Pain caused his face to writhe. He shrieked from the burning sensation which temporarily overcame his whole body. The sight of blood alarmed both him and his wife. When their eyes met, neither of them uttered a word. His thoughts ensconced a million explanations for what might be happening to him. It's a good thing his wife called the doctor. With his hectic schedule, he would have conveniently ignored these telling symptoms. An appointment was made that very day. Cancer runs in his family, his grandfather, a victim, survived several bouts with the disease. His great-grandmother eventually succumbed to the disease as it ravaged her body at 82 years of age. These facts resonated in the forefront of his mind.
"Don't worry," his doctor told him. "There is blood, but it's probably nothing. Most likely a kidney stone, they are sharp and will cut like a razor as they exit your body." A specialist will better determine the cause. He studied that exotic sounding word the doctor had written on the referral. Hematuria. The doctor's penmanship added an additional plane of obscurity to the matter. But he deciphered the word and conducted his own online research. Nothing new was discovered that he didn't already know: he had blood in his urine.
His urologist was a man, but his assistant did the initial exam. A woman. A white woman. And not that race mattered, but he had never exposed himself in such a way to a woman who looked so different than he. Her questions were intrusive. His face was ablaze with discomfort about answering them. He was humiliated by the experience and could no longer look her in the eye even as she offered an apology for the previous undertaking. "Normal," she went on to explain, looking right through him as though he were glass. She didn't even see him. He was simply a patient, a name on the insurance paperwork. Not a person. "Have you ever been a smoker?" she inquired of him. "Yes, he replied, regretting every puff of his then two-pack a day habit. "But it's been fourteen years since I had my last smoke."
Cancer. She used the word. It was the first time the word was used in reference to him. The word struck him. Should have knocked him off his feet except for the fact that he has crafted a life-style of hiding his emotions. So he stared back at her just as emotionless as she looked past him.
Continued at a later date.