The nurse strode out the door; I followed, Jeremy and Zeke rolling behind me. We snaked along another hallway until Amy stopped before a door. On the frame, a plastic green flag laid flat against the wall. Amy reached up and flipped it toward the hallway, then opened the door. “In here,” she said.
I walked inside the beige room while Amy stood in the hallway, scribbling on her clipboard, and I sat in one of the two mauve chairs edging the room. I noticed a computer and stool to the right of the doorway.
“Actually, Dr. Patron will need you there,” she said, looking up and motioning to the black exam chair in the center of the small room.
“Right,” I said, standing and then leaning into the chair. It had been years since I’d gone to a doctor for more than a strep test or a child well-exam for one of my kids. I even birthed my kids in my living room, my midwife coming to our home for appointments before and after the main event. I preferred to sit on the sidelines, not in the conspicuous sick person chair, center of attention.
Jeremy sat in a mauve chair, stroller next to him, and unbuckled the straps so Zeke could lay in his arms, limp and sleepy.
Amy finished her notetaking and poke her head through the open door to say, “He’ll be right in.”
“Thanks,” I said, as she shut the door.
I turned to Jeremy: “How are you guys doing?” I asked.
Jeremy sighed. “Zeke threw up again,” he said.
“Oh no!” I said.
“Yep,” he said.
“That sucks,” I said.
“Yep,” he said.
Then we heard a knock, the door opened, and a slim, tanned Asian man — maybe Thai? – with short dark hair entered, wearing a white coat. A woman followed him in and began tapping at the computer.
“Hi, Elizabeth, I’m Dr. Patron,” he said, extending his hand. We shook.
“Nice to meet you,” I said. He stood just between the exam chair and mauve chairs, hands on his hips.
“And who’s this?” he said to Jeremy and Zeke.
“This is my husband Jeremy,” I said, to which Jeremy raised a hand in greeting, “and my son Ezekiel,” I said, smiling. “He’s a bit under the weather, so he came with us instead of staying with a babysitter and our other kiddo,” I said, hoping that they wouldn’t kick us out for bringing a flu-ish kid within the vicinity of ill geriatrics.
“Hi, Ezekiel,” Dr. Patron said, waving and smiling at him. “That’s a cool cowboy you’ve got there.” Zeke just nuzzled his face into Jeremy’s shoulder.
“A bit shy today, too,” I said.
“How old is he?” Dr. Patron asked.
“He’s two,” I said.
“I have a kid about his age,” he said.
“Oh, really?” I said.
“He’ll be three in July,” he said.
“So will Zeke!” I said, smiling. “How fun.”
“It’s a tough age, isn’t it?” he said.
I smiled. “He’s got a lot of opinions,” I said.
“Mine, too,” Dr. Patron said.
“But at least they sleep better,” I said.
Dr. Patron smiled. “So, I hear your eye has been giving you trouble?” he said.
“Right,” I said. “You heard right.”
“I’d like to take some photos of your eye, and maybe also do a test that will show us how the blood is circulating in the back of your eye – that should give us a good idea of what’s causing this vision change. Then I’ll check back in with you after we get those results. Alright?” he said.
“Great,” I said.
“I’ll see you in a bit,” he said, opened the door and walked out.
We stood, as his assistant finished typing.
“Alrighty,” she said. “Just follow me down this hallway.”
We jogged down the hallway after her, she holding a clipboard in her hands, until we reached a row of chairs against a wall, across from the waiting room.
“Go ahead and have a seat, and they’ll call your name when they’re ready for you,” she said smiling, flipping another flag on a room at the end of the hallway, and resting the clipboard in a pocket beneath the flag. Then she took off again, undoubtedly to type more medical jargon and travel the maze of hallways with a new patient.
I sat in yet another mauve chair at the end of the row, backpack at my feet, and Jeremy rolled up to me, Zeke back in the stroller.
“I think we’re going to sit in the lobby, or maybe get cleaned up in the bathroom,” he said. I frowned. “You didn’t see?” he said. “Zeke just threw up as the doctor left the room.”
I smacked my forehead with my hand. “I totally didn’t see that,” I said.
“Yep,” Jeremy said.
“I’m sorry, love,” I said. “Thanks for being here with me – it means a lot. I know it’d be easier to be home dealing with this mess.”
He smiled. “So, you’re okay if we leave you for a bit?” he said.
“Yep,” I said. “How about I just text you when the doctor is about to deliver the verdict?”
“Ok,” Jeremy said. “Good luck with this,” he said, motioning to the doors at the end of the hall.
“Thanks,” I said, and he bent down to give me a peck on the lips.
“See you in a bit,” he said, and he and Zeke turned and rolled away.
“Elizabeth?” a woman in blue said, stepping into the hallway from the room with the flag.
“Yes,” I said, standing.
“Come on in,” she said, and I walked into the room.
To Be Continued…
This post is part of my “Through A Mirror Dimly” series about a recent health issue I’ve been experiencing. I started telling this story during the season of Lent as a way to make sense of the ways that my own suffering teaches me about the suffering of Jesus Christ.
I also invite you to engage with your own suffering through this series: how does your personal pain illuminate the suffering of Jesus for you? And what can your pain teach you about the life of faith?
ALSO I will be concluding this series soon so I can resume telling my falling-in-love story. Just a few more posts to go until this will be complete (for now – though I think it’s probably turned into a book project by now, over 14,500 words into writing!). I’d love to hear what you thought of the series – comment away!
And if you like it, share it - the only compensation I receive for this blog is reader support, which will hopefully give me the platform to publish a book soon. I'd appreciate your shares! :-)