‘Have you ever been diagnosed as having any chronic heart condition?’
‘Do you suffer from dizzy spells, black outs or epileptic seizures?’
‘Any Heart conditions?’
‘Have you, or any of your family ever been diagnosed with a mental health condition?’
‘Have you ever suffered from depression?’
‘Not until I came here.’
‘Very droll, Have you ever been treated for alcohol or narcotic abuse?’
‘Other than for reading, do you wear spectacles.’
‘No, not even for reading.’
‘Have you ever suffered from arthritis or any other mobility problems?’
‘Very good Miss Ross, Could you go to the toilet and provide a urine specimen?’
‘Only if I have to.’ Helen took the receptacle and went into the toilet. She, with difficulty, peed into the glass beaker. When finished, she dried herself and walked back into the clinic, the floor cold on her bare feet.
‘Thank you,’ the nurse said. ‘Could you get up on the examination couch? I’ll be there directly I prepare this sample.’ Helen went behind the curtain and climbed onto the couch. This was demoralising but if she could escape from the communications room and the arseholes whom worked there, it was worth it. Sister MacQueen came into the room.
‘Sorry abo0ut the cold hands,’ she said as she donned examination gloves. Helen gasped when the ‘cold’ hands touched her nether regions. For five minutes she was prodded and groped by the plastic gloved hands.
‘Ok, you can get down and dress if you wish, when you’re finished I’ll do you eye tests, How long have you been pregnant?’
‘I’m not.’ Helen said as she fastened her Bra.
‘I think you are, Miss Ross. If I were you I’d go and see your own Doctor to have it confirmed as soon as possible.’
‘Are you serious?’ She asked, a puzzled look on her face.
‘Deadly, I’m pretty sure that you are pregnant.
‘OH … ‘ Helen said, she stood, trying to take in what she had just heard.
‘How … how would that affect my new position?’
‘AS you are already an employee of British Railways, Miss Ross, it wouldn’t directly affect it at all. Now that women are becoming more common on the footplate grades, its an issue that will arise more and more.’
Helen wandered down the stairs towards the place of her incarceration. She met Roseanne Heinz coming along the corridor.
‘Are you all right Helen?’ She asked. ‘You look a little pale.’
‘I … er … yes Roseanne, I’ve just had some … er confusing news.’
‘Come tell auntie Roseanne about it, lets have a coffee.
They walked to the staff canteen of British Rail’s Scottish HQ.
‘Two cups of that vile brown stuff you call coffee, Noreen.’ Roseanne said to the canteen assistant. from anyone else that would have been offensive but no one could be offended by Roseanne. She carried the steaming cups across to Helen.
‘There now,’ she said as she put the cup in front of Helen.
‘Now what’s the problem?’
‘I’m pregnant, Roseanne.’
‘Unless its a virgin birth, yes.’
‘Oh dear … How will that affect your new job?’
‘I’m told it won’t.’
‘Oh well, that’s where my previous employment put me in good stead.’
‘What were you, Roseanne?’
‘A juggler in a travelling circus.’
‘Were you really?’
‘Ahhh … NO, I made it up. But I’ve been juggling for years now, job, husband, family.’
Helen smiled at the thought.
By Jane Helen Jones
What were your prompts?: Clinic, coffee Juggling