Chapter Twenty-One (cont.)
Matt flinched as Quincy gentled probed the swollen flesh. The surgeon frowned and he ran a tricorder over the inflamed thigh and shook his head. “I was afraid of this, Matt,” he said quietly. “The bone is infected again
. Luckily, we caught it early this time.”
“Just give me the shot, Quincy,” Matt said through clenched teeth. “I’ve got to get back on the bridge.”
“Matt, the Ladoculkaine VII is what’s causing this; it stopped the pain, but it has also suppressed your immune system, which is why the infection has flared up so quickly. I can’t risk giving you another dose. It’s one of the known side-effects of the drug, but only in about twenty percent of cases; I’d hoped we would get lucky and avoid this complication.”
“So what are our options, Doctor?” Matt growled.
“We fight the infection—and you’ve got to face reality here, Matt. We are approaching the point where that leg has to come off,” Quincy’s voice trailed off, and then he grimaced. “Or we try something radical and unproven.”
The surgeon pressed a hypospray against the thigh and it hissed as he injected the tissue with a powerful compound to fight the infection. Matt flinched.
“Dr. Woolsey has suggested that we attempt a Klingon procedure known as an inverse replication transplant. Basically, we scan your good leg, invert it to match your bad leg, and replicate the tissue. And then we go in and cut away the bad and attach the good. The problem is that it has never been performed on a human subject, Matt. It works on Klingons because of their redundant physiology, but has never been used on their limbs. It is used to restore damaged internal organs, primarily.”
“How long would it take?”
“It’s major surgery, Matt. We are talking twelve hours for the actual procedure, and you will be in bed for three or four more days afterwards, if not a week. If it works. If it doesn’t, then the leg will have to removed completely, and we will have to look at a prosthetic or an organic replacement.”
“Quincy, I can’t spare that kind of time at this moment!”
“I know. We’ve got a few days for you to make up your mind, Matt, but the pain is going to get worse. I’ll put this off until after you deal with the Nephkyrie, but then I want you on my table, Captain. And if the infection spreads, it won’t matter how busy you are or how much you are needed; I’ll relieve you and haul your ass down to sickbay for the procedure.”
“I can live with that.”
“You can die with that if the bone turns septic, Captain. I can give you one of your old pain meds, but . . .”
“But, they cloud my thinking. I’ll manage, Quincy.”
The surgeon nodded and he closed his medical bag. “I’m sorry, Matt. I thought the Ladoculkaine VII would give you time to heal.”
“Not your fault, Quincy. Help me up, would you?”
The old doctor bent down, and Matt placed an arm around his shoulder, and together the two men got the Captain back to his feet. “And before you tell me, I am planning on staying in my chair.”
“Glory hallelujah. He does have some common sense, after all,” the doctor snorted as Matt pulled up trousers and fastened them.
“Bridge to Captain Dahlgren,
” the intercom announced.
“Go ahead,” Matt said as he tapped his comm badge, then took his cane from Quincy.
“Sir, everyone is in position and ready to begin,
” Chan said.
“Very well, Mister Shrak. Sound Red Alert; I am on my way to the bridge. Dahlgren out.”
Matt took two limping steps to the door and then he turned around. “And you best get to sickbay, Quincy.”
, I escort you to the bridge, Matt. Don’t want you to fall over in the turbolift and have to call for assistance in getting back up.”