Season 2: Episode 3: Determination is not always a good thing
Timeline: return trip to Deep Space Nine
The evacuation proceeding in an orderly fashion, with more ships on the way to take aboard people who couldn't be moved during the first stage, but with the criminal elements removed from the group, now was the time for Estelle to look into some of the less urgent, yet still important, cases.
And the first on that list of no longer life-threatening cases which still had a huge impact on the patient's well-being was Aurelia Holmes. Estelle had taken a good night's rest, re-united with Liorga, and her mind was now working to a capacity she considered sufficient for doing Lia and her needs justice.
Stepping up to the bed, she put her hand on Lia's. "Hello Lia. How are you feeling today?" She knew from the chart that the night had been uneventful, medically speaking, but there was no telling whether she had actually been resting well, or been plagued by bad dreams.
Lia turned to look at Estelle, "Oh I'm fine Doc, as you are after going through what I just have". She looked back up at the lights, "How long do you think I'll stay here? Not that I'm that keen to leave, but I don't want to overstay my welcome". She closed her eye's, "I've had one or two visitors, but not the one I was looking for. I'm going to need to re-evaluate my life style, I think it needs changing".
As Estelle began the detailed scans they had talked about the day before, she asked, "If you like to run your ideas by someone who'll be able to tell you what consequences these changes will have on your health, I might know someone who's willing to listen." She winked at Lia.
Turning her head back towards Estelle, Lia opened her eyes again. "How about getting blind drunk? Or being able to have kids, properly?" Lia continued, "Guess I'll start with those two first, never drank before so the first should be an education. As for the second, perhaps a different partner." Her voice was harsh and angry, but it was plain she wasn't angry at Estelle.
"Don't blame Gary", Estelle said. "I know it's natural but what happened to you isn't his fault. I'll do what I can to help you, and I can promise there are ways for you to have children even if your body can't be repaired. Some healing isn't possible, but medical science has other means." She smiled at Lia. "You needn't be childless if you don't want to be." Having no knowledge of Gary's failure to visit Lia, she didn't know the reason Lia was considering a different partner had nothing to do with the miscarriage itself.
"Men! That's my main problem, first my dear old dad." Lia's voice sounding condescending and disparaging, "Then my latest choice, who seems to be moving away from me. Just who or what did I offend in this fucking universe?" She sniffed as she fought to prevent tears, her mind lashing out at windmills to hurt them.
"Oh, I feel you", Estelle agreed. "Part of why I prefer women. But what makes you think Gary's moving away from you? When I last talked to him, he had nothing but good things to say, and spoke of you fondly."
Lia looked squarely at the Doctor, "Platitudes are easily spoken, but I haven't seen him for some time and when I do see him it's only in passing. It's like we're drifting apart, you know what was one bit of ice has become two bits. He's floating in one direction, I'm floating in another direction". She also felt deserted over her latest problem, but she would try and talk to Gary first before asking others for advice.
"To be fair, these past few days were extremely busy", Estelle said. "Before tonight, I've had a grand total of fourteen hours of sleep over a four day period. Pressure on command wasn't any less, and they're still at it, dealing with the administrative aftermath. I'm sure he'll come visit once he'll get a chance. Have you called him?"
"No communicator, and internal comms seem overly busy. And as you say, everyone is occupied with other things. Personal problems tend to get swamped, but it still hurts that he hasn't even attempted to visit". She took a deep breath and looked down at her lap, "Guess he's too busy to come, this ship means more to him. So let's just drop the subject, shall we? I've got a child to say goodbye to, so that will keep me occupied for now". She didn't want to talk anymore, her life had a focus for now. And that's where her attention would be aimed.
Estelle nodded. "As you wish. Now, let's talk about your medical history. Without revealing anything of those classified missions, can you give me a few hints what kinds of injuries you've suffered in the past? I don't need to know any details of how you got them. Won't be breaking confidentiality if you tell me you were shot in the butt, for instance, will it?"
Looking up at the ceiling, Lia took a shallow breath. "The one you need to know most about is the one inflicted by my father, it happened when I was about fourteen years old. I fell pregnant, the child's father was my own father. When he found out, he decided to take matters into his own hands." As she spoke, Lia seemed to focus somewhere else. Not looking at the Doctor or anyone else, "He waited for me to come home from a friend's house and knocked me down, he then kicked and stood on me until I started to bleed from my vagina. And when he spotted the blood he ripped my underwear off to make sure, then he repeated his ministrations to ensure success." Tears formed in her eyes and she took deeper and deeper breaths, "He then dragged me to my bedroom and locked me in, for about two or three days. My mother didn't stop him, and he didn't get me any medical help. I just lay there the whole time bleeding, and crying". Lia focused on the Doctor and continued, "They, my parents, then made me clean everything up and burn any clothing with blood on it. My darling mother then gave me a box of sanitary towels and told me to use them until I stopped bleeding, that took another couple of days." She had begun to rock back and forth as the memories became clear in her mind once again. "Every period after then was hell, not helped by my father hitting me during my period. His way of making sure I'd never get pregnant again, so he said at the time." She now fixed Estelle with an ice cold stare, "Repeat any of that and so help me, you'll never speak to anyone ever again". Lia's anger and shame burned in every word she spoke, "There are no other injuries of any kind that have been left untreated, and before you ask. Yes I did pass my mental competency evaluation test before transfer to the Elysium, I'm officially normal".
"I wasn't going to ask that", Estelle said dryly. Much of the sympathy she had for Lia's situation evaporated when Lia felt it was necessary to threaten her. As such, her voice was neutral, her demeanour professional. "Provided nothing else in your history will interfere with the procedure, the easiest way to repair the injury is to replace your uterus with a cloned organ. Obviously, the rest of your reproductive system is still in working order, and that relatively simple operation should take care of any problems you're having, physiologically at least."
Picking up Estella's attitude, Lia looked at her. "Have I upset you? Did my threat offend?" She nodded to herself, "Guess it did, but you see I've been in this situation before. Only the medical personnel involved back then decided that a full disclosure of my situation would be beneficial to my recovery, something they arrived at without consulting me. They were about to involve the law enforcement agencies which would have led to my employer being informed." She glanced around the room, "Patient confidentiality didn't seem to matter, both my career then and now would have been impacted. I would have been looked on as damaged, expecting sympathy." She glanced down at the floor, "I don't know how you feel about being seen in that light, but I sure as hell don't want that label stuck on me. I've been here two years, I think I've done ok. Can you blame me for trying to protect that? Protect myself from being labelled?"
"No", Estelle said. "But you misjudge me if you think me a gossip. I take confidentiality seriously, and you might just have asked to keep it quiet." There wasn't much more to be said, so she changed the topic back to the question at hand. "Would you like me to attempt the therapy I've suggested, or would you like a second opinion?"
Lia nodded, "Ok I'll give you that, but we haven't known each other that long. Guess I'm still not fully comfortable with all of this suddenly coming out again". She now thought about Estella's treatment, "What do think the results of the cloning could be? And you sound as if there's another problem to be sorted out, just what are you alluding to?" She could pick up something in the way the Doc spoke, something else wasn't sitting right with her.
"Well, my recommendation is based upon what I can see on my scanners here, and the assumption that there is nothing underlying that hasn't been disclosed and that doesn't appear on said scanners", Estelle said. "The way this works is, I clone a new organ, I remove the old one and implant the new. There should not be any of the usual problems with synthetic organs because your immune system will immediately recognise it as your own tissue. You won't feel a difference at first, but if you wish to attempt another pregnancy, the risks will be significantly reduced. That's not saying you shouldn't come here to get checked out anyway."
"As far as I know, there's nothing else to tell you. The only treatment I ever received was when I joined Starfleet, and you can see what they did or didn't do". Lia offered Estelle her hand, "Look, I'm sorry for before. I get very defensive about this, it's not something I like being public knowledge". She also thought about her treatment, "And yeah let's try it, what the hell have I got to lose?"
"Nothing", Estelle agreed. "You're in otherwise good physical shape now, and the surgery itself doesn't come with any unusual risks attached." She took Lia's hand to help her off the bed. "But it will take some time to grow the organ, and for the time being I think I can let you go. We'll be arriving at Deep Space Nine in a little while, you can take the opportunity for a change of scenery if you like."
Blushing slightly, Lia got off the bed. "Ok thanks for that, how long do you think it might take?" She headed for the sonic shower and her clean clothes, "I'll get cleaned up and head for my cabin, I might even go and see a few people before we get to DS9".
"I'll let you know", Estelle said. "Get better, eat well, take it easy for now. I'll also let you know when you can go back to combat training." Estelle returned to her coffee and to making preparations as Lia headed for the bathroom.