This morning I went to my doctor's office before breakfast to have blood drawn. No sun, the sky socked-in with stormy looking clouds--the kind of day you'd like to curl up at home with a good book. But instead, I drove the few minutes to Stonecreek Family Physicians to offer my arm to a lab technician.
Despite the gloomy weather, I enjoyed the short drive over the hills. The tallgrass prairie looks desolate to some, but to those of us who live here, it's a balm to our souls.
My empty stomach growled as I entered the limestone-faced building and headed to the lab. I gave the receptionist my name and my doctor's name, then sat down. A heavyset woman whose breathing appeared labored asked me if Dr. H was my doctor. I replied affirmatively, and she leaned over and said, "Do you like him?" Her question surprised me, but I answered honestly and quickly. "Yes, very much." She nodded her head and sat back again, saying no more.
I picked up a magazine but my mind concentrated more on the woman than on the words in front of me. Was she a new patient of Dr. H's I wondered. Did she fear he might not be the right one for her? Was she worried about whatever test she waited for? I watched as she whipped out a cellphone and made a call. The conversation revolved not around her health but about a dog that kept her awake most of the night. Just then, an x-ray technician escorted a man to the waiting room, and the woman jumped up and grabbed him by the arm. "Are you done?" she said, already halfway out the door.
Things aren't always as they look, the woman wasn't the patient, after all. We jump to conclusions sometimes using only a bit of information available at the time.
By this time, three more people had checked in with the receptionist. A nice looking man in his thirties, a woman studying a textbook, and an older man who looked very tired. Four of us in the lab waiting room, four tests of some kind, four stories. I suppose writers want to know peoples' stories more than most folks do, or is it only my inquisitive nature? As much as I'd like to know each one's story, I haven't resorted to questionning complete strangers yet.
The lab tech called me in, drew two vials of blood and sent me on my way. I left paperwork at the outer office reception desk where three women worked. More stories there, I'm sure. There are stories within each and every person's life. I find it fascinating to learn about some of those stories.
As I drove home, I thought about the young lab technician who'd drawn my blood. She had very little to say, and she seemed preoccupied. There's a story there, most likely--one I'll never know. Instead, I went home to have some breakfast, but I'll think about those people who crossed my path off and on today.