"It's just a bit of extra tissue, probably due to puberty... His body is probably just producing more estrogen right now. It will level out within the next few years. If you'd prefer to get rid of it immediately, I can refer you to a good cosmetic surgeon."
Mr. Alton blinked.
"Ok..." he replied, looking overwhelmed. Julie felt for the boy... she could only imagine how much torture he had gone through about his problem.
"Great." she said, "If you could wait here for a minute, I'll have someone bring you that information, and give me a call if you have any questions."
Her lab coat made a little 'swoosh' as she turned and left the room. The hall was crowded, but considering it was a Saturday, there was no surprise. It seemed like everyone was out injuring themselves on Friday nights, and most of them didn't have the sense to come in until late Saturday. She placed her clipboard on the nurse's station counter, and smiled as she looked out into the waiting room to see a familiar face.
"There's my boy!" she said excitedly as she rushed up to hug her nephew. "How are you?"
The only response was a sniffle and a cough as she turned up to her brother.
"Hey Robby." she said with an equally happy smile. He looked like he hadn’t slept for a week, and the circles around his eyes rivaled those of an insomniac.
"Hey Jules..." he replied, returning her smile in a less bright fashion, "He's a wreck." he continued, motioning to Declan.
"He looks like it," she replied, looking at the seven year old, whose facial expressions were bordering on miserable as he clutched to his Thomas the Tank Engine booklet with sweaty hands. "Let's take a look."
She fell into the bench on the far side of the patio, and took a deep breath. The sky looked of typical autumn, with huge grey clouds feathering over the distant green hills. Everything seemed just as distant to her now... she wasn't even completely sure how she got out there.
Rob had said that Joy didn't trust any doctor with her child other than family. And now, Julie was paying for her unwillingness to say 'no'.
"He's still sick." Rob had said, ruffling his son's hair as he continued, "I can't remember the last time he didn't have a runny nose... his fever has gotten worse since last time, and his inhaler isn't working... he hasn't been playing with the other kids, because he says his shoulders hurt all the time..."
She watched the cars pass by as she collected the symptoms in her head again. It seemed like a completely different day since it was this morning.
"His blood test showed decreased red blood cells and increased white blood cells..." she had said to her brother, the memory looking almost black and white as she replayed it in her head.
"I'd like to do a complete blood count and possibly a sonography."
She took a deep breath and thought, trying to be patient with herself. She fumbled with her cell phone, telling herself to remain calm as she flipped it open and scrolled down the contacts list until it reached ‘Wilson, Dr. James’.
Pressing ‘call’, she watched the clouds as she heard the faint ringing in her ear.