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Benadryl.

They spotted her in the hallway of the hospital. Sensing people approaching, the doctor turned around and saw two young men walking briskly towards her. She recognized one of them. They both looked eager.

“Hey Doc! Here’s a question you can answer,” the familiar face said. Though not even old enough to legally purchase alcohol, he unfortunately had many experiences with hospitals and emergency rooms. His young body, for now, was able to keep up with his often frenetic mind that often propelled him into conflict.

The other one, a close friend of his, had never been a patient in a hospital. He looked at the doctor and gave a half smile in greeting.

“Okay,” she said, inviting them to speak.

Benadryl,” the naive one said. “That’s an allergy medication, right?”

“No, no, Benadryl is a sedative, right?” the experienced one said. After exchanging glances with both his friend and the doctor, he blurted, “That s— keeps you down!

An uncomfortable smile crept onto her face. “It’s both. It can help with allergies and, well—”

“—they put it in the needles in the emergency rooms all the time when people are out of control, right?” the experienced one said again, pushing his shoulders back and grinning as he looked at his friend.

She paused.

“Right,” she eventually said. Though her voice was even, her eyebrows furrowed. “Sometimes it’s mixed with other medications to help… people calm down.”

By now, they weren’t listening. The naive one looked surprised. The experienced one was waving his arms in triumph as he exclaimed, “See? What did I tell you?”

“Yeah, but it’s an allergy medication, too,” the naive one countered. They walked away, absorbed in their conversation.

Her eyes watched them slip into the stream of people. She caught herself rubbing her shoulder.