Dr. Karton assembled the features of his face into what he hoped was a reassuring smile and stepped into the waiting room. He automatically looked to the faded chairs resting against the peeling wall paint. His eyes registered a hint of brown at the bottom of his peripheral vision. Dropping his gaze, the doctor was surprised to see his patient kneeling on the floor.
He rushed over to her and mentally noted her condition: Beads of sweat on forehead, dilated pupils, hyperventilating, hand tremors. A panic attack was the likely culprit so he started to reassure her in a soothing voice. He encouraged her to breathe slowly by counting. After a few minutes, she had calmed enough to be helped into a stiff chair.
Sinking into the chair beside her, Dr. Karton assessed the situation. His patient had just recovered from her panic attack and would soon ask about the results of her lab tests. He picked at a hole in the fabric of the seat while he tried to form an appropriate response to the inevitable question.
He had only decided on starting with Miss Johnson…, when the still trembling woman beside him found her voice.
So, Doctor, be honest with me…is it bad?
[To Be Continued]