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Medical emergency

Posted on Tue Sep 8th, 2015 @ 1:27am by Lieutenant Commander Soraya Delrisa

Mission: Trouble on the frontier

“Harrison to Commander Delrisa.”

"Delrisa here."

“I apologise for the hour but may I see you immediately?”

"Of course Captain," the doctor replied. Something in his voice gave her pause. "Do you need me to come to you?"

“No, your office will be fine.”


Infirmary

“I was standing in front of the replicator,” Harrison said, “awaiting my usual Darjeeling tea. All of a sudden, I felt a sharp pain in my upper right jaw. My initial reaction was that an abscess had formed: I have had problems with them there before. Then the pain moved down to my ribcage. At this point I was not at all worried. I listened to my heart and it seemed to be functioning well enough: smooth and steady.

“However, when I tried to remove the cup, I found myself trembling. I walked over to my desk and sat down but it made no difference. I considered returning to my quarters but a quick experiment of lying down out of sight of Ops showed that being horizontal would not make any difference either.

“I pulled myself up and resumed my position behind my desk. It was no use; I knew I could not continue like this.”

Soraya nodded as she gave him a preliminary scan with her tricorder. She paused for a moment, holding the instrument near his heart. She tapped in a code and the small image on her tricorder popped up on the screen next to the biobed.

"Have you had any trouble breathing, or any other chest pain recently?" she asked as the image of his beating heart loomed over them.

“Shortness? No. My breathing has been fine. And no....” Harrison paused. “Actually, There have been a couple of incidents.... I have had pains in my ribcage. Let me stress it was only my ribcage. They were sharp but not severe and lasted only a few seconds. Talking of shortness of breath, a few good deep breaths sorted them out. I put it down to a pulled muscle or something like that and thought nothing more of it.”

She changed the angle of the tricorder and the three-dimensional image on the screen changed as well.

"Your heartbeat is steady, but there is some scar tissue here and here," she said, pointing at the image. "Nothing too severe, but worth looking more closely. Computer, reference thoracic imaging from Captain Harrison's last physical please, Screen Two." A second image appeared next to the first. The scarred areas weren't there. Soraya reached into a drawer for a hyposyringe. "Computer, let's do a full chem panel, complete blood count, hemoglobin... and electrolytes please."

"Yes Doctor Delrisa," the computer intoned as Soraya began to roll up Harrison's sleeve.

Harrison waited. He did not like the Infirmary; in fact, he did not like hospitals in general. They always smelt so...antiseptic. However, he knew better than to second guess his Chief Medical Officer. In here, she ruled: patience was therefore the order of the day.

"I shan't take more than a few liters, Captain," Soraya said with a wink as she pressed the hypo to his arm. A moment later the sample was off to the Medlab. The doctor walked back over to the images on the screen.

"I want to wait for the labs before we make any decisions, but what we may have is a weakening of the ascending aorta here, right where the blood leaves the heart," she said, referencing the image.

“You can repair it,” Harrison said though his voice betrayed doubt and hesitancy. “I can not afford to be laid up, not with the threat to Commander Bannister and Ms Forst and the rise in pirate activity.”

The doctor took a deep breath, then took Harrison's hand in her own. "Captain, this will not be a minor procedure. My team and I will have to do the repair with your heart nearly stopped while the graft sets. You will need time off, and then only limited... very limited... duty. Your heart will need time to heal."

He began to speak but she raised an eyebrow and gave him her best mother-said-no look. Harrison subsided. He knew better than to argue. “How long?”

She glanced back at the image of his heart. "I would like for you to take a month off-duty completely, then we'll evaluate whether you can go on light duty. No promises," she said sternly, softening her words with a smile.

A month, he thought. A whole month! But he held himself in check. This was her realm and here she reigned. He knew that if he objected, she could make matters very difficult for him. “Alright,” he said, not trying to hide the lack of enthusiasm in his voice.

"This isn't punishment, Captain. If your heart doesn't heal properly you'll be worse off than you are now," she said, giving his hand a squeeze. "It seems like a long time but believe me it will be over before you know it," she added warmly.

Harrison nodded. “Do I have to stay here under your care or may I take some of the leave owing to me and go some place else?”

She cocked her head, regarding him. "I'd like you here for the first four days, then you may take leave. I just need to confirm that your heart is healing and functioning as it should after the procedure."

‘I can live with that, Commander,” he said with an attempt at a grin. It was a poor attempt but the best he could offer in the circumstances. “Do you need me to remain here or can you monitor me from a distance? I can set up an office here – or, rather, I can organise to have one set up – so that I can bring all the paperwork up to date and finalise any outstanding matters. It won’t use up four days but at least it will keep me busy.”

She turned and tapped on the terminal; a schedule popped up on the screen. "Let's get this done in... forty-eight hours," she said, choosing a block with her finger. It turned bright red. "I have a little gift for you as well," she said, pulling a small box from the drawer. Inside were two plastic circles, both red. She removed them both and slid one over the Captain's wrist. She put the other on her own wrist and scanned them both with her tricorder.

"My assistant here is going to be watching your heartrate," she said, nodding towards the screen. At once an animated heartrate monitor appeared on the computer. "If your blood pressure changes or your oxygen saturation drops I will be alerted. Do you have any questions that I haven't answered?" she asked gently.

“No. Let us just get this over with.”

"I do love an enthusiastic patient," she said with a teasing smile. The august, reserved Captain and the diminutive Spanish CMO had butted heads many times in the past but their mutual respect was palpable. "I'll message you when the bloodwork is in. No food after 2100 hours tomorrow, only water, and you'll wear the wristlet until your four-week follow up." She watched him for a moment. "We'll take good care of you, I promise."

 

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