Tuesday, November 09, 2004

She usually knew when Fred was working. Women are good at that watch and wait thing. During the weeks and months since Fred’s “kinda sorta” come on, Liza had questioned herself constantly about her instincts. She always remembered a particular day when she had gone to assist him with a bone marrow.

“Oh Hell” she replied. Fred had called to ask who was doing hematology that day because the lucky gal got to assist with a bone marrow extraction. “Do I know her?” he quipped. Assisting on a bone marrow was like the kiss of death. It was time consuming and tedious and the patient hated it. The procedure itself involves a sterile surgical type field where a large bore needle is inserted into the patient’s bone. It hurts, in spite of the Xylocaine administered locally. The pain is mostly from the pressure of drawing the marrow out of the center of the bone into a syringe.

Liza paged Fred overhead when it was time to do the deed. If it were anyone but him, she would have pawned the task off. “Gimme a few minutes to look professional ” he grumbled. She proceeded to gather the supplies and headed to the Outpatient Surgery floor. When she entered the room, a lovely older lady with an English accent greeted her. “Hello there” Miss Olive grinned. “Hello yourself” Liza replied. Introductions were quickly made and Liza felt right at home with Miss Olive and her husband. They had met when he was stationed in England during World War II. He was a man of few words but obviously quite devoted to his war bride. “Well, some folks say it’s not lady like to be a smat-ass” Miss Olive said with her distinctly British flair. “But, I find that the older I get the more I see that having fun is what life is about!”

Miss Olive proceeded to gossip about what she had heard concerning her internist’s sexual adventures in the office. “ He used to be my FAVORITE doctor. But he’s just rude now.” Mr. Overton took it all in and smiled with a “that’s my gal” look. Liza explained the procedure to them and assured them that they were in good hands with Fred. “He’s wonderful” Liza gushed. “ You’ll love him!”

Fred eased the door opened and entered quietly with grin intact. “Mrs. Overton…..I’m Dr. Gaines. How are you today”. Liza’s heart dropped out of her chest as she surveyed Fred in a damn TIE for the occasion. A red one at that! “Liza has told me how wonderful you are” Ms Olive said. “ I trust that she’s right!”

Fred took his time with the preparations for Mrs. Overton, gently lowering her panties in the back to expose the site for puncture. He donned his gloves and scrubbed the site, then administered the local anesthetic. About that time, the cell-phone on his belt rang out. “ Grab that for me, will you Liza?” There’s nobody I want to talk to right now.”

Liza pulled the phone from his belt and flipped it off, not realizing that she would be calling that same phone in the near future, just to hear his voice say “I’m here”. The procedure went without a hitch and Liza prepared the slides and specimen for further testing.

“He’s my new favorite doctor” Ms Olive raved. Fred had gone back to his office in the basement to get rid of that dang tie. Liza visited with the lovely elderly couple for a few more minutes and said her good-byes.

Five months of flirting later, Liza decided she had skirted the issue long enough. She gathered up her courage and went to Fred’s office in the bowels of the hospital. Rapping gently on the door, he waved her in. “ I have a question for you” she said. In her mind, knowing where she stood was much better than wondering. Fred stood up from the cramped desk to face her. “ Is your very married self interested in a little something on the side”. Instantly, his face dropped. He looked like he was about to cry! “ No” he said slowly. Liza was so nervous and amazed that she had confronted the issue. To save face, she grabbed him by the shoulder and said confidently “ Well….that settles that.” Following her survival instinct, she turned and hurried down the hall out of the building. He was behind her in the hall saying something as she walked away, but she never heard it. The tears were already streaming down her face, and she needed a friend desperately.

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