Shame On The Girls

Sunday Scribbling prompt: Shame

She peered at the sign on the door to make sure she was in the right place.  Dolores gingerly turned the knob and entered, quietly closing the door behind her.  The waiting room was empty, thank goodness.  She waddled across the burgundy and forest green carpet to the sliding glass window behind which the receptionist sat talking to someone on the phone.  She stood at the window impatiently tapping her foot until the girl glanced up, the beginning of a smile dying before it had a chance to be friendly.

She handed the plastic clipboard and attached pen to the big-haired woman and wondered if she was going to be one of “those”.

Dolores took the clipboard and signed her name with a flourish.  She handed the clipboard back to miss perky thing and sighing, demanded to know if appointments were on time today.  “Yes uh, Mrs. Wasserman” she replied, glancing at the clipboard.

Dolores rolled her eyes and mumbled something about hoping so and turned and minced to the bank of chairs.  She managed to squeeze her corseted derrière into the paisley upholstered seat,  She clutched her Coach bag to her and tried to keep her elbows from touching the arms of the chair.  One never knew what germs might be lurking on the surface in a doctor’s office.  Her dress was dark under her arms as she sweat from the effort of getting to the third floor office.  She would never forgive her sister for making the appointment to see the gynecologist. Sophie couldn’t believe it had been ten years since Dolores had been to the doctor but Dolores saw no point in throwing away good money when there was nothing wrong with her.  Now she was at this horrid place.  It was just as she suspected.  You go to one doctor and the next thing you know they have a hold of your wallet and won’t let go.  Now it was a breast exam. Her ladies doctor had set up the appointment and she was too mortified after that horrible event to say anything never mind ask questions.  She just wrote the check at the desk and took her appointment card and left as quickly as her chubby thighs would move her to the caddy.

Cindy got down a folder and began a new chart for Dolores Wasserman. Usually she liked working for Doctor Peterman and most of the patients were very nice ladies.  Cindy was pretty good at putting them at ease in what many women found to be a very uncomfortable situation.  She had been at this long enough to know that would not be the case with Mrs. Wasserman.  She had told Karen she could leave early since this would be the last appointment of the day.  Karen’s youngest was in middle school and seemed to disagree with the necessity of homework so Karen needed to have a conference with his teachers.  Cindy was half regretting the generous gesture now.  She dreaded handling Mrs; Wassermans’ huge breasts and knew she was going to have trouble getting them between the plastic plates on the mammography machine correctly.  Those big girls were not going to want to cooperate and Mrs. Dolores was not going to be graceful about it, no sir.  Oh well, the chart was made and the last patient signed out so she the sooner she got her back there, the sooner it would be over with and she could finish up reports and go home.  She would have just enough time to change clothes and fix her makeup before Tyler picked her up for the movie.  That thought cheered her up.  Tyler was hot and nice too. Maybe he would get lucky tonight, she thought to herself with a smile.

She got up and waved to Dolores, pointing to the door to the right of the window. Dolores heaved herself up out of the chair and waddled to the door.  She held the knob with a kleenex covered hand and followed Cindy to a room behind the office.  Cindy told her to take off all her clothing above the waist and put on the gown on the shelf in the room.  Dolores peered into the pink room and sniffed.  It looked like a bottle of pepto bismol had been shaken and sprayed all over the room.  It literally dripped pink.  She untied the bow on the front of the silk blouse and shimmied out of it.  Unhooking the straps on her brassiere, she peeled it down and twisted it around so she could get to the hooks and eyes.  She carefully folded it and laid it on the shelf next to the hook where she had hung her blouse.

She eyed the pink flamingo covered gown with disdain as she unfolded the cotton nightmare and wrapped it around herself, struggling with the snaps and ties.  There was no mirror and for once she was relieved.  Dolores was certain the whole disgusting ensemble was anything but flattering.  She clasped her pocketbook to her chest, trying to hide behind it as she slipped out the door, peering both ways.  Cindy was out in the hall waiting for her.  Dolores followed the petite blond to a room near the end of the hall.  Cindy began to explain the procedure to her, but she interrupted her saying that she was not a complete idiot, she had read the pamphlet the doctor gave her, thank you very much and could they just get on with it?

Cindy sighed and helped Dolores position herself in front of the machine.  Dolores angrily undid the ties on the front and scooched up as far as possible.  Even so, it was difficult to get her breast placed on the plate and Cindy had to help smush and push to get it into place.  Dolores huffed and closed her eyes unable to believe the indignity of it all.  They repeated the whole process for the other breast and finally it was done.  Cindy said the doctor would call her at the end of the week with the results and Dolores walked off before she was finished talking.  Dolores hurried to the changing room and put her clothing back on.  She left the stupid gown on the floor and grabbed her purse.  She stopped long enough at the desk to write a check and without so much as a go to hell, turned on her heel and stalked out of the  office.  Cindy could have told her that her dress was tucked into the back of her panty hose but the sight of her large posterior bumping away so mesmerized her that the unpleasant woman was out the door before she could get the words out.  She could barely breath for a moment and then burst out laughing.

She finished up her last charts and went to the back to make sure the plates were hung on the light box for the doctor.  She turned on the light and looked at the images.  Suddenly she wasn’t so excited about going out that night.  She was no radiologist but she had seen enough of these to know that the news for Mrs. Wasserman was not going to be good.

24 thoughts on “Shame On The Girls

  1. quin browne

    i love when a short story doesn’t go where i think it’s going to go, when it has people that involve me, when the plot is well thought out.

    this had all of those things.

  2. Linda May

    I went for one of those tests recently and there was a large unpleasant woman there complaining about everything. I would have loved to see her walk out the door with her dress tucked up and so would the receptionist I bet. But the outcome of her tests I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
    Mammogram screening is free in Australia, a govt, initiative for early detection.I get my results in 4 weeks, nothing was wrong but I thought it worth the testing. Lets hope the disease continues the decline it is reported to be doing here.

  3. old egg

    My wife and I have seen so many surgeries, undergone so many tests and treatments over the last ten years or more so that your observations rang many bells. Beneath it all, with all her bravado Dolores was simply frightened as we all are in this situation and her aggressiveness was her defense mechanism. Beautiful piece of writing. Looking forward to more.

  4. Dee Post author

    I hear you old egg – my husband is a kidney transplant recipient and I am a stroke survivor. We are all strong until we find ourselves vulnerable in very personal and undignified situations where we are forced to put ourselves in the care and trust of strangers. It is a humbling experience and we are often not at our best.

  5. Jenifer

    Ooh this was lovely! Lovely as in the flow and writing, but then again I enjoy all of your writing.

    This was also sad! Very sad. That poor woman.

  6. glowby

    So much vivid imagery and mood-setting! I loved the sudden shame-inspiring twist at the end, and its dire important message.

  7. Dee Post author

    Jeeves – I agree but it’s part of it whether we like it or not. I’m with you on the not liking it part 🙂

    Jenifer – thank you.

    Glowby – thank you. Not an easy subject but it IS important.

  8. roswellgray

    This was really good. I can’t say it was ENJOYABLE, because that twist at the end twisted my stomach up, but it was very well-written

  9. Chefdruck

    What a wonderful story! I loved how different the two characters were. I could just see the perky Cindy and the way she described Mrs. Wasserman’s breasts as those big ladies was just wonderful.

    Beautifully written.

  10. JM

    Well, sometimes it takes a dramatic change in one’s life to make one change his/her attitudes. Mrs. Wasserman, you’re up.

    Very well written.

  11. gel

    mmm. Your writing is delicious. I enjoyed the real life quality to it. It flows with ease and realistic description with just enough suspense to keep the reader engaged. Perfect for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. That sad ending from the x-rays superbly showed the aftereffects of succumbing to human nature.

  12. paschal

    Ms Dee, I liked this story a lot, particularly the choreography of scooching and smushing and pushing in the next to last paragraph. There was something tender even in the comedy: something, I can’t figure out what, must have been telegraphing the news that is coming Dolores’ (and Cindy’s) way.

    Was wondering about the swinging pendulum with the spelling of Dolores/Delores’ name: I think something’s (there’s that word again) up with the shifting, but I lost my decoder ring from the cereal box.

    Good to visit again.

  13. Dee

    Paschal – what was up was that I needed a discerning eye to edit me LOL – I shall make the necessary repairs. Welcome back – it’s nice to here from you. (um that should have been “hear” – darn spell checker…)

  14. Dee Post author

    Susan – it seemed to be taking on that life as I wrote it. It didn’t even go where I thought it would but it did show what the experience is like and I’m grateful for that. It’s an uncomfortable subject. Woman are supposed to be the weaker sex. We are taught how to “act like a lady” from birth and then handed brassieres, high heels, and mascara and tickets to the world of childbirth, mammograms and scrubbing toilets. No wonder we end up confused and angry sometimes. Jokes are made about how irrational women can be but I think we do out best to survive in a world of contradictions 🙂

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