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Medical Intel

Posted on Sun Jun 9th, 2019 @ 5:27pm by Commander Martin Sorenson & Lieutenant JG Eira Cortez

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

Dr. Sorenson looked around the quiet medbay and glanced at the time. Surely he couldn't have drawn two uncharacteristically doctor phobics in the intel department? On his last ship, the CIO had been just this side of a hypochondriac. In fact it had been something of a running joke, with the CMO observing that you had to expect people who chose a profession where paranoia was considered a good trait to be a little paranoid about their health too. He really hoped Asahi was just the exception that proved the rule.

Realizing that it was probably a good idea to check in with the doctor at some stage sooner rather than later, Eira walked into the medbay and immediately spotted the doctor looking quite bored. "Hey, are you free to see me for a checkup?"

Yes, I certainly am," Martin said, with perhaps a bit more enthusiasm than necessary. "I'm Dr. Sorenson, the CMO. The exam room is right here," he added, ushering her through the door.

Eira smiled and took a seat on the biobed, "I'm Eira Cortez, the new assistant Chief of Intelligence. Only arrived about two days ago?"

"Yes, I saw your records in the transfer file," he said, pulling it up on his PaDD. "There seemed to be a lot of sections redacted, so are there any medical issues or concerns I should be aware of there?" Anticipating an objection, he held up a hand. "And I'll tell you what I told the CIO - I understand holding back classified mission details, but not medical consequences. Nor should there be any reason not to share those. Not only do I take confidentiality very seriously; I'm cleared to serve as CMO to the Commodore and I'm the 2nd Officer on this ship."

She thought about it for a moment, "To be honest, this is probably going to be a very short exam. Unless you find something I don't know about. I take care of myself, what goes in to it and what happens to it is important to me. It's more my mind that is damaged." She tapped the side of her head lightly

"That you care about taking care of yourself is music to a doctor's ears," Martin remarked with a smile. "But I do see the diagnosis of PTSD, and while that's more the Counselor's area, body and mind aren't truly separate. It's rare that stress in one doesn't produce symptoms of stress in the other. Likewise, medical treatment for psychosomatic symptoms can work in concert with counseling to improve progress, so don't think you can't bring such issues up with me."

Eira chuckled a bit, "I've got the PTSD well under control with medication, I see a counselor every so often, and I'm working on moving forward with it all by rigorous exercise, focusing on work and trying to get in contact with my brother again." She shrugged the thought of her brother off. "So anyway, what have you found? Anything interesting or unusual?"

"Not much... You do seem to be remarkably fit and healthy." He paused a moment, studying the scan. Despite the ease with which most could be erased, he had grown somewhat accustomed to people choosing to keep scars, but some of hers were a bit beyond 'marks of honor'. "Do these scars around your torso ever cause you difficulty? I understand some people prefer to keep them - in fact, a Romulan nearly broke my hand when I started to erase one of hers - but some of yours, those extend below the skin and into connective tissue. That's bound to create some tightness or strain, especially during rigorous exercise."

"Connective tissue? I wasn't aware that it was that deep." Her tone was a bit more concerned now, "I've felt the strain you mentioned a couple of times before, but I put it down to pushing myself too hard and not allowing proper stretching and cool down times." She rubbed around her stomach and frowned. "So what do you propose we do about then?"

"We've made some advances in protoplaser technology, so it can be corrected," Martin explained. "There are two options for that. You could have it done all at once, but that will take an hour or so and you'd need to restrict your physical activities for several days afterward. Alternately, we could break it into three or four shorter treatments over the course of a couple weeks. You'd still have to forego sparring and high intensity exercise, but you'd be able do nearly everything else. In both cases though there would be PT in the form of a schedule of recommended core exercises."

"I think the second option would work best, but I will have a chat to Lieutenant Asahi and see about the time off for it each week. I know most people will actively avoid coming down to medical, but I don't mind." Eira gave him a smile. "I'll definitely be sticking to the lighter exercises too, nothing too strenuous. With the procedure though, what does it involve?"

"Take your time. It's not urgent; in fact, people have lived with this sort of scarring for decades without any consequences beyond some discomfort and limited mobility," Martin assured her. "As to procedure, after numbing the area, I'd use a protoplaser to incrementally cut out scar tissue and stitch together the affected connective tissue. You see, the fibrous tissue holding together in your core region is a complex web, at least in terms of stress lines - the natural directions of tension and compression where the tendons connect the muscles in your torso. Normally, our bodies sort of optimize tissue growth by growing in the direction it's needed by responding to stress lines, but when those lines are cut that mechanism breaks down, so the body compensates by rapidly growing a mass of undifferentiated tissue in all directions - like plugging a gaping hole with a mass of whatever you have at hand because you don't have the time or resources to make a precise patch. With small wounds, it will start replacing that over time, so the scars fade. With larger wounds, especially in areas without consistent clear lines of tension, the scar tissue can become permanent. So repair means cutting those parts out millimeter by millimeter and reconnecting tendon strands at each step to restore the correct stress lines. Afterward, you need to take things slow and follow your PT to let your body adjust so the right patterns of tissue growth are reestablished"

He paused, hoping that he'd explained it well enough in layman's terms. "Do you have any questions?"

Eira shook her head, "Not at this stage, I don't, but if I do I'll be sure to pop down here and ask you."

"Any time," Martin said, and tapped his PaDD closed. "For now, you have a clean bill of health and can be on your way."


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