guess who's getting a medical drama now
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It takes a couple of rounds of pacing in circles around the unit, but within five minutes Marian is able to find where the residents are hiding and determine that, yes, one of them is tasked with presenting on Eighty-Six, Orange in 104. And also that he's happy to swing by now, on the strength of Marian’s claim that the patient is awake and it’s a good time. 

She’s back ten minutes later with another young man, who seems to want to do an even more thorough version of the physical assessment that Lisa did. (He’s also nervous, but clearly not about Karal, it’s much more flavored like generic anxiety about an authority figure testing him.)

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Ah, it's hard to be new at things.  Karal gives him an understanding smile, cooperates with all the variously mysterious Healing tasks (most of them aren't really that mysterious, and he can figure out some of the stranger ones if he thinks about them), and doesn't stress him out by asking any confusing questions.  It's nice to get a another very thorough opinion on how he's doing, too.  How does the young man feel about all the results?

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He seems to feel more positively after examining Karal than he had expected to beforehand! He was definitely thinking of 104 as one of the sickest patients on the unit, given how he’s been 1:1 for several shifts in a row now and keeps having complications, but he - looks a lot worse off on paper than he does face to face? Which is a lot better than the reverse! He seems especially impressed by Karal’s limb strength and willingness to move in bed even though he’s not on that much fentanyl for pain and it must hurt like hell.

He looks at Marian when he’s done. “Ask him how he’s feeling - is anything bothering him?”

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Marian also doesn’t speak his language! She feels like she’s no more qualified than the resident for playing Pictionary! She does have more context on what he has or hasn’t understood in the past, though. She’ll try to convey in mime that they want to know what hurts or feels bad, and then hastily draw a person-figure on a new sheet of paper before handing him the clipboard. 

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Karal thinks Marian is definitely more qualified at little drawings than the average person!

 

He vaguely remembers her explaining yesterday that she wants him to complain about things, but it still feels weird to do it, especially right now when there's nothing remotely worth complaining about apart from the obvious.

The drawing helps him understand what she wanted, but he doesn't need it to answer.  He gestures at all the various wound dressings and his ribs and shrugs - yes, obviously they hurt, he doesn't particularly mind and wouldn't have expected anything different.  He points at the breathing tube, grimaces slightly.  Mimes moving around a lot and lying down and struggling to breathe, grimaces more than that - it bothers him when that happens, although he's pretty sure they know and are working on it.

Everything else seems approximately fine?  His heart hasn't been doing any wrong things, he doesn't feel weirdly weak (at least not that he'd notice before getting out of breath) - he mimes both of those and makes a tentative thumb gesture.  His head gets a more confident one - they've definitely managed to keep him from getting a backlash headache despite what was in retrospect an unreasonable amount of magic.

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The resident seems satisfied by this, and writes some notes on a piece of paper. 

"I think we can say his pain control is adequate?" he's saying to Marian. "'Patient complaining of shortness of breath with supine position, difficulty tolerating exertion' - obviously not surprising. Is the ET tube bothering him a lot? You said he was refusing sedation, right - he doesn't seem anxious, at least..." 

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"No, I think he's fine." Reassuring smile at her patient, who she thinks did very well at communicating his needs to his medical team. "Honestly he's more anxious if he's out of it, I think feeling groggy is upsetting for him and he gets disoriented and stuff. And, yeah, I wouldn't want to take him off the fentanyl drip, but with it he's coping fine, he's never requested or seemed to need extra doses for turns or suctioning or anything. I think feeling weak bothers him a lot - he was having a rougher time yesterday when his K was super low - and, yeah, not being able to tolerate exertion or lying flat because he's too short of breath. And he definitely wants the tube out as soon as it's remotely a good idea, but - I think he understands that it's not, yet." 

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"I wasn't here yesterday but I heard he self-extubated?" 

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"While he was in V-tach! I think it really scared him - and he couldn't call for help - he didn't realize we would be right there anyway and I hadn't given him a call bell yet. He somehow managed for like ten minutes just on oxygen until we got his rhythm more stable but, yeah, serious increased work of breathing, and that was before the pulmonary edema got bad. He's not going to be ready today - probably not tomorrow..." 

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Nod. "No, definitely." A pause. "...Military guy? He - seems like that type." 

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"...Yeah, he really does, doesn't he." Shrug. "I - don't know." Nnnnnnnot saying anything to the resident about possible gang involvement, it's way premature for that, and also it's not like that's incompatible with him being a veteran. 

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"We should start thinking about getting him up as soon as his cardiac function can tolerate it. I'll float the idea at rounds - guys like that are way better patients once they can spend some time up in a chair, yknow..." 

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Marian kind of wants to leap to her patient's defense, he's been nothing but pleasant and sweet, but - honestly, yeah, it probably would mean a lot to him to be allowed to sit up for a bit, even if getting him into a chair is still a four-person production. "Yeah." 

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"Any other concerns you have?" 

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He might have an explanation for his mysteriously vanishing potassium and blood sugar. He was conflicted on how she would react, and - seems to have decided to trust her - and Marian doesn't want to betray that trust. It's probably not that he was on illegal drugs (it's not like she can think of any illegal drug that would do that??) and even if he was, she thinks that being on drugs isn't itself a reportable crime if he wasn't selling them - anyway, there's no point in bringing it up. 

"No, I think we hit everything. I'll come find you if anything else comes up?" 

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He thanks her and leaves. 

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And Marian should, like, pee and get water, since she might be here a while, and make sure her podmate doesn't need anything, and then she can close the curtains and - what does her patient want to tell her? 

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He's had some time to think about it.  He'll start with drawing - not really because he expects her to understand, his instinctive guess is pretty solidly that she won't, but because it's reassuring to explain things in the proper order and let people form guesses instead of doing anything very surprising right off.

 

He finds the graph of the two things-in-tubes.  Points to the first time they both go steeply down.  Makes the stereotypical mage's gesture, a hand spreading in front of his chest and pushing out, as if casting a barrier or a bolt (he knows it more from children's stories than from real experience, but it should still be as clear as anything can be), then draws a Karal-figure in bed making a similar gesture, and a faint wavy circle appearing on the floor.  Points to the time when they were staying around an uncomfortably low level, draws a Karal-figure with some wavy lines going from its head to another figure and back.  Points to the last few hours, confidently draws both of the things-in-tubes going down a little again where the graph wasn't filled out, draws a Karal-figure with its hand out and faint wiggly lines from the hand to a rectangle on the floor.

He points to the IV bag and draws the graph lines going up again - he's confident that they can keep on top of the backlash as long as he doesn't do anything very unreasonable like trying to Gate - but then points to his three drawings and looks worried/questioning about something else.

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The mage’s gesture indeed doesn’t mean that much to Marian.

The wavy-line-head one is initially baffling, but maybe it’s the memory of the baffling Spider-Man webs that draws the connection for her. Is this, like, some sort of X-Men shit? Like what - not Magneto, he's telekenetic, the other guy with telepathy, the one played by Patrick Stewart... 

That makes no fucking sense

Okay. He - is definitely claiming that he was doing something that's...causing his lab values to get fucky...which does make more sense of the timing of the drops than being on something, which you'd think would cause a more continuous problem... 

 

Marian is also worried and questioning! He's trying to tell her something and it's clearly important and she has no better guesses at what the heck he means than "some sort of X-Men shit"! 

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She seems both confused and concerned, and it's hard to tell exactly why, or what he can or should do about it!  He... really doesn't want to do magic (well, more magic than the Empathy, which he really can't do without and which they might count differently anyway) without being sure it's all right, and her current emotions aren't exactly reassuring on that front.

 

Can he figure out a way to ask... And what's the safest and least threatening-looking thing he can show her...  He pushes one of the pillows down to the floor again, makes a 'wait' gesture.  Draws another Karal-figure with wiggly lines to the pillow, points at the drawing and the pillow, makes a questioning gesture and projects asking-for-permission and intending-no-harm...

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Ohhh is that what the rectangle in the drawing was meant to be! 

...This clarifies things less than Marian would perhaps like, but it does feel like he's - not planning to do anything hostile, and doesn't expect it to, like, make a mess or damage the hospital room... 

 

Well, if he thinks he can demonstrate - something - that will make them less mutually confused, Marian is definitely at this point very curious! She gives him an only-slightly-hesitant nod. 

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It's a good thing he's had time to get some practice at actually doing anything with their mage-gift - he cannot imagine trying to have this conversation with nothing except Empathy to demonstrate. 

 

Slowly, and telegraphing his intentions with the mage-gesture, he pushes the pillow along the floor away from the bed and then sideways one way and the other, watching Marian closely for signs of alarm or any other indication that he should stop doing it.

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Marian is SO ALARMED but also it's very very important not to scare her patient! Who is apparently not Patrick Stewart after all, but Pillow Magneto shut uuuuup Marian's brain. (She vaguely thinks maaaaybe the Patrick Stewart character also has some telekinesis? Possibly? It's been ages since she actually saw an X-Men movie...) 

Also she really especially doesn't want Elise coming in here to check if she needs help. 

 

She manages not to physically jump or make a startled 'eep'.

It takes a huge amount of willpower but she manages it! She cannot quite manage to smile reassuringly at her patient but look at her, over here, being so calm and controlled and not visibly freaking out at all. 

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- oh noooooo but if it's like - Professor X that's the character's name!! - then he can read her mind and tell that she's freaking out! And also presumably noticed every awkward thought she had in the last two shifts! Augh! 

 

...still not scaring her patient. Calmcalmcalmcalmcalm. Definitely not upset or angry with him at all. If he's an X-Men character then it's not his fault which villain is after him aughhhh shut UP Marian's brain– 

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Yes, he can definitely tell that she's freaking out!  He lets go of the mage-gift with another clear gesture, then gives her a rueful smile and points at the head-waves drawing. 

After a moment of thought he draws some more details to explain the thing he's still doing:  a bigger pair of figures with little smiling and sad faces drawn inside their heads, and lines going in both directions between the figures' heads.  He nods at that one.  Another pair of figures with words written in their heads and lines between them - he shakes his head at that one and crosses it out.

He makes an apologetic face and a questioning gesture - does she mind that he's been doing that nearly all the time?  Should he stop?

And - he isn't scared, he sends as clearly as he can, because she's so worried about it.  He trusts her and has trouble imagining her doing anything scary, and appreciates her and her attempts at calm very much. 

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