Once established in Sickbay and getting used to her new colleagues and the new equipment both, Ellie was beginning to find her feet.
Sitting at Reception during a break, talking to her newest acquaintance – a young junior vulcan doctor called Salpai – the two were smiling and chatting over mugs of their chosen beverage and recouping before their next rounds would begin.
As they were absorbed in a lively, casual debate about men versus women as the best kind of spouses, Ellie looked up and saw a large Klingon woman approaching. She put down her mug of Terran “English Breakfast Tea” and came our around the desk to meet the patient who seemed to be limping.
She began by offering herself as a support, intending to put her shoulder under the Klingon’s arm on the same side as the limp. It could have been a risk since she didn’t know this lady and Klingons in generic terms weren’t always willing to accept assistance, often offended by the offer itself.
Ellie called for her med-kit which Salpai handed her quickly and the CMO directed her new patient to the first med-bay, attempting to help her again, this time onto the bio-bed just a few steps inside. “What happened?” she asked, with no formalities nor waste of time pleasantries, keen to get to the injury and attempt some kind of repair.
“Calisthenics routine.” Commander Q’orvha, the pale skinned Klingon stated with a slight grimace as she shifted her weight onto the bio bed. “Holodeck safeties do not protect one from heavy impacts with the very real deckplating. Feels like a sprain…not painful, definitely uncomfortable…you are the new doctor, yes?”
“I am” Ellie confirmed. “Elowen Adair” she elaborated, already setting the biobed’s scanners and ultrasounds as she spoke. Her fingers were lightly flickering across the LCARS controls and the monitor at the head of the bed, behind Q’orvha’s head churning off data, seemingly random figures and icons that might mean nothing to an untrained medical eye but which were all instantly familiar and meaningful to Ellie.
“Hmmm” she muttered, assimilating the data and the readings as they scrolled across.
“You’re right about having strained something. Specifically the ligaments in knee” she said, calmly adding her handheld medscanner to the equipment giving off readings. “It looks like you landed awkwardly on it and have turned it too far to the right. There’s a tear here.” she indicated the side of the knee in question by pointing to the swelling already rising around it but not making contact with her finger, simply showing where she meant rather than touching the area.
Instead she held a replicator to it which took down the swelling initially but left a slight presence of fluid to lubricate the torn fibres. It was always best to work with “Mother Nature” rather than against her. The swelling was a natural defence process designed not only to inhibit movement of the torn fibres before they had chance to mend to any degree, but also to provide the protection to the damaged area of fluid that was purposefully useful in that healing process. She only left the barest necessary plasma but the excess was of no extra use, so she reduced that as a matter of course.
“You’ve bruised it extensively to that kneecap too” she added, keeping up a progress report.
“It’ll be a keep off joint for a couple of days. If you feel that’s too long to be nice to it, then I can immobilise it with strapping, or a caste, or even a neuroblock?” she knew these were unlikely to be popular options because the “strapping” she was describing was going to be a long piece of polyeurotherm material with an outer casing to keep it rigid once the gel set. The “caste” would be a bio-magnetic, locally restrictive movement blocking coating of microformed weljel that would also harden to an even more restricting ‘shell’ for wamt of a better description of the exoskeletal temporary attachment to the outside of the leg like a sheath.
Finally the neuroblock was the most ‘out there’ alternative as it offered an electrical interference to the controls that should travel down from the patient’s brain to their injured area (leg in this case) to make sure they couldn’t use the limb even if they tried.
Each option had its Pros and Cons and all were offered where they were appropriate but if there were more than one that would do a suitable job, then choices were given.
Ellie continued to assess the data as she let those options settle into the Commander’s mind’s eye as to which would be best for her coping with the healing with the least discomfort but also the most effective repairs possible within her daily needs.
“The hip is pretty badly crushed too” she added. “You must have taken the full impact down that leg” she went on, leaving it to her patient to reply as she wished, whenever she was ready”
”…it may have been an impact from a second story.” Q’orvha admitted, letting out a combination of a frustrated growl and exasperated sigh through her bared teeth. “I’ll take the first option. I would rather be slowed down then completely crippled…that way, my leg is still useful in a pinch with the right flow of adrenaline…less likely to lead to my untimely demise…can we just fix it already?”The Klingon spook’s blood-violet eyes shot across the sickbay to track the movements of a pair of orderlies who had entered from an attached medlab, and she twitched sightly as she suppressed a reflexive defence instinct. The truth was that this was not the first time she had injured that leg…in fact, it had been the phantom pain left over from the previous damage, that had caused it seize up and send her tumbling off the holo-monastery rampart and into the court below.
Q’orvha was fine with sickbays…as long as she wasn’t herself injured…and didn’t possess a fear of doctor. However, her current state was self-inflicted vulnerability and she despised that…it was amplifying her paranoia and letting those old combative Klingon instincts to rise up…those instincts that were usually kept in check by her monastic training.
She was getting sloppy in her advancing age….or maybe it was the general placating nature of living in the Federation, on a Starfleet vessel, dulling her better judgement…
”I have a shift beginning soon and many reports to decrypt and review before the next staff briefing.” Q’orvha added, attempting to emphasize the need for rapidity.
“Strapping it is” Ellie agreed and began the procedure. “You might be able to return to paperwork but until tomorrow, you should be protective of the hip. It looks to me as if you mightn’t always have been so” she ventured her educated guess judging by the data and scans which seemed to hint at a prior injury to the same place. “I’ll sign you back for light duties and I mean light” she emphasised. “I know you don’t want to give in to injury or weakness but if you don’t treat it properly and with the appropriate seriousness, you might regret taking the little time now to save a relapse later on, probably meaning a much longer recouperation.”
The CMO’s voice was calm and in no way hostile nor provocative. She wasn’t making threats, being critical or even being judgemental, she was simply stating facts that she knew her patient could understand, assess and prioritise as she saw fit – risks considered and consequences on the table.
Still strapping, she looked up to see the Klingon’s face for a moment, to try to discern which way the patient was going to go with this information and choice.
Q’orvha chuffed and then gave another mixture low growling sigh. “…paperwork. Haven’t even used paper in Starfleet in the last 300 years…but it’s about all my job is these days. Fine. Be done with it then, Doctor…so I can return to my…paperwork.”
Ellie couldn’t help but smile. She too found herself drowning in PADDs full of data “paperwork” but there was something endearing about the Klingon’s huff about it – not that she was ever going to use the word endearing outloud, not and hope to keep all of her useful extremities, such as limbs and head for example. She finished off the bindings and stood back.
“There you go Ma’am” she said, pressing the LCARS lights adeptly and producing a data-rod report of the treatment and diagnosis today. “This will appear on your medical records but this is your ‘copy’. If you need any extra coding or security then please let me know and I’ll make the adjustments before I save it up to the main Starfleet Medical Records. Please do rest it as much as you can bear” she added, hoping to reason against the Klingon tough culture and knowing she had no hope of making that stick.
”…if you upload it to the main Starfleet Medical Records, I think you’ll find that the extra security coding will take of itself. Starfleet Intelligence is paranoid like that.” Q’orvha stated, pushing off of the biobed and grimacing slightly as weight was placed upon the leg once more. It wasn’t the pain as much as it was just the stiffness and delayed reactions of her muscles from the injury and treatment, that caused this reaction. She steadied herself and stood up to her full height, towering over the hybrid doctor…the Klingon’s cloaked form casting a long shadow across the sickbay floor and furniture. “As for your request that I rest…I will consider it.”