The Results

Posted on 15 Comments

This is a prose piece I have been working on. It is a work of fiction, but it is inspired by my visit to the hematologist.


I walk hard, like my mother, moving as confidently as I can across the porch.  My boots pound the wood loudly.  No one is watching.  No one is listening, but I need to convince myself that I’m okay.  Maybe if I don’t act sick or look sick, I won’t be sick. I wrap my sweater around me and rub my neck, feeling insecure without my scarf.  I turn back toward the house and remember all my scarves are dirty.  The washing machine’s broken, and I’m still waiting for that darn part to come in.


I move down the walkway and look back at my house.  There is a vulture sitting on the roof.  That can’t be a good sign.  I laugh to myself, shake my head, and keep moving.  I get in my car and drive past the bank, the elementary school, the Quaker Meeting House, and a field of wild turkeys.  Everything is the same, but it doesn’t seem the same because my thoughts are different.  I make a right into the driveway.  I park, get out the car, and move slowly towards the entrance of the small building.  I read the words on the door, “Oncology/Hematology,”  and my muscles turn muddy and the brown welcome mat sinks beneath my feet.


The patients in the waiting room are old and very pale.  A few of the ladies wear scarves on their heads.  I am used to wearing one around my neck for style.  One lady is crying softly.  I cannot see her.  She is sitting behind me. “They hurt me,” she whispers.


“It shouldn’t hurt,” says a man with a shaky voice.  I assume it’s her husband. “It never hurts when I have it done. I’m going to talk to them about it.”  I imagine they have been married for years. I imagine he feels helpless.


I watch patients come and go.  I cannot believe I am sitting in the waiting room for over an hour-an hour, just long enough to become more anxious.   I hear nurses in the back say words like “chemo” and “marrow.”   I tell myself to think positive.  I tell myself to pray.  A young lady opens the door that leads to the back.  She calls my name, searching the room.  She smiles when she sees me rise from my chair.  Not a sincere smile, but the tight lip kind that tightens even more when her eyebrows raise. It’s that smile that lets you know she’s just doing her job.


In the back, I am instructed to have a seat and pull up my right sleeve.  It’s a process I have gotten used to.  It is the fourth time I have had my blood drawn this winter.  I don’t feel nervous at all until the phlebotomist says, “Hmm…I don’t know why I’m having trouble with this.  It’s not coming out.”  She jiggles the needle a bit while it is still in my arm, and I give her a dirty look.  Then I swear I hear air and then a slurping sound. “Oh, there you go.  Now, it’s coming through.  It’s tough because that vein is right near a small bone.”  It is the first time in a long time I have wanted to smack someone.


In the back I wait another hour for the doctor,  my thoughts growing darker with each minute and with each conversation I hear through the walls.  The hematologist walks in smiling.  She extends her hand.  I extend mine, wanting to skip the formality and ask, “Am I dying?”  Instead, I compliment her on her shoes.


She sits at the computer.  We chat like old friends, and I wonder if she is just trying to relax me before she gives me the results.  In the few seconds after she says, “I have your results,” I review my life.   I am surrounded by love.  I am deeply satisfied, and I no longer care   who is responsible for the the dime that got caught in the pump of the washing machine.


“I’ll give you the good news first.  You do not have lymphoma or leukemia,” she folds her hands and continues, “but you do have a platelet disorder and severe anemia. My mind searches through a string of definitions from Biology 101.    I must look a bit clueless because she further explains, “Your blood does not clot properly. That’s why you had to have the transfusion six months ago.”


“I see,” I nod.


“Well, I am going to put you on an iron supplement and, ”  she removes her glasses and rubs her eyes, “I will be in contact with your gynecologist so we can start you on hormone therapy also.  We can’t transfuse you every time you have your menses, that’s for sure. That would be ridiculous.  But… you are a relatively young woman, so if you decide to have more children, we are really going to have to sit down and discuss the risks first.”


“How come no one has ever picked up on this?  I’m thirty-one-years old.”


“I’m not sure, but we know what’s going on now, and we will have you back in great shape in no time.”


“No more blackouts?”


“No, no more blackouts or days in bed unable to lift your head from the pillow,”  she scribbles on a small blue sheet of paper. “Here’s your script.”


She follows me to the front desk and hands the receptionist my folder.  “I’ll see her in four weeks.”


After I make my appointment, I walk through the waiting room pass  a new group of women, wearing scarves wrapped  tightly on their heads.







15 Responses

  1. Lynette says:

    Definitely has my interest. Looking forward to the rest of it.

  2. shawnrjones says:

    Thank you, Lynette. That gives me more of a reason to continue it. Maybe I will add on more in the morning. I just changed a couple cliches at the end. How could I forget that “quicksand beneath my feet” is a cliche? I now have to google phrases that I think are cliches since my memory can be awful at times. smh Thank you for your comment!

  3. Lorraine Castle says:

    Shawn, it certainly drew my attention and had me leaning forward in my chair to capture the next phrase. Several years ago, I had an appointment with a hematologist. My doctor neglected to tell me what a hematologist is and I didn’t think to ask. You took me right back to that waiting room when I slowly began to realize where I was. A cloud of despair hovered over that waiting room. That was a cliche, but I’m allowed to use that in my response to you. 🙂 Wonderful post. I can’t wait to see the ending.

  4. shawnrjones says:

    It definitely reminds you not take a day of your life for granted. We have to remember folks who are chronically and terminally ill. We complain so much about superficial things, we forget there are people going to chemotherapy appointments, etc… Thank you so much for you comment. I am not sure how I am going to end this piece just yet. You and Lynette have encouraged me to continue, though.

  5. Susan Wynn says:

    Shawn, please finish this! It’s beautifully written and captures the anxiety of the wait… Now I am anxious to hear the results as well!

  6. shawnrjones says:

    Aw… Susan, that is the end. I thought I would just leave the reader hanging, so they would get the lesson, but that may not work after all. I am still not sure. If I can end it eloquently without too many dramatics I will lol Maybe at a later date. It is helpful to know that a reader wants to read more. Thank you so much for your feedback!

  7. Tanya says:

    I enjoyed this piece. I sat in my kitchen shooshing both my kids as I strained my eyes to read your post on my iPhone WITHOUT my reading glasses. Lol! For me to do that, it held my attention. I could relate to her very personal experience. Yes… I look forward to the final product.

  8. shawnrjones says:

    I think I have the ending–at least for now : )

  9. Akita says:

    I like! I like the description of the drive to the office. The contrast of the normalcy and seeming serenity in a moment that seems anything but. This is how it truly is, and you captured it wonderfully!

    • shawnrjones says:

      I am glad you liked it, Akita. We all know that feeling too well. I am happy I described it in the right way. I hope to see you soon! Many Blessings!

  10. tanya says:

    Ah… thank you. I wondered about her test results. You are such a great writer! Thanks for sharing. Btw, I can no longer deny the need for specs! Lol!

    • shawnrjones says:

      Thank you for encouraging me to write more : ) I will clean the ending up at a much later date. Have a blessed one!!!

  11. Susan Wynn says:

    Shawn, thank you! The ending does not diminish the lesson; in a way I think it enhances it… To go through the fear, awaiting the worst, then to get a “reprieve”. A diagnosis that can be dealt with is such a wonderful gift, one that is truly appreciated as you walk through the waiting room, seeing those not so lucky. The impact is powerful. Personally, I love to know what happens to the characters I am drawn to… so I really appreciate that you added an ending to this story for us! 🙂

  12. shawnrjones says:

    Thank you so much for your encouragement, Susan!!! Have an awesome day filled with love!!!!!

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