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So, This is Awkward

Posted on Thu Jun 6th, 2019 @ 6:34am by Commander Martin Sorenson & Lieutenant Asahi Kita

Mission: Wrong Place, Right Time
Location: USS Vesta, Medbay

Asahi had chosen what he believed to be a quiet time in Sick Bay to make his visit. It was just after the early morning, when he knew who was going to be on shift, but just before lunch, when he knew people would rather just shuffle him through to get to their breaks. He knew he had a longer list of items to discuss with a doctor, and while he also knew Martin to be the type to sit down and talk about every little detail, he secretly hoped his assumption was wrong, or that the good Doctor Sorenson had at least skipped breakfast.

But he probably wasn't going to be that lucky.

As he entered, Hojo at his heels, he was greeted with the sight of exactly what he expected; nurses discussing who was going on what break first and a low number of visitors. Hojo gave a happy bark at the sight of the two nurses, bouncing over to greet them with a happy wagging tail.

"... Traitor..." Asahi whispered under his breath, before squinting further into Sick Bay. Maybe the doctor decided to take the day off? Good, Asahi could let this go on another day.

Hearing a familiar bark, Martin left his office, grabbing one of the treats he kept for young Caitians and other predator species (like a certain helmsman) on his way out. "Hey, Hojo!" he called happily, and stopped, surprised to see the dog wasn't alone. "And you brought a friend." He smiled tentatively at Asahi, hoping this was the result of Luka putting in a good word. "Are you here for your exam?"

On pure flight instinct, Asahi shook his head. "Nah. No. Followed Hojo in here to make sure he wasn't going to get eaten alive by these two rather attractive but absolutely wonderfully nice nurses who wouldn't go off and do anything to a poor, defenseless Intelligence Officer who owns said nice pupper-" Asahi had all intention to go on, but Hojo let out another excitable bark, causing him to jump slightly. The dog bounded from the two nurses to Martin, then to Asahi, then to Martin again, sitting down on the floor in front of him for a snack.

"... Yes. But in private." Asahi corrected himself, frowning in disappointment at his dog. "Very... very private."

"Of course," Martin said. He leaned over to give Hojo a treat and a quick ear rub. "Just wait right here. I'll take him good care of him," he told the dog sotto voce, then straightening, he smiled at Asahi and gestured toward an exam room. "Right this way."

Though he was somewhat worried the miracle would wear off and Asahi would bolt, Martin didn't wait to follow him into the room, but, reasoning that feeling he was being escorted in might spook the intel officer more, he headed directly in. Trying to be as casual about it as possible, he set up the biobed to run the physical and opened Asahi's file on his PaDD. "Come in and make yourself comfortable," he said cheerfully.

Asahi followed after, cautiously staring at the bed as he entered the room. He hesitated, before slowly making his way over, hopping onto the bed and into a seated position upon it. Looking between the doctor and the door, he decided to keep quiet. Nervous rambling may have given away something, not that he wasn't ready to talk about his medical history. Oh, who was he kidding? He was totally not ready to talk about any of that.

The Doctor tapped a key to close the door. Normally he'd tell a patient to lay back and relax while the biobed ran its scan, but Asahi looked decidedly unlikely to relax and he got the impression that lying back would only make matters worse. "Let me adjust that to a position where you can sit more comfortably," he said, tapping the control panel. He smiled reassuringly as the biobed folded into something more like a recliner. "Before we get started, is there anything I should know?"

As soon as the biobed started moving, Asahi nearly leapt out of his skin, and immediately off the bed itself. He silently stared at the bed, cheeks turning a bright red as he slowly climbed himself right back onto it. He chose to ignore it, instead getting down to business. "... Depends on where you want me to start, Doc. The basics, the high blood pressure - which by the way is probably due to something I'll talk to the counselor about at some point or another - or the big neon sign in my file. I don't think it's actually neon, but it usually gets at least one brow raise out of every other doctor I've talked to."

"If you mean Iresine syndrome, I'm aware of that in your file," Martin replied, careful to keep his brows perfectly level. "And I've done some reading to catch up on the latest treatments as well as the variants in the condition. I don't have your complete file though - which I understand, given your position - but if there's anything I should know in terms of incidents or symptoms let me assure you that I take confidentiality very seriously. And I have the clearance necessary to treat a Commodore."

Asahi had opened and closed his mouth multiple times before it closed, his lips forming a thin line on his face. He looked Martin up and down, as if he was going to lash out, before he frowned. "You might take it seriously, but time travel's a bitch and it goes past a classified confidentiality thing. Though, if you ask Commander Mantell, he might tell you I rode three T-rexes and a velociraptor."

"A T-Rex and a velociraptor?" This time Martin did raise an eyebrow, though it was partly at the image - T-Rex would be somewhat impressive, but velociraptors had been roughly the size of large chickens. However, he wasn't going to allow himself to become distracted from the issue at hand, which was Asahi's current medical condition. "Well, if so you've wrangled dinosaurs skipped farther in time I have. But unless you picked up bubonic plague in earth's distant past, that's irrelevant to your medical history. I don't need to know *when* in historic time any symptom occurred, only when relative to your current age."

"Well I didn't contract the bubonic plague, so there isn't going to be an issue there." Asahi retorted. He crossed his arms over his chest, less in defiance and more in discomfort. He looked down at the floor. "The doctors that did checks on me cleared me for disease, but I can't... Give you those files. No doctor in this era can." He paused, mulling over what he was going to say next. "They weren't clear on the effects of medical torture, either, but they must have thought I was good enough for active Starfleet service. I don't even know if I remember exactly what happened. Not sure I even want to at this stage." Asahi fell silent. "... It's not helpful, but that's kind of all I have right now."

The doctor's lips curled inward. He looked down, jaw setting at the phrase 'medical torture'. Mahone had hinted at something of the sort, but confirmation still sparked a flash of outraged anger; though one he could not allow to show to patient who needed above all else a doctor not radiating a desire to punch something. After a long beat, once he was sure of his own equilibrium, Martin looked up. "I've treated survivors of torture before," he said quietly. "So that was actually very helpful. I understand now, so if anything I do during this makes you feel unsafe, or even simply uncomfortable, tell me and we'll find a way around it, okay?"

Martin's change in demeanor didn't escape Asahi's notice. His shoulders tensed up, and he shook his head. "If I have constant issues with a doctor exam, then it's just going to take longer. Don't worry about it. I didn't tell you to coddle me, just to make sure you knew in case something physical came up."

Sensing that being overly considerate had perhaps wounded Asahi's pride, the doctor contained a sigh. Can't win, can't break even...

"Okay, I'll just run the scan then," he said, tapping a sequence on the biobed control and keeping focus on the readings - something not difficult to do given the Gordian Knot of minor symptoms and potential indications. Elevated BP was expected, but other readings could point to in any number of things: Iresine, or after effects of certain types of torture, or use of certain drugs, or persistent high elevated levels of stress, or some combination thereof. Hmm... But for at least some things it might not be important to differentiate. "Tell me, how are you sleeping?"

Asahi had been examining a spot on the wall when Martin's question popped his mental bubble. He gave a shrug. "Oh I dunno. As well as I usually do." He knew his sleep patterns were not exactly the most healthy, but he wasn't familiar with what was. "Enough to function. After some liquid stimulation. Caffeine. I mean caffeine."

"Yes, caffeine is my drug of choice too," Martin chuckled. He was not however going to take such a vague response about sleep. "But when you say 'as well as I usually do' is 6 to 8 hours? 4 hours? Continuous sleep or intermittent with waking every few hours?"

"... Oh you count that time in hours?" Asahi let out a snort of a laugh. He knew better, but the nervousness got the best of him. "I mean, if you add it all together, it might be about four hours a day. Maybe. I think it was last night, anyways. Maybe not the night before that."

"Okay, I know, believe me, that sometimes you have to work long hours or pull all-nighters," Martin said, voice heavy with experience there. "But that little continuous sleep on an on-going basis can have serious effects on both physical and psychological health. You said you'd be speaking to the counselor, and I'm sure working with her will eventually improve a lot of these readings, but I think a prescription to help you sleep might go a long way toward reducing stress in the short term."

Asahi tensed up, trying to resist the urge to immediately snap Martin's head off for the umpteenth time. Instead, his fingers curled around the bottom of the bed, and he shook his head. "I would prefer to not take sleep aids. I don't want to really take anything that induces sleep like that," he said carefully. "Is there anything else I can do besides that?"

"It wouldn't have to be medication. A delta-wave inducer is placed externally. Or if you dislike the idea of being knocked out, as it were, there are several options that simply put you receptive state for sleep," Martin explained, listing them off. "An alpha-wave inducer is generally effective, though that limited to only occasional use. The most commonly used is a somnetic inducer, which would not even touch you, just sit beside your bed. A step down from that, would be a sound machine programmed to provide relaxing harmonics. Alternately, if you prefer a more organic approach, there are options ranging from Aldebaran mud leeches to a warm milk toddy."

Asahi's lip turned upward at the word 'leeches.' He shook his head. "I might stick to something more homeopatic - not leeches for the love of everything - but, I don't do well with conventional approaches." He shifted uncomfortably. "Last time I had anything looked at and was on a regimen of any sort, I had a regular hypo of some sort that..." He faded off, frowning. "Luka essentially called it a multivitamin made specifically for my deficiency of histimine. I don't know if that would help the sleep thing, and if I'm gonna be honest I don't know what ever helped the sleep thing, but I actually slept when I took it regularly?"

"That is a prescription I will gladly supply," the doctor replied, entering the order on his PaDD. "I'd planned to talk to you about that next in fact. Increased histamine can make you drowsy, which can help with falling asleep, so we can try that. Following a few other holistic recommendations would help though, like a soporific herbal tea - basil, passion flower, chamomile, hops, and/or valerian root can be effective, and avoiding caffeinated drinks for at least two hours before hand as well." Knowing the last would likely get some resistance, he continued quickly to add, "We'll give that a few weeks and then assess how it's working at a follow-up appointment."

Asahi nearly laughed when Martin mentioned avoiding caffeine. He was amused that anyone would suggest that to him, especially with what he needed to function on the regular. His lips turned into a small smile. "You're kidding, right? I can do the rest of that, but I'm not sure how to go about limiting any caffeine intake when I think I actually need it to function."

"Hey now, I didn't say give it up entirely." Martin grimaced at the thought. "That would be nuts. Just don't have any a couple hours before bed, because one aspect of not functioning without it is called falling asleep."

"Don't use common sense on me," Asahi said in jest. "I might implode. But I'll figure a schedule out." He didn't add the 'I guess' at the end, but it was deep in his mind. Horrific images of Martin threatening to medically induce sleep via a hypo kept him silent on the matter. "... Anything else I should do about the sleep, Doc?"

"I could try uncommon sense," Martin laughed. "But seriously, just setting a schedule will be a good step to getting sleep. Meditation sometimes helps too, but I think trying what we've discussed will be a good start. Also, talking to the Counselor to deal with stress. You said you planned on that already, right?"

"I planned on it." Asahi replied neutrally. He had plans to speak with both of the counselors he knew were on the ship. Tarel he knew from previous assignments, which made him comfortable with her, but he didn't want to rule out the chief counselor either. "I wanna be able to adjust before I get too into talking to a counselor. Settle in more so I don't feel so antsy about everything. Last thing I need to do is snap at every medical officer who's trying to help."

"I understand." Martin smiled, both at the acknowledgement that he was trying to help and because he really did understand. In fact, having just recently seen Nikedoros again on Haumea, he couldn't help think of his own reticence to be upset in front of a counselor. "Although counselors are trained to handle that sort of thing. Some even encourage using sessions to vent the things you'd otherwise hold back." He glanced away, and made a hasty note on his PaDD. "...or so I'm told."

"I didn't say-" Asahi paused as he narrowed his eyes at Martin's PaDD, clearly noting the motion. "I didn't say vent. I don't wanna snap off a counselor's head if I can help it. I'm sure they've dealt with worse, but I'd like to at least try to be polite while I'm pouring my issues at them."

Martin paused, realizing he could have been a bit more honest. "Sorry. I was..." he ducked his head, "...speaking from personal experience. A counselor once told me to stop being so 'insanely polite'."

Asahi let silence pass over them a moment longer than he intended. He cleared his throat, looking down at the floor. "Well she's not wrong. You're way polite. Usually by now I've had a doctor try to sic a nurse on me if I don't come around myself. Or that one time I had one break a biobed to see if he could get me into sick bay at all."

I'll keep that in mind for your next appointment," Martin replied with a smile. "Which should be in 3 weeks to see where you are with respect to getting more sleep."

It took Asahi a beat before he looked up at Martin, trademark suspicious look on his features. "Oh no, I got my physical. I don't need another appointment to check up on my sleep patterns. I'll just tell you."

"Aye. In 3 weeks you'll come by and let me know," Martin said matter-of-factly. He made note on the PaDD, then looked up at Asahi with a small smile. "Otherwise, I'll have to get ...creative."

Asahi's eyes narrowed. Doctors. He could never understand them. "I'll let you know," he confirmed vaguely. "In three weeks."

"I'll see you then," the Doctor replied cheerfully.

 

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