It was a gloomy Monday morning and I couldn’t
help feeling there was something I’d forgotten. But no matter how much I tried to remember, it didn’t come.
I was busy
checking Seaview’s list of
medical supplies (we ran out a lot) for Chip’s spreadsheet, when there was an apologetic cough at my office door.
“Admiral, you finally decided on a
nicotine patch?” I’d been trying ever since I joined NIMR to get the man to stop his habitual smoking.
“Um, no. You’re needed upstairs.”
“What’s happened?” I said,
automatically grabbing my ever ready medical kit.
“You won’t need that. It’s
not a medical emergency. Lee wants to talk to us.”
Uh oh. While Nelson might find a little chat or even argument the norm with
Crane, if there was one person who almost had to be dragged by his hair follicles to even speak to me on a professional basis,
it was Lee Crane. One day I’d have to get to the bottom of his phobia of all things medical, and I could only wonder
what he, of all people, wanted to see me about.
I was surprised to see that in addition
to Lee, Kowalski was also in Nelsons’ office, in civies, his short sleeved shirt barely covering the bandage over his
bicep. Of course, I realized, belatedly, he’d had his tattoo removed over the weekend. For a brief moment, I imagined
the possibilities of infection, etc. But the crewman didn’t seem distressed at all. In fact, he seemed edgy about something.
That he’d rather be any place but here.
“Skipper?” I asked, deciding
to use the more genial term to defuse any potential problem, instead of the more formal ‘Commander’ or ‘Captain’,
as he was entitled to both due his rank and position.
He was sitting on the edge of Nelson’s
desk and looked at me almost casually before he said, dangerously quiet, “Why
didn’t you tell Ski that they’d use a topical anesthetic when they began to remove his tattoo?”
“I’m sure I did…we went
“No, you didn’t,” he slammed
his fist down on the desk as he jumped up. “And you,” he turned to Nelson, who leaned back in chair somewhat defensively,
“why did you give me all that crap about how hellish removing a tattoo could be?”
“But Lee, lad, I had it on the best
“Whose?” he said coolly, glancing
“I don’t know! It was online!”
Nelson said, exasperated.
“Why are you so upset, Captain?”
I asked, reverting to his title aboard Seaview. One could see he was in no mood
to be placated.
“Because if you’d bothered to inform us they’d be using some ,that it wouldn’t be quite so god-awful as we’d imagined,
it would have saved us a great deal of apprehension and anxiety, that’s why!”
“I’m not sure just what the Admiral told you, and even topical anesthetics don’t cut out all the pain involved in Laser removal.
Strictly speaking it’s not a medical procedure….”
“The place we had our consultations
is in a medical clinic! And Ski had
his first treatment in one! I’m going to have mine there, too!”
“Then I’d think you should be
pleasantly surprised!” Nelson said.
“Tell, him Ski.”
“Well, the stuff helped. A little.
allergic to the damn stuff! Had to give him adrenaline and stop short of actually finishing the treatment!”
“Not Will’s fault if even Ski
didn’t know he was allergic to it, Lee,” Nelson came to my defense.
“And now, what’s he supposed
to do, go back and get the rest of the job done without benefit of the damn cream? “
“It’s okay, Skipper…I
was going to in the first place…only…er…I’m sorry they had to switch your appointment to take care
of mine mine for next week.”
“I don’t mind about that, Ski.
What I mind," he glard at Nelson and I, "is that both us were having nightmares about the damn treatments when we could
have been thinking of more pleasant things. Even Lola knew I was stewing over it when
I couldn’t get it u..uh……never mind.”
“You’re back together?”
Nelson asked, not altogether pleased, I could tell.
“Captain,” I interrupted, “Like
Kowalski said, despite the topical, the laser still
hurt. Not as bad, I grant you, but there’s no guarantee the topical will work for you with any success at all , considering
that a human penis has between 4000 and 24, 000 nerve endings…”
“Do we have to be quite so graphic, Will?” Nelson said, rubbing his forehead.
“I don’t see why not. I wish
the procedure was not considered cosmetic, and that we could put him under, but there’s risk in any kind of anesthesia,
as we well know with his record. And frankly, Captain, I’d like to run an allergy test on you for the same family of
topicals the clinic has, just to be on the safe side for when you do have your appointment. If you still wish to go through
with it,” I added.
“4,000 to 24,000 nerve endings,”
Nelson was muttering, turning pale, “ oh gawd.”
Just then the sun came out from behind the clouds, making the Admiral’s cut crystal decanter of some very fine scotch
sparkle on the sideboard where he kept the stuff.
“Skipper?” I asked as I noticed
Crane studying it.
I know something else that might work,” he said
Now, I’m a medical physician, not
a witch doctor, but even I know dulling one’s senses, including the physical ones, is one of the benefits of a surfeit of booze. How could a solution for our boys be so simple?
And so, after a bit of coaxing (the staff
of the clinic was not amused), next weekend, Ski’s going to get plastered, under medical supervision, of course, to
be followed the weekend after (should Seaview be in port), by Crane.
I’m not sure those nerve endings will
be dulled enough for him not to be uncomfortable during the procedure, but he’s determined and there’s no way
to tell him to forget the whole thing.
There’s just one problem I’m
pondering on how to resolve.
The Tattoo Removal Technician on duty for
Lee’s appointment is female. I’m sure he’ll be big enough man, and/or drunk enough not to notice, but I
sure as hell don’t want to be around when Miss Hale finds out.