution. Perhaps, the hospital should consider having nurses take a dive every now and then to help their patients enjoy their visits.

Or perhaps they should have everyone drink that magic orange juice.


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