It was a typical Monday for Deborah V. Burke, MD PhD. Well maybe not quite a typical Monday, but one she wanted to keep typical. She had a secret she was hiding and she was hoping that no one would notice. As she walks into her office, she noticed the first change to the day. It was a request from Alexa Quinn to change her appointment time. She was a patient that Debbie had taken quite a liking to and with the way Alexa’s life had changed over the last few weeks, the request to change her appointment was understandable but still not normal. She told Nicole, the student aide working today, to let Alexa know that the time change to 11:30 would be fine. Debbie knew it would take a little more schedule shuffling but it wouldn’t be a major deal. Really the only thing that it would affect would be her lunch, she would just have to eat latter.
Following the typical Monday morning staff meeting and returning a few phone calls and emails, she looked at the clock and saw it was 11:20. She buzzed up to Nicole and asked if Alexa had shown up yet. Nicole giggled for a second before informing her she had not. Debbie went back to reviewing a few case files and making notes. She must have been in a zone because she barely noticed the buzz of her phone. It was Nicole informing Debbie that Alexa had just showed up. Debbie told her to send back her patient.
Debbie stood up from her desk and straightened out her fashionable Lilac colored suit and awaited one of her favorite patients. The door opened and she then realized the secret was out, as through the door came Alexa. But not only Alexa but her girlfriend Jenny and their roommate Katie. Alexa was pushing a cart that was full of various containers and a cake dead center on the top of the cart. Behind her Katie and Jenny carried a banner that stated “Happy 35th Debbie” But as she looked closer at the banner she noticed next to the Large “35” was written smaller “+1” She laughed as the three girls serenaded her with a slightly off key rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’
After thanking the girls, she recognized the true culprits in this little moment were Alexa and Jenny, or Jexy as Katie had dubbed them. Debbie looked at Katie and asked her how she got roped into this. “I came along willingly. You have helped out Alexa so much, when I heard the plan I wanted in.” Debbie was moved by the comment. If the other two had said it, she would have brushed it aside, but coming from Katie it meant a lot. It showed Debbie she had made a difference in somebody’s life and not only had that one been affected, but so had two others. And it wasn’t as if the other two had said it wouldn’t mean as much, it’s just she was constantly reminded by them how much they appreciated the doctor’s counsel.
Debbie walked over and took in the cake. Just like the banner it said “Happy 35th’ in large writing and ‘+1’ in smaller. She puts an arm patient and looks at her “I am never telling you anything about me ever again.” Alexa just giggles and tells her that Nicole was an accomplice in all of this. Debbie laughed and stuck her head out in the hallway and called for the receptionist. Nicole came in looking a bit sheepish. Debbie looked at her and thanked her the nice thoughts and asked her to join the party. ‘You will pay for this though.” Debbie told her receptionist with a wink. Jenny told Dr. Burke to head over to her desk and that they would serve her.
Jenny and Alexa began opening up the containers on the cart. The smell of Italian food soon overtook the whole room. Debbie was in heaven, she loved Italian food and had thanked Alexa in the past for the recommendation of Rosato’s. Jenny began serving the food while Alexa brought the plate to Debbie. There was a little bit of everything on the plate. Lasagna, Ravioli, Chicken Alfredo along with some salad a piece of garlic bread. “Hope you’re not mad, but when I found out I knew I had to do something special.” Debbie thanked her patient and for the wonderful meal. “Dig in before it gets cold. Or is that ‘tuck in” Debbie laughs. Ever since she has started seeing Alexa, Alexa is always trying to slip in a little of the British slang that Debbie would let slip. Alexa went back to her serving duties as Katie brought a diet Pepsi for Debbie.
‘We really wanted to thank you for all you have done for Alexa. You have made a huge difference in her life. Not only that you have become a great friend Hope you enjoy.” And Katie went back and grabbed her own plate. The three roommates and Nicole take up spots around the office and enjoy the meal. Soon the appetites of all present were satisfied. “That was wonderful girls. Thank you very much.” Debbie announces. “I was hoping I could get through this day without anyone realizing it was my birthday. But I will say this is one of the best I have had in a long time.”
‘You’re welcome Debbie.” Jenny tells the doctor. Jenny then looks over a Nicole and gives her nod and Nicole walks out into the hall and soon all of Debbie’s co-workers are gathered outside of her office. As Katie lights the single candle on the cake, the staff for the Program of Human Sexuality begin to serenade Debbie with their own version of Happy Birthday. Debbie steps from behind her desk and heads over to the Cake and blows out the candle to the applause of all those gathered. Jenny and Alexa begin handing out pieces of the cake to all of those who are gathered. After a few presents are handed over to the birthday girl and the cake is enjoyed, the staff heads back to their works stations leaving Debbie alone with the three roommates.
“I hope you enjoyed this Deb” Katie says. “We really wanted to do something special for you.”
“And it wasn’t just the food that was the present” Jenny says as she walks up to the doctor and hands her an envelope.
Debbie opens the envelope and is very surprised. Inside is a voucher for a full day ultimate spa package at Morningside Spa. Debbie is shocked. She had heard of this place. It was very exclusive, and if the stories were true very expensive. “Oh my! Thank you, girls. I can’t accept this. It is too expensive.” The girls wave her off and tell her that is only a small token and that she is worth more than that but thought she would enjoy it. Debbie thanks them again and slides the envelope into her center desk drawer. The girls wished Debbie a happy birthday once again and started to make their way to the door. The last few minutes Debbie had noticed Alexa had been a little quiet. Debbie reached out to Alexa, tapping her on the shoulder. “Are you OK?” Debbie asked.
Alexa turned and gave her counselor a huge hug which, Debbie accepted. “I just wish I could do more than a spa day. You have meant so much to me as I have gone through this. I don’t know if I would even be here if it wasn’t for your advice and friendship. Happy Birthday Debs.”
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