Poems & Essays

31 Mar

Uncertain Patience

General/Column No Response

“May I help you?”

“Yes. I’m here for a blood test.”

She aimlessly rifled through a stack of papers until she found one and placed it in front of me. I filled out at least fifty contact forms in the past year, but this one was different.

Glacing around the waiting room, I avoided direct eye contact with the two other individuals. Most people prefer to remain anonymous. The person seated to my left was dressed in a dark grey business suit, yellow tie and he was reading the Wall Street Journal. The woman seated across from me wore a royal blue dress, a pearl necklace and she was typing in a hostile manner on her laptop. My attire consisted of a t-shirt, shorts, flip flops and my activity of choice was observing people in a waiting room. I felt underdressed and unproductive. Is it possible to be unproductive and underdressed in a waiting room?

My attention shifted back to the woman across from, but I was unable to concentrate. Today I would find out if the procedure worked. Before attempting the most recent course of action, my doctor said to me, “This is the end of the line. This is the most that science can offer you at this time.” As you can imagine, these words of encouragement were all I could think about as I waited to find out if science was on my side.

When I first received my diagnoses I was shocked. I was young, strong, and healthy. How could something be physically wrong with me? For the first time in my life I felt broken. At first my doctor implied my issue was minor and would require little invention. A year later, lots of medications, blood tests and two procedures I was still broken. And now the doctor’s outlook went from minor to out of options.

“Cheryl Maguire,” the nurse called my name.

“Here,” I responded as I followed her to the room with the chair containing an arm rest.

No instructions were necessary. Positioning my arm face up, my fist squeezed tight, I was ready for the needle. I glanced down at my arm. The red marks were a reminder of all the times I was there before. Both arms covered with the spots. It was summer time which made it difficult to cover up. No one at work knew about my diagnosis. I often would hide my arms which was the only physical indication that something was wrong with me.

The nurse smiled as she knotted the white band around my forearm. She tapped my arm and then pressed the needle into my skin, instructing me to, “relax my hand.”

The blood trickled into the vial. My eyes fixated on the crimson color circulating in a motion similar to an ocean wave.

“Do you like Biology?”

A befuddled look must have encompassed my face.

“You are staring at your blood as it enters the vial. Most patients look away so I was wondering if you have an interest in Biology?”

“It’s been a long year. I really need this to work,” I said.

She pulled the needle out, gingerly applying the bandage on my newest abrasion.

“Good Luck,” she said as she walked away, holding my future in her right hand.

A few hours later my phone rang.

“This is a nurse calling with your test results,” she said. She continued to speak, but I couldn’t process what she was saying. Then I heard the word, “positive.”

I tried to figure out what it meant. The nurse then she said a word which cleared up any doubt. A non-medical word. A word anyone could understand.



“I know this is a lot of information. Because there are two embryos and you have high levels of HCG, I would say with about 95% certainty that you are expecting twins.”

Twins. Placing my hand on my stomach, I smiled. In fact, it was the first real smile in over a year. Uncertain for so long of what my future would be, I now knew.

I am a mother.


Cheryl Maguire is a mother of twins and a daughter. Her writing has been published in Mothers Always Write, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Count Your Blessings, Twins Magazine, It’s Twins, and Twin Connections.
You can find her at Twitter @CherylMaguire05

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