Physicians Across Borders: Episode 22

D'zoll and Shorsh are glad to be returning to Chez Bibi, otherwise known as the Hannard's Ford Sime Center. The place will be a nice break between home and the expected ~~ tensions ~~ of the Craig/Tsibola case.

Shorsh is looking forward to getting D'zoll out of his retainers, and away from the Wild Gens, and having a chance to relax in a warm, clean, dry comfortable place, unlike a Sime car in winter.

Cristal is temporarily in charge at Chez Bibi while herself is off tending to Miz Brown's latest ailment. He's mostly recovered from the surgery and is high-enough-field to handle anything short of a wildly unlikely QN-2 changeover.

Hrayna, feeling a bit restless, has been tidying the front waiting area. She hears someone coming up the walk and goes to open the door.

Shorsh: Hello. I'm Sosu Shorsh and this is Hajene D'zoll.

Shorsh uses in-T protocol when addressing someone who can't zlin the Hajene and Sosu for themselves.

Hrayna: Hello, Sosu, Hajene. Welcome to Hannard's Ford Sime Center. Respect to, um, Sat'htine.

Hrayna had to stop and think a moment to interpret the colors on the two travelers' cloaks.

Hrayna: I'm Hrayna ambrov Teldor.

Shorsh enters, ushering D'zoll ahead of him, closes the door and signals to D'zoll his willingness to remove the retainers.

D'zoll immediately takes Shorsh up on the offer.

Shorsh: Hello, Hrayna. Are you on staff here now?

Shorsh identifies the in-T accent and speaks Simelan, as he frees poor D'zoll's compressed tentacles.

Hrayna: I'm afraid not, Sosu. I'm just a temporary guest. But for the moment, I seem to be the greeter. Can I get you anything?

Shorsh: A place to sit down and something hot to drink would be wonderful.

Cristal hears the Simelan conversation and comes to the door too.

Cristal: D'zoll, Shorsh! I'm glad to see you here. Do come in and sit down! Hrayna, could you arrange for the trin?

Shorsh puts his arm around D'zoll's shoulders and follows the two into the common room at the back.

Hrayna: Yes, Sosu. Shouldn't you be sitting down?

Cristal realizes that Hrayna is correct and sits down too.

Nattin comes down the stairs.

Nattin: Hrayna, do we have a donor?

Hrayna: No, not a donor. Guests. From Sat'htine.

Nattin: From Sat'htine?

Shorsh seats D'zoll on a sofa near the fire and gently massages his forearms.

Nattin hurries into the common room.

Shorsh: Ah, hello, naztehr.

Nattin: Hajene D'zoll, Sosu Shorsh, it's good to see you again. Welcome, and respect to Sat'htine. What brings you to our lonely outpost again? I hope there is no further complication to Mr. Gegg's case?

D'zoll: No, no, not at all. We have a different case altogether, in New Washington City this time. This is strictly a break from the trains -- and a social visit, of course.

Shorsh: Mr. Gegg is fine, although rather stunned by the birth of his twins. Mother and babies are doing well, but he's still getting used to it.

Nattin: They survived the birth, then? That's excellent news; Bibi will be very pleased.

Shorsh: It was a surprisingly easy birth, and Toria was very glad to have it over with. The poor woman was huge.

Hrayna returns from the kitchen with a pot of steeping trin and a plate of Gitl's finest baked goods.

Shorsh: That looks wonderful.

D'zoll nods in agreement.

Hrayna sets down the plate in front of the travel-weary Companion, and begins pouring the tea.

Shorsh has been getting tired of suppressing his ~~ chilled ~~ feeling to avoid sharing it with D'zoll. He passes the first cup to his channel and cradles the second in his hands.

Hrayna: Sosu Cristal, do you want me to go fetch Hajene Bibi?

Nattin: I don't see any particular necessity for that, do you, Cristal? Unless there is something more than a social visit that requires her attention?

Nattin looks at D'zoll and Shorsh in ~~ question ~~.

Shorsh: No, don't disturb her.

Shorsh assumes that she's resting.

Hrayna nods, and settles into a quiet corner with her own tea and an apple turnover.

D'zoll: By the way, Cristal, that's quite a scar I zlin there. Whatever happened, if you don't mind telling me?

Cristal takes a moment to think what to say.

Cristal: I was kicked, or stepped on, by a mule. Hajene Bibi did a great job of closing up the wound, though. ~~ careful adherence to the truth ~~

Hrayna: ~~ squeamishness ~~

Shorsh is ~~ impressed ~~ that a not very high rated Second like Bibi could manage a crush injury like that.

Nattin raises an eyebrow, but doesn't see fit to contradict Cristal's story.

D'zoll: Perhaps we shouldn't discuss the matter in front of Hrayna, though. It's upsetting her.

Shorsh sips his tea, surreptitiously projecting the ~~ pleasure ~~ and ~~warmth ~~ at D'zoll, to encourage him to drink.

Hrayna: Oh, it's all right. It's just... I'm still having trouble with the idea of that out-T butchery.

D'zoll: ~~ startled ~~ Butchery?

Nattin: I think Dr. Tavis would object to that description of his art, Hrayna.

Nattin is ~~ gently chiding ~~.

Hrayna, as usual, does not number tact among her virtues.

Hrayna: It's barbaric.

D'zoll zlins Cristal more closely.

D'zoll: Shenoni. What happened to your spleen?

D'zoll is too stunned to figure out the answer for himself.

Cristal: Umm, Doctor Tavis removed it. He and Bibi agreed I was losing too much blood.

D'zoll shakes his head in ~~ disbelief ~~.

Shorsh is much ~~ taken aback ~~ too.

Cristal: Some of the locals donated blood for me, too. It was -- an experience.

D'zoll: Astonishing. I'm sure it was.

Shorsh carefully controls his nager to avoid influencing D'zoll with his reactions.

D'zoll intertwines his tentacles and does a relaxation exercise.

Shorsh provides some ~~ calm support ~~.

D'zoll: Tell me, Cristal: did you actually agree to this, or were you unconscious at the time ?

Cristal hesitates.

Cristal: I'm told I did. I actually don't remember it.

D'zoll shakes his head again.

D'zoll: Amazing. Well, you zlin healthy enough now, and as you say, you plainly healed much better than a Wild Gen could have.

Nattin: I admit, the whole incident has given me a different perspective on the locals who seek out medical assistance from channels. If they have half the gut reaction that I do, I have to give them credit for more fortitude than I have.

D'zoll: I suppose Bibi has told you that you'll be somewhat more vulnerable to infections now?

Cristal nods.

D'zoll: Not that that's a serious risk for a working Donor, unless you were off in the wilds or something.

Nattin thinks that Hannard's Ford is the wilds, or near enough for his taste.

Shorsh picks up a slice of carrot bread and hands a fragment to D'zoll. He eats some himself, and is ~~ pleased ~~ to see D'zoll automatically do the same.

D'zoll drinks some tea as well.

Nattin: It has certainly been an... interesting few weeks.

Cristal: It has, particularly since I haven't been exactly up to par.

D'zoll nods.

D'zoll: Well, for the next few days you and Bibi can take it easy. I could use the work, and you could use the rest, I'd think. But of course that's up to Bibi -- she's the Controller here.

Doctor Tavis walks briskly down the Sime Center's walk, carrying his black bag of medicines. He was in the area anyway, and he has been following Cristal's case more closely than he normally would.

Tavis has been astonished at the speed with which the man has healed, after such major surgery, and is planning a learned paper to present to his colleagues at next year's meeting.

Tavis is ~~ pleased ~~ to have the opportunity to be presenting papers again: Hannard's Ford is something of a medical backwater, and opportunities are farther apart than he'd prefer.

D'zoll: Here comes a non-donor. Hrayna, could you see who it is?

Hrayna: Yes, Hajene.

D'zoll automatically protects both Cristal and Shorsh from the exertion.

D'zoll: Thank you.

Hrayna scurries to the door.

Hrayna: Ah, Dr. Tavis. Please come in. If you're looking for Sosu Cristal, he's in the common room.

Tavis: Thank you. I was in the area anyway, and thought I'd see how he was doing.

Hrayna: Right this way, then.

Hrayna leads the doctor down the hallway.

Tavis follows.

Hrayna: He's been out of bed a lot, the last couple of days.

Hrayna hopes the doctor will do something to curb that.

Tavis: Not overdoing it, I trust?

Cristal overhears this conversation and calls out:

Cristal: Not at all, Doctor. I'm feeling much better.

Tavis enters the room, somewhat ~~ taken aback ~~ to see a strange Sime.

Shorsh extends some more ~~ protection ~~ to his channel.

D'zoll ~~ leans on Shorsh ~~ while he speaks to Tavis.

D'zoll: Good day, Doctor Tavis. I'm D'zoll Farris ambrov Sat'htine, and this is my Companion, Shorsh Farris ambrov Sat'htine. I think you know everyone else?

Tavis: Pleased to meet you. I just came by to check my patient.

D'zoll: By all means. And allow me to congratulate you on the excellent job you've done with him.

D'zoll mentally grits his teeth while saying this, but Tavis deserves the praise.

Tavis: Thank you. It's an interesting case -- he's healed much faster than he ought. I'd expected more scarring, too, even though I used the fine suture.

D'zoll: "The fine suture"? I'm sorry, I don't understand.

Tavis: When you sew up an incision, there are different grades of suture -- you can think of it as thread -- that you can use. Generally, the finer threads leave less scarring, although they are also the weakest.

D'zoll: I... see.

Tavis: Of course, internally I used gut, because they have to dissolve, but Mr. Cristal was fortunate that I had enough fine silk suture to spare him more of a scar.

Shorsh isn't sure he wants to know what "gut" is. ~~ squicked ~~

D'zoll: The scar tissue is quite detectable to Sime senses, but I appreciate your efforts in that direction.

Tavis looks from channel to Companion.

Tavis: You disapprove?

Shorsh: I don't have any experience with surgical methods.

D'zoll: Let's say it's difficult for us to get used to the idea of cutting and sewing human flesh.

Cristal: Householding Sat'htine specializes in healing, Doctor Tavis. Using Sime methods, of course.

Tavis: I'm sure your methods are fine for many things, but there are times when it's easier to simply go in and remove the problem.

D'zoll: Simpler, certainly. Unfortunately impossible for us. Chronic exposure to Gen pain and fear is the worst possible thing for Simes.

Tavis: So, have a Gen do it. That's better than letting people die, isn't it?

D'zoll: Unfortunately, it's not that simple. Our government, the Tecton, is essentially a conservative medical aristocracy. Having Gens do medical procedures on their own is... unlikely to happen. Perhaps eventually....

D'zoll trails off.

Tavis: Ah. I guess that business about Simes and Gens having equal status on your side of the border is about as accurate as our own myth that any boy can grow up to be a Senator.

Shorsh thinks a better analogy would be an equality of the sexes that lets men bear children too.

Shorsh: Gens are involved in health care in Nivet, but obviously they can't do what a channel can any more than a renSime could.

D'zoll: It's only a generation since the culture as a whole believed that Gens were even people. In the Householdings, things are very different. Shorsh and I are equal partners in everything but administering treatment itself, which is a physiological matter.

Tavis: It seems very strange, to limit yourself to medical techniques that only a small minority of people can physically manage, under the best of circumstances. What happens when no channel is around to take care of a problem?

Cristal: Well, Sime Centers are everywhere, because Simes need to go to them every month for transfer anyway. And any channel can do at least some healing.

Tavis: Not always enough, or somehow I don't think I'd have been involved in this case.

D'zoll: In-Territory, Cristal's case would have been referred to a specialist, quite likely one from my Householding, and we would have been able to induce his spleen to repair itself. Gen Territory is another matter, of course. We don't have either the coverage or the network of channels here, and won't for many years yet.

Tavis: How would you have kept him from bleeding to death before the specialist got there?

D'zoll sighs.

D'zoll: It might not have been possible. But then again, I don't suppose all your medical personnel can remove spleens, either?

Tavis: Not as well as I did, perhaps -- I have a talent for surgery. But all medical students learn to handle the more common surgical emergencies.

D'zoll: Fair enough. Well, Doctor, I think that Cristal's condition is the best possible evidence for the importance of Sime-Gen cooperation, eh? You repaired his problem on the spot; Hajene Bibi's treatments provided rapid and complete healing.

Tavis: It does seem to have healed well. Though for all the wonders of modern surgery, I would love to have seen some of the machines that the Ancients were rumored to have had. Why, they had machines that could draw pictures of how the organs and blood vessels rearrange themselves after surgery.

Tavis is ~~ frankly envious ~~ of that capability, rumor though it may be.

Tavis: One of those pictures would make a nice addendum to the paper I'm writing.

D'zoll: Well, I could do that, too -- if I could draw. A first-order channel is capable of zlinning human tissue at the level of cells.

Tavis finds this ~~ interesting ~~.

Tavis: That must save time on making a diagnosis.

Cristal: Absolutely, Doctor. A second-order channel, like Hajene Bibi, can't diagnose that precisely, but she can zlin the alignment and condition of at least the larger blood vessels, as well as other organs

Tavis: Has she happened to mention how your circulation has rerouted around the missing spleen?

Cristal: No. But I'm sure she'd be happy to give you the full details another time.

Tavis: I don't suppose she can draw?

Tavis's voice is ~~ slightly plaintive ~~.

Cristal: I don't know. It's never come up.

Tavis: I shall have to ask her.

D'zoll: By all means. Perhaps there's a paper in it for her too.

Tavis: I am writing up your case for Surgery Today, Cristal.

Cristal is startled, though he keeps it out of his field.

Tavis: The speed at which you have healed is very unusual.

Tavis has been somewhat ~~ troubled ~~ by the implications.

D'zoll: Of course, Bibi's paper would be a bit harder to publish. The implications would be -- troubling.

Tavis: How so?

D'zoll: As I said, the idea of cutting Gen tissue would be hard for our healers to deal with.

Tavis: No harder than for my colleagues to deal with the idea of... well, what Hajene Bibi did to speed the healing of the incision.

Tavis is still more than a little ~~ squicked ~~ by it himself.

D'zoll smiles.

D'zoll: I concede. Perhaps you should consider joint publication in both languages, then.

Tavis chuckles.

Tavis: Well, that would be one way to keep my colleagues awake during my presentation, to be sure.

Shorsh doubts that Bibi would take the opportunity to publish in-T. She doesn't need the notoriety nor the flak. Nor would the hierarchy take kindly to a mere Second doing such boat-rocking.

Cristal: I'm sure Hajene Bibi will be happy to discuss it with you when she gets back from her house call, Doctor. In the meantime, feel free to examine me, if you like.

Cristal will never trust Tavis as much as he does a channel, any channel, but he does see him now as a colleague.

D'zoll is ~~ interested ~~ to see what a Gen doctor's examination would consist of.

Tavis notes D'zoll's interest.

Tavis: I would like to see how you are progressing. Particularly if your guest there would be willing to tell me what he can?

D'zoll: Of course.

Shorsh finishes his tea and rises, refreshed enough to support D'zoll through a new experience.

Return to Table of Contents