By Miss Moo.
Amanda removed the small, thin needle and tube from the child's arm before taping a small ball of cotton over the incision.
"There you go. We're all done," she said.
She passed a lollypop to the small boy with a blindingly white smile. He had tears in his eyes and was holding onto his mother's skirt with fisted hands. He took the lollypop shyly.
"Would you like a sticker?" Amanda asked, "You were very brave."
The boy nodded and his mother mouthed a sincere 'Thank you' to Amanda. Amanda opened the draw of her desk and pulled out a a large red sticker with the words 'Give Blood, Save Lives' printed alongside the cartoonish face of a smiling doctor.
Amanda turned to the mother, "We'll have his results back by tomorrow."
"Okay," the mother said, "Can drop by after I pick Harry up from kindergarten?"
"Sure, that'd be fantastic. Just tell Judy at reception and she'll sort it out for you." Amanda smiled at Harry again, "Now try not to do any running around for a little while Harry. You've got to take it easy."
Harry nodded before being ushered out of the clean white office by his mother.
Amanda picked up the phone on her desk and dialed the number one.
"Judy," she said into the speaker, "Harry Fisher's blood sample is ready for testing now. Also, if you could send in my one o'clock, that would be fantastic."
Amanda took a moment to sit down stretch her arms as she waited for the receptionist to arrive. It had been hectic that day. On top of her regular patients the frenzy over swine flu had driven everyone to suspect even the slightest sniffle. She had people coming in to demand blood tests and medication when their only risk factor was that they lived in the suburb next to a suburb which had suspected cases.
Some shuffling and voices could be heard outside her door. Amanda's ears perked curiously as she heard the squeaky voice of Alana, the new intern, and a deeper, more masculine voice, clearly in argument. Amanda stood from her chair and walked over to the door. It was only once she opened it that she realized what a mistake she had made.
Alana was trying to shoo away a thin, dark haired man from her office door. Amanda recognized him immediately as James Fallon, the same James Fallon that had been harassing their clinic for months with his numerous back pains, chest pains and head aches. Somewhat surprisingly, James Fallon was only twenty six years old and still he managed to stalk the clinic with far more vigor than some of their older, more seasoned hypochondriacs.
"James!" Amanda scolded, "What are you doing here? Leave Miss Wilson alone and go home. You don't have an appointment."
James turned to her eagerly wide, brown eyes, "You don't understand Doc, I have to get my blood test back! I can't sleep - I could have insomnia! - and my headache wont go away! These chest pains - the agony! What if I'm having a series of strokes? What if I have costochondritis! Or Cystic Fibrosis?"
Amanda sighed, "James, I think we'd know if you had Cystic Fibrosis. Now, if you would just take a seat in the waiting room I'll get Alana to check if your results have returned. I have to see my one o'clock." In reality his results were sitting in the draw of her desk, but she didn't have the patience to deal with the man's dramatics at the moment.
"Uh," Alana said, "Mr. Clarkson is running a few minutes late, so you could probably squeeze Mr. Fallon in now."
Amanda glared at the intern before giving a stiff nod. "Sure," she said, "step inside."
James grinned, "Thank you Doc, I want to be able to catch this thing early!"
Amanda rolled her eyes and walked over to her desk. She pulled out the thick manilla file that bore the name 'James Fallon' and flicked to his test results.
She smiled slightly at him, "Please, take a seat."
James quickly sat down in the chair and looked up at her eagerly for his results.
"Fallon, James," Amanda read off the chart, "Blood type O, Total cholesterol; 167-"
"What? That sounds high!" James said.
Amanda rolled her eyes, "It's perfectly normal. Good even. You're low-Density Lipoprotein is at 110, High-Density Liprotein; 170, Tryglycerides 160... it's all perfect really. You're not about to die from clogged arteries any time soon."
James scratched behind his ear in a slightly bashful gesture and Amanda smiled, covering it behind the folder. It wouldn't do to let him know how cute she found his anxiety. On rare occasions, of course. It mostly irritated her.
"Now, red blood cell count; normal, white blood cell count; normal, hemoglobin; normal," She glanced up at him, "So no, you're not anemic. You tested negative to Creatine Kinase, Hemochromatosis, Troponin and have low levels of homocysteine."
"Low?" James' eyes went wide, "You mean I don't have enough of the homo-siss-teen stuff?"
Amanda rolled her eyes, "Low is good."
"You tested HIV negative, swine flu negative and- oh no!"
James stiffened, "Wh-what?" he asked.
Amanda gave him a falsely sympathetic look, "I'm so sorry James, but unfortunately you're not pregnant. Better luck next month."
He scowled at her, "You're not funny Doc. I could have had a heart attack."
Amanda shook her head, "You're not going to have a heart attack James. You're perfectly healthy."
"Could you listen to my breathing doctor? Just to make sure?"
"James," she said, looking at him with an ernest expression, "I've given you a clean bill of health and you're more than up to date with your immunizations. Other than a hefty case of Hypochondria you're one of the healthiest people I've met."
James pouted, "Please?"
She cursed herself for not having a stronger spine. It was his stupid pout that did her in every time. She tried to be cold and distant, but then he'd do that thing where his eyes went all gooey and his lip jutted out and she felt her small intestines turn to mush.
"Fine," she relented, grabbing her stethoscope, "Lift your shirt."
She blushed a little as he obeyed her, and felt mighty unprofessional for doing so.
She pressed the cool metal of the stethoscope against the left half of his smooth chest and felt his skin jump beneath her fingers as she did so. It took barely a second for the firm thumping noise to reach her ears, and she listened to it intently.
THUD-THUD, THUD-THUD, THUD-THUD-
"It's beating very fast," she said with some concern, but did not away.
"I know," he said, and his voice was gruff, broken and ten times louder than the murmur in which he had uttered it through the stethoscope.
She jerked back and looked up at him. His pupils were dilated and devoured her in a hungry trance.
"A-are you okay?" She asked him.
He shook himself out of his reverie; "You're the doctor."
She chuckled slightly, "Okay then James, you're fine. You need to stop worrying."
Amanda stood from her crouched position before him and made her way back to her desk.
"Wait!" James called from behind her. She turned to find him standing, shirt back in place, with a look of revelation on his face, "I know what's wrong with me!"
Amanda sighed; she was growing well and truly tired of his many theatrics. "There's nothing wrong with you James you're perfectly fine and-"
"No I'm not," James interrupted, "I have trouble sleeping, I've lost my appetite, my stomach feels weird, I have these uncomfortable chest pains and all I can think about is this goddamn clinic - but I know what's wrong with me now, Doc!"
"Uh, you're a hypochondriac?"
"No! I'm In love!"
His declaration was met with an anti-climatic silence.
"Well?" He probed.
"Uh..." Amanda was lost for words, "Um, what?"
"I'm in love!" Another pause.
He rolled his eyes with exaggerated effort, "You, duh."
Amanda shook her head, thoroughly confused, "But why?"
He grinned at her and grabbed her hands, which seemed to have pins and needles all of a sudden. She wondered how she could possibly have poor circulation when her heart was obviously beating a thousand times per minute.
"Because you're amazing," he said, "You're shiny. You have that shiny hair, those shiny eyes, lips, teeth - and a shiny stethoscope. I dunno, I suppose you're just, like, a way better doctor than that old dude you replaced."
"The one who had a stroke?" Amanda asked dumbly.
"Yeah; his hands were always sticky. Yours aren't. Your hands are great; I love your hands."
"Oh," she said.
"So, will you go out with me?"
Her cheeks felt hot and she wondered if that had any relation to the tingles that ran across her hands.
"Don't make me beg."
He was going that pouty thing again and she felt as though she was going to spontaneously evaporate into a gaseous substance, right there in her own office, due the sheer heat that radiated from every inch of her. Especially her hands. She was going to have to do something about her hands.
Suddenly he pulled his own hands away from hers and the heat and the tingles disappeared. Amanda frowned; she hadn't really wanted to change anything about her hands.
He nodded at her, "Okay Doc, I get it. Though you might have to book me in for a chest xray now. It just doesn't feel right."
He turned for the door with the saddest look on his face. She wanted to run up to him and hug him and give him as many stickers and lollypops as I took for him to start smiling again.
Instead she called out "Wait" and he stopped in his tracks, "What are you doing Friday night?"
He turned to face her with a hopeful glint in his eyes, "Nothing, why?"
"Wanna go and see a movie?" She was blushing like a rose and her hands were fidgeting by her sides.
"Would I like? Would- Me?" He gaped at her for a moment before rushing over and pulling her into a suffocatingly tight embrace. He kissed both her cheeks before finally smacking a chaste but slightly slopping kiss atop her lips. She felt sixteen all over again.
"Why Doc," he said, his nose rubbing against hers, "I'd be delighted to."
She grinned at him, "Pick me up at seven?"
"Sure, but expect me to arrive early; I can't wait!"
With that he let her go and she stumbled back a little with surprise. He let out a joyous 'Whoop' and went bounding out her office door with a giant skip in his step. She rushed to the door to watch him bound down the hall towards the reception room where Judy and Alana were gaping at him incredulously.
James grinned at Judy, "That doctor's a miracle worker, I tell you. She's cured me at last!"
Amanda grinned sillily to herself as he bounded out of the clinic, still releasing the occasional whoop of joy.
She had a date Friday; and she couldn't wait.
- - -
(AN: Okay, a cheesy story I know, but here is (if you're interested) the inspiration behind it;
I had a blood test today. I was completely freaking out, but tried my best to remain calm(ish). Unfortunately I have ridiculously low blood pressure - I swear they could get more out of Edward Cullen than they did me! So they poked around in both my arms for a period of (no joke) two hours, and still couldn't get enough blood to complete all the tests I need. As I was leaving I thought to myself; 'Who in their right mind would ever want to get their blood tested?' Hypochondriacs. Derr Fred.
So this story is a little bit of a sappy, quickly and recklessly written, cathartic release of my own negative connotations in regards to phlebotomists. I thought about calling it something cheesy like; Diagnosis: Love Sick, but it was a little too cheese-tastic for me to be able to publish and still live with myself.
So, I hope you enjoyed this story, made sickly sweet with Doctors' lollies (of which I received none; other than the two blue bruises on the inside of my elbows).
Warning: may cause indigestion, although it's a bit late for that now, isn't it?)