Fay falls back into her seat. The door is ajar. She sips from her bottle before looking up her next patient.
‘Oh great,’ Fay mutters when she sees the name on her computer screen. Mrs Donnellan. She barely needs to bring up Mrs Donnellan’s history. A frequent flyer. A lonely time waster who’ll suck away Fay’s next thirty minutes and send her into catch-up mode.
Fay always wanted to be a doctor, ever since she was a little girl. She’d pull the arms off her dolls and re-attach them in a rudimentary form of surgery. Once her little brother was born, she doted over him, placing Band-Aids on his arm when there was no wound to cover. When Brian did actually skin his knee, Fay was in her element, dabbing Dettol on the graze with clean gauze, and wiping away his tears.
It’s the patients like Mrs Donnellan, those who embellish their woes and troubles, that bring Fay stress. She is near retirement, perhaps she should just finish up, take that cruise she’d always wanted to go on.
‘Wait a second,’ Fay says out loud. She’s looking at Mrs Donnellan’s history. Fay is surprised to see that only last week Mrs Donnellan had seen Dr Bertram for a new complaint. A fasting blood test was requested, which Mrs Donnellan did the following morning.
Now the results are in, and Fay stares dismally at her screen. She closes out of the window, and re-opens it. The results are the same. Of course they are the same, what did she expect. A sadness settles itself on her shoulders, like a heavy blanket.
She rises wearily out of her chair and walks to waiting area.
‘Mrs Donnellan,’ she says, smiling politely at the elderly woman. ‘Come this way.’
Mrs Donellen stands and walks into Fay’s room. Fay follows her, shuts the door. She closes her eyes momentarily, breaths in deeply and summons every bit of inner strength.
It’s never got easier, this part of her job.