Chapter 2

“The doctor will see you now.” A willowy blonde receptionist who was all legs and teeth led us to a room big enough to fit only three people at most. A ceiling tile hung loose. I flashed her a half-smile. No return smile. Humph, so she’s got nice legs and perfect hair but I’ve got a much better tan. Oh! Where is my head?

I tried to suppress my anxiety by making this a fun trip to our friendly doctor’s office. “See, Caity-Cat, this is what a doctor uses to measure how tall you are and how much you weigh. Let’s try it.” I mustered enthusiasm and a smile and stood Caitlin on the scale.

“Wow, you weigh thirty-five pounds! What a growing girl. Now let’s get you up on the table and test your reflexes.” I was about to tap Caitlin’s knee when Dr. Carmen knocked and opened the door. He wasn’t much taller than I, but carried his stocky frame well.

“Well, hello,” Dr. Carmen said in his sandpaper voice. “What brings two such lovely ladies to visit me this fine day?”

My throat constricted. “We’re just here for Caitlin’s regular check up,” I said. I knew that his question was redundant. Of course, the willowy receptionist told him why we needed the appointment.

“Well, let’s begin.” With a broad smile, he opened the top drawer of the desk and pulled out a purple penlight. From the shelf he took down two thin wooden sticks – he gave one to Caitlin.

“Now open your mouth and say ahhhh.”

After looking into Caitlin’s mouth, the doctor let Caitlin look into his. Fascinated, she grinned when she saw silver on a few of his teeth.

Dr. Carmen smiled crookedly. “Let’s look in your ears.”

Leaning in closer, he called, “Hello, anybody in there?” and with a quieter voice he echoed, “Hello, anybody in there?”

Caitlin giggled. Dr. Carmen smiled and scanned the light across each of her eyes. “Looks good,” he pronounced, replacing the purple pen light on the desk.

“Okay, let’s have you lie down on the bench so I can check your belly.”

Caitlin lay on the table. I slumped in the chair, not wanting to talk. Not able to talk. My heart beat double time. Dr. Carmen placed one hand on her tummy and tapped it with his finger.

“Did you eat cereal for breakfast today? I think I can feel a little Cheerio.”

Caitlin’s eyes opened wide. “I had Cheerios! Mommy didn’t eat nothing, but I did, I had Cheerios!”

Dr. Carmen continued his examination, feeling around her neck and pressing on her stomach.

“Any aches or pains?” he asked.


“I’m going to have a look at your private parts now, Caitlin. I promise it won’t hurt, okay.”

I crossed my legs. Caitlin tensed and looked over to me. I fought back the bile that rose in my throat, and reached out to hold her hand. “It’s okay, Honey. Dr. Carmen won’t hurt you.”

“Has anyone touched you in your private parts before, Caitlin?” Dr. Carmen asked as Caitlin removed her undergarments.

“Yes, Daddy did,” she said and frowned. “It hurt.”

Dr. Carmen took a piece of paper out of the desk drawer and scribbled on it. He cleared his throat. “When was that?”

“When I visit him,” Caitlin stated matter-of-factly. I massaged a sudden throbbing in my left temple.

Dr. Carmen continued to scribble. “Do your private parts hurt now?”

“No.” Caitlin pulled a strand of hair into her mouth.

Dr. Carmen showed Caitlin a stick with cotton on one end, and joked how it could be used as a Q-tip for a giant’s ear. Caitlin looked up blankly. He then proceeded to swab her vagina.

“Okay, Sweetie, we’re all done with your checkup.” I helped Caitlin get redressed.

Dr. Carmen reached in his coat pocket and pulled out a yellow sucker. “You’ve been a great patient.” He handed her the sucker and ushered her out of the room to the waiting receptionist as he explained that he needed to talk to me in private.

Once back in the room, he closed the door behind him. The tears streamed freely down my cheeks.

Dr. Carmen drew his chair close and leaned his arms on his knees. He pinched the bridge of his nose and waited until I composed myself.

His voice became a confidential whisper. “Heather, this was just a preliminary examination. There seems to be irritation and redness around her vagina, but I am not an expert in this area. I would like to refer you to the SCAN program – The Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect Program at the Hospital for Sick Children for further testing.”

I nodded.

“I’ll get my receptionist to book an appointment.”

I took a deep breath and nodded again. Dr. Carmen stood and laid his hand heavily on my shoulder, like a paw. “Take your time.” He reached up and pulled a sample pack of sleeping pills from the shelf. “These may help.” He handed the pills to me and left the office.

I looked around the room. Why, Lord? Why am I here? Why is this happening? Anger overtook my feelings of horror and I stood, ready to fight. Give me five minutes alone in this room with Rod… I punched the air at an imaginary Rod with such force that it sent me into a whirl knocking a model of the male reproductive organs off the shelf. The irony hit me right away.

Once in the reception area, I took Caitlin’s hand in mine and tucked the appointment card in my pocket. What will tomorrow bring?