An angry scowl contorted Dr. Lauren Bennett's face. She crossed her arms and said, "You haven't been following my orders, have you?"
The nervous patient focused her eyes on the corner of the dress her hand was fiddling with. "Well, Dr. Bennett, I've, uh, tried."
"Mary, Mary," Dr. Bennett repeated as she shook her head. "If you don't take your insulin you'll get very sick, and if you don't check your sugar, you won't know how much insulin to take."
Mary released the fabric from her grasp and lifted shameful eyes to her doctor. In a voice that was barely audible, she replied, "I know. I just forget. This is all so new to me."
Dr. Bennett saw the uncomfortable look and compassion softened her tone. "I know itís hard giving up your favorite food, but you have to so that you'll live a long and healthy life."
Mary's eyes dropped to her clasped hands. For several moments, she sat silent, contemplating the words Dr. Bennett spoke. Without looking up she whispered, "I don't like checking my sugar. It makes my finger sore."
Dropping onto a stool in front of her patient, the doctor took Mary's hands in hers. She lowered her face to meet Mary's eyes and smiled. "Would you like for me to show you a trick that makes it better?"
Lifting her head, Mary nodded.
Dr. Caroline Bennett stepped into the doorway. "Lauren?"
Three year old Lauren looked up. "Mommy," she squealed, and ran to her mother's arms, tripping on the adult sized white lab coat as she went. "You're home."
"I am," her mother said as she scooped her daughter up and pulled her tight. "What are you doing in my lab coat?" her mother asked.
"Just playing doctor with my doll, Mary." She threw her arms around her mother's neck and clung to her tight. "Do you have to go back to the hospital tonight?"
Twinges of regret could be heard in her answer, "Yes, baby, but only for a bit. I have a few patients to tuck in for the night." She pulled Lauren off her shoulder and let a smile part her lips. "But I thought we could have dinner together. Your choice."
Lauren's eyes grew wide. "Anywhere?"
"Anywhere. First, we need to check your sugar."
The excitement of a special dinner was clouded by the reminder of her disease. She looked at her finger and back at her doll. "Okay," the girl lifted sad eyes to her mother. "Can we sing the song you teach your patients?"
With her daughter still in her arms, Caroline headed out the door and answered, "The 'All Better' song? Sure."
Resting her head on her mother's shoulder, the other Dr. Bennett gave Mary one last smile.
Mary winked, and smiled back.
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