Saturday, October 23, 2010

Dr. Bob Z's Twins (Pink Hats Part IV)


It was 5 AM when his sunset rendezvous with a luscious brunette from New Hampshire, who bore a striking resemblance to actress Megan Fox, was rudely interrupted by Jerry Reed's country twang, "She got the gold mine and I got the shaft."

"Wait, baby, let me find...the…damn...button..." he said, waving his arm in the general direction of the nightstand, fumbling the effort to distinguish lamp from radio, and knocking both to the floor. He tried to roll over and mentally grasp the fleeting remnants of his dream girl, but gave up after a few seconds -- like it or not, he was awake. "Oh, God," he sighed, threw off the bed clothes, got up, stepped on the clock, swore again -- this time more colorfully – and resisted the temptation to drop kick Jerry all the way back to Nashville.

His earliest patient wasn't due at the office until nine, but he wanted to stop by the hospital on the way and look in on the twins. Breakfast had never been his ex's strong suit and he found out long ago if he was going to avoid crashing and burning in a mid-morning hypoglycemic conflagration, he'd better learn how to cook. A pile of scrambled eggs and hash browns later, he pulled into the parking lot of the Nook and Cranny, feeling a sudden, inexplicable urge for one or maybe two of their legendary Mochas. Two would definitely be better, he thought.


Inside of twenty minutes, he’d gotten his order, driven up the hill to Maine Medical Center and despite Halley’s admonition, quietly slipped up behind a young woman in light blue scrubs and wrinkled white coat sitting at the NICU nursing station. Reaching in front of her, he placed a muy grande Mocha on the counter and asked softly, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”

“At this point, I'm not sure,” she said, yawning, “I'm so tired I could literally be almost anyone.” She cupped the cardboard-collared recycled paper mug in both hands, took a long appreciative whiff, and smiled at him over the rim. "How is it you’ve always known when I need this the most?"

“Doctor’s intuition, GMTA -- shoot, maybe we're just on the same wavelength. Speaking of which, I actually do seem to remember reading something to that effect in the hospital newsletter.”

She laughed and said, “It’s our own fault for having a wannabe gossip columnist for a PR director.” 


“He’s got to write something of human interest, I guess,” he said, half-shaking his head to the right in a way she’d long ago memorized like a teenage girl memorizes the lyrics to her favorite song.

She reached for a tissue to wipe whipped cream from her upper lip, blushing slightly. “So, besides being my hero and bringing me coffee, what’s on your mind this fine morning?”

He sidestepped the potential set-up for the moment and said, "A pair of female twins I sent up from the ER yesterday afternoon. They'd been abandoned when one of your classmates -- no, one of the newer students -- found them. I was the attending and thought I'd follow up."

"I saw your note; they’re both wonderful; nary a peep from either. You’d have made a great neonatologist. But you want a closer look, right? Let’s mask and gown.”


A few seconds later they were standing next to the NICU equivalent of a crib built for two, the twins snuggled close and sleeping on their backs, when he saw the name tag. Usually, in the absence of formal identification, these read something like “Alpha” and “Beta,” but not this time.
 
“What…in…the…hell?” he whispered, enunciating each word as though it was a sentence of its own.

“Hush,” she said, raising a gloved index finger to the mask over his lips. “This is a NICU, remember? Now relax -- it’s a little staff humor. Soon as their story got round, one of the nurses said her daughter was reading stories involving the Bobbsey Twins -- the girls who were amateur sleuths? You're a pediatrician, you've seen the books I'm sure. Well, everyone calls you “Dr. Bob” because your last name is unpronounceable and begins with “Z,” so it makes sense. Dr. Bob Z’s twins.”

“Oh, shhh…” he began and stopped, noticing her warning glance.

"...sugar." 

(Photo copyright 2010 by the author)
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