2236-12-26 - Hidden Costs

Danica seeks out medical help. Eli throws his reputation as grumpy and terrible into question.

Date: 2236-12-26

Location: Sick Bay

Related Scenes: None

Plot: None

Scene Number: 933

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Danica is seeing a lot of sickbay, these days. First, with a 'relaxing' three day stay. And now, a follow-up. This time to have someone sign a form that says to the CAG that she's okay to do a thing even though despite the gash to her head, concussion, broken wrist, and a couple broken ribs. It's like crashing a Raptor comes with consequences. But at least the consequences are lessening, the bruises on her face are all just wan yellows, the split lip is a mere suggestion of its former self, her wrist is in a cast, and the gash has been glued back together with the wonders of super glue and is hiding behind a pink band-aid with hearts on it. She's waiting on an exam table, trying not to fiddle with curiosity with the medical instruments left sitting out nearby. The battle seems on its way to being lost.

When Eli appears, he's looking a little more ragged than he normally does. He's always been a scruffy doctor - with hair and beard a bit more 'backpacking through the Andes' rather than 'ICU.' Still, there's usually a brightness to his carriage and movement that instills confidence despite the unruly curls. Today, he moves slowly. There are dark circles under his eyes. It's the kind of tiredness born of weariness rather than a lack of sleep. He's holding a chart and he consults it a few times before focusing his thoughts. "How are you feeling today, Ensign?"

"Like a million bucks, like I'm gonna take on a fraking angry Tauran and win." Dani says, dryly as her eyes take in Eli's appearance for a moment. A slow smile warms up on her lips before it slides into grin status. "Just kidding, a Tauran could kick my ass and leave me in the street." She gestures with her cast at Eli. "They workin' you too hard, Doc?"

"A million bucks, huh? Never felt better, I bet. I hear Taurans will charge if you wave a red cloth." Eli rubs his forehead and clicks his pen. He makes some kind of notation on the clipboard. "I'm fine, fine. Just been buried in a lot of paperwork. Any headaches? Dizziness?"

Dani grins a little at Eli's pile on. "Nice," she appraises, leaning in just a little conspiratorially. "I'll deny that I ever heard that if they ask." She sits back though, her eyes trying to hawk the notes he's writing and failing likely, for the most part. But then it comes down to actual question, which requires a serious answer. Or perhaps an evasive one. "If I say 'no', does that mean I get to fly again?," she asks, carefully, the grin fading a little as she looks at Eli more directly.

Doctors, in space or otherwise, seem to have perfected the art of bad handwriting and cryptic notations. Without looking up from his writing, Eli says, "You tell me no, and I'll ground you for two weeks." He raises his eyebrows and eyes without lifting his head. "So consider your response."

"Nope. I'm -great-." Dani's emphasis on great is dry, the 't' crisp in its enunciation. Yep, super great. Her slow nod of the head given to Eli she looks back at his raised eyes. There's a beat. A sort of 'but' that dangles in the air, circling the drain. "I'm...uhhh, just- y'know-," she continues, as wrestling with the words and the thought behind it. "...I'd like to be able to sleep through the night, without uh... like, dreaming of bad things. Or, y'know. Whatever. That'd be nice." She shrugs lightly, her shoulders clipping up and down in a downplay.

Eli may be crass, dry-witted and persnickety, but he is also a doctor. When she makes her somewhat cryptic comment, he sits on a nearby stool and lowers pen and clipboard. "Are you sleeping all right? Or are you waking up throughout the night?"

Danica sits back a little, her good, non-casted hand anchoring her to the exam table as she slouches into a slightly backwards lean. A bid perhaps to keep it casual. "Yeah, I mean... I fall asleep without a problem. I usually wake up though a couple hours later. It's not always the same thing. Sometimes, I'm getting pulled under the water by something I can't see. Other times, water's coming into my Raptor and I can't get out." She grins, forcing a little levity into the description. "I'm so Pican that I can't have an original nightmare without water, right?"

"Well, I'm not a shrink, but it makes sense," says Eli with an intake of breath. "Flying a Raptor is a lot like being on the water in a way. If you're skillful, you're fine. There's always an element of danger, but you're in control. So, dreaming about drowning when your Raptor didn't respond how it should seems somewhat logical." He clicks his pen twice.

Danica nods slowly, her eyes tracking towards the double click of the pen before they're back on Eli's face. "Yeah, so's the logic in my berthing mates wanting to smother me with a pillow for waking them up," she responds. She licks her slightly damaged lips thoughtfully, watching Eli for a moment. "How long have you been doing this? Doctoring up all of us chucklefraks?" Her chin lifts slightly in indication towards the nearest door and the chucklefraks beyond on this ship.

"Awhile," says Eli. "Though when I was with the ICJPK, it was mostly militia members, gang members and civilians I was treating. After that, I was stationed in the ER ward of a military hospital. This is the first time I've been locked in a space coffin with you all."

Eli smiles a bit secretively at the 'letters home' comment, but doesn't elaborate. "Food here's pretty good, actually. And it's reassuring to know I can drink the water." He considers her question and then says, "Well, unlike a broken arm or a cut, how long it takes you to heal depends on you. I'd say you have a little bit of post-traumatic stress, which is entirely understandable. Have you ever been in an accident like that before?"

Danica mirrors back his smile, but seems to not key into the meaning as she adds a nod to it. "Yeah, when Hyperion went down, the water systems on Picon also went for a while. You can bathe in the ocean but funny thing about salt water is that its poisonous, so...," she offers up in commiseration on the vagaries of drinkable water. Her mouth pulls into a tight, temporary line listening to his conclusion, her nod this time a little more on the side of expected. Her reply though is delayed. She lifts up slightly in her seat, on the lookout for some one or some ear that might overhear. Satisfied its not there, she continues. "Sorta, but- I don't remember most of it. I almost drowned a couple years back."

Eli makes a low sound. It's the kind of vague acknowledging grunt that seems to be particular of the healthcare profession. "Have you ever had any trouble sleeping before?" he asks while maintaining eye contact. He hasn't looked at his clipboard since she mentioned her dreams.

"Nah," Danica shakes her head a touch, looking right back at Eli. "Not even when my brother and mom died." Her mouth gathers slightly, her lips shifting briefly to the left. "Why?," she asks after a slight beat, her eyes narrowing a touch. Eli's non-committal response perhaps leaving her to fill in the blanks. That's bad? Right? I'm dying, right?

"I have patchy medical records for the crew. I have to rely on the home militaries to supply that information, and some are poorly organized or bureaucratic. For some people, all I have is an intake exam and a basic medical history from when you all signed on to the Colonial Forces. What I don't have at all in most cases is a mental health record," says Eli. He's not a coddling doctor, but he has his moments of gentleness. "Whether you have a history of PTSD or sleeping problems helps me to decide whether medication or counselling is needed or recommended."

"Oh." Dani's head nods, affirming her understanding. Her mouth twitches not to pull down into a frown at the mention of PTSD, the term that tends to haunt Air Wing pilots. "Yeah, I mean, not really? The sleeping problems, I guess?," she continues, leveling out to a brief and wan smile that seems to respond to his gentle delivery. "But, I'll be honest that I'd like to avoid meds? If possible, anyway? I don't want anything to frak up my ability to fly. And... y'know-," Her casted hand lifts to allow her fingers to scratch at an errant itch above one eyebrow. "-I don't like the idea that I'm some fragile princess who can't pull her shit together so some pills gotta do it for her. Y'know? People been through worse than me."

"If you break your wrist..." Eli nods towards her cast, "...you immobilize it, you take drugs, you limit your movements. You let it heal. PTSD is an injury. It's one you can't see, and it's an injury not everyone heals from the same way. Being injured doesn't mean you're not strong. And untreated PTSD makes you a worse pilot. It'll take more of your edge off than anti-anxiety meds and a mild sleep aid."

Danica falls silent, the tendency to crack wise and smile sly having slid off her and on to the floor. She looks at Eli, instead with a dull nod before her eyes cast to some point middle distant between their feet on the floor and her seat. "What's the rules about... sharing this information with other medic personnel?," she asks, with an equal dull swallow before she looks at Eli again. "I'm guessing you have to write this down and other sick bay folks can see it?"

"I have to write notes, yes," says Eli. "But only the other doctors see the extended records, and they're not going to look unless they need to treat you and I'm not here. Any doctor you talk to, you do to in the strictest confidence. I don't mention a word of this or any other patient matters to anyone. The only time I'd take action is if I thought you were a danger to yourself or to others." He clues in to something after a moment. His expression softens, and then he adds, "The medics generally don't access patient records, except in the most basic way. They need to know what medications you're on if they have time to access that information so they can treat you in the field. And they add to your records with injury and treatment reports." Then, "And...there are medications for sleep and for anxiety-reduction that are also used for other purposes."

Danica mulls this, nodding here and again as Eli talks at various point. Her expression darkens a touch at the prospect of her medication records being seen in a field situation but lifts again, at his point about obfuscating the leid. "Yeah, I'm... okay with that I guess?," she responds, not sounding overly enthusiastic but on board enough. "Can't really drink and smoke away your problems on Condition 2," she adds with a grin, pulling the sly back up up off the floor. "...not that you know anything about that, being a doctor and all," she adds with a rapid nod. "Vegetables. Clean living. That sorta thing."

"You can also request not to be under the care of certain medics, doctors or nurses who you have a personal relationship with. That's both to help them be professional, and to avoid any conflicts. But that would likely mean you wouldn't be sent on missions together with that person." Eli watches her face as he speaks to try and gauge whether or not he's on the right track with the source of her anxiety. Then, "I used to smoke. Pack a day, at least. On breaks from the ER. Then I removed a guy's lung from advanced lung cancer. Cold turkey the next day."

Danica's expression takes a turn, not expecting apparently the admission from the scruffy, tired looking doctor. It supplants whatever she was going to say with concern for conflicts, as much as any exist. Instead, she's looking at Eli a little more directly, as if she just noticed for the first time that he's got a nose to go with that face. "My dad smoked," she says finally, with a small nod. "Nasty habit but no one goes into it think that it won't get its hooks in. He used to say that a smoke after a hard day was like having your own angel choir sing for you. Any port in the storm, I guess?" Her mouth slides into a slightly rueful smile for Eli. "I like it when you guys aren't all organic tofu and sterile thoughts. Means you've lived a little."

Eli laughs. It's a short, sharp sound. He shakes his head and smiles. He scratches the side of his neck. "Most doctors I know, especially surgeons, don't practice what they preach. GPs..." he then clarifies, "General Practitioners - your family doctors, your pediatricians, specialists. The folks with the nice offices and the big houses, they're the ones who tend to be a bit more preachy. But it may shock you to know that doctors vary in vices and personalities just as much as you mere mortals."

"I mean, you gotta have /some/thing to do when you're not driving your sports cards around and hitting golf balls off strippers...," That might not be exactly how that last part goes but she's grinning at Eli's laugh all the same. "And I can tell you're the fast car and golf balls type." She nods with a slow, sage insight as she's look at Eli. "But no strippers though. Standards. I get it." She gestures pragmatically, as if one man cannot have all the vices.

Eli really does laugh now. It's an incredulous laugh and he rubs his face. "I don't understand how I tend to give off this posh vibe. Apparently I'm working too hard at my personal grooming habits." He strokes his ragged beard. "I'm a military doctor. Have you had a look at our salaries? I might be able to rent a sports car for a one day joyride. And the only time I stepped foot on a golf course was as a kid to dig up lost balls in the sand trap to huck at passing cars from an overpass."

"Hooligan," Dani pronounces with a high wattage grin that seems to appreciate the prospect that Eli might be one of her own. "Excellent," she assesses in appreciation of Eli's crime riddled past. She shifts in her bed perch, sitting back again slightly. "It's not the beard?," she answers, in regard to the confusion about Eli's also somehow contradictory posh past. At the same time. "It's just.. I mean, most us aren't in the military because we had such bright frakin' futures back home. Bunch of us weren't never gonna be rocket surgeons even before all this and then some of us got what was left taken away. You just got this calm way about you? Like, its obvious there's more going on there besides handing out aspirin and listening to officers complain about weird rashes." Dani's shoulders shrug briefly again. Just the facts.

"Eli Cadmus 101," says the doctor before taking a breath, "I grew up mopping floors in a clan clinic on Scorpia, in Argentum Bay. I didn't want to die in a streetfight, so I learned more about the clinic to make myself useful. One day I met a doctor with the ICJPK. She thought I had talent, so she encouraged me to join the military. I joined the Leonese military because I could claim dual citizenship through my grandfather and that was the only way I was ever going to be more than a medic in some tiny, under-equipped clinic. And so," he extends his arms to indicate his surroundings. "No fast cars and martini lunches in my story." He raps a pen on the clipboard and then squints conspiratorially. He wags the pen, "But we were talking about you. What do you want to do? I'm willing to play with the rules a bit with the medication with the understanding that if this gets any worse, I have to put it on record properly. Which means I'm going to be watching you for signs of stress. If we were both private citizens and if you were exclusively my patient, I could offer you more confidentiality. But this is the military. Nobody has any real privacy because our lives depend on one another."

"So you can fight, too?," Danica's expression lights up, at the notion that Eli is many layers down and still going after his life story is shared. It's perhaps also a bit of a diversion to keep from- oh. Right. Her. She deflates a little, Eli shifting the conversation back to the least interesting subject in the worlds: herself. "Nah," she flitters her hand in slight dismissiveness for his offer as she grins at him. "I'm an Ensign? Not worth covering up, in terms of upsides. At least save that offer for the XO or for something really good on the black market? Like a whole box of Libran chocolates. I'm just tired of feeling like hades."

"I don't have a limited number of compassionate cover-ups that I hold in my back pocket to trade on the black market," says Eli both wryly and cynically. "I'm willing to do this favour for you because the situation warrants it, not because it'll benefit me." He reaches into the pocket of his lab coat and writes a prescription. "This is a mild sleep aid. If anyone is nosy enough to ask, tell them it's because trying to sleep with a cast on is a bitch." He tears off the piece of paper and presents her with it.

Danica accepts the offered script, looking at and the cipher of letters in doctor print on them. "Okay," she nods, looking up at him as she slides off the table. "But, really, it's okay. You don't have to kick me some compassion. We should play Triad sometime, though?" Her eyebrows go up hopefully at Eli. "You seem like you'd kick my ass," she observes, with a grin anticipating the challenge. "And I won't tell anyone that you're nice....," she adds with a softening grin.

Eli points at the door. "Outside that door, I'm not." There's a little twinkle in his eye when he says that, though. "You're getting on-duty me. I reserve the right to be cranky and unpleasant when I'm not looking after your health."

Danica pauses in the door, the threshold were Eli's charitable persona ends abruptly like that coyote that falls off the cliff. She smirks gently at Eli. "...allegedly," she informs him, flashing the script in her hand at him in a gesture of goodbye. "See ya, Doc." And leaning slightly out of the door frame scanning the hallway for something of someone, she hesitates a moment before she walks out- whatever she's looking for apparently not there.


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