The Numbers Game

She walked into her closet, opening the door into frigid air, at best. Ah, yes. The vent is closed.

She selected a pair of colored jeans, loose enough to slide over leggings or tights, whichever one was clean. And they were lighter than her favorite, go-to jeans.

She unearthed a lightweight, long-sleeve tee, wheat colored, and pulled a thin sweater from its hanger home, sending the hanger rocking back and forth with only its hook as an anchor.

She held her sleeve and pulled the sweater on, examining it against the jeans. One shade darker wouldn’t matter, would it?

She pulled on black leggings, stretching and pulling until their fabric felt even across her long legs. She covered the black with her jeans and smiled slightly. She almost felt successful.

Since last night, when she began her preparations for her appointment this morning, she began playing the game. She thought of this variable and that circumstance she could use to help control or change this outcome or that result. She was playing The Numbers Game.

She headed to her sock drawer, dug a bit, and retrieved her thinnest nylon socks. White would have to do. Surely her weight would be the first set of numbers she would see today.

The night before, she had meticulously copied from her insurance card more numbers–numbers attaching her to a company that would divide the cost of her care based on percentages and payments, copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles. But those numbers were not any she could control.

Dressing, however, was another matter. Her clothing might only save her a pound or two, but she could use it to her advantage still.

She placed her arms into her coat, tucked her paperwork under her arm, pulled her purse onto her shoulder, and straightened her scarf around her neck. If she watched her breathing, she could help her blood pressure readings, too.

She climbed into her car, grateful for a carport that kept ice from forming on her windshield. She lifted the garage door and mapped the office on her phone while the car engine warmed itself.

Maybe some music will lighten my mood? she wondered almost aloud as she turned the dial on her old car stereo.

Noise and people discussing pet psychics and Justin Bieber’s latest film converged upon her ears. Not exactly peaceful, is it?

Then, she remembered her friend gave her a song suggestion over the weekend. She found, “Sunny and 75” on Spotify, and continued to listen against the wipers sweeping across sprinkles of ice and snow from her view. The song made her feel warmer, though, somehow.

She turned on another happy tune, Andy Grammer’s “Fine By Me,” as she turned into the parking lot and took a call from her long-time boyfriend, who was traveling on business.

“Hey, Love!”

“Hey. I just got back from the gym.”

“I’m heading into the doctor now. When do your meetings start?”

“Not till 11 a.m. Call me later?” he asked as she walked into the office door.

“Yep. Love you.”

“Love you, too. Bye.”

He must have turned off the phone first, because she found herself standing in the waiting room raising her eyes toward the receptionist until, less than a second later, Andy Grammer was playing again at full volume.

So much for calm blood pressure.

She pushed the volume button to silent and met the receptionist with her paperwork.

“Thank you. Please sign here.”

She signed on the line, dated, and returned the papers across the desk.

“You may be seated.”

She smiled, accepting the instructions, still a bit bewildered by her loud music/reception area faux pas.

In a moment, she heard her name.

She rose to meet the nurse and began almost immediately to loosen her scarf and unbutton her coat.

“Please remove your shoes and stand here,” the nurse with kind eyes said to her, motioning to the right.

She nodded again, slid off her shoes, and shed her coat and scarf.

Thank heavens for lightweight sweaters.

The numbers calibrated to various concoctions but finally settled.

She smiled at the number–no less but at least no more than she expected.

Her height matched expectations as well, and though she knew someday gravity would have its way with her, she had not yet begun to shrink.

Then came numbers for pulse, oxygen, and blood pressure. Pulse was sporadic, oxygen was fine, and blood pressure was within normal limits.

The doctor finished the exam with orders to draw blood to check more numbers–LDL, HDL, and Vitamin D. She wondered how those numbers would affect her life.

She walked away from the building facing the wind who blew more particles of cold and white into her eyes and mouth. She settled in her car, letting the engine warm itself once again, and thought about returning his call.

What did she have to say?

I think I won playing the numbers game today….


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Writer, freelance editor, mother, artist...I wear a few other hats, as well, of course. :)

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