stethoscopes (100 words exercise)

I love the feeling of a stethoscope pressed against my chest, breathing in, breathing out. When I was younger I wondered what the doctor could be listening for inside the hollows and nooks of my body. I’m not sure I dared to imagine. Even in a doctor’s office, I found it soothing: the gentle pressing and inhaling, exhaling and pressing again– covering my chest and then my back, my abdomen. Then the weight of the stethoscope being knocked under my knee-cap as I watched my leg pull itself awake. The weight eased around my body and the cold metal felt quiet.


11 Responses

  1. I’m glad I have the yellow stethoscope. The waiting line is long, since everyone wants a checkup today. Rabbit’s looking sick and his heart isn’t thump-thumping right. Dad just got home and his white stethoscope’s in his pocket. He laughs when he sees me wearing his scrubs. Shayna’s downstairs with the book with the inside-out body on the cover, reading about how to use stethoscopes. I ask if she wants me to explain. She gets mad and says she can’t study around here. She doesn’t know that I cured Brown Bear today. Dad says he’s proud of both of us.

  2. Whenever anyone got sick, we would call Grandpa before we called our own pediatrician. He had a whole closet of complicated surgical steel instruments, and we used them to operate on the turkey at Thanksgiving. I used to play with his stethoscope, but my elusive deep drum roll always surprised me. He told me in first grade pig hearts were used as temporary transplants for sick people. I tried to imagine the sound of a pig’s heart, but couldn’t hear anything other than my own heartbeat. I haven’t eaten meat since.

  3. I’m okay about stethoscopes. Really. Our childhood doctor arrived with his breadbox of a black leather bag, fishing out concoctions at our bedsides: cherries gone strange or bubblegum fizz. Always, around his neck his stethoscope necklace. He was a kind but serious man. Tall. Old.

    Thirty years later, when I’d rush one young daughter or the other to Doc Pete for a broken wrist or earache, he, wily magician, would nod a pursed “HmmMMMmmmm….” as he touched stethoscope to elbow, to nose, to pinkie toe. No matter how bad the pain, the sick one would giggle, fear effaced, healing begun.

  4. When I was young I didn’t know very much about my dad except that he fixed people, could use a stethoscope, and was always tired and late for dinner. We didn’t like to bother him when he was home because we didn’t want him to get upset with us. But when it came to a sick daughter he was always on duty. We would plop ourselves on his side of the bed and wait patiently, silently, desperately curious and excited to see the silent, savvy and seductive tools that he kept at his bedside. Holding our breath we’d dutifully stare back at him as he peered into one eye, then the other, then got a closer look at our mind via the ear canal. At the climax we’d roll up our shirts and he’d support our chests while pressing his cold extended ear against our backs and telling us to breathe, which we gladly did, because we knew that at least to this, he was listening.

  5. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, ex-. Light-headedness began to – inhale, exhale – wash over me. The panic of the sterile room with its walls plastered in alphabet pictures and its bench dripping with memories of needles and paper clothes was magnified by the hollow follow-through of this repetitive command: inhale, exhale. The cold steel burned my back. Goosebumps rippled across exposed skin.

    This was a hard test to pass and – inhale, exhale – I felt I might pass out. But that would prove that I was sick. Would suggest an unwanted rattle. Would reveal a power failure to the watchful eye of the stethoscope.

  6. Mom is my pride. SHE is a doctor, from the generation of male assertion. I loved her story, of drive and triumph. The legend of the high school douche bag, the rival who had the audacity in arch nemesis fashion to try his hand against her powers, “noone likes a smart girl, Nancy”. Of becoming something great when there was no driving force but herself to support her. Making a way for herself, she works and balanced family perfectly, when everything is so hard, and that makes be hopeful, it makes me happy. If I believe and want so hard what she could accomplish, why does she sometimes seem so unsure.

  7. Stethoscopes would tell if they could that most peoples’ hearts don’t beat for any other reason than to beat…that heartbeats are a metronome for lives like dirges—that almost none waltz, and no one’s does the tango.

    Heartbeats are telling that way, and stethoscopes know. They know that men can be deceiving, but not to them. They know our lives are like a timeline of spikes in blood pressure; irregular starts and stops…sudden peaks and valleys—if we’re very lucky. Otherwise the stethoscopes mutter in our doctors’ ears “all is well; don’t worry about this one…”

  8. Dr. John Wesley Waughop, the name pronounced with a Scottish tremor, left the wide plains of the country’s heart for its edges: in Washington, not far from the huddle of streets where my parents now live, he took up the post of superintendent of the state’s only asylum for the insane. He thought of Freud’s slight young theories, the new science of psychiatry. What was he listening for? He pressed his stethoscope to the raging chests of his patients, seeking in the caves of their lungs the sources of instability. And still the soundness of body betrayed the unsound mind.

  9. Every house has a doctor, in children’s games. When characters were picked, mom and dad were always picked last. Baby was fought over sometimes, but the most sought-after role was that of doctor. The doctor has a little bag of instruments that he gets to carry around. In it, among bandages and thermometers, eye-patches and cough drops, was the much-respected plastic stethoscope. When the doctor pulled the stethoscope out of his bag, baby laid quietly on the table to be examined. The doctor would then listen to baby’s bones, thinking he could hear the creaks in them. He would place the end of the stethoscope on baby’s head and listen intently, and announce that baby had a sore throat, and prescribe two cough drops for mom and dad to give to baby when they got home.

  10. Molly bought a stethoscope last year. Actually, she and Jean both chipped in to purchase the abandoned medical tool in a random consignment store last Halloween. It still worked too; we took turns pressing the ice-cold metal disc up to our skin and giggled as we tried to discern each other’s heart beats, our internal rhythms. Molly was ecstactic over the contraption–after all, she wants to be a doctor. Oh boy was she angry when one of our friends borrowed it for his costume and never returned it. Now what would Molly wear to accessorize with her hospital-scrub pajamas?

  11. But fear not, Ms. Hilmes, for Molly’s stethoscope has not fallen from its epic trajectory. After garnering an A on that friend’s Geography project (no kidding, eh?), it made its way to the top of a dresser for some time, even taking a brief vacation to hang from the fire sprinkler. And do not even imagine neglect – the number of visitors who found intrigue in its dated but fully functional tubes was astounding. Come summer, it road-tripped to the shores of Lake Michigan, where it presently resides, delighting said friend’s family. Given the importance of accessorizing, though, return imminent.

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