Fantasies and Realities: Episode 3

Dr. Tavis has finished his house calls -- fewer than usual for this time of year -- and being in the neighborhood of the Sime Center, has decided to take care of some pending business. He swings his little black bag with habitual authority as he turns in at the gate and makes his way up the walk.

Bibi zlins him coming and wonders what's up. He doesn't zlin distressed at all.

Tavis makes his way up the front steps -- a little stiffly, but he's been out of medical school for a long, long time -- and opens the door.

Bibi comes into the waiting room to greet him.

Bibi: Good evening, doctor.

Tavis: Good evening, Hajene Bibi. I came by hoping that I could beg a moment of your time.

Bibi: Of course. I was just steeping some tea. Would you care for some?

Tavis: Please. It's been a long day.

Bibi: Follow me, then.

Bibi leads the way to the common room in back and gestures her guest to take a seat, tentacles retracted.

Bibi: I'll be just a minute.

Tavis settles ~~ gratefully ~~ onto a comfortable sofa.

Bibi goes into the kitchen and returns bearing a tray with teapot, cups and a plate with a variety of Gitl's delicious Gen chow.

Bibi: Here we go.

Bibi sets the tray on the table in front of the sofa and sits opposite her guest.

Tavis's ~~ hunger ~~ is awakened by the sight and smell of the delicacies.

Tavis: That's lovely, thank you.

Bibi pours tea for two.

Bibi: Please, help yourself.

Tavis leans forward to pick up the closest cup. He helps himself to a cookie, too.

Tavis was taught to be courteous, and so begins with light conversation.

Tavis: I trust Sosu Cristal is well? No lingering complications?

Bibi: He seems to be just fine, as far as I can tell.

Bibi isn't going to go into a description of what she has observed, by zlinning or otherwise, unless it's clear that Dr. Tavis wants to hear it.

Tavis: Good. I admit, I'm taking a proprietary interest in my work.

Bibi: Of course, some of his friends in Nivet are appalled.

Bibi smiles, with dimples.

Tavis: If their reactions are anything like those of my colleagues, I'm sure they are.

Tavis sips his tea.

Tavis: Funny. I've never thought of myself as a rebel, or an innovator. I've been content to be a country doctor, just taking care of the daily bumps and bruises of my patients.

Bibi: But surely you innovated in your surgical career.

Bibi has been told by Virginia how respected Tavis was in surgical circles before his semi-retirement to Hannard's Ford.

Tavis: In my younger days, a little. Especially when supplies were short, or a patient's problem turned out to be somewhat more serious than anticipated. With time, I learned to be more careful in my preparations. It didn't do as much for my reputation, but it did wonders for my patients.

Bibi: So your colleagues haven't all reacted well to your paper, then?

Tavis: Some are affronted by what they deem my lack of professional dignity, and others are just embarrassed. A doctor isn't supposed to make news, after all.

Tavis: It hasn't affected my practice here. Much. After all, my patients don't really have any other option for problems that doesn't require hours on the train. But I'm having a devil of a time finding anybody willing to fill in for me when necessary.

Bibi: I'm sorry it's had such a bad effect on your reputation. These young men aren't willing to be associated with you, even temporarily?

Tavis: They're afraid it will hurt their chances of finding a permanent position in a respectable practice.

Tavis considers.

Tavis: They could well be right. Our paper inspired a number of angry letters to the editor. Several harped on your lack of proper medical credentials, and never mind that there are plenty of published articles in which not all authors went to medical school. And never mind that your different set of medical skills was the entire point of the article to begin with.

Bibi shakes her head. She told Dr. Tavis that he shouldn't make her co-author. She hasn't mentioned the paper to her Controller, and doesn't expect him to find out about it.

Tavis: Anyway, as I said, I'm having trouble finding a suitable locum while I take a short trip.

Bibi: That's unfortunate. What will you do?

Tavis: My nurse is capable of taking care of most routine matters, particularly with Virginia helping as necessary. I am a bit concerned about the possibility of some problem beyond their ability to handle, however.

Bibi nods.

Tavis: I was hoping you would agree to step in, given such an emergency.

Bibi is startled.

Bibi: Of course I'll help anyone who asks me to... but if the patient refuses help from a channel... and of course there are things I have no training in, like surgery... I mean, I can close a wound and set fractures, but...

Bibi actually hasn't had much experience in setting broken bones, but Sime strength is a big plus there.

Tavis: It's not an ideal solution, but any patient that my nurses can't handle should be too desperate to be picky over the choice of physician.

Bibi is still nonplussed.

Bibi: I... well, if there's consent...

Bibi isn't looking forward to working on a Gen in pain who hates and/or fears her, and hopes if it does happen, it won't be when she's in need or Cristal is low field.

Tavis: Of course there will be, if it comes to that. I just want to make sure my patients have the best care possible, while I'm gone.

Bibi: Of course, I'm always here, for whoever wants my help. So this won't really be any different...

Bibi hopes saying it will make it so, which shows how much she's gone native, or reverted, after so long out-T.

Tavis: I won't be gone long, so chances are good that you won't get any patients referred at all.

Bibi: All right, I'll of course do my best for your patients, if they'll let me.

Bibi feels she's struck a blow for Unity, with this previously hostile physician now putting his professional trust in her.

Tavis has no wish to participate in Unity any more than he already has, but he takes his professional responsibilities towards his patients seriously. He ~~ isn't completely happy ~~ about this solution, but he doesn't see a better one.

Bibi: Of course, I can't leave the Sime Center unattended, so the patients will have to be brought here. I can't work on a serious problem without my Donor, so I can't leave him here to take care of any emergency changeover cases.

Bibi clasps her hands and reinforces her grip with her tentacles.

Bibi: And the legal situation... the Sime Center is under Tecton law...

Tavis: Which makes it legal for you to practice medicine here. Correct?

Bibi: Yes. Although what practicing medicine consists of for a channel is not the same as for an out-T physician.

Tavis: Different methods, I know, but the ultimate goal is the same: returning the patient to health, or as close to that as possible.

Bibi: Yes.

Bibi doesn't think of herself as primarily a physician, and her training specialized mainly in the selyn system.

Tavis: As I said, you're unlikely to get even one referral. I just want something more than a nurse to be available, for the unlikely eventuality that it's needed.

Tavis is not well-versed enough in Sime-style English to use the proper phrasing.

Bibi nods.

Bibi: Well, I'm always here, ready to help anyone who requests my help.

Tavis: Good. I'll tell the nurses that they can refer any case they can't handle to you.

Bibi: When will you be leaving, and how long will you be gone?

Tavis: Next Tuesday, and I'll be gone for just under a week.

Bibi: I see.

Tavis finishes his tea.

Tavis: I do appreciate your willingness to help out.

Tavis is ~~ cheerful ~~ now that his problem has been solved.

Bibi is glad to zlin that, and hopes it's justified.

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