"Medical Meeting of the Minds"
Prelude; Breakfast at Curmudgeon's
Location: Sickbay, USS Arizona
After stopping by her assigned quarters just long enough to drop off her carry-on so she didn't look and feel like quite such a newbie, Mariah headed to sickbay.
She had two goals in mind. First, she wanted to get her boarding physical out of the way, but secondly, she wanted an opportunity to get a feel for some of the staff in sickbay without wearing any official hat as the ACMO. It wasn't Mariah's style to throw her weight around anyway, but she knew once her official title was widely known, she wouldn't get as honest a reaction as she would now.
Of course, her little experiment would be blown if anyone already knew who she was, but then again, she was banking on the fact her assignment was so recent, that perhaps full word hadn't entirely spread. In any case, she would definitely be expected to participate in a boarding physical, and there is no sense putting that off.
The doors to main sickbay opens with a hiss and immediately Mariah was hit with the familiar scent of a Federation sickbay, common across all vessels and bases. She attributed the odor to a combination of recycled air and disinfectant. Stopping a young woman she presumed to be a nurse, Mariah said, "Hello, I'm Lieutenant Mariah Grayson. I'm here for my physical."
Ensign Daisy Peters' eyes grew wide at the mention of physical and her enthusiasm for having someone to help seemed almost too much for her slight frame to handle, "You are?! That's wonderful! Come in, come in, have a seat on the bed. Let me go fetch the doctor. She'll be so happy to help you!"
With more energy than a person probably ought to have, the woman bounded off to fetch Dr. Hena.
"Someone's had their caffeine," Mariah remarked quietly and with a smile as she took a seat on a nearby bio bed.
Ens. Peters skipped into Dr. Hena's small private office and clapped her hands enthusiastically, "Doctor, we have a patient! She's here to get her physical done so I thought you might want to know right away! She seem really nice... didn't say what department she was from though... maybe she's a scientist or something. It would be awesome if she were here to be in our department. I bet we'd all be the best of friends!"
Kina blinked. For the first time, she wondered if perhaps there existed a condition the exact opposite of chronic depression. Perhaps this nurse's brain had a chemical imbalance that made her chronically cheerful. She wondered- was there a such thing as depressants? "All right," she said, standing from her desk and setting down the PaDD she'd been staring at without understanding. "Well, let's go see what we can do for her, then."
Daisy bounced up and down clapping her hands emphatically before darting back into the adjacent room. Once there, the nurse did the only thing that seemed to make sense, and that was to start putting out the various tools one might expect a doctor to use during a physical. She set out the tricorder on the mobile platform, then arranged the hypospray injector and two small empty vials, in case the patient needed a shot or something. For all the radiant enthusiasm, the nurse did actually know her job when she put her mind to it.
Kina was a bit slow to follow. She pulled herself up from her desk with a sigh. That nurse was altogether too excited every time someone new walked though Sick Bay doors. Secretly, Kina was calculating how long before the girl suffered a heart attack.
When she finally came out into the Main Sick Bay, she found that the nurse had laid out all the instruments she could possibly need for a physical. She was a bit surprised, but she supposed she really shouldn't be- after all, Peters wouldn't be a nurse if she didn't know what she was doing. "Thank you, nurse," she said, picking up the tricorder and starting it up. "So, Lieutenant," she said to the woman on the biobed. "What's your name?"
"Lieutenant Mariah Grayson," the redhead answered politely, still amused by the nurse's eagerness. Grayson wondered if she was fresh out of the Academy or if she was just easier by nature. "Thank you for taking the time to see me, Doctor."
"Of course," said Kina, beginning the preliminary scans. "Everyone's got to do this soon or later, so why not get it over with sooner, right?"
Mariah nodded. "Exactly. The faster anyone takes care of the preliminaries, the faster he or she can move on to other things." Grayson paused, then asked, "Mind if I ask how you like it here? As you know, I'm brand-new and I've read different things about the Captain." Indeed, Mariah had heard a range of things, from the CO being rough on the outside, but softer on the inside, to him being downright rude. If the latter was true, it would certainly make her potential interactions with him as a counselor intriguing. Even the best tempered people tended to dislike counselors, and even though she knew the man was a doctor himself, she wasn't naïve enough to think he would treat her mental health background with the same respect.
Kina grinned. "Don't believe anything you hear and only half of what you see," she advised. "The captain is gruff and does not understand subtlety, but that can be a blessing; you will always know exactly where you stand. I have not been here long myself, but I like the ship and the people I have met so far."
Grayson smiled. "That is a good way of making sense of the Captain. I was concerned when I heard about him that it would significantly affect morale, and granted I've only been here briefly, but I haven't seen anything like that so far. Everyone seems to know what is expected of them and has no problem getting to work."
Kina nodded in agreement. "Yes," she said. "Sometimes, it's easier to know exactly what one wants and expects, especially when it's the commanding officer. I'd much rather have a frank Captain than a friendly one."
"Really?" Mariah asked, genuinely curious. "Why is that?"
"Well, a friendly Captain usually wants everyone to get along and may avoid confrontation," Kina explained. "Whereas a frank Captain doesn't give a single hoot about everyone getting along so long as they're doing their jobs and doing them well. And also, you know exactly where you stand with a frank Captain. However, you may think a friendly captain is pleased with you when really, he wishes you would go away."
"I think it's about finding a happy medium," Mariah offered. "A friendly captain isn't necessarily one who avoids conflict all the time, and a frank captain can also be too frank and negatively impact morale."
"True," agreed Kina. "But, if one cannot have both, my choice would be frank. Still, ours seems to care just enough to keep him from being a complete hard-ass."
"I'm really glad to hear that," Mariah replied. "As a healer, I don't think I could stand to work with a complete hard ass, even if he was a healer himself."
"I might have a difficult time of it myself, to tell the truth," said Kina, switching to secondary scans. "And I can work with almost anyone."
"I guess we'll just have to give him the benefit of the doubt," Mariah replied. "I'm curious as to how his temperament might respond to my suggestions as a therapist and command advisor, should I be called upon to provide such guidance." Grayson decided she might as well reveal her cards. She offered her hand and a smile. "However, primarily, I've been assigned as your ACMO."
"Ah," said Kina, nodding. "I was wondering when I'd get one of those. I haven't got your file, yet. I suppose I'll get it soon."
"My apologies. If I'd known you had received my file as yet, I wouldn't have left a copy of it in my quarters. When you're finished with my physical, I can go and get it for you. Of course, I'm also happy to answer any questions you may have for me. As I suppose you've already surmised, my orders indicate I'm to split my duty hours between sickbay and providing counseling to the crew."
"It's got be a singularity, a doctor having both a medical and a counseling degree," Kina commented. "But, at the same time, I can see where it would be useful. Perhaps I should have taken more than the customary psychology courses at the Academy."
"I know quite a few people with a dual specialty," Mariah admitted. "I personally just found both fields fascinating and I came to believe a good healer considers body and mind. Plus, I figured if I was ever assigned as a CMO somewhere that didn't have a counselor, I wanted to be prepared, considering a medical officer can be required to fulfill those duties in that case." Grayson shrugged. "Basically, it meant that I had a lot of work to complete and not much of a personal life," she added with a smile. "Each of us does what feels right at the time. I'm really not trying to show anyone up."
"I would make an abysmal counselor," replied Kina with a sheepish sort of grin. "I tend to lose patience with people a bit too easily. I'm afraid I would end up yelling at them for being silly or something."
"Really?" Mariah replied with a smile. "I imagine you're more patient than you think. Being a doctor, especially in emergencies and stressful situations, requires all sorts of patience."
"In emergencies, of course," Kina said. "But obsessive compulsive disorder is hardly an emergency."
Mariah grew thoughtful. "I guess it depends on your perspective. If you're the person suffering with obsessive-compulsive disorder, it can very much feel like an emergency or a nightmare a person is unable to wake from." Mariah smiled wryly. "Send those folks my way. It is partly my job after all."
"I sure will!" promised Kina, snapping her tricorder shut. "Everything looks good. I think you're even healthier than I am!"
Mariah chuckled. "Oh good, I've fooled you. Now I can go back to eating hamburgers and fries."
Kina grinned. "Would you believe the first time I had a burger was in the academy?" she asked. "For some reason, we just don't eat burgers in Botswana."
Grayson smiled wryly. "I can believe it," she offered with a nod. "If Starfleet has taught me anything, it's not to expect everyone to have similar experiences to my own. When you had your first burger, what did you think?"
"I believe my first thought was 'why do we not eat these every day'?" she replied with a grin. "My favorite is loaded with vegetables. Big, thick slices of tomatoes, onions, pickles, lettuce, and sometimes even baby spinach and olives."
Mariah smiled. "You're a lot healthier than I am. I prefer my burgers with cheese, pickles, and onions. If I'm feeling especially decadent, I'll get bacon or even mushrooms." Grayson paused, then added, "Now that you've certified me as mostly healthy, is there anything you'd like me to know specifically as your ACMO, like specific policies, scheduled meetings, or particular medical priorities you like me to handle? I'll admit, I'm partial to any obstetrics cases."
"I'll be sure to send them your way," answered Kina. "I prefer Pediatrics myself. As for specifics, the only thing that deviates from Starfleet regulations is that I prefer to run triage drills monthly rather than quarterly. Being way out here, I don't think more drills would go amiss."
Grayson nodded. "Agreed. Before I take my leave, with your permission, are there any patients I should be aware of currently?"
"None, yet," replied Kina. "We haven't gotten into enough trouble to have long-term patients, yet."
Mariah hopped off the bio bed and said with a smile, "I guess I should be grateful for small blessings for now. If it's all right with you, I'd like to take a few minutes to introduce myself to the staff that's here and then I promise to get out of your hair."
"Absolutely," Kina said. "Feel free to wander around as long as you like. As I said, we're rather slow right now, so I'm sure you won't be in the way."
"Thanks for your time, Doctor. I'll be seeing you soon."