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Log of the Month for March, 2019

Scrub Up: Riley Grey
Posted on March 4th, 2019 by Emilaina Acacia and Ryleigh Grey

~Emilaina Acacia Featuring Riley Grey~

Doctor Acacia had just helped the nurses lift the two unconscious marines onto biobeds. Chief Medical Officer Tailor was tending to the Captain. Sickbay was abuzz, and Acacia had a strong empathic feeling in her gut, the twisting kind of feeling that people around her were in a lot of pain… and that something bad was about to happen.

“Stable,” she reported curtly to the Chief Medical Officer as she looked at the marines’ vital sign readouts. The Captain coughed up blood and passed out, drawing both of their attention. Doctor Tailor ordered Lectrazine, and almost numb from sensation and tension, Doctor Acacia obliged, setting the hypospray in Tailor’s hand. Acacia was turning away grab another piece of equipment when a nurse stepped deliberately in front of her, a PADD displaying an image of a scan in hand.

Doctor Acacia took the PADD. She managed to keep a completely neutral expression while looking at it despite her heart skipping a beat. She said softly, to confirm, “This is Second Lieutenant Grey?”

Nurse Hastings nodded, “Yes, Doctor.”

Acacia looked back at Tailor and the nurses helping her tend to the Captain. For a brief moment they met each other’s eyes. Little known fact, Doctor Acacia didn’t like surgery. At all. It came with plenty of bad feelings and a lot of risks. What’s more, now that she was on a ship with a surgeon for a CMO, she had thought she might get to get out of these things more often than not. But with the Captain and another crew member in bad shape, and a finite number of capable hands within thousands of lightyears, Doctor Acacia stood face-to-face with what Starfleet Academy had tried to prepare her for.

While surgery may not have been something she wanted or liked to do, she was still trained to do it, and so it was her responsibility when necessary. A responsibility she took very seriously, and in stride. Doctor Acacia took a deep breath, her demeanor becoming icy as she slipped into the headspace it took for her to cut someone open. She began to point one by one at nurses who weren’t helping Tailor.

“Hastings, D’ari, scrub up. You three, get Grey to surgical suite two, lay her on her stomach. And when you two over there are done with Wolfe.. get suite one ready in case the Captain needs it.”

Doctor Acacia looked solemnly through the back of the one-way mirror into the surgical suite as she washed the outside of her red surgical gloves for the final time. The nurses were inside preparing, and the Doctor was, as usual, displeased by the way the red robes made her feel. She stopped in front of the quarantine door, closing her eyes, taking a final deep breath, and blocking it all out.

Riley was inside the surgical table, and attached to an IV that was giving her a cocktail of surgical drugs to make sure she stayed unconscious, and didn’t bleed out, among other things. Unusually, Riley was laid on her stomach, and the pillow of the table was replaced with an o-shaped attachment akin to a massage table head, so that her face was exposed on the underside of the table, allowing her to breathe as well as keeping her head secured.

The Doctor began, looking around at all of the displays, scans, vitals, heart rate, flashing lights of all variety, “Begin recording. Emergency surgery on Riley Grey, performed by Doctor Emilaina Acacia, assisted by Nurses Julia Hastings and Votrak D’ari. We’re going in to secure and reattach a floating piece of skull. Biggest risk factor is a jagged edge within a quarter inch of the brain. Nurses have prepared the patient. Incision to be made at the back of the head. Are we good to go?”

She took only a moment to look around the room, the nurses both offering a curt nod. It was standard to review just before a surgery to help avoid mistakes, but sometimes it just felt like a waste of precious seconds.

The surgical table was a medical marvel in its own right, it could practically perform a number of operations on its own if people would trust it to. It was a little scary with all of its movable hydraulic arms extended, but it had incredible control over each of them. Doctor Acacia, like many doctors, still did a number of things by hand, though. With a hand wrapped around the attachment at the end of the surgical table’s hydraulic arm, Doctors could be incredibly precise as the arm would both steady and correct their already well-measured movements.

Acacia first used the machine’s laser cutter to make the incision, because no hand tool was ever so precise. The arm stood up, aiming at Riley and firing a red lazer at the back of her head that cut a slit of just enough depth, exactly long enough to fit in the necessary tools into Riley’s skin just above the broken piece of skull. Acacia then grabbed a silver pen at the end of one of the hydraulic arms in her right hand, and a two-paddled prong-fork thing that was about an inch wide in her left.

She took a final deep breath to center herself, and rested the heels of her hands on opposite sides of the injury. She carefully pulled the skin of the incision open with her thumbs, before gently sliding in the thin pen. It activated, suctioning itself to the loose piece of bone just below the incision, first gently, then with enough force to pull on as the power increased slowly to avoid sudden movements. Getting a steady grip on the bone the Doctor slowly, tentatively pulled it up into place. With the rough edge no longer pointed precariously down at Riley’s brain, Acacia allowed herself a moment to breathe.

The Doctor then switched hands, holding the bone in place with the pen in her less dextrous left hand and sliding the paddle-fork into the incision with her right. She slid it in a few inches, one paddle on the skull, one on the chip. A monitor in front of her rendered the inside of Riley’s head in 3D with the skull and bone chip illuminated, allowing her to make sure she stayed on the line. The surgical arm hummed softly, blue light shining ominously out of the wound as the device generated and wove new bone to bind the piece back to the whole.

Acacia slowly released the suction of the pen, pulling it out and handing it to one of the nurses to detach and clean. She carefully moved the paddle-fork around inside the incision, trying not to cause any more damage while also wanting to maximize the binding on the bone. When there was only about 10% of the original fracture left and reaching the final crack would have widened the incision, she pulled the paddle-fork out and handed it to the other nurse.

The Doctor glanced at the surgical table and her nurses, thinking for a moment. Normally she’d just tell the nurses to close for her, but she had a brief vision of Riley waking up with even an inch diameter bald spot from the dermal regenerator and screaming until she turned red. With a faint smile from finding the idea amusing, she ordered a PMHE, not too unusual, and Nurse Hastings scurried off to get it.

Doctor Acacia carefully attached the Personal Medical Holo-Emitter, a device only about the size of a SIM card, to the back of Riley’s head just above the incision. She used the interface, a separate, wirelessly connected screen, to input a bit of math. The device created three holographic stitches that snaked into reality and gently pulled the wound shut before locking themselves, which would mean Riley would have to do a bit more of her own healing, but she wouldn’t lose any hair.

Feeling better but still pretty tense, Acacia stood up, stretching her arms. She told the nurses to bandage Riley up and take her to the ICU for monitoring and post-surgical tests when she woke up. Finally, she smiled, “No apparent complications at time of closing. End recording.”

The Doctor went back out the door to take her gloves off and dispose of them.

Part Two

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  • Kathryn Harper Kathryn Harper says:

    What a wonderful, detailed description of the surgery and her feelings toward having to perform it. I quite liked the extra care to prevent Riley from losing hair. Bravo!

  • Kuari Kuari says:

    Starting off with Acacia’s negative response to surgery adds a nice character touch, and I find it very believable how she could find solace in the fact that she could leave all the surgery to her CMO surgeon. This event threw a proverbial wrench at her, didn’t it? My favorite part though is when you introduced the Trek tech, as it puts this great character into the futuristic setting that it’s in, and I love the details you created regarding it. Tying the second scene together with beginning and ending a log works great!

  •  Alexis Wright says:

    Well done! I have questions, mainly: Why does she have a problem with surgery? Maybe you explained this in another log and I missed it! I feel like there must be some kind of story there. What is it about it that bothers her? I’m just curious to learn more about this. :) As always, I really enjoy your attention to detail — I especially liked how you described the slow attachment of the pen to avoid any sudden movements, because that’s totally what I was picturing until I read that. XD Thanks as always!

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