The Doctor Is In: Birds of a Feather
Chapter 8: Pirates and Cowboys
Location: Sick Bay
Timeline: Day 4 after arrival
"I--Icari?!" Melisande's face lit up as she touched her cheek to make sure the shard was fully gone, "Amazing. You are more stunning in person than the sketches I've seen suggest. And yes, Carol should be fine now." She tried to see the detail of the small winged being in front of her, but her vision began to blur again. Having managed to suppress a cough for the full operation, she began to cough intensely. A small amount of blood seeped through her fingers. While Mistake had a look of horror on his face, Melisande couldn't quite gauge what Harriet's expression meant. She felt the doctor grab her waist and heard his quiet voice, "Please tell me your injuries."
After he helped her to the second examining table, she replied, "I believe I have a concussion. I heard a loud sound when I had my head hit, so it maybe more serious. My right lung feels like it's on fire. I would also be surprised if I did not have broken or cracked ribs. My neck on the right side was slashed pretty badly as well. Um...I apologize for worrying you both. Could you tell me your names? I do not believe we've been properly introduced."
The need to focus on re-threading his surgical needle kept Mistake from throwing an incredulous look Melisande's way. The bloody cough had surprised him, but this list of symptoms made him angry. It was not the first time he had encountered a person placing the well-being of another above their own, but the difference in the severity of injuries in this case was a bit too much. Mistake knew he could put it down to her unfamiliarity with the body's recuperative capabilities, but he was furious nonetheless.
"Until I have deemed both of you to have recovered sufficiently from your injuries, you will address me as the doctor. Getting to know one another can wait." Pausing briefly in his suturing of the neck wound, he gave a quick glance at the Icari and then added, "As can the gawking." On the bright side, her capacity to converse and care for others indicated that the concussion was a minor one. Harriet looked up at Mistake with blank eyes and mouth half agape, as if her brain had momentarily shut off, before snapping back to consciousness and nodding her head cheerfully. "Okaydokay!" she chirped as she scurried off to the corner of the room, promptly forgetting her agreement to stop gawking and swiftly resuming once there. But at least she wasn't in the way now.
Melisande sat stunned at Mistake's obvious rage and disgust at her. She hissed in pain as he began stitching her neck without anesthetic. As she felt the anesthetic being applied, she began to think of how ridiculous it all was. Fighting Carol even when it was obvious she wanted to fight her to the death, then saving this woman's life that no one seemed to like, pulling her back up the ship and watching her like a hawk to make sure she lived, having this doctor tend to her first all the while neglecting her own injuries, when there was a very real possibility she would be rewarded with a slit throat from Carol while she slept. All the while there was that doomsday plan sitting with Abner Haywood in Hope Mountain Settlement, what would have happened had she died and someone took it? The deaths of thousands if not hundreds of thousands would be on her hands. Yet the Leklian religious beliefs of the god of Faith and his son the god of Plenty brought her here.
She heard the voice of her father ring in her head, "honor, temperance, prudence, courage, justice, piety, generosity," yet no one ever talked about the shame or the great effort to be perfect. She never felt good enough, there was always the pressure of the house of de La Trémoille, and the negative impact her potential actions would have on her many extended relatives. Yet now away from Lekly, it left her thoughts and actions incomprehensible to outsiders and potentially dangerous to herself. She laughed bitterly as she untied the tie on her blouse and unbuttoned two buttons to let Mistake have better access to her lower neck as he continued the last few stitches.
He glared at her due to the lack of her response, which only caused her to build up her wall and answer coldly, "I have reasons of my own for my actions. Getting upset over them only manages to hurt us both. I do not mind the Icari asking questions unless it bothers you. Shall we continue, doctor?"
Mistake nodded his agreement despite making a noise of disgruntled exasperation from the back of his throat in return. Listening to the patient's answers would actually help him confirm the severity of her concussion. As mentally sound as she seemed, there were cases where post-traumatic symptoms manifested unusually. He handed her a small sachet of liquid to press onto the swelling on her forehead, then ran his hands around sides and back of her head to check for other unusual bumps or depressions.
Harriet took the opportunity without hesitation, rushing out of her corner and back between Mistake and Melisande with a flurry of queries already on her lips. “How’dya get so beat up, lady? Did you and the mean lady get in a fight?” she asked starting with the most obvious while bouncing up and down slightly with a cheerful grin on her face, her wing tips held up and tapping against each other in excitement. Clearly she’d been holding these in since she entered. Before Melisande could even answer she had another quiz loaded and ready to go as she turned to Mistake. “Why’re you covered in bandages? You hurt? What’s with the mask, huh?” Harriet as always seemed oblivious of the potential for her directness to be construed as rude. Harriet's childlike behavior caused a smile and a slight giggle from Melisande, but she noted a grimace from Mistake in response. She responded to Harriet's inquiry with a softness in her voice and pointed back to the chair, "Such questions will have to wait, Icari."
Finally sure that there were no additional swelling or perforations to take care of, Mistake let go of Melisande's head and asked a flurry of questions even as he gestured for his patient to take off her shirt. "Experienced any vision problems? Double-vision, tunneling, or blurriness? Headaches? Nausea? Dizziness? ...Have you slept between taking the hit to your head till now?" He paused, then decided to explain, "I might have to knock you out to set your ribs and drain out some blood from your airways, depending on how badly damaged they are and how much pain you can take. I really would prefer not to, but in the case that it's necessary...Overdoing the anesthetic would be bad."
Bad was an understatement, Mistake knew that firsthand. In the past he had a habit of over-using painkillers, since he had an almost unlimited supply of the stuff and few, if any at all, of the patients complained. The one time he misgauged the dose of a general anesthetic though; it completely changed his perspective. The ten-odd minutes they had spent attempting the rouse the patient had been nightmarish. He never wanted to experience it ever again. So overwhelming was the shame and lurking fear, that it caused him to deviate from the routes he usually traveled and come to Harling Pass, under the pretext of learning from the doctors here.
"Yes, I've had blurriness, dizziness, and a mostly constant headache. The headache seems to be lessening, yet I get occasional surges in pain. I've felt very tired but that might be because of the events of today." She nodded gently to his questions as she quickly removed her blouse, revealing her jeweled corset, and quickly unclasped it. Blushing slightly at being on display, she had to fight the urge to cover her breasts that were a little large for her frame. Instead she toyed with her necklace pendant representing the three gods, noticing the muscles in her arms seemed a bit larger and more taunt than normal, "I suppose you want me to lie down, doctor?" Out of the corner of her eye Melisande could make out Harriet looking down and softly patting her own rather unsubstantial chest.
Despite his words earlier, Mistake could not help but stare. First it had been at the extravagant undergarment, and then at Melisande herself. Even with the messy undertones of blue and green of the bruises around her torso, her naked form was still a much more pleasant sight than most of the bodies Mistake had seen throughout his career as a physician. Continuously repeating to himself that what he saw was nothing more than meat-on-bones, he shook his head and stopped her from moving. Placing one hand on the front at of Melisande's chest just below her right breast, he simultaneously put the other at the corresponding position on her back. Suddenly the doctor paused, eyes widening. In contrast to his quick, almost skittish movements earlier, Mistake remained completely still for the next few moments.
"...Right lung, right? Can you try breathing in as deeply as you can? Ignore the pain as best as you can. Then try coughing if you can." Mistake's instructions had a slight quaver to it, if one cared to listen closely enough. The faint buzzing in his ears continued to hum, and Mistake found himself unable to look away from the expanse of skin before him even as he monitored the rise and fall of Melisande's chest. His mind was possibly as fractured and disjointed as his patient's ribs; one part of his was positively mesmerized by the condition of Melisande's skin, while his deeply ingrained sense of professionalism continued to note down her injuries.
The chest injury was much more severe than the blow to her head, it seemed. Taking Melisande's arm, Mistake carefully injected a precise quantity of anesthetic into her vein before helping her to lie down. "Alright, it might take a few minutes for you to pass out entirely; I'll be waking you in a hour thereabouts."
The anesthetic felt like a strange warm gentle wave rush over her. Melisande sighed happily at the decrease in pain, her eyes feeling increasingly heavy. She looked over at Harriet staring at her corset and then at Mistake before murmuring, "I think the Icari is interested in my corset. Feel free to throw it to her." With that, her eyes stayed closed and her breath deepened as she entered sleep.