Episode 4 – Home, part 20

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“There you go, Ensign Roren, all done with the exam!” Dr. Y said cheerfully.

The ensign smiled, but it was wan.  He was something of a worrier, though it was not extreme.

Y’s sub-routines compared the man’s relative levels of anxiety and stress markers against Boniface Tred.  They were not close; that man had some of the highest rates of such markers Y had ever seen in someone in a healthy state.  His auto-planning routines, that scanned for patterns in all incoming information for data that he might consciously miss, loved to use Tred as a comparison whenever human stress levels came up.  Perhaps that could be problematic, he would have to tinker with those algorithms later.

“Is everything okay?  Do you know why I’ve been feeling so tired?  And . . . getting the rashes?” he asked.

“All signs point to it simply being stress, Ensign Roren,” Y replied.  “It has been a stressful time, so it is perfectly understandable – and normal.  Even I’ve had to have my joints oiled a bit more often than normal!”

Roren’s head tilted, confused.  He did not know if Y was joking or not.

“And I know you generally are worried by doctors,” Y continued.

“You’re better than most,” the man mumbled.

“Why thank you, Ensign Roren.  I believe if you simply take some time off – I shall order it if you like – and attempt to relax, you will feel better.”

“Okay,” the man said.

“And to help with that, I am going to send a prescription to your system – slightly altering your shampoo mixture, and adding slightly more zinc into your diet.  Those two should help the rashes.  Simply accept the recommendations when you get home, and they shall be implemented!”

“Thank you, doctor,” the man said, looking genuinely relieved.  It was such a perfect representation of the emotion that his auto-planning routine marked the record for later analysis.  Could not hurt to be able to recognize human emotional states better!

Roren left, and he saw that he had only two minutes until his next appointment.  So many routine ones backed up!

His drones cleaned the room, and he cleaned his chassis.

His next appointment came in – Dav Gannin, one of the emigrants from New Vitriol.

Now there was stress, his auto-planning system thought in admiration.

Quiet you, he told it, lowering its relative presence in his thoughts.  Though not quite muting it entirely; that was never wise.

“Greetings, new citizen Dav!  I am pleased to see you today.”

The man nodded and mumbled back his own greeting.

At first, he’d been quite hostile.  Like Apollonia Nor, he did not trust doctors.  But Y was pleased to see that, like with Apollonia, the man was beginning to show signs of trust.

“I apologize for the long wait for your appointment,” Y said.  “As you know, we’ve been so overwhelmed with recent events and had to delay routine appointments.”

“It’s only been a week,” Dav replied.

“I promise you that under normal conditions you should be able to walk in during any clinic hours,” Y replied.  “And receive prompt care.”

The man didn’t seem to know what to say to that, and Y moved him on to the actual tests.

They were relatively fast, though he had a number in mind, taking all of ten minutes.  The blood draw was unobtrusive, and the man was still waiting for it to start by the time Y was done.

“Now, let me go over these results.  I will return shortly!”

Leaving the room was largely a formality.  While he was quite capable of analyzing the data in an instant and telling his patients, he’d found that this speed created some discomfort; they thought he was not taking enough time to reach good conclusions.

Rather than fight it, he simply went with it.  Humans would adjust, eventually and then they’d all have a laugh over it.

In the other room, he analyzed the data as Dav dressed.  When he’d first given the man a check-up, back on New Vitriol, he’d marked him as being surprisingly healthy, but needing a follow-up.

Compared to those initial tests, he saw that the balance of lipids and nutrients in his blood were far more balanced.  Better results would come over time, but having sufficient – and quality – food and drink were doing wonders for the man.  Though he was seeing signs of insulin resistance still.  He’d have to make some tweaks.

It was exciting that his numbers needed tweaking!  That was so rare when he generally had medical information from each patient going back their entire lives.  It allowed one to create a very good prediction, to chart their entire life’s needs in vitamins, medications, and nutrients – barring some drastic external force.

But Dav was from New Vitriol, and his ancestors had split from the rest of the human gene pool hundreds of years before.  Natural mutation, radiation damage, and other factors related to this split, along with the total lack of medical history, made this a very exciting case.

Making notes to check back on this data for several papers he was working on, he pressed on through

Ah, a tumor.  It was a mature teratoma, with a high chance of being benign.  Still, they should remove it.

He went back into the room.

Dav seemed nervous, though he was re-dressed.  Y had given him enough time for that.

His auto-planning routine thought maybe it’d be best to lie to the man; any mention of a tumor or cancer might cause undue concern.

He rejected that as unethical, even if it was the path that brought his patient the most comfort.  If the man later found out the truth it would destroy trust and cause much more alarm.

“It seems that you require a minor operation to remove a harmless mass,” he said.  “Do not worry, it is quick and painless, we can schedule you for ten minutes from now if you wish, or do so tomorrow or the day after.”

The man blinked.  “A tumor?” he asked, his face creasing.

“In the technical sense, yes, but I feel very confident that it is benign.”

Tell him it has teeth and hair, one auto-planning routine suggested, that it looks like a clown.

This APR primarily suggested humorous ideas, but this was not a good one.  Not even if he could liken it to a clown.

“Can you get it all?” the man said.

“Oh, absolutely,” Y said.  “After primary removal we will do some clean-up with some medical probes, and will continue to monitor your health afterward.  So!  Would you like to have that done today?”

The man considered, then nodded.  “Yeah,” he said.  “Sure.  I mean, it’s still free, right?”

“Nothing is free, Dav Gannin, but you will not be charged money,” Y said.  “Healthcare is a right of everyone in the Sapient Union.”

The man looked very shocked again, and another APR that focused on past causes of human behaviour suggested documents relating to the history of medical care on New Vitriol.  He did not need to review them to know it had been run for profit, and had therefore been quite inadequate for anyone who wasn’t wealthy.

The man left, and Y considered doing the operation himself.  He’d enjoy doing it, but he knew that one of his other doctors could certainly handle it.  In fact, it was someone else’s turn.

Bringing up the list, he weighed the relative difficulty of the operation – it was very low on the scale.  He wanted to make sure his doctors all got a relatively balanced work-load.

Hm, Doctor Zyzus was due next, this was easily within his skillset.  He sent a message to the man, informing him.

It hardly needed supervision, but the SU preferred to have a surgeon on hand all the same.

Zyzus sent back a confirmation, Dr. Y noted that the drones were finished cleaning the room.

Dav had been his last appointment for the day.  In fact, the last of the backed-up appointments were being attended to by his doctors right now.

Heading out of the room and towards his office a dozen steps down the hall, he went through the remaining paperwork he had, first for his appointments, then for general work.

Time enough to work on his papers!  Scanning through the information he’d noted during the appointments, he made some changes to his latest paper, feeling it was actually quite ready to publish.  He’d sit on it for a day or two more, just to be sure.  It was very conservative of him, but sometimes it paid off.  And he did need to slow his pace of publishing.  He’d published over two hundred already this arbitrary yearly cycle, and there was such a thing as over-saturation.

Scanning over the whole of the document, he noted that it would be the ten thousandth he’d published in his career in the Sapient Union.  While it was only a number to him, humans seemed to like large, even numbers like this.  Perhaps this would be a sort of anniversary they’d be excited for?

Making a note to model that idea later, he then made some notes in his personal log and decided on a whim to adjust the height of his chassis units undergoing maintenance by one centimeter.  A fresh angle could add some zest to life and help him see things he had overlooked.

He took his twelfth step and was at his office.

Inside, he had . . . well, no work left.

Ah, well.  He’d just stand here for a while.  Perhaps he’d go ahead and model that potential celebration idea.  It was always pleasant to think of his friends.

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