Chapter 6.16 – Patient

As the overarching story comes to a climax, I find that I am tasked with putting into words, the act of repairing the universe. I had wondered if, perhaps, I’d painted myself into a corner this time. So, over the past few days, during my quiet daily commute through rural Nashville, I have contemplated how to approach the job.
Now, I have always been a big fan of the KISS principal (Keep It Simple, Stupid). I could have attempted to write some verbose pseudoscientific word scramble, worthy of a Star Trek – Voyager episode. But I decided against that early during the planning. Then I realized what really was missing from the whole thing, was a bit of context.
What if the universe were alive, and injured? And what if our favorite reality-hopping sims were the attending physicians?
When a patient is ill, or has some defect or injury; the physician draws upon cumulative knowledge gained from the treatment of similar injuries to make a diagnosis. The patient benefits from the trial and error of those who have suffered a similar afflictions in the past. And when something new surfaces, the trial and error process begins again.
When there is no prior experience to draw from; skill, empathy, and intuition all play a part in determining to what degree the patient recovers from the ailment. In some cases, empathy and intuition play a much larger role. But more times than not, skill is the deciding factor in determining the overall success of treatment.
Regardless of any effort on the physician’s part, the patient must first possess the ability to heal. It is the one thing a doctor cannot do. Of course, the patient can cooperate by taking medications on time, or changing bandages, or following a set procedure. But the actual healing is something that just happens on its own. And it is a delicate thing, to be sure.
If the body becomes damaged beyond its ability to heal, then there is no recourse. Otherwise, once the thing causing damage has been removed and a path to recovery has been cleared, something amazing happens. The body repairs itself.
The damaged parts are replaced, purged, or protected with scarring. The body will even compensate if something such as sight or hearing has been lost. But for the more routine ailments, the body is capable of healing completely from the damage it sustains. Bruises will fade, bones will mend, and cuts will close.
All parts of the body are affected when the healing takes place; even the perfectly healthy ones. Certainly, there is some pain involved. And the pain of healing can be as traumatic as the pain of suffering the injury. But again, the doctor’s knowledge of this process can help to ease some of these stresses.
Thanks to the doctor, whose skill stops a wound from bleeding – and to the body which repairs itself from damage – and to the patient who makes strides to recover; the wound heals. Perhaps some measure of luck is involved as well, though neither the patient or doctor will ever know for sure.
Blood lost as a result of the injury will eventually be replaced by new blood. But there are some things, such as lost limbs, digits, or organs; which the body will never regrow. There may still be some trauma from remembering the initial pain, and the pain of healing, or the memory of what life was like before the injury. For some patients, the mind will very often linger long after the body has healed.
Finally, after the healing is complete, and the patient is healthy again; comes the time for celebration. Now considered a hero, the doctor has been able to intervene and allow the patient’s body to do its job of repairing itself. If not for the physician, the patient would surely have died. The doctor will undoubtedly have lost some sleep and precious time away from family while working to keep the patient alive.
And while the lost time can never be regained, the humble sacrifice proves to be, in the long-run,  only a small price to pay for that which has been prevented.

4 thoughts on “Chapter 6.16 – Patient

  1. Ok, I have this feeling that everything is fine now, but that not everything is the same…I am eager to see the differences in the next chapter of the story.


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