Dr. Denardo nodded at it, and Mrs. Newell hurried to close it.
“Okay,” he said, returning to me, “let’s hear about you. Tell me whatever you can about your medical history, any illnesses you’ve had.” He opened his bag and began to take out what he needed for the examination. “I understand you grew up in a rural area in Mexico and have been here a little less than three years, correct?”
“Any hospitalization, medical problems, while you were here?”
“She was recently in a mental clinic,” Mrs. Newell volunteered.
“Yes, I know about that, Millicent. For now, let me have Delia answer,” he told her. She snapped her shoulders back instantly, pursing her lips and nodding. He looked at me again. “I mean, any diseases, operations, things of that sort?”
“No, señor, but I have had routine physical examinations for school.”
“Remember the doctor’s name?”
“Corning. It was a woman.”
“Oh, yes, Sheila. I’ll get your records from her. Make a note of that, will you, Millicent?”
“Yes, Dr. Denardo,” Mrs. Newell said. “I’ll see to it immediately.”
“Thank you. Now, then, shall we begin?”
He had me lie down on my bed. I knew that a midwife and mi abuela Anabela had delivered me in our casa. At school back in Mexico, we were given some inoculations,
but there was never the kind of extensive physical I had here when I was enrolled in school. Of course, I had been examined at the hospital after the boating accident and at the clinic, but both cases were in a medical setting. To be asked to disrobe and do the things Dr. Denardo and Mrs. Newell asked me to do here in the bedroom made me quite nervous. He noticed that and remarked about my pulse and blood pressure. He tried to reassure me to keep me from worrying or being concerned. He repeated that everything he was doing was standard procedure. Even though I wasn’t fond of her, I had to admit to myself that Mrs. Newell was efficient, anticipating things before he asked for them.
“Everything looks fine,” he told me afterward, “and I think your estimate is very accurate. We’ll get the results of our blood tests and all quickly.”
“You know Señor Bovio will be calling every day,” Mrs. Newell said.
“Yes,” Dr. Denardo said. “That’s all right.” He smiled at me. “It’s good to have a worrywart looking after you sometimes.”
He then described some of the physical changes I should anticipate. He was very methodical when he spoke and repeated things often to be sure I understood. I had the sense that Señor Bovio might have described me to him the way he had described me to Mrs. Newell—a simple, rural Mexican girl, not very sophisticated about her own body, much less medical matters.
“I think it’s very good that Señor Bovio has hired Mrs. Newell to plan out your meals,” Dr. Denardo continued, nodding at her. She gave him one of her blink smiles. “She happens to have an excellent reputation.”
I glanced at her and saw how she was soaking up his endorsement.
“In fact, if you follow the diet she prescribes, you really won’t need additional vitamins and supplements.”
“I told her that myself,” Mrs. Newell said.
He began to pack his bag, and I quickly dressed.
“I’ll visit you regularly,” he said, “but I want you to inform Mrs. Newell immediately if you experience any bleeding, abdominal pain, or swelling in your hands or feet. Mrs. Newell will check for these things, but if anything alarms you about yourself, don’t hesitate to tell her to tell me. I find women are the best caretakers of their own bodies in the end,” he added, smiling.
“Will you always come here? I’ll never go to your office?”
“We’ll have you at the office to do an ultrasound, perhaps in a month or so, and to do some testing for potential abnormalities, but from what you’ve told me, I don’t anticipate anything.”
He looked around the suite.
“You’re in a beautiful place, and with Mrs. Newell on duty, you will get the best care. Señor Bovio will make sure of that.”
“You have been friends with Señor Bovio long?”
“Quite a few years, yes,” he said. “Of course, like everyone, I was quite upset about his son’s unfortunate accident. You’re doing a wonderful thing by giving him a chance to be a grandfather, Delia. I know what all of this means for a young woman your age.”