A new generation of Heroes
Part VI: The Doc
I didn’t sleep well that night either but I remained in bed, preferring to just lie in bed as long as I could. The early morning passed quickly; I took a shower and ate one of Caroline’s homemade muffins before working on my make up. That day was one of those days when I felt more girly and so I put on a tube top under denim and accompanied it with leggings.
Our first class of the day was physical ed, which was easily the class I hated the most in normal school.
Thankfully the girl inside of me had won it’s daily battle for dominance against my masculine side; exercising in a binder was simply torture. I wasn’t the fittest person in the world, chronic pain and exercise don’t mix well, and wearing a binder made it even worst; the last thing you want when doing lots of physical work is to have a piece of fabric constrict your chest.
The teacher came in more like a drill sergeant; getting us to line up, taking presence and immediately getting us the work out.
It wasn’t hard to see that I was easily one of the worst performing students in the class. Annabelle was the only one who was around my level.
As the exercise progressed, my body started being taken over by pain; not the constant aching I felt but pure and simple agony. Still, I pushed through, to be a hero, I had to perform, I needed to if I was to have a chance to be a hero.
As we got to the running part, I couldn’t even finish one lap before my body gave up on me. I braced myself against the gym’s wall so I wouldn’t fall down. Every fiber of my being was burning with pain.
“Hey, are you alright?” Charlie said, stopping by my side.
“No, I feel like I’m dying…”
Tears poured down my face and I couldn’t hold them in. Everything hurt, even breathing.
“Let me get the coach.” She said.
She jogged away and came back a minute later with the coach.
“What’s wrong?” The teacher asked.
“It just hurts so fucking much…” I answered. “I just can’t handle it anymore…”
“Where does it hurt?”
“Can you walk?”
“I think so…” I answered.
“Alright, follow the wall for support and get to the benches.”
As she’d suggested I used the wall to keep myself stable. I wanted to just crumble down and cry but my pride wouldn’t let me do it or ask for help, so instead I used all I had to keep enduring the pain just a little longer. The Teacher followed me closely until I reached a bench, she then disappeared only to come back a minute later with a bottle of water which she gave me. I took a long swig before splashing my face a bit.
It took me a second to answer. Living with an invisible chronic illness, you quickly learned that people wouldn’t believe you and just expected you to perform like your peers.
“I have fibromyalgia…”
“I’m afraid I’m not familiar with it.”
“I’m always in pain, I don’t sleep well and I’m fatigued most of the time…”
“Alright, we’ll have to adjust to a different exercise plan; focused on low impact exercises that will help you achieve a good level of physical fitness while minimizing pain. But that’s for another day, I think you should see our school doctor first; if you’re in enough pain for you to be unable to function, then we have to do something about it. Give me a minute to handle the rest of the class and then I’ll escort you.”
“Alright, gather around everyone.” The Coach said. “Now that I’ve what you lots are capable of, I think it’s time for an introduction; I’m Ms. Rachael Carver, better known as Juggernaut and I’ll be your physical fitness teacher for this year.”
“I’ve been taking notes of your capabilities; some of you performed perfect quite well, others acceptably well and some were rather far below par. On October first, that is twenty four days from now, you’ll receive your first evaluation, I expect all of you to have had a measure of improvement before then. If you pass our minimum standards and I deem your dedication sufficient, you’ll have the first of many requirements to advance to security clearance red. Those of you that don’t will have to take the test again in November. Is that understood?”
The class acquiesced and she gave them the rest of the period as free activities before coming back to me. She showed me the way to the Doctor’s office, which had its own little building, with a neon sign proclaiming it as ‘medical’ and another saying it was ‘open 24/7’ and supported me to minimize the effort.
We went in and an alien came to greet us. It was a dark blue lizard-like creature with four cat-like eyes, a short stocky body, a short wide tail and it had a bit of a hunch. It’s triangular head had tentacle like ornaments on the back of it’s head and the chin.
Before me was an honest to god Venusian, even in New York they were rare as hell; the first time I’d ever interacted with one. Itharii and Gimelian were relatively common, especially in New York city, only about forty thousand of Venusians lived on Earth Aleph.
Venusians didn’t exist in our earth, code named Earth Aleph, but one of the earth we’d contacted featured an inhabitable Venus rather than the hellish ball of volcanic surface covered in carbon dioxide where sulfuric acid rained that we had. In the Earth Bet universe, Venusians and humans had made contact and been a peace for a little under a century.
“Doctor, this is Mx Allison Walker, they are one of our student and they’re feeling unwell. If you could take care of them it would be much appreciated.”
“Of course.” The doctor answered, dragging the ‘S‘ along a little as they spoke before turning toward me and extending one of it’s four fingered hands, which I shook politely.
“Hello my name is Szijkith sja Szjjil. As this can be quite a mouthful, you may refer to me as Sij or by the nickname of ‘Doc Venus.’ I’d also like to advise you that I am female and would like to be referred as such.”
“A silly nickname given to me by past students due to my species origin. One I’m rather fond of. Would you mind sitting on my examination table?” She asked.
I did as she asked and hoisted myself on the table.
“So, what may I help you with?”
“My Fibromyalgia’s acting up…” I didn’t really expect her to know what it was. “It’s an illness where–”
“I know what Fibromyalgia is.” She cut me. “It is a chronic condition characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. It is more frequent in females than males. It is typically diagnosed by the appearance of several of nine possible pairs of tender points on the body.”
“You know more than my own family doctor when we first came to him… I’m kind of surprised.”
“Most of my first time patients are, but in reality I’m actually a specialist of human biology, I’m not qualified to operate on or diagnose other Venusians. However I have over seventy one years of experience studying and treating human illnesses.”
“Why become a human doctor?”
“I find humans to be very interesting and… may I say adorable…” Her head tentacle things moved a little; sticking closer to her skull. “Would you mind if I examine you?” She asked after a moment.
She carefully examined me, touching my tender points which made me cry out in pain.
“I apologize for the discomfort, but had to personally verify the diagnosis. Now that I have, I can help you. We have a medical bath in the other room, the heat should help provide relief to your muscles and warm water may raise your endorphin levels.”
It really wasn’t much of a solution but I didn’t really protest. She showed me the way to another room connected to her clinic which held a massive bath. She opened the water and adjusted it.
“You may or may not keep your underwear at your own discretion. To ensure you have the time to relax, I will sign you off your next class, recordings will allow you to catch up on what you may have missed.” With that said, she left the room and closed the door.
I kept my panties but removed my bra before soaking in. I sat at the bottom of the tub and just let the warm water do its work. I tried to relax as best I could. A few minutes late Dr. Sij knocked on the door.
“You can come in.”
She opened it a little and slipped through. She then lowered herself and handed me a paper cup of water and a lone pill.
“A light opioid painkiller to help you. Don’t break it, swallow it whole.”
I took both in my hands and gulped the pill down. Sij returned to her work and I tried to rest again. The painkiller slowly took effect, it didn’t give me a buzz or anything, but the pain slowly faded away and for the first time in days I managed to relax. I fell asleep sometime during my soak only to be woken up for lunch.I got myself dried up, cleaned my ruined makeup and dressed back up before heading for the cafeteria. I got a soup and a grilled cheese before heading for the table that we’d laid claim to the previous day. Once they saw me, a group of my classmates approached me, including Charlie, Caroline and Mace.
“Hey, are you alright?” Mace asked. “You looked awful this morning.”
“I’m better now, I was just having a bad day.”
“That wasn’t normal, are you sure you’re okay?”
“Yeah… I have a chronic illness that causes me to almost always be in pain.”
“Jesus.” Caroline said. “That’s awful.” She wrapped her arms around me and I let her. “I’m so sorry.”
“It’s okay, I’m used to it really… It’s that this morning was just worst than usual.”
“Are you going to be okay for this afternoon?” She asked.
“Yeah, I got some rest and the doctor gave me something.”
We ate together before heading for the dorm to get our stuff for the next class; Parahuman ethics.
“Not to be an ass, but you still look like hell. Want me to carry your stuff, you look like you could use some help.” Mace asked, coming to my side.
“Thanks, that’d be nice actually.”
“No problem.” He said, taking my bag.
“No flirting today?”
“Nah, today’s more of a day for caring.” He answered with a smile.