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Sarah knew she must call the doctor back, but she couldn’t bring herself to pick up the phone. In her mind’s eye, she saw her daughter’s rainbow striped socks sticking out of the hulking MRI machine last Tuesday. The idea that there could be some darkness, something lying in wait to hurt her daughter, made Sarah nauseous. She would call the doctor, but not yet. She had one task left this afternoon before she could switch from work mode to mom mode. She’d promised a client she’d bring documents over for signatures. Mrs. Shirley didn’t leave her house much anymore; it seemed too taxing a trip for her to come to the office. Worried and scattered as Sarah felt with the pediatrician’s news looming over her, she wished someone else could take her place today. She knew one of her peers would willingly do it, too, but then she’d have to explain why she wasn’t up to the long drive to see the client. Sarah wasn’t ready to call the doctor back; she certainly wasn’t ready to voice her fears to a co-worker. She grumbled her way out to the car with the paperwork, already certain traffic would be horrendous and wanting this day to end. Mrs. Shirley greeted Sarah at the door an hour later and Sarah nodded at a scrub-clad girl on her way out. She caught a portion of the name tag: Visiting Nurse. She glanced warily at her client as she took the chair opposite her at the little kitchen table. The narrow mobile home left much to be desired in the way of space, but it was clean and cheerful, and something smelled wonderful. Jane Shirley navigated around the long snaking oxygen tubing and transferred holiday cookies from a pan to a cooling rack. She set a plate of warm cookies in front of Sarah. “Good timing, I wasn’t sure I’d be done with my nurse before you arrived.” She told Sarah in a matter of fact tone that her heart condition was worsening and the nurse came twice weekly now.

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