Not Your Typical Sunday Afternoon Break.


I VISITED with a doctor last Sunday.

I had never seen her before.

It didn’t matter.

She wouldn’t remember seeing me.

I was just a number, one of many.

The emergency room was crammed with people who were sick.

I wasn’t.

But I was there.

Minor explosions were erupting all around me.




Flu coming.

Flu going.

Flu hanging around for a while.

We had suffered a change in the weather.

It was hot.

Then it was cold.

Now it was hot again.

That’s what you get in Texas.

We can have a drought and flooding on the same day.

We did what everyone does in a Sunday afternoon emergency room.

We waited.

A few talked.

A few tried to laugh.

Coughing cut through the laughter like a dull knife.

Each person had a different story.

But no one felt like telling one.

No one felt like listening to one.

Almost everyone was quite content to suffer in silence.

The doctor was young.

Those who draw the Sunday afternoon shift always are.

No time to waste.

No time to lose.

No bedside manner.

None needed.

She walked in.

She smiled.

She checked my ailment.

She ordered an X-ray.

“How long will it take to get the results?” I asked.

“Five minutes,” she said.

I love the digital age.

“Does it hurt?” she asked.

“Not a lot,” I said.

You try not to wince when a pretty doctor is in the room.

She was nice enough to ask.

She didn’t really care.

“Your toe’s broke,” she said five minutes later.

I nodded.

I could have told her that without the X-ray.

I had four toes headed west.

And one to cut sharply east.

“Does it need a cast?” I asked.

“Just some tape.”

“I don’t guess it’s serious,” I said.

“You won’t be dancing tonight,” she said.

I nodded.

I hadn’t planned on dancing anyway.

She didn’t ask me how it happened.

I was grateful for that.

There was a good deal of stupidity involved.

I limped when I went out the door.

But I wasn’t coughing.

I was the only one in the room who wasn’t.

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