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Hypochondriac (standard:drama, 974 words)
Author: Jadely21Added: Aug 02 2007Views/Reads: 1983/0Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Very short story about how quickly things can go wrong in a simple trip to the doctor's office.

Cancer. It was said to be one of the five “hot button” words in
medicine. You know, the words that immediately provoke a certain 
response from people. And on that day, it certainly did just that for 

We were sitting in the doctor's office, my mother and I, after months of
her insisting that some phenomenal thing was wrong with her. I wasn't 
convinced. I came from a long line of hypochondriacs that could always 
find something wrong with them. And in this day and age, it seemed that 
all you had to do was find the right doctor, give him your diagnosis 
and he would agree with you while scribbling some miracle drug on his 
prescription pad. 

My mother had been to three different doctors by now, all of which said
it was nothing serious. Irritable Bowel Syndrome probably. None of the 
drugs they gave her appeared to be working, but they just hadn't found 
the right one yet. None of her symptoms were particularly alarming 
anyway. Indigestion, fatigue, cramping – that sort of thing. The most 
serious of them all had just started in the past few months, the 
intense bloating. Her stomach would swell to the size of a full term 
pregnant belly and she was unable to eat hardly anything for lack of 
space. But that could all be attributed to gas, or this IBS they were 
insisting she had. I believed all of that until just a couple of days 

Finally, my mother had made such a fuss about there being something more
serious wrong with her, she had gone into the doctor's office 
completely fed up and demanded they find out what was wrong, even if it 
meant an invasive operation. They hadn't operated of course, no reason 
to. They had caved and told her they would do a CAT scan – just to be 
sure. Obviously, I didn't go with her to get her CAT scan. It would 
come back normal and she would be appeased and sooner rather than 
later, her symptoms would disappear. Case closed. I had been so wrong. 

I didn't start to worry until her doctor had called her to come in for
her results a little too quickly. No, the doctor didn't usually see 
patients on Fridays, but he wanted to see her. And yes, the doctor was 
generally at lunch about noon, or more importantly, in surgery – but he 
would make a special trip over to his office because he wanted to see 
her. Even still, I was only slightly concerned. Just concerned enough 
to ask for a small extension of my lunch break to go in with her. Okay, 
so I had been wrong. It must be some sort of tumor they need to remove 
surgically or something. Some thing that's not dangerous, but needs to 
come out nonetheless. 

I had other things to worry about anyway. Only a couple of weeks ago had
my boss just waltzed in one day and informed me that she would be 
needing someone full time in the fall so she had hired someone to 
replace me. And oh by the way, I wouldn't mind training her would I. 
She had started that Monday, the new girl. Sticky sweet and 
irresistible she was, I couldn't find one single thing wrong with her. 
And in my ever present “yes ma'am” nature, I had agreed to train her 
over the summer. 

So this thing with Mom better be nothing. It wasn't anything. It
couldn't be. Just another hypochondriac in the family. I was probably 
next in line. As we waited in the doctor's office, I was preoccupied 
with work. I didn't really want to stick around for the summer, but 
what other choice did I have? It was good money for a working student. 

The doctor opened the door and came in and greeted us absent-mindedly.
He would be with us in a minute. I could tell their normal employees 
were all at lunch. There was only one receptionist in the office and 
nobody else in the waiting room. Strange. The doctor mumbled something 
to the lone receptionist and it was apparent that she was getting a bit 
flustered. Maybe she's new. There appeared to be a flurry of action 
going on through the huge open window that led out of the waiting area 
and into the rest of the office. I could hear the doctor speaking in a 
strained tone to the woman as if he had lost something, or as if SHE 
had lost something. Over the next minute or so, it was clear that they 
were looking for something – a file. Obviously, I thought, it had to be 
Mom's file. There was nobody else in the waiting area. I briefly 
wondered if they knew that big window was opened and that we could hear 
their heated exchange. The doctor was getting increasingly annoyed. I 
shared an interested glance with Mom who was picking up on the same 
things. Finally, the doctor – still dressed in his scrubs from surgery 
– got so annoyed that he raised his voice saying “I need to tell this 
woman she has cancer!” 

At first, I thought I hadn't heard him right. So I looked to Mom, to see
if she had heard what I did. She had. She immediately tried to start 
reassuring me, and herself as well, saying “he's not talking about me; 
he's talking about someone else.” He wasn't. Tears formed in Mom's eyes 
while she looked at me, repeating over and over “he's not talking about 
me.” Only seconds later, apparently having found that trusty file, the 
receptionist opened the door to the waiting area and smiled brightly, 
that bitch, and said “This way Ms. Burns.” 

And that was the day the bottom dropped out. Maybe I should have
listened to my hypochondriac mother after all... 


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