Putting it off
Location: Main Sickbay
Walking down the corridor of the Hera, Mnhei'sahe Dox wasn't using her more standard, martial past that she picked up from Rita Paris. Instead, she was taking an almost leisurely past. As she passed other crew members, she instigated minor and admittedly awkward interactions where she could. She was clearly stalling.
She was also clearly in pain. Favoring her right arm, the young Romulan Lieutenant Commander looked presentable in her workout clothes with a black sheathed, curved sword on her hip, but she was holding her arm in a tight cross. She was trying to look like she was just crossing her arms, but it was clear to anyone that was observant that she was nursing an injury. The small green cut on her chin was quite a prominent clue as to why she was stalling.
Her first meeting with the ship's new Chief Medical Officer, Doctor Tovanna Mah, hadn't gone as well as it could have, with a considerable amount of tension rising around Dox's unusual friendship with the woman called Masato Rei.
The embodiment of Death, itself.
I'm truth, REI was grooming Dox to possibly take over in the role at the end of the young Romulan's life, but only Dox's wife Mona, Captain Telvan and Commander Paris knew that. But Dox still was hoping that the EMH was on duty and she felt extremely uncomfortable and awkward around the ship's new surgeon.
Stepping inside, she looked around. It was after-hours, and the expansive sickbay was not that busy. Ensign Fortunroy from Stellar Cartography seemed to be nursing a fall and his knee was bandaged on one table. There was Lieutenant Junior Grade M'Rian, a VERY pregnant Caitian talking with Nurse Tathaa, both women smiling.
As a nurse greeted Dox, the young Bolean woman smiled at the crotchety Romulan. "Commander Dox? Let me guess… combat training injury?"
Smirking sarcastically, Dox tilted her head and replied somewhat casually to the blue-skinned bald woman who had seen Dox many a time in sickbay. "Of course, Nurse T'Romma. Is Doctor Power available?"
Turning to direct Dox in, the young Bolean pointed to a medbay table and scoffed. "Afraid not. He's delivering Ensign Freoon's twins in the other wing. But if you'll take your usual seat, Doctor Mah will be with you in a jiffy."
Sighing, Dox stepped over to what the ships prior CMO, Dox's best friend, Asa Dael, referred to as her 'private medbed' in bay five. The red-headed young officer was notoriously prone to workout-related injuries as well as getting hurt on away missions, and tended to get biobed five.
"Thank you." Dox said, with a reserved sigh as she sat on the humorously dubbed 'Dox Suite' and waited as Nurse T'Romma left to complete other duties.
Dr. Mah walked over, obviously much more comfortable in sickbay than at the festivities. She moved with a confident ease in the area most preferred not to be in and looked up at Dox with a warm smile, "Reserved just for you as promised, so what did you injure for me today?" This was a very different aspect to the guarded, almost hesitant woman she saw at the party. This was like the fighter less the cold anger, well equipped to handle what came her way. This was obviously where she was at home, in the chaos, surrounded by sounds and organized mayhem that was medical. It was no wonder she despised fighting, though her mastery of pandemonium was obviously useful during battle, she was a healer. It was easy to understand her disdain for anyone needlessly being put in harms way and likely her reaction to the Captain's opponent for placing so many at risk. "By the cradling of your arm I'm going to guess I should start there?"
Blushing a slight shade of green, common for someone with copper-based, green blood, Dox kitted her eyebrows slightly as she answered uncomfortably, "Yes. I... I have been undergoing an... extensive sword-fighting training regimen with the Captain. She is a sienov’alha... uh, sorry. It means 'swordmaster'. I'm proficient and better than not, but nowhere near her level."
Correcting herself as she slipped into her native tongue, the young Romulan continued as she stiffly took off her top so the doctor could see. Her arm, where she was favoring it, had a massive, greenish-black bruise on it that stretched the length of her upper arm. There were also, slightly smaller bruises on her belly, other forearm, and trapezius area. She looked almost as spotted as their Trill Captain as a result. "We... ramped up the intensity level a bit and I had to step inside her swings and took a few pommel hits and elbows avoiding her blade. Considering the only actual cut is just this on my chin, I think my defense is getting a little better."
Tovanna did a thorough exam of her patient from top head to toe. With 60 years of medical practice she was able to detect not only the new wounds from the recent sparring match with the Captain, but older wounds as well that were healed without the intervention of proper medical assistance. "So other than sparring with the captain, have there been any other strenuous activities you have been partaking in? I'm detecting older physical injuries as well." She looked at the results of her scan with concern, comparing them to the latest readings she had from her predecessor.
Looking down for a second, Dox pursed her lips. She knew she was going to have to explain her somewhat bizarre history to the ship's new doctor, but she hadn't been looking forward to it. Nervously, she ran a finger over an ear as she replied. "My last real injuries that were... not well taken care of at the time happened about... 4 months ago during my captivity on a Romulan Warbird. I spent about a week and a half shackled to a metal chair and had some fairly extensive bruising that the doctor on that ship wasn't particularly... diligent in regards to the healing of. I received much better treatment on the Artan ship that was used in my rescue, but by then a lot had healed on its own."
"Other than that... well..." Dox fumbled over her words as she got more anxious. "Can we say I had an... aggressive childhood and skip the larger details? It's... nothing that isn't buried at the bottom of my Starfleet Medical and Psych files. My mother... trained me from a very young age to be able to protect myself if the Tal'Shiar ever came for me. A lot of that involved learning how to deal with pain and function through it. Sorry, I know it's not the most pleasant subject."
Tova nodded in understanding, "No worries, you are not the first patient I've had who has gone through early life training. The issue you have is the eventual aging complications that can occur with so many fractures of various depths, so much built up scar tissue and soft tissue calcification. Unless you want to retire early to a desk job, these issues will need to be addressed to keep you in prime fighting condition. Obviously these are not mandatory issues, however, it is your choice how you would like the future of your career to proceed in the next decades." She hated giving anyone such a prognosis and knew that Dox, with her Romulan lifespan, had at least another 75 years in her future career, but at the rate she was going it would only be 75 years of active duty without heavy intervention.
Looking slightly surprised, the anxious Romulan pursed her lips slightly and it was clear that she had not expected that, as the faintest hint of an accent began to leak out thanks to her momentary nerves. "That... doesn't sound ideal. Uh... I exercise regularly beyond just combat training, but what... what can we do about this, Doctor?"
Dr. Mah smiled at her reassuringly, "We can rectify the issue with a series of treatments for you. It would be basic correction of the previous injuries that are heavily calcified. We can also reconstruct the tissue so you will no longer have the extensive scar tissue build-up. Any nerve or connective tissue damage should also be corrected in the process. In the end you should have greater mobility with less overall pain. The only downside is future damage will hurt like hell since you will no longer have all the scar tissue to shield you." She calculated the treatment plan schedule, "It looks like a total of four treatements should work. One each for the bones, soft tissue, connective tissue, and nervous system. They should take about an hour each with a thirty-minute observation and recovery. They be no closer than seven days together, however afterwards you should feel much better than you have been. Does this seem like an acceptable plan to you?" Tova wanted to see her patient in top condition for fighting. It was obvious the woman had no plan to stop so it was best to give her the best odds to do so.
"Ahhh... 'treatments'." Dox said, rolling her eyes slightly and smirking a little. "Sorry. It's... not my first series of treatments in here. When I first joined the ship and Doctor Dael discovered the tampering to my DNA, that was... a couple of weeks to fix that were... interesting. But, yes. Yes, we should address it now. Thank you."
Dr. Mah could see that the young woman feared something else was going to be suggested and wondered what it could be. Starfleet want known for medical treatments that we're more aggressive than absolutely needed in the most due of situations. What had been done that would warrant such a fear? "I'm just curious, what did you think I would suggest other than treatments, rest or a course of rehab? The days of rebreaking and resetting bones are long gone." She looked at her patient with calm reassurance hoping she could see that as a healer she only had the woman's best interest in mind.
For her part, Dox had a host of anxieties swirling through her head at the moment as she processed the ship's new CMO's words. But she also realized she was projecting that anxiety towards the El-Aurian woman who had never been anything but nice to the Romulan pilot shove they had met. All in spite of Dox's cold standoffishness.
Dr. Tovanna Mah wasn't Dr. Asa Dael. Asa had moved on and Dox's best friend likely wasn't ever going to return to the Hera. And the possessive red-head needed to get over herself.
"I'm sorry Doctor... Tova. I'm... I'm not being fair to you. I... I have had a host of issues I've had to deal with concerning medical procedures. When I was very young .. too young to consciously remember... my Mother hid me from my Family on Romulus by altering my appearance and DNA to make me appear half Human. It was... Invasive. My ears were cropped and my blood damaged and turned an ugly brown for a time. Our last CMO... They discovered this and repaired the damage, but the memories of the alterations had... Hovered in my subconscious for years. Nightmares and the like. I've largely worked through that, but I suppose that it's... made me unduly nervous around doctors."
"Plus .." she admitted nervously, "Doctor Dael... They were my best friend. In some ways, my first real friend and I miss them. And I'm projecting that loss towards you. That's cruel and not fair, and I... I do apologize. I'm sorry. I will... I will try to be better and stop being unfair to you. You're trying to help and I need to be better. I'm sorry."
Tova looked at the vulnerable woman with a kind smile, "Let me first say how sorry I am that your friend is gone. It's very hard to lose someone you make a bond with. I hope you keep in contact with Dr. Dael no matter where they end up stationed. I have many friends I've kept contact with Sally some have been lost to battles or merely time, but while you still have them treasure your connection. Second, any optional procedures are just that, options. Should you decide to forego any of these treatments at this time that is your right. None of your conditions beyond those you sustained today are going to harm your day to day performance. We are looking at your future, not your present. I can't promise the efficacy of later treatments but for now, you have time to think this over which may be a better option." Tova closed her tricorder and pulled a stool over so they could continue more person to person, less doctor to patient.
"I'm new here and we've had one very intense time together which was completely out of my comfort zone quite honestly. It will take time for you and everyone else to become familiar with me. How about you make the larger treatment choices later and today we just get you patched up so the Captain can see you make a more difficult target to hit? If you do well I'll even give you a lollipop for it." She smiled at the woman before her with a twinkle in her eye as she slowly pulled a lollipop from her pocket and wiggled it in front of her playfully.
The red-headed Romulan couldn't help but smile. Tova, like Asa, seemed to be an eternal optimist and it was refreshing to see. Especially considering her own predilection for looking on the darkest possible sides of things. "Thank you. I do. I send them holo messages every few weeks and hope we will be in a position for a live transmission soon. It's easier to convince Starfleet to let the ship sit stationary if it's a call from my Grandmother in the Romulan Senate then me just wanting to tell a friend about my week."
Eyeing the lollipop, she rubbed the small cut on her chin from the Captain's blade that almost didn't miss her. "Uh... what flavor it that?"
Tova smiled, her eye almost glittering with playfulness, "I have strawberry, however I have 499 other flavors. A friend and I spent over twenty years perfecting 500 flavors of these during our off-time as a side project. He actually ended up with an award for it. I ended up with the replicator files for them." Tova shrugged playfully, "What are you going to do with tons of time on your hands and not much to do after a quarter of a century? So what's your flavor? I likely have it or you can combine flavors to make a custom one." She pulled out a second one and clacked them together as she waggled her eyebrows.
Raising an eyebrow quizzically, she was still sore and bruised, but that would pass. And she was now genuinely curious."500 flavors? Hmm... If you've got lehe'jhme fruit in there... you've just made a new friend."
As she mentioned the notoriously tart Romulan fruit that she loved, Dox's expression shifted from one of defense to a warmer smile as she took that first step in lowering her personal defenses.
Tova laughed and brought over the big jar, "Hmmm....let's see, Kali-fal, Osol Twist, Lemon Tart, Key Lime, what the heck is the Jumja Stick doing in there? That goes with the sweet flavors..." Tova set that one aside, "Ah Ha!" She pulled a purple striped lollipop out, "Word to the wise, don't mix this up with the sweet fruit container and the purple spotted one, that's grape." She looked quite proud of her discovery and handed it over. "The jars have labels, meat, herbs, candy, sour fruits, sweet fruits, bark flavors, and more. Experiment as you will, so friends?" She shrugged
Reaching to take the offered lollipop, Dox winced ever so slightly as her muscles protested the decision to move in such a fashion. But regardless, the young woman who was good at ignoring pain smiled through it sincerely, choosing no longer to judge Tovanna Mah for who she wasn't and instead for the person she was. And that was a person Mnhei'sahe wanted to know better. "Friends, Tova. Friends."
"Excellent, now let's get you looked at before the Captain uses you as a pincushion again." Tova smiled with mischief, "And once you get all better I think she may find you are a bit faster and more nimble than she will estimates. I wonder how she will deal with the surprise of her pincushion poking back?"