“Good morning, Dr. Pruett,” the assistant and the orderly said as Viviana walked in the front door of Willow Creek Hospital.
“Good morning,” she sang. She stopped at the front desk to see if she had any urgent cases before she made her rounds through the patient rooms. The orderly had been working at the hospital for the past three months and always enjoyed being on Viviana’s service. As a woman, and a mother, she had great respect for her. Every chance she got, she had to glean from Viviana’s head…and heart.
“Dr. Pruett,” she said, “Can I ask you a work related yet personal question?”
“I don’t mean any disrespect, but you’re…old. Most doctors would have retired years ago! How do you keep going?”
Viviana laughed as she thought her answer. She never considered retiring before, and she thought this girl was very keen to notice. “This isn’t a job for me,” she said. “There are plenty of people in this world who enroll in medical school in hopes of being a doctor to make tons of money, but that’s not my story. I married a Pruett. I didn’t need any money. I wanted to help people. We had children pretty quickly, and the first two very close together. I was very young and still trying to figure out how to be a good mom and wife without being a photocopy of someone else. I learned that I had a great capacity for love, and I was a lot stronger than I thought I was. Besides, when you come into a family like the Pruetts, it can be overwhelming because you’re grafted into the fabric of this great family. I wanted something that was mine. Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say is doctor is not what I do. Doctor is who I am. I see no reason to give it up.”
“Wow! You’re so awesome, Dr. Pruett! I hope I can be half as awesome as you some day!”
“You will,” Viviana said. “As long as you have a deep reason for doing this and keep your priorities straight.”
“Thank you for sharing that with me, truly!”
“Anytime.” Just then, Viviana’s phone buzzed. She took it out of her pocket and saw a text message from Callie.
“You have a special guest this morning :-D,” it read.
“Oh,” she shouted. She was always excited to see her grandchildren who did not live with her. At first she was concerned because she never got used to seeing her family members at the hospital. However, she knew whatever it was couldn’t have been serious otherwise Callie would be there. “Apparently I have a special patient,” she said to the orderly, grinning ear to ear.
Viviana nodded. “You and I should catch up outside of work sometime. I’d love to continue this conversation.”
“Seriously?? I’d love that, Dr. Pruett!”
“We’ll talk later. I’ve got someone to see!”
She left the orderly to her duties and went to go find her grandchild. She peaked in all the patient rooms until she found her youngest sitting on the bed. “Hello, little lady! How are you feeling?”
Viviana thought Chasity looked so much like her father, yet she saw a lot of Callie in her too. She thought that after having four grandchildren she would have gotten used to whole grandma thing. But, when the fifth one came along, she was every bit excited and enamored with her as she was with the first two…and she didn’t even deliver her.
“I’m fine,” Chasity said.
Viviana laughed. “Well, usually people don’t come to see me when they’re fine. Why did your mom send you here?”
“Weeeeell,” Chasity said before she began her epic tale. “I don’t like eggs!” Viviana had a confused smile as she waited for her to continue. “It’s icky and mushy and nasty! And my brother knows I don’t like eggs but he ate all the pancakes! He started laughing at me and then he did some magic and made the stars come out and it wasn’t even night time. But the stars were HUGE and so close, I tried to get them out of my face but they wouldn’t leave. I was so mad, I took all of his toys and dumped them in the pool!” She got a kick out of the last part.
“Chasity! That wasn’t very nice,” Viviana said.
“But he ate the pancakes! And he was gonna tell on me, so I pushed him in the pool too!”
Viviana had been blessed with four well-mannered children. Until she started treating patients, she never had to deal with mean children. It took everything within her not to interfere with Julian and Jeannette’s parenting with Juliette because she knew they would have to figure it out. Dealing with other people’s children on a daily basis taught Viviana a lot, and she knew just what to do with Chasity even if it was just a temporary fix. She ignored the part about her pushing Derek in the pool and went back into doctor mode. She checked her eyes, ears, and temperature. She listened to her breathe and checked her heart rate. She already knew what was wrong with her, but this was all part of her act. Finally, she put her equipment away, jotted down some notes in Chasity’s chart, and gave her a diagnosis.
“Well, Ms. Mumbach, things don’t look good for you…” It took everything Viviana had to stay in character while looking at her granddaughter’s beautiful sad puppy eyes.
“W-what’s wrong with me, grandma?”
“Well, it turns out your brother doesn’t know magic and didn’t make the stars come out.”
“But, I saw them,” Chasity yelled.
“I know. You have a condition that will get worse unless you make some changes.” Viviana forced her serious doctor face.
“You have to stop being mean.”
“He started it!”
“Ok, but you’ve been doing some not-so-nice things lately. Remember last week when you put the trash in the fish tank?”
“But mommy wouldn’t let me watch TV!”
“Before then, you came to my house and destroyed the doll house…”
“That was fun!”
“Those were all mean things to do, Chasity. If you keep doing mean things, the stars are going to get bigger and brighter…and soon you’ll be blind!”
Charity immediately began crying. “I don’t wanna be blind!”
This scaring tactic worked much better on other children. Hearing her own grandchild cry broke her heart. She sat on the bed next to Chasity and held her. “I know. Blindness isn’t fun. It’ll be hard for you to never see Llama Man vs. Unicorn again…not seeing pretty trees and sunlight…or even your own mother again!” Chasity was wailing even louder now.
“I don’t wanna be blind! Please don’t let me be blind, grandma!”
Viviana was in a strange position. She wanted to laugh at this farce, but she felt terrible that she had tricked her granddaughter. But, most importantly, she had a job to do, and at that moment she needed to calm Chasity down so the other patients wouldn’t be concerned. “Ok, ok. I can give you some medicine to make the stars go away, but you have to promise me something or the medicine won’t work.”
“What’s that,” Chasity said with a whimper.
“Promise you won’t be mean to your family. If you don’t, the stars could come back, and you could go blind. So…what do you think?”
“You promise what?”
“I won’t be mean!”
Ahhhh, sweet break through! “Ok, now say it all together,” Viviana.
“I promise not to be mean to anyone anymore! Don’t let me be blind, grandma!”
“Ok, honey. Lie back, and drink this.”
Charity took the cup and suspiciously inspected the pink contents.
“Does it taste bad?”
“Ummm…I don’t really know,” Viviana said. “Drink it and let me know.”
“And I won’t be blind?”
Viviana smiled and said, “If you drink it and promise not to be mean, you won’t be blind.”
Chasity stared at the pink goo, and then she smelled it. Finally, she cautiously raised the paper cup to her lips and hoped that grandma was right.
He he he, poor kids. They never know what’s coming to them when they see Dr. Viv!