2236-11-24 - The Worst Patients

Eli and Cate treat Sergeant Moreau, and then compare notes about how doctors make the worst patients.

Date: 2236-11-24

Location: Sickbay

Related Scenes: None

Plot: None

Scene Number: 897

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An inbound Raptor requested a med team to meet them at the hangar deck for a critically-injured marine, so a couple corpsmen took a stretcher down a few minutes ago. Now, the main doors push open to admit the stretcher back into sickbay with its precious cargo. The injured marine is sprawled out on the stretcher, unmoving. His helmet and flak vest were already taken off at some point, and his uniform shirt has been cut open to expose his chest. Cate is riding on the stretcher as the two corpsmen push it along. She's straddling the injured marine, doing CPR. An IV bag running fluids is tucked against her shoulder and her chin.

"What do we got, what do we got, talk to me," says Eli. He was paged before the ship ever docked and has been waiting to receive his patient. He's dressed in scrubs, and although it's a frantic situation, there's something about him that seems calm and in control. "Talk to me." A nurse wheels a crash cart over.

"Sergeant Moreau - Cylon tried to put a fist through his flak jacket," Cate reports. Her face is sweaty and streaked with dust. She's still wearing her flak jacket and the backpack containing her medical supplies, though she ditched her helmet and rifle at some point between here and the Raptor. There's a bloody rip in her right sleeve that she's ignoring for the moment. It doesn't seem to be slowing down her methodic pressing on the injured marine's chest. "Multiple broken ribs, collapsed lung." She rattles off her treatments, including sticking a needle in his chest to re-inflate the collapsed lung. "Lost his pulse on the way back."

Eli considers Cate with a lack of urgency. He seems to be diagnosing her more than the man she's straddling. "All right. Come on down." He reaches up to gently tug on her arm to help her down off the gurney. There's a nurse at the ready to take over the application of CPR. Meanwhile, someone takes the IV bag from her and hangs it up properly, and Eli calmly searches for a pulse. "Let's get the crash cart over here, please." And then he lays out another series of instructions in a calm, measured, yet authoritative tone.

Cate climbs down off the gurney, dragging a sleeve across her face. She's a bit out of breath - adrenaline, and also the fact that CPR is quite a workout. "He's been down..." A glance at the clock. "Twelve minutes." And still doesn't have a pulse, more's the pity. The heart monitor shows a flat line, which means shocking won't help. Cate steps over toward the crash cart, but one of the nurses pushes back firmly against her flak vest. "We've got it from here, Corporal."

"Nurse Franco, would you check on the Corporal's injury and make sure she's hydrated?" Eli lifts his chin towards the young dark haired man who is speaking to Cate. "We'll do what we can. You did your job to get him here. Take a deep breath." And then he turns back to his patient, pulling a mask up over his face. Another nurse pulls the curtain closed around the patient.

Cate wants nothing more than to jump in there and continue helping the marine. It's written all over her face - in her posture and in the gloved hands that are clenched up tightly. But she doesn't resist as the nurse guides her back out of the curtained area. Some time later, she's sitting in the medical staff's lounge area. The flak vest and her outer shirt are piled in a corner somewhere, and she's sitting on one of the couches, a half-empty water bottle in her hand. The gash on her arm has been cleaned up, but Nurse Franco reported that it still needed a doctor to see if it needed stitches, despite Lance Corporal Rhodes insisting that it did not.

The fact that Eli enters the lounge not long after Cate's wound has been tended to is a bad sign. He's carrying a small medical bag. "Hey," he says by way of announcing his presence. "You OK?" For all his gruffness, he does actually seem to mean that question rather than it being a platitude.

Cate's eyes drift to the door when someone enters. Seeing Eli there, she frowns. She knows full well what that means. "Yeah, I'm all right." There's a sigh. "He didn't make it." It's more a statement than a question.

Eli takes a seat next to Cate. "If it makes you feel any better, there's nothing you could have done. If I could have rolled him into the surgical bay right from the second he got hit, I'm not sure I could have saved him. It was a hell of a strike." He leans back against the couch.

Cate bobs her head, sighing once more. "Frak," she mumbles under her breath. His words of consolation cause her to slant him a bland look. "That make you feel any better?" she wonders, sincerely.

Eli lifts a shoulder and runs a hand back through his hair. "Sometimes," he admits. "You have to let some of them go otherwise you won't be able to do your job. Start blaming the enemy instead of the injury and your inability to fix it. It's a lot more cut and dried here than it was the ICJPK. I was patching up people on both sides and I just got pissed at the lot of them."

Cate nods again. "Yeah. Imagine it's easier when it's black and white. Genocidal robots, no messy moral gray area." She takes another sip of water, then brushes away a few drops of it that spill on her double tanktops. "Still sucks to lose one."

"He wasn't the first, and he won't be the last," says Eli. He looks at her thoughtfully for a moment, then asks, "Surely you've lost your fair share. Or have you not seen a lot of action yet?"

"True enough," Cate agrees to the first bit, then slants him a look at the question. "I've seen my share." A few scars are testament to that much, at least. "And I lost some at the hospital, before the war. Doesn't really make it suck any less. Or are you one of those 'it gets easier over time' people." A faint smile hopefully shows she doesn't mean that as a condemnation.

"Easier? No, not really. Do you learn how to deal with it? Yeah," says Eli. "It's either that or retire and be a pediatrician." He grins wryly, "And kids hate me." It's notable that he didn't say he hates kids. "C'mon, let me have a look at your cut."

Cate seems to pick up on that. "At least you don't hate kids. Then you'd be out of retirement options. Long as you stick to sniffles and well checks. Pediatric trauma sucks more than war sometimes," she notes grimly. The cut is a welcome distraction. "It's not too deep. No big deal." It's also not the first time that arm's seen battle, judging from a couple old scars in the vicinity. Shrapnel, most likely, from the looks of it.

"I'd make a lousy pediatrician. Toddlers don't react well to their doctor telling them to suck it up, that their boo boo is nothing compared to the horrors of war." Eli takes her arm gently and has a look at the cut. "No stitches, but keep the ointment on it and keep it bandaged. And I reiterate that because it's a universal truth that doctors are the worst at following their own advice."

"Yeaaah... I'm guessing that probably wouldn't go over very well," Cate agrees, making a sympathetic face. She rolls her eyes a little at the advice, and says dryly. "Aye aye, Doctor." Then, good-naturedly, she admits, "I may be kinda guilty of being a bad patient."

"I bet I beat you on that," says Eli. "I'm a micromanager. I got a gash once..." he rolls up his shoulder to reveal a long white scar. There's a hint of ink, but it's covered by his shirt. "...and I shot myself full of painkillers and stitched myself up because I couldn't handle the way the medic was doing it. It was sloppy."

Cate tilts her head to look at the scar, smirking at the story. "Medic would've had to be pretty bad to do worse than that," she teases gently. "But I dunno - I think I can tie you there. Got into a shoving match with a pilot after a battle once, pulled out some stitches here." She gestures toward just below her collarbone, but doesn't show the scar for obvious reasons of decency. "One of the nurses caught me in the supply closet. My hand was in a splint -" She holds up her left hand, with is obvious scar on the pinky side, "- and I couldn't even get the damn package open, but I was bound and determined to fix it myself."

"Yeah well, there's a reason you don't usually give yourself stitches," says Eli. "I was also on about three hours of sleep, so there's no accounting for judgment. At least I only mangled myself." He pulls the sleeve down. "See, that sounds like something I would do. It's embarrassing when you pop your stitches. It means going back and hearing a nurse cluck their tongue at you."

"Well, I'd use the defense that I was also sleep-deprived and on painkillers, but I think it would've gone pretty much the same even if I weren't," Cate admits with a wry grin. "So I got the tongue-clucking along with the 'what are you doing, dumbass, let me do that' to go along with it. Not my finest hour." She gestures back towards the scar. "What was that? Knife?"

"Yep," says Eli. "I was back on Scorpia with the ICJPK. Not on my home turf, but close enough. Someone recognized me in a field hospital. He got his hands on a scalpel and came at me. They had to take him down." He clears his throat. "After that, they transferred me to the other side of the planet for my own safety."

"Big on holding grudges there, I hear," Cate says with a sympathetic frown. "I've never been there. Well, except in orbit obviously. Never to the surface. Kind of ironic, I guess, to volunteer with the ICJPK and end up back home."

"Scorpia's orbit is fuelled by grudges," says Eli with a soft grunt. "There's clans who hate each other with a fiery passion but couldn't tell you why." He lifts a shoulder. "Not so ironic when you join an organization that deals with trouble and you come from a troubled place."

Cate nods slightly when he describes the planet. "Well, Hibernians are good for holding grudges but we can pretty much tell you why." A wan smirk, "And yeah, I guess it's not so ironic from that angle. Couple of my friends flew with the ICJPK on Sagittaron. Sounded pretty brutal."

"I did part of my tour there. Yeah, not fun. Which is why this assignment seems almost cushy." Eli kicks out a foot, "I had fewer roommates on the ground, though," he says wryly. "I'm not a real big fan of the racks."

"Well, hope it stays cushy for you. We could all use a break from the usual shit," Cate says mildly, running a hand through her hair. "And yeah, I'm not a fan of them either. But I slept on a sleeping bag in the refugee zone on Picon for six months, so at least here I've got a mattress."

"It's really only a matter of time before the haves and the have nots clash more, common enemy or no," says Eli. "Me, I don't begrudge someone growing up in not-a-shithole, but I know that's not a common attitude. And I completely understand the impulse to want to punch some rich bastard from Virgon or some spoiled kid from Caprica."

"Unfortunately, you're probably right," Cate agrees. "Me - I never really cared if someone had money, as long as they weren't an asshole about it." She takes another sip from her water bottle and then lets out a breath. "I better go get cleaned up and check on my squad. Tell them about Moreau. Thanks for the chat, Doctor."

"I should get back to it, too. Lots of boo boos to cluck my tongue about." Eli looks a little worn. He stands and stretches. "Take it easy, OK? Give yourself a bit of time to process things. No matter how tough you are, you're still only human."

Cate smirks at the first, then offers him a grateful look and a nod to the rest. "You too," she offers, and then she heads out.


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