Diversity of Life

5. The Preliminary Talk

Mrs. Schenke looked up and recognized Amber, who welcomed her with a friendly smile. "So, the blood test is behind you. Now it goes on. Dr Winkelmann is now waiting for you for the initial examination in ‘Examination Room 1’, which is right up front. You can go straight there.” Mrs. Schenke pointed in the direction from which Amber had just come. Now there was no turning back, now it was time for the exam, Amber came over her. Visibly tense, she walked towards the described door. She had her bag of sneakers with her. Again her palms were damp. What am I going to expect in a moment, she thought, what will the doctor look like, what do I have to take off? Even though the door was already in sight, the walk there seemed long and uncomfortable. Will she be examined again by a doctor who was old and gray and at the same time distant and cold, as was the case with her youth examination? Question after question shot through her head. A few seconds later she was standing in front of the one behind which Dr. Winkelmann was waiting for her. It was closed, so she knocked softly and tentatively. "Yes?" she heard from the room and pushed down the doorknob. The door opened and a larger room emerged.

It was a much larger room than the previous one. A large window let in a lot of light. This made it look bright. On the right side of the room there was a table that was covered with black imitation leather. The table was foldable and the headboard seemed a little angled. On top of it there was the typical white crepe cover, laid out roughly from the middle to the headboard. To the left of the room was a desk, at which Dr. Winkelmann sat. "Hello Amber, please have a seat here!" The doctor got up from his seat and pointed to an empty chair in front of his desk. He wasn't that old, Amber thought. He must have been somewhere between mid-thirties and mid-forties and was tall, slim, brown-haired and wore a white coat. Underneath he wore a blue polo shirt. "Hello!" said Amber and accepted the offer. It didn't bother her at all that he just said 'Amber’. She went to the desk and sat down. She was a little startled when she saw a dark red stethoscope lying on the desk, but tried not to let it show. Amber's heart started pounding excitedly.

Dr. Winkelmann sat down behind his desk again and smiled at Amber. "Hello Amber, how are you?" he asked kindly. Amber tensed a bit. She looked uncertainly at Dr. Winkelmann, but continued to notice the stethoscope in the corner of her eye. "Thanks, fine," she said in a low voice. "That's good," said Dr. Winkelmann. "I'll ask you a few questions in a minute, okay?" Amber nodded hastily. Her obedience surprised her a little. It even annoyed her a little that she found herself losing control. "You're Amber, 18 years old, correct?" Winkelmann looked up briefly. Amber nodded again. "How long ago was your last examination by a doctor?" Amber thought for a moment. What type of examination is Dr. Winkelmann now, she thought. The last gynecological examination was not that long ago. "I went to the gynecologist two months ago," she said. "Okay. And was anything found there?” “No,” Amber answered hastily. "Do you have your period regularly?" Amber hesitated briefly, then she answered: "Yes." The short pause didn’t impress Dr. Winkelmann and continued: "And have you recently had a physical examination, for example at the family doctor?" "No." Amber felt a little uncomfortable with this conversation, but the last question made her a little restless. She remembered her last youth check-up. She did not forget this experience so quickly. The doctor then, an elderly man, examined her very thoroughly. She also had to take off her bra at the time, which she had never done in front of a stranger before. She remembered how he listened to her heart very carefully at that time. First she sat there with bare breasts on the table. The doctor pressed the cool membrane of his stethoscope to her left breast, then to her sternum, then to a few spots under her left breast. After that she had to lie down, and again the doctor listened to her heart. But this time, she remembered, he lingered longer on the spots where her heart was pounding very hard. During the examination, she was very ashamed. She couldn't hide her excitement at the time. "Has a doctor ever told you, that you’ve something on your heart?" asked Dr. Winkelmann and pulled Amber out of her thoughts. She hadn't expected this question and felt caught. "No," Amber replied. "And breathing problems at rest or during physical exertion?" "No, I don’t know, I think not," she replied. "And bone and joint problems, has that ever happened to you?" "No, fortunately not yet." Amber's knees went weak. Now that the doctor asked her that, she realized it very consciously. Her thoughts only revolved around what was to come. Will it be as uncomfortable again as it was during the youth check-up? She suspected nothing good and became more and more insecure. Her excitement rose to the highest level, like that time during the juvenile examination.

The anamnesis didn't seem to be over yet. "What illnesses have you had? I'll name a few now, and if you hear something that sounds familiar, would you please tell me briefly, will you?” said Dr. Winkelmann. "Okay," Amber replied. "Measles, scarlet fever or mumps?" "No, none of that." “Then whooping cough, rubella or chickenpox?” Dr. Winkelmann looked at Amber. "No, not that either." Amber's voice became quieter and quieter. "Fine. Have you had any surgeries, and if so, when?" "No surgeries." "Very good." It came across as almost praise, but Amber was little reassured by it. "What about family members, was there anyone here who died of a heart attack under 55?" Amber thought for a moment. "No, luckily not." "Any other heart conditions you've heard of or diabetes?" Amber felt her heart pounding hard. "No, not that either." "Great," replied Dr. Winkelmann. "When you do sports, do you ever get dizzy or even pass out?" But the doctor doesn't seem to miss anything either, thought Amber. "Not really. Dizzy, yes. But then I took a short break, drank something, then it went again. Winkelmann looked up from his list. He pricked up his ears and suddenly looked noticeably more interested. "Does that happen often?" "No, I only had it once in the summer when it was so hot." I'll put it on the list here.” He wrote something on paper and asked his next question. "You're not pregnant, are you?" He smiled slightly as he looked back at Amber. "No, definitely not!" That answer came faster than any other. "What about smoking and drinking alcohol?" Now and then a sip, but not more, thought Amber. "No, rather less. I don't smoke.” “That's good, smoking can be so harmful,” added Dr. Winkelmann. "Then something about your sport. What sport do you do?” Winkelmann asked. “Volleyball.” “And are you in a competitive phase right now?” “We have another game at the weekend. Nothing spectacular. Everything as usual.” “So training during the week, then the games at the weekend, yes?” “Exactly.” “Do you also have sneakers with you?” “Yes, I have,” Amber added and looked at her bag, the placed her next to the chair she was sitting on. "Fine. Then I would like to start the medical examination. There is a small changing room there. Winkelmann pointed to a door. "Will you please strip down to your underwear there and then please come back to me?"

Amber got a bad feeling. How much should I undress? she thought. She got up slowly, pushing the chair she was sitting on back a bit. Then she stopped, hesitated, took courage, and looked again at Dr. Winkelmann, who was still sitting at his desk writing something down. "I'll keep the bra on though, okay?" Winkelmann looked up, raised his eyebrows slightly and answered briefly. "Yes. And you can leave things in the cabin. And please take off your socks. We won't need the gym clothes until later.” He put the pen aside and pushed the papers together on his desk. Amber went to the door and opened it. In front of her was a small room with a bench on the side. There was another door just opposite. The room wasn't big and immediately reminded her of a cabin at the city swimming pool. She stepped inside and closed the door. Shortly after she put her things on the bench and locked the door and did the same with the opposite one. Then she began to undress. First the shoes, then she also took off the socks and put them in the shoes. The ground was a little chilly and a little uncomfortable under her feet at first. Then she took the cuff of her sweater. As usual, she pulled the sweater with arms crossed over her head. Then the underlying T-shirt. Glad I put on the better bra, she thought and opened the belt on her jeans. After taking off her pants, she folded them sensibly and placed them on the bench next to her sweater. It wasn't really cool in the room, but she still felt the air on her skin. She felt naked and a little uncomfortable. What the heck, she thought, and unlocked the door. She opened it carefully.