Allison hadn't returned to Woodbury with Rick, Tyreese and several other men when they went back two days later to fill their vehicles with pretty much everything that wasn't nailed down. She was still busy sorting through the medical supplies they'd collected on that first run and setting up something that resembled a bona fide, albeit primitive, medical ward in the prison infirmary. Thanks to all the extra people they'd collected from Woodbury, they were beginning to actually take advantage of the vast prison grounds, both interior and exterior. Previously their original small group had had to basically restrict all their waking hours to either keeping watch or finding and preparing food. Now there were now enough folks available to keep guard while others cleared out and cleaned previously unexplored areas of the prison, like the library and recreation room and other cell blocks. As she arranged instruments on shelves she marveled to herself the intricacies of the human brain – how it, unbidden, focused on the task at hand, shutting out unnecessary distractions when necessary. For example, how many times had she stepped into the library to check it for walkers or intruders as a matter of routine whenever a strange noise had been heard within the prison and everyone went into scouting mode? Only in the past week, though, had she actually seen the contents of the room. She'd never noticed that, among other things, there was a large globe of the world on a pedestal.
"We can look at all the other places that we could be instead of here," she thought wryly. Of course, judging from the age of some of the book titles she'd glanced at (CompuServe for Dummies?!), that globe might well still feature maps of East and West Germany…or even Mesopotamia. She removed some of the implements that had been soaking in a diluted hydrogen peroxide bath and placed them in a specific order on the shelves inside one of the cabinets.
"Looks like we have the makings of a real medical clinic here," Carol's voice from behind startled her. The older woman wandered over to the cabinet and glanced at the implements in place. "We'll have to set aside a time for you to train me in the use of all of this stuff," she added.
Allison repressed a grin at Carol's presumptuousness; true, she had served as a "nurse" to both her and Hershel in the most basic sense in recent months. She knew how to monitor vital signs like blood pressure, pulse and temperature, and she was now familiar with the names and purposes of some of the standard, most-used tools… But there was a reason it took four years of post-secondary education to become an actual Registered Nurse. Allison paused and then mentally dressed herself down. How much of her immediate negative reaction was based on her personal feelings toward Carol, she wondered. Shouldn't she be pleased that the woman was eager to learn and to assist? She'd managed to maintain her professional attitude with her patients thus far; she needed to do the same with anyone who worked with her in a medical setting. Even if that person was Carol.
"Yes," she replied aloud, "that's a very good idea. Especially since we not only have so much new equipment, but also new people."
"I recognize some of these," Carol told her, poking her head inside the cabinet. "These are all different types of forceps, right?" she said, gesturing to a shelf.
"Correct," Allison confirmed, frankly surprised that Carol hadn't described them as "tweezers."
Carol beamed with pride and continued to inspect the shiny assortment of gadgets. She gasped quite suddenly, and Allison turned to see what had startled her.
"Why…" She stopped to collect herself. Allison waited for her to continue, confused as to what was so upsetting. "Where did that come from?" She pointed to the speculum on the bottom shelf.
"It was with the rest of the instruments we collected from Woodbury," Allison told her. She then returned her attention to cleaning and drying the tools in the basin. "Although, now that you mention it," she ruminated as she worked, "I thought it was unusual to have just a few random gynecological tools mixed in with all the more traditional exam equipment and I did comment on it at the time. Merle said something about seeing that speculum – of course, he didn't know what it was called or what it was for – on a tray of tools the Governor had set aside in another room. Not the hospital room, somewhere else, apparently. Guess the Governor didn't know what it was for, either." She patted a pair of stainless steel nippers dry. Could be of use for removing ticks, she thought to herself.
"He knew, alright," Carol said ominously. Her tone caused Allison to turn and look at her curiously. "Ed used to watch these movies…" Carol continued, almost in a monotone. "Disgusting, vile movies…I don't know where he found them, from somewhere on the Internet, I imagine. They were always about… torture. Sexual torture. The worst, degrading type, always with some strapped-down woman as the victim." Allison followed Carol's gaze, which was focused on the speculum. "He'd make me watch them with him…he really got off on that stuff."
"What are you saying?" She asked, not understanding.
"I'm saying that the Governor is a sick, depraved man. Thank God Merle cut Michonne loose when he did, but who knows what else…who else…was done there…"
"Geez…" Allison was trying to absorb what Carol was saying. She felt simultaneously repulsed and terribly naive. How many sexual assault victims had she seen in the ER back in the day? But nevertheless she'd never thought of anyone so precisely using actual examining room equipment for such a nefarious purpose. She closed her eyes and tried to swallow the bile that was rising in her throat.
"Hopefully out there on his own he won't have time to think about doing…things like that…anymore. He'll be too busy trying not to get eaten by walkers."
"Hopefully," Carol echoed. Then she clasped her hand to her mouth, her eyes wide with fright. "I wonder if…" She turned to look at Allison. "Andrea. Oh my God, do you think he ….?"
"She was fully clothed when Michonne and Daryl found her at Woodbury, even had her jacket on, if that means anything," Allison told her. Of course, Andrea's face had also been bruised and covered with dried blood, so there had apparently been some sort of struggle before she'd been bitten. And now Allison's blood ran cold when she thought of that room at Woodbury – the one with, of all things, an old dental chair in it that had handcuffs attached to the armrests. Tyreese had mentioned in passing while they were collecting equipment that that had been the room where they'd found Andrea. This Governor sounded like a serious sicko.
"There you are, Carol," Maggie's voice made both of them turn to the doorway. "Do you think you can go restore some order in the kitchen? A lot of the new people are kind of getting into things they don't need to be… I think a Voice of Authority is needed, maybe tell them the meal schedule and such….?"
"Oh, of course! That's the last thing we need…" Carol tore off, muttering, obviously panicked at the thought of anyone making a mess in her domain.
"Actually," Maggie approached Allison, lowering her voice, "I really needed to talk to you privately."
"Sure, what's up?"
"It's Glenn." Maggie paused, as if she was having difficulty choosing her words. "Something happened on yesterday's run…"
Allison remained silent, waiting for her to continue. Glenn obviously hadn't been bitten, they all knew by now how to handle that particular situation, and Maggie certainly wouldn't have waited a day in that case.
"Last night he complained of a sharp pain in his…er…well…" She fidgeted and vaguely gestured due South.
"Manly parts?" Allison prompted as diplomatically as possible, sensing Maggie's unease.
"Yeah," Maggie sighed with relief. "He said it felt like a needle. I took a look, and it looks like he has a tick stuck to his…um, you know…" Her voice trailed away for a moment and then she added, "It's right on the tip!" Her eyes met with Allison's, and the two women suddenly burst out into laughter.
"Oh, I'm sorry, I shouldn't laugh," Allison apologized, covering her mouth and trying not to smile. "The poor guy…"
Maggie was also biting her lip, trying to control her mirth. "I know," she shook her head, "he's hurting, and I feel bad for him, but still… Of all the places to get a tick stuck!"
Allison glanced at one of the shelves and selected a pair of curved, fine-tipped forceps. "Let me grab some antibiotic ointment out of my bag and then I'll – "
"Oh, no!" Maggie's eyes went wide in horror. "You can't remove it! Glenn didn't even want me to tell you about it! He asked me to get some lighter fluid or Vaseline to help get it off, but I thought I should ask you what the best method was."
"Oh, for heaven's sake, do you know how much male genitalia I've seen in my line of work? I am a professional, you know."
"I know, I know, but Glenn's shy when it comes to… some stuff. He definitely doesn't want anyone else handling his – um, this problem."
Allison sighed. "OK, I'll leave it to you, then. But no lighter fluid or anything like that. That kind of stuff just irritates the tick and might cause it to regurgitate its stomach contents into the bite and that's what causes disease. You need to grasp it firmly with these," she handed the forceps to Maggie, "as close to the skin where it's attached as possible. Then pull upward steadily and evenly." She emphasized the last three words. "Don't twist or jerk as you pull. You don't want the head to break off. And don't squeeze too tightly – you don't want to crush or puncture the body of the tick."
"Damn, I didn't know it was this delicate of a procedure," Maggie commented with a concerned look on her face.
"I'm sure you'll do fine," Allison tried to calm the woman, since she'd need a steady hand for this procedure. "Pretend like you're removing a splinter – grab it close to the skin and pull, get it all out so you don't have poke around the sore spot. Oh, and here – " She handed Maggie an empty prescription bottle. "Drop the tick in here after you've removed it and bring it back to me. No," she added, reading the expression on Maggie's face, "It's not that I want to 'check your homework', so to speak… I just want to dispose of it properly, in this container – " she gestured toward a large plastic box – "with the used sharps and other hazardous materials."
"OK, gotcha." Maggie looked uncertain but determined as she pocketed the tube of antibiotic ointment Allison handed her. "By the way," she added, "Even though it's obvious that I told you about this, since I've got these and all…" She held up the forceps. "But please don't let on to Glenn that you know… if you know what I mean."
"I know, and I won't," Allison nodded. A thought suddenly occurred to her. "Hasn't Glenn been washing with that peppermint soap?"
Maggie looked a bit sheepish. "No, he said he doesn't like the smell."
"Well, neither do the bugs, that's why we're all supposed to wash with it."
"I know, I know, maybe now he'll reconsider…" Maggie was about to leave when she paused. "One other thing…this may be a long shot, but the last run I was on I saw this place in a small strip mall…Southern Prosthetic Supply…?" She finished with a question mark.
"Sure, SPS," Allison was familiar with the chain. It was a medical supply store that carried artificial limbs and… a metaphorical light bulb went off over her head as she caught Maggie's meaning. "Oh, I get where you're going… But we'd have to take your dad there to get a proper fitting. How secure is the place? I mean, in case he'd have to leave in a hurry…"
"When we were there the only store we actually went through was the Dollar General, to get diapers and stuff. Killed off maybe half a dozen walkers, and that seemed like all that was there around the place."
"It sounds like it's safe," Allison reasoned aloud. "And if that's the case, then I'm sure your dad would appreciate the increased mobility…being able to get around without crutches… But I don't know, it still seems risky." Hershel was such an important member of their group…along with Rick, he was their Anchor, their Voice of Reason. She was loathe to put him in any sort of perilous situation.
"Glenn and I would go along with you for protection, and like I said, we killed all the walkers that were there at the time. There probably wouldn't be too many to handle. I mean, I don't think the place would be overrun or anything."
"Well, I'm game if your dad is," Allison smiled. She knew that she'd have to go along on this particular mission so that she could help to fit Hershel properly with an artificial limb. She wasn't worried about her own safety at all – she could handle walkers, and Glenn and Maggie were veteran warriors. She just hated to remove Hershel from the safety of the prison.
"I think it would make dad so happy to be more mobile," Maggie said somewhat wistfully. "He's been talking more and more lately about the different crops that could be planted, especially now that we've got all those gardening tools and seedlings from Woodbury. The look in his eyes when he goes on about staking tomato plants and where the best drainage is for butterbeans… well, it reminds me of the days back on our farm. He's never complained about being on crutches, but I know how much it would mean to him to be able to get down on his knees on his own and work the soil."
"Your dad has done so much for all of us, I'd love to be able to give him something back in exchange," Allison agreed. "Besides, the thought of having fresh vegetables to eat is too tempting to resist!"
Maggie grinned and said, "Let me get Glenn squared away and then we'll make plans to head out that way in the next day or two."
‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡
"There are already four of us in the car," Allison explained to Daryl very late the night before the SPS run. He was pacing their cell, half-undressed, running one hand across his face in agitation. She'd waited until the last minute to tell him about her plan to accompany Maggie and Glenn on this mission because she knew he'd have a hundred objections to her going out without him along to protect her. "There's not enough room, especially if we bring back any supplies."
"I can take my bike," he argued. "Won't take up any room in the car."
"And you'll use up extra gas that you don't necessarily need to waste," Allison tried to reason with him. "I'll be perfectly safe with Glenn and Maggie, there's no need for you to worry."
"Yeah, well," he was obviously mentally grasping at straws, "maybe I should bring Merle with me on the bike, and you can outfit him with some kind of artificial arm, one of those things with the pincers or claws, y'know, since you're gettin' Hershel a leg…"
She had been afraid of that particular issue coming up. She certainly didn't want it to appear that she was favoring one person's amputation over another's, and frankly that was partially why she'd waited until the eleventh hour to mention the mission to Daryl. She'd had a feeling it would sound…well, bad to volunteer to make a special trip to outfit Hershel with a prosthesis without offering to bring Merle along. Plus, even though he hadn't mentioned it since he'd been with them, she was sure that Rick and the handcuffs and the whole roof thing was still a sore spot in the back of Merle's mind.
"I'm not an orthotist, but I know a little bit about artificial limbs… Here's the thing about Merle… his particular situation is called a 'transradial amputation', which essentially means that he still has his elbow and most of his forearm. The kind of workable artificial limbs made for that type of amputation requires a lot of specialized fitting – casts made of the stump, things like that. And then the patient has to go through a lot of training and therapy to learn how to use the opposing shoulder muscles to coordinate with the amputated side to manipulate the prosthesis. Even if we happened to find an artificial hand that fit properly, do you think your brother has the patience to sit through however many hours of occupational therapy it would take for me to stumble my way through trial-and-error to teach him how to use it? Or would he prefer to continue using his personal bayonet that he's already mastered?" She saw Daryl wavering, so she continued. "In an ideal world, Hershel would have a cast made of his stump, too, to get properly fitted. But an artificial leg doesn't require as much precision as an arm…it's meant mainly to bear his weight so that he can stand and walk without assistance. Yeah, if we had the time and equipment necessary, he'd get something with a titanium ankle socket that moved in every direction, but right now Maggie just wants to get him something that would allow him to stand and walk and work in the garden. He won't be able to run marathons, or even stand for too many consecutive hours, but it will help him do something that he's always loved, something that he's missed for so long – to farm, to grow things." As she spoke that last sentence she sat down on the bed and gently pulled Daryl down with her so that his back was pressed against her chest. She began to gently massage his bare shoulders. "You're so tense, you poor baby," she purred softly as she manipulated the tendons at the base of his neck. "You need to relax…"
"I know what you're doin'," Daryl mumbled drowsily. "I ain't stupid…using your womanly…" His voice drifted off into a combination sigh and moan as Allison dug deeply with her thumbs on either side of the upper tip of his spine. He leaned his head back against her left shoulder and made an "Mmmm" sound when she began making lazy circles with her fingertips on his scalp.
"Why, I have no idea what you're talking about. You know me, I have no womanly wiles, no 'game'…I'm just sitting here, trying to make my man feel better…" She tried to sound innocent, but she was correct in one respect: she had no "game" when it came to trying to fool or coerce Daryl. Even when he wasn't looking directly at her, he still saw right through her. Allison didn't believe in psychics, but darn if it didn't seem like Daryl could always actually "see" what she was thinking.
"OK," his voice was so low she had to struggle to hear. He was just on the edge of dozing off to sleep. "You go on with them. But I'll have a word with Glenn before…." He mumbled a few more syllables and then Allison recognized the sound of Daryl's "asleep" breathing. She kissed the crown of his head and then squiggled and shifted around in the bunk as gently as she could to lay down into a communal sleeping position without disturbing him.
‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡
"What is your major malfunction, you miserable maggots?!" A young boy with a mop of curls covering his head bellowed the best he could in his squeaky voice at the trio of kids working on a jigsaw puzzle at one of the tables in the kitchen area. "How many times has Mr. Merle told you to always make sure the door is tightly closed behind you?!" He swung the gate leading to the kitchen back and forth several times accusingly.
"You tell 'em, Luke," Merle congratulated the boy. Luke's head snapped around quickly, surprised. He hadn't heard Merle walk up behind him. But that was another thing Mr. Merle always emphasized – stealth. Now, inside the safe haven of the prison, was the time to practice moving as quietly as possible. Because if you're outside someday, he'd lectured them, silence means survival. Walkers won't hear you, and neither will the prey you're trying to catch for food.
"Um, I'm sorry, I thought I closed the gate tight when I came in," Patrick apologized. He was chronologically older by a few years than the other kids, but emotionally he meshed better with Luke, Molly, and Mika. Bespectacled and bookish, he resembled a miniature Woody Allen, and he'd grown up home-schooled and over-protected by parents (now deceased) who'd always focused on what Merle called "book learnin'".
"Thinking and doing are two different things," Merle barked at the boy. "We ain't got the luxury of making mistakes these days, 'cause what happens when we make mistakes…?" He glanced at the kids at the table with upraised eyebrows.
"We die!" They all chanted in unison.
"That's exactly right. So start usin' your head for something other than a hat rack," he admonished Patrick.
"Yes, sir," Patrick replied.
"Aye, aye," a female voice added. Merle smirked slightly, waiting to be dressed down by Carol, who had entered the kitchen from opposite door in the middle of his lecture. He knew that Mousy liked to coddle the kids who'd joined their group in drips and drabs during the past several months. He stood in place, waiting for her to rip into him for being so "mean" to the youngsters. To his surprise no reprimand was forthcoming, instead all Carol said was, "Merle, can you help me out with lunch? I need to fill a couple of these big stock pots with water and then put 'em on the fire to boil." One of the many additions that had been made to the prison since the first Woodburians had joined them was a large outdoor fireplace/grill that was used for cooking communal meals, weather permitting.
"Sure thing," Merle replied, pulling out one of the larger pots from the stack beneath the sink. "Big thing of water like this is too heavy for a frail li'l female like you to carry." He turned his head and winked at the kids at the table as he walked away. "That's man's work, am I right?"
"Right!" Luke shouted back, which provoked Mika to punch him in the shoulder.
"Girls are just as strong as boys," she informed him.
"Are not!" He retorted.
"Are too!" Lizzie and Molly chimed in with Mika.
Instead of interrupting the monotonous exchange that continued for several minutes, Carol simply smiled and then gathered a few more utensils to take outside. It made her happy to see Mika and the other little girls be strong and assertive…and then, just as quickly, a wave of melancholy washed over her… If only her Sophia had been like that. Sophia was a few years older than Lizzie when The Turn happened, but she had never in her life spoken up and shouted out like these girls just did. No, Sophia had grown up timid and frightened, always walking on eggshells, thanks to Ed. And, Carol thought ruefully, she was just as much at fault. Always coddling Ed and warning Sophia to not upset her daddy… Now and then when she had too much time to think, she wondered how Sophia would have been, right this minute, if the world hadn't Turned and they were still living in their tidy clapboard house. What truly tied her stomach into knots was the realization that Sophia had never really "lived", she simply existed. Every day of her life had been measured in minutes of safety; a good day being one when her father hadn't yelled at her and smashed a few of her meager possessions in a blind rage for some minor infraction, or when he didn't insist on her snuggling close to "keep him company." An involuntary shudder ran through her body. Truth was, Sophia probably would have grown up to be just like Old Carol - the Carol that she knew Merle still referred to as "Mousey" behind her back. Her daughter had been groomed to become a submissive, silent battered wife thanks to her. But that would never happen again, not on Carol's watch. She was determined to give these kids the knowledge and tools they needed to survive in this world. Unbeknownst to any of the other adults in the group, she had been secretly giving the kids weapons training lessons under the guise of "story hour" in the prison library. Everyone needed to be strong these days, despite their age or gender. No excuses.
‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡
"Daryl's brought in another few strays, he's got one he wants you to meet," Merle told Allison one late afternoon when he'd caught her en route to her cell for a rare midday nap. She'd been working in the fields (the area where they were growing food had expanded too much to simply call it a "garden") with Hershel and Rick in the garden since dawn, and that was after a night of stitching up Lizzie who'd apparently somehow managed to sleepily stumble and fall arm-first against the one lone piece of exposed sharp metal somewhere in the bathroom area when she'd gone in there to pee. That girl always seemed to be getting into one misadventure or another.
"More people?" she mumbled, slightly irritated. Allison hated to sound like Merle (who frequently complained about his brother's "soft-heartedness" in bringing in any sad sack survivor he found wandering on the road), but sometimes she couldn't help but think that they were allowing too many new people into the prison. After all, their resources were finite, and eventually there could be a problem of overcrowding. On the other hand, she would hate to be that person wandering alone seeking shelter and being turned away. At least their group had determined certain protocols when it came to admitting newcomers. By mutual agreement Hershel, Daryl, Sasha, Glenn and Carol had formed a sort of Council, which set rules in place and made decisions when it came to the overall running of the prison.
"Yeah," Merle replied, leading her to the kitchen area. "One of 'em is a doctor, so he says."
When she entered the room she saw Hershel and Daryl chatting with a dark-skinned middle-aged man. Hershel spied her and smiled. He stepped toward her and presented her rather formally to the stranger, saying, "Allison, this is Dr. Caleb Subramanian. Caleb, this is Dr. Allison Harper, our long-time resident physician. She's saved many a life here; I'm afraid that sometimes we ask too much of her. Allison, maybe Caleb will be able to assist you, relieve some of your workload."
Allison smiled warmly at Hershel; she recognized that he was, in his typically benevolent manner, not only making introductions but also letting this Caleb person know that she was the senior and ranking physician in the community.
Caleb smiled and extended his hand. "How do you do," he said. "It's not often that I meet such a young and pretty colleague, even before the world changed."
"Why, thank you," Allison replied, shaking his hand. Her smile turned from warm to frosty at his condescending tone. "And may I say that that shirt really lights up your face. Brings out the color of your eyes." She heard Daryl attempt to stifle a soft snort of laughter.
"Ah, well, yes, thank you," Dr. Subramanian responded, a bit confused and taken aback. "If I may ask, what is your area of specialization?"
"Emergency medicine, Duke University, with a rotation in Chicago at the Cook County Trauma Unit. I was working at Durham Regional when The Turn started. You?"
"I'm a cardiologist. I did my undergrad at the Xavier School of Medicine – "
"In Aruba?" Allison clarified.
"Yes," he nodded, "and then I did my specialty training at St. George's University."
"In Grenada," Allison commented.
"Correct," he confirmed.
"Well, day-o tally me banana – an all-Caribbean education," she muttered semi-audibly.
"Excuse me?" Caleb hadn't quite heard her.
"Nothing, nothing…" she shook her head and then shook his hand with two of hers and said sincerely, "Very nice to have you aboard. I'm sure a lot of the men here will feel more comfortable being examined by a male doctor. Once you get settled, come find me and I'll show you around the infirmary."
‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡
"What the hell was that?" Merle asked her as he left the kitchen with Allison and Daryl.
"What was what?" she asked.
"He asks what kind of medicine it is you do, and you give him your whole resumé? I mean, I know you're a big ol' show-off, but – "
"I am not a show-off!" She automatically protested.
Daryl guffawed out loud and Merle hooted with laughter.
"All right, Gracie, I'm not gonna get into that argument with you, it's just that you seemed kinda harsh to that guy. And that's not usually how you are."
"That's the way doctors are," Daryl informed his brother. "They're like stray dogs, always have a pissing contest when they first meet."
"We are? We do?" Allison stopped in her tracks and turned to him. "And you know this how?"
"Oh, please, Angel," he gave her a lopsided grin. His smile only increased her agitation, so he hastened to explain. "Ever since we've been together, any time you talk about somebody you used to work with – I mean, even any casual 'one day at the hospital' story – you always mention what school the person went to or where he used to work. I don't know squat about once college or another, but just from the tone of your voice when you tell your stories I know that Harvard and Stanford and Johns Hopkins are good and the only reason people go to those offshore medical schools is because they couldn't cut it in a 'real' school."
She winced inwardly a bit; his words cut a bit too close to home. She still harbored a child-like fear of people not liking her, of not always being on her best behavior, and she really needed to learn to not verbalize her every thought, especially when they were particularly vicious. On the other hand, she was a little surprised to note that Daryl paid such strict attention when she sometimes rambled on. That man doesn't miss a thing, she thought to herself.
"…and then he paid you a compliment and you just shot him down," Merle was saying.
"Compliment?" Allison turned her attention to Merle's words. "You mean when described me as 'young and pretty'? I don't want to sound like a xenophobe, but it's been my unfortunate experience that a lot of male Asian Indian doctors who practice in the U.S. tend to be condescending to females. Maybe it's part of their culture, they think it's polite to always flatter a woman… But let me tell you, if I was a man he would never had greeted me with 'I've never met such a handsome colleague.' "
Merle started to say something about you can't win with women no matter what you say, but Allison interrupted him. "It's not just me. I treated many female patients who'd told me stories about their General Practitioners, who happened to be from India or Bangladesh or wherever, who never really seemed to take their health complaints seriously. They'd prescribe Valium or Xanax and tell them they were suffering from 'nerves'." She used her fingers to make air quotation marks. "But those women told me that the same doctors would order a series of X-Rays and CT scans for their husbands whenever they complained of the slightest ache or pain." The trio had arrived at Cell Block C. "I guess it's partly confirmation bias," Allison added before she retired to her cell. "There are no doubt just as many U.S.-trained male doctors who are similarly dismissive when it comes to female patients…" She leaned forward and gave Daryl a quick kiss. "I'm going to grab a quick nap."
"'Confirmation' something? 'Similarly dismissive'?" Allison vaguely heard Merle repeating her words to Daryl as the pair departed. "Damn, she really does talk like that all the time…"