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Statistical Averages

Posted on Wed Apr 26th, 2017 @ 3:57am by Lieutenant Commander Gareth Tau
Edited on on Wed Apr 26th, 2017 @ 4:25am

Mission: S1E5 - Unknown Territory
Location: Sickbay
Timeline: MD 75; 06:40

Sickbay. It was the bane of all men cresting the hill of 40. Despite the advances in modern medicine, and just as much because of them, Gareth found himself in Sickbay quite often. The lackluster ship he found himself aboard pressed his need for medical observation to the hilt.

The night shift left minimal personnel available. Even though the alpha shift was due to start in little more than an hour, Gareth considered it unacceptable for nobody to greet him at the door.

"Hello? I need assistance immediately." And then he sat down to wait with a sour look on his face.

"I'm here," came a voice from within the room.

"And yet I am over here," Gareth replied with a grating, irritable tone. "Are you going to get over here and help me, or should I have my last will and testament on hand?"

With a groan, a man raised up from one of the biobeds, "Are you dying?" he asked as he slipped off the bed.

"Possibly, you wastrel." Gareth crossed his arms and fixed the man with a disapproving glare. "Why else would I be here?"

"Well you didn't sound urgent." The Bajoran man walked up to the Commander, rubbing his eyes. "What can I do for you?"

"I'll bring a cowbell next time," Gareth sneered. "Lieutenant Commander Gareth Tau. I'll spare you the moment necessary to review my file and simply tell you that I have an artificial heart. My blood pressure has been spiking for approximately the past 24 hours, and while it's likely due to the taxing dispute I'm currently waging with the Chief Engineer, I must rule out the potential for imminent failure of the apparatus."

"How high are we talking?" Nevin said, gesturing for the man to take a seat on the nearest biobed.

"I'm a doctor of science, not medicine," Gareth retorted as he pitched himself up onto the biobed indicated to him. "You tell me. All I know is this vertigo I feel is giving me a migraine."

"Feel free to drop your attitude at any time," Nevin said, absentmindedly as he began to scan the man with a tricorder.

"Your bedside manner is deplorable," Gareth shot back. "I will not be lectured about my demeanor under the circumstances." He sulked while Nevin continued his scans. "Well, am I going to live?"

"Despite my desire for the opposite," Nevin said, not looking up at the man. "You're going to be fine, Commander. Slightly elevated, but nothing that isn't explained by stress."

"That's good to hear," Gareth replied as he slid off the biobed. "If faced with the choice between dying and having your hands inside me to repair or replace my artificial heart, I'd have to think for a moment."

"How long has the heart had a murmur though?" Nevin asked, staring at the tricorder display with concern.

Gareth darted his head to stare Nevin dead in the eye. "Never." His voice turned as grave as his face. "The medical apparatus runs on at a fixed rate that does not adjust, which means that I cannot over-exert myself too much or I will grow faint. There should be no murmur... there can't be..."

"There is," Nevin said, turning the tricorder so that the scientist could see the irregular heartrate. "We'll need to get that fixed. I can easily just have it recalibrated but if the device did this once, it could do it again. I'd be more comfortable replacing it." Nevin looked up at the man, "Thoughts?"

"None that I can speak in polite company." Gareth sighed with resignation. "It's been a good run. Nearly 30 years with the same apparatus. I was hoping to hold out longer before replacing it, though." He looked back to Nevin, his earlier hubris melting away into mortal humility. "Let us do what needs to be done."

"Normally the device should last longer," Nevin said. "The fact that it's malfunctioning isn't a good sign. I'm going to need to do a full medical workup on you before I can give you medical clearance for the surgery. There may be something else going on."

"Wonderful." The sarcasm turned Gareth's voice baritone. "Do you have any other good news for me?"

"If we do the surgery, it will require me to actually cut you open. You're going to be out of work for at least two weeks." Nevin closed the tricorder and set it down on the table near the biobed. His face became serious, "Are you alright?" he asked, placing a hand on the man's shoulder.

"I would ask for an alternative prognosis, but I already know the answer." Gareth gazed at the wall for a moment of contemplation. "Time. I'll need more time to put some affairs in order. Two weeks should suffice."

"Take all the time you need," Nevin said. He picked up a PADD and began typing on it, "I don't have anything major scheduled over the next month, so feel free to not rush. Your prognosis isn't dire, you could probably go on for a few months to a year with your artificial heart as it is now. Just don't overexert yourself. And if you begin to feel anything out of the ordinary, come see me right away." He handed the PADD to the man.

Gareth nodded glumly as he took the PADD and shuffled away. He never bothered to look at it.

"Hey," Nevin called out after the man.

The old scientist did not turn around, though he cocked his head back to lend an ear.

Nevin took the few steps forward to reach the man, "It'll be ok," he said. "This procedure is quite routine and has a small mortality rate. And I'll be here to answer any questions you may have."

"As a statistician, I've learned one thing." Gareth looked straight ahead, away from Nevin. "Statistics mean nothing to the individual." The man walked away as briskly as his small frame allowed.


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