Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Achoo (04/11/13)
TITLE: Could You Repeat That Please?
By Danielle King
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“Look at him.” I nudged her arm. “He’s creepy.”
“Don’t poke me Linda!” She put down a copy of ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’ and focused full attention on her ‘charley-horse’ gluteal muscle.
“It’s my out-patient appointment sis–not yours,” I reminded her. “Why do they cram so many different specialities into one session?” The little lady sitting to my left gently tapped my arm.
“They’ll call you through the main doors dear, and each doctor has a different consulting room. You’ll see the name on a white board outside.” Ah, bless. I’d already sussed than one. I smiled sweetly and thanked her. Quite suddenly, she took a sharp intake of breath, then another. She looked way too frail to play host to all that ozone; especially hospital waiting room strain. Who knows what gremlins could be setting up camp in those timeworn bellows of hers.
I glanced at my sister, still pre-occupied with her hind quarters. No reaction there! All at once the lady’s face screwed up. She threw back her head, and with tilted chin, totally forgot to breathe: “No; no,” I said. “Don’t do that… Stop it… Will you stop…
SIS, SHE’S HAVING A HEART ATTACK. DO SOMETHING!”
A most alarming racket escaped from the depths of the lady’s chambers. It was followed swiftly by a top denture vamoosing under three rows of chairs, before skidding into a head-on encounter with an unsuspecting shopping bag: “Goodneth me,” she lithped. “I think I’ve lotht me top chopperth.”
“Do something then.” My sister demanded.
“Hum… Like what sis?”
“Go find her gnashers!”
I knew I should have waited when a second disruptive explosion discharged the bottom set, in search of its mate. The lady was very gracious: “Thank you dear. You’re very kind. Are you here to see Mr Jones too?” I told her I was waiting to see Mr Smith. She fiddled a while with her hearing aid, before asking rather loudly what my problem was.
“Um, it’s sort of… um… you know.” I looked around furtively before pointing my index finger south. Information overload! The hearing aid objected and whistled its indignation.
“Oh, your bits ‘n’ pieces?” She hollered. “Rather you than me dear. Mine’s at the opposite end.” I sensed a ripple of barely stifled merriment as heads began to turn all around me. The mind boggled. Either this little lady had a somewhat unusual anatomy, or I’d completely missed the plot: “I’ve had it for years now,” she insisted. “And I’ve only just learned to recite its name.”
“It has a name?” I ventured, praying it wouldn’t be what I was thinking.
“Yes dear. It’s called, hang on…” She poked around with the wayward top denture. “It’s called, Autosomal dominant Compelling Helio-Ophthalmic Outburst.”
“Good heavens!” I gasped, willing the itinerant choppers to hang in there. “You poor soul. Are you here to get it fixed?”
“No, they can’t fix that dear. Not unless they put the sun out.” Huh?
“Then why are you here?” I asked, bewildered. “And what does the long posh name mean?”
“I’m here for my ingrowing toenails dear, and the medical term means… uh… oh… those lights… a… ah… aah… aaah… CHOO!”
*The abbreviated term for the medical condition, Autosomal dominant Compelling Helio-Ophthalmic Outburst is, ACHOO. Sometimes referred to as ‘photic sneeze reflex’ or ‘sun sneezing,’ it’s a condition of uncontrollable sneezing in response to numerous stimuli such as looking at bright lights.
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