PHD #242: Water Therapy
Water Therapy
Summary: Sometimes healing the spirit is just as important as healing the body.
Date: 27 Oct 2041 AE
Related Logs: The Spark of Humanity
Cameron Ximena 
Athletics Area
A large pair of mats dominates the center of this room, their centers taped-out for a small area to practice boxing or other martial arts. Around the outside are treadmills, bikes, weights, and an impressive variety of gym equipment to help tone and shape the bodies of the crew. To one side of the room is the locker room while at the rear is a hatch that leads back to the oversized swimming pool. Off to the side is a rack that holds boxing gloves, pugil sticks, and the associated pads for the sticks.
Post-Holocaust Day: #242

As promised, Ximena delivered her schedule down to the good doctor. Also as promised, she agreed to make room in her schedule, thank goodness for being M&R for that, for a trip to the Athletics Area, and more specifically, to the pool. She's already in the water far ahead of her scheduled appointment time. The Chair is parked not far from the shallow end of the pool, close enough to be gotten into easily enough, and beside it on the floor are a pair of the crutches she uses to practice walking with. For the time being, she's neither trying to swim, nor walking along the edge as she can. Instead, she's floating out in the shallow end, eyes closed, arms out on either side of her. The wall close enough for her to reach out and touch.

Entering into the pool area in a pair of borrowed swim trunks, a towel slung over one shoulder, Cameron is surprised to find that Ximena beat him to the pool and even more surprised that she's already in it, alone. Dangerous. To be in here, alone, in her condition? What if she had slipped? What is she floated to the deep end and then had a cramp or something? Taking a slow breath in, he hangs up the towel and calls out lightly, "Are you earlier? Or am I late?" He walks down the steps into the lukewarm water, adjusting to the slightly cooler temperature before heading toward Ximena's side, eyes studying her form both professionally and, well, not so professionally. Hey, come on, he's a doctor sure, but he's still a man.

"You're early," says the woman floating in her regulation swimsuit. Ximena recognizes and responds to the voice, but she doesn't open her eyes. Perhaps its easier that way. Still, she looks not so much different than she did before warday. Which is both a testament to the fact that she was always slim, with a slender, almost coltish build to begin with, and to the efforts she's made to force her body to do as much as it can do. So not so much atrophy as one might expect. Or perhaps there wouldn't be much, since she can walk with very heavy assistance. She doesn't know. She just is.

"Then you're extra early… hoping to get the worm?" he jokes lightly before settling in at her side. He doesn't want to push her, to upset her, but the truth is that he needs to know. He needs at least a sense of what he's dealing with before he knows what to recommend and try with her. "I realize," he begins, "that I'm not your doctor and truthfully I'm not even officially allowed to help you or recommend treatment. That said, I took an oath to do no harm. So if you could, I need you to tell me what happened to you in the initial accident. What treatment you received. It would also be good to know what you can and cannot feel. What pain you do or do not experience. And what physical things you can do and to what degree, as well as whether or not there's been either improvement or a decline in said abilities. His hand comes to rest ever so lightly against her back, a mild support to her floating as Cameron looks down at Ximena's face.

"Well, that is what they say about the early bird." There's a soft exhale, before Ximena finally opens her eyes, staring up at the ceiling, though Cameron's close enough that her gaze passes him on the way, "Truth is, once I talked myself into actually coming down here, I had to get moving as soon as I did or else I would have talked myself back out of it." Silence, after, to listen to him speak, and the questions that follow after, "We were in a transport, when the nukes went off. The shockwave it us maybe a few seconds later. Threw the transport off the road probably a couple of dozen meters from where we started. Was hard. I know I was torn out of my restraints, and I don't remember all of what happened. I guess I must have blacked out. When I came to, a couple of my squad who had made it out were pulling me out of the wreck, and I couldn't move to help them. Thought it was just shock from the accident, you know?"

"You earn a gold star for tenacity then, or determination, or maybe willpower. Something like that," Cameron murmurs with a small smile. "I know I don't have the right to say so, and it's incredibly pompous to do so, cause it's got nothing to do with me whatsoever, but I'm proud of you. For coming here after all." He doesn't add that he wishes she would wait for him though. She's a grown woman and it's not his place to tell her she can't make good decisions. But maybe next time he'll come a little extra early as well. Just to be safe. He nods as she tells her story, indicating without words that he's with her, listening to her.

"We found an old abandoned warehouse to put up in. And I stayed laid up probably close to a full month. When we had to move, they built a stretcher for me to stay on. But after a while, once we started losing people, it just wasn't feasible anymore. So they found me a chair, and I did as much as I could to keep up. Probably made it worse, I don't know. The pain in my back is pretty constant when I try to walk, but I don't feel anything grinding around back there." Ximena continues to look at the ceiling, glancing over only briefly, at the doctor's words, "I didn't have much choice but to keep on going. By the time we got to the end of May, I was the only one left. Everyone else was dead or wandered off to find their own way." Finally, she does look back at the man standing in the water next to her, "I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you."

Both hands come to rest against her back, a small smile touching his lips at her final words as he returns, "I'm honored." He holds there for a moment, just smiling at her as he adds, "You're here because of you. You survived, wounded, against all odds. You're amazing." His words are certainly complimentary, but he says them so simply and honestly, as pure fact. "Okay then, let's start with the basics. When I'm touching the places in your back that hurt, tell me to stop moving my hand, okay?" He starts with her spine, fingers resting lightly at the nape of her neck before slowly descending along the length of it. "So when you try to walk, your muscles obey your commands, but you can't feel the movement or the pressure? Or do only certain muscles react?"

"I'm just here." Nothing amazing about that. "I can feel everything along my back. I don't have any trouble with pretty much everything in my trunk. It's like, my legs that just give me trouble. I haven't had any trouble with bodily functions, that I know of, but I don't exactly have the full…life that another woman might." Meaning, no issues with head-related things, but anything more personal she doesn't know. Gross, maybe, but it is a consideration for people in her condition. "Usually it radiates from the small of my back," she offers, "Like when you have a pulled muscle. I don't know how to describe it." Ximena thinks for a moment, trying to describe exactly, "It's like…you remember those old marionettes? Some of the muscles work, I guess, but, I really have to focus and I can't just keep standing without anything to hold onto. I have to have something to lean on, and I can't move quickly, it's like…I sort of have to drag myself along. I don't really feel movement or pressure, it's like, I know I'm moving because I can see myself moving."

"Mmmmm," concurs Cameron, "but there's a good chance that the pain you feel in your back is related to the nerve damage in your legs. Though some pain is probably just from muscles overcompensating. I'm trying to determine which it is and where it is. So if I touch an area that hurts, just say so." But when she clarifies the area, his hand shifts to the small of her back, touching where the spine dips as he asks, "Here?" and then his hands feather out to the muscles along either side of the spine as he asks, "Or here?" Glancing down to her feet, Cameron suggests, "Let's try a little experiment. Try to wiggle your toes for me." As for the rest, Cameron murmurs softly, "Don't feel too bad. I've met several women who aren't having a full life, as you put it, who have no physical reasons not to. I don't think that's a high priority for a lot of people right now. He's not the least bit embarrassed, though he has already made a mental note to determine at what point she loses sensation. If it begins at her thighs, there's no reason why she can't enjoy a "full" life just the way she is.

Ximena makes a face, as Cameron's fingers move along her back, and the hand on his side reaches out to swat at him, "No tickles!" Not that he knows she's ticklish there, but that's not the point! "No pain yet," once she gets over the urge to laugh, which would likely end up with her under the water. Not good, "Right there, just at the very bottom there." Or what feels like the base, it's just where the base of her spine begins to fuse together into the tailbone, pretty much exactly where all of the nerves that control her legs are branching out. "Nothing." Nope, toes are not wiggling, even a little bit. "Well, they damned well should be while they still can."

Chuckling softly as she swats at him, Cameron gloats, "Ahhhhh, now I know your weakness… my cunning plan worked!" But his fingers press lightly, rather than skim the rest of the way so as to spare her from a cruel and unintentional tickling. Nodding thoughtfully as his hand returns to the base of her spine, he asks, "No pain anywhere else? Just here? Okay, try moving your feet, either up and down or in circles from the ankle." His suspicion is growing that she has some motor control of her upper thighs, but that the further down one ventures, the less control she has, if any.

Cameron has asked her to do something, and Cameron is just going to have to live with the consequences, as Ximena shifts in the water, twisting so that she can slide an arm around his waist, using his body to support herself and keep her from dunking into the water. Whether or not the simple fact of being in the water would negate the usual assistance she requires isn't something she thinks about. She just doesn't want to drown. Once she's settles against him, she falls still, as it does indeed seem to take all of her energy to focus, but finally, she does manage to move her legs, the lower parts following the lead of the upper.

The doctor is fine with consequences, especially if the worst of them involves Ximena wrapping an arm about his lean waist. His hands immediately shift to support her, to keep her torso raised so she does not, indeed, drown, his voice steady as he notes in assurance, "I got you, I got you…" He watches what she does, her gluteus maximus muscles working fairly well, the quadriceps less so, if at all, and the rest is just being taken along for the ride. "Okay, good," he offers, even though that wasn't exactly what he asked of her. But he doesn't want to try Mena's patience and instead offers, "I think water therapy would be a good thing. You can work on walking without the weight being a problem. I think this would be the best way for you to work on keeping your muscles as strong and fit as possible. You'll be able to work out for longer with less strain on your body. And I can help you work on the lower muscles, your calves and feet, so they stay strong." They've already begun to atrophy somewhat. Hopefully she's been getting someone or some equipment to help her work them out since she can't by herself. "You wanna try some walking?"

Ximena knows that's not what he asked, but, she offers, as she attempts to release him, "That's the only way I can move anything below my knees. It doesn't just move by itself." Which would go a long way towards explaining why she has so much trouble walking. Lacking the control, as she is, to shift and pivot and support her weight, "Alright." Her expression is calm and fixed, sort the way it always is, when she's trying to keep hold of herself. "Give me a minute." It's not as seamless, for her, the transition between floating and 'standing', but with both hands reaching out for the edge of the pool, she does finally manage it. And she's much taller standing than she was in The Chair, nearly 5'6". Ximena takes her time, facing away from the water, hands gripping the edge of the pool tightly to support her, even reduced, weight and keep her in position, "I have running dreams, all the time."

"Take your time," he offers mildly, "and don't hesitate to ask for help if you need it. That's what I'm here for. I'm a tool." And then he pauses and smirks and corrects, "Not that kind of tool. I'm here at your disposal, so make use of me." At 5'11", Cameron isn't that much taller than Ximena once she's upright again. He offers her his arm so she can try to walk the width of the pool with one hand on the edge and the other holding onto him for support and balance. He nods at her words and replies, "Of course you do. I once had a patient who lost the use of her arms. Hated exercising with a passion, but she used to dream about lifting weights once she couldn't any more. We often dream about things we want to do. When we're children, we dream of flying. But then we grow up, realize we're never going to fly, and we stop dreaming about it." Studying her profile, Cameron notes, "I think it's good, that you dream about running. It means that you really want to. I'll be more concerned when you stop dreaming about it."

"There are a lot of things I want to do. But wanting doesn't make it so." Ximena looks across at the man offering his arm and then nods, reaching out to place a hand on his forearm, the other still on the side of the pool as she turns towards the deep end, still a few feet off, "It's funny, in my dreams, The Chair is moving along next to me, keeping up. But it doesn't make me feel sad, you know?" A few more minutes and she begins, her steps still slow and careful. But the buoyancy of the water makes the going much easier than it is on land, and she doesn't need as much support as she normally does. And the distortion of the water makes it almost look normal.

"Wanting makes it more possible than not wanting it. Wanting it means you'll try harder, do whatever it takes. Once you stop wanting, well, all the medicine in the world won't help you. It's the wanting that makes people heal, Ximena. The medicine merely helps to facilitate the process. And sure, sometimes wanting isn't enough. But without it? Well, then it's nothing, isn't it?" They take a few steps, Cameron patiently taking Ximena's lead and pace, smiling a little as he asks, "Easier, isn't it? But still work, cause the water resists you both up and down, and, well, gravity still works too." He ponders for a moment before he offers, "I think it makes sense. Your chair is your friend, really. In older days, your guide dog. The thing that helps you every single day, your constant companion that you can always rely on. And made by your own hands. That makes it every more personal. Makes sense to me that it would be 'running' along side you. It supports you now, so it only makes sense that it would support you even when you no longer needed it's help. That's what friends do, right? Stay by your side through thick and thin, bad times and good."

"Until it involves other people. And then all the wanting in the world won't make it so. I lost my best friend that way. And I never thought I'd see the day when he went his way and I went mine. Not after what we went through on Sagittaron." Ximena continues walking, pausing only once she gets to the end of the shallow end. She is NOT going to go any further. Instead, she turns and prepares to go back the way she came. "Much easier. I would have been crying or passed out by now if I were on my crutches." He is her doctor, right? If she can't be honest with him, who can she be honest with? "Sometimes I wish it were the sort of friend that knows when to go home and leave you alone."

That catches him off-guard, a small crease resting upon Cameron's brow as he accepts the acrimony that she offers up and ponders it quietly. As she turns to go back the other way, Cameron turns as well and offers her his opposite arm for support. "I'm sorry," he offers sincerely, "about your friend. I hope… I hope that he realizes his mistake and that you can forgive him. These are hard times, full of dashed hopes. People are strained to their fullest, and that makes everything just harder." He doesn't flinch or react at her description of her usual walking efforts, simply nods and files it away. For all her frustration and anger she wants this. She wouldn't push herself so hard if she didn't, and that's a good thing. Chuckling softly, he notes, "Well, we can always perform an intervention, tell The Chair that you need some space for a change. Perhaps set up a restraining order?"

Ximena begins again, spending most of her concentration on moving, which, even with the water, brings beads of sweat to her face. It's still plain hard, even with Cameron supporting her, even with her own body supporting her. "It's like walking with lead boots on your feet." She does look over at his condolences, "He wanted me to be something for him I just didn't feel. That I couldn't be, not without lying to him. And to myself. I should have seen it earlier, but I didn't." She doesn't bother to further elaborate, but hopefully the doctor can figure it out from her clearly unclear comment. "Would be wonderful if we could, but I don't think a palanquin and four retainers managed to survive the end of the worlds."

"That would be cause your feet are like lead boots right now. Well, feet and calves, lets be fair." She doesn't have to spell out what she means about her friend and what he wanted. Her vagueness makes it all too clear to Cameron what her friend wanted and what she felt she couldn't give him. Which is sad, really because he also suspects that even if she was inclined to feel that way toward said friend, she would deny it and bury it because of, well, because of why they are here right now. "You've been through a lot together. Hopefully that will see out in the end." They reach the end and Cameron suggests, "I think that's good for today." Drawing in front of her, he hunkers down and offers with a glance over his shoulder, "Well, if a restraining order won't do for the short term, we can at least offer you the occasional alternate ride. Hop on."

"I can hope, at least. I don't want to lose him as a friend. Even if I can't be anything more to him than that." Ximena comes to a stop, once Cameron gives the order. And an order is an order whether you're a civilian doctor or not, "Alright. I just have to get to The Chair and I can head into the lockers to change—" A look, at the man as she sees him get ready to piggy back her, "I'm not sure how well that's going to work. You're going to end up just like me." But she at least moves closer, "Wouldn't it be easier just to sweep me off of my feet?"

Pffting softly, Cameron assures, "I might not look like one of those Marines, but I'm plenty strong." Turning about he smiles down at Ximena and notes, "Whatever the lady wants…" and with an easy duck he sweeps an arm under her less than stable legs and lifts her up against his chest before climbing carefully out of the water, the pair of them dripping as he carries Ximena past her chair and over to a number of small tables that have been set up. "We all need more friends, but it can be hard right now. But I hope he realizes what he had and doesn't give up on your or your friendship." Settling her down upon one of the tables, Cameron orders mildly, "Time for the next part of your therapy, and this part you're gonna like. Lie down on your stomach?"

"You don't need to. Huge muscles and a carved physique do not the perfect man make. Take it from a woman who used to know." Ximena allows Cameron to sweep her up, slipping her arms around his neck to support herself, though she does her best to hold herself still, lest he slip and they both end up back in the water. "I hope so too. But then part of me wonders if he could really be my friend if he'd just…" She shakes her head, as she's put back down on the table, and she nearly disentangles herself from the doctor, "Give me a minute." Like trying to lie down on the cot, maneuvering herself around to lie on her stomach takes some finagling. But after a few minutes, she's settled, hands under her chin, "If you plan on shooting me up with anything, let me know in advance so I can close my eyes."

"Pffft. I hate to break it to you, Ximena, but you're still very much a woman in the know, even if you haven't been actively practicing for awhile. Hell, I haven't been actively practicing in a while, and I ain't talking about medicine." He waits for her to get comfortably settled, stepping over to where he put his clothes and opening up the locker to pull out a small bottle. "No, nothing like that," he assures her as he gently presses her hair away from her shoulders before squirting a little of the bottle's contents onto his hands. She feels his hands upon her back again, but unlike in the water, where they were light and tentative, now they are firm and strong, sweeping up the length of her back in a traditional massage pattern before sliding back down along her sides. The suit reveals enough of her back and shoulders to make giving her a massage nearly as easy as if she were nude. He slowly and patiently works over the surface of her back, warming her skin and coating it lightly with oil, easing tired and sore muscles in long powerful strokes before searching out individual knots and working on them. "Getting regular massage would be a good thing for you. Your body is overcompensating for your injury, which in turn can create other strains and injuries. Massage will help your muscles remember the shapes they're supposed to be in, help rebalance you…"

"Shouldn't be too hard for you. You're not exactly bad-looking, and you have a captive audience down in the hangar deck. Like shooting ducks on a pond." Ximena does turn her head, so that even if she can't precisely see the doctor, she is at least looking in his direction, "I wouldn't even know where to begin, Cameron." There's a softness in her voice, a hesitation, "How could I even….I can't even stand to look at myself most days. And I certainly can't participate." It's a painful subject for the woman. The loss of something so fundamental to being a woman, the ability to actually be a woman. And it's also one of the areas that's usually a struggle for people in her situation. "I try to avoid sickbay whenever I can. I managed to get a billet, but I worry every day that they're going to pull it, and I'll be out of a job again. Every mark on my medical file is a mark they could use against me, if they wanted to."

Laughing softly, Cameron counters, "And as about as much privacy as ducks on a pond. No thank you. Besides, I'm not really the performing type, so audiences, captive or otherwise, aren't really my thing." His hands pause for a moment before he notes, "I'm going to work on your legs, stretch the muscles a little, so don't worry if you can't feel what I'm doing." He works her feet and ankles, stretches her calves, and massages the muscles there as he listens to her. Working his way up one leg he start pinching the skin of her thigh, moving up from her knee in inch increments, waiting to see when she can feel it, when she reacts, so he can prove to her just how wrong she is. "That's too bad," he returns mildly. "I'm no mirror, but what I see is a smart, sexy, beautiful woman who is incredibly strong and determined not to cut herself an inch of slack or kindness, even if she deserves it. And as for work, there will always be a need for smart capable personnel, no matter what their handicap. There are just not enough of us left not to need every single available hand."

"Nah, you just need to learn the trick of it is all. Big hangar bay like that…there are tones of places to go for privacy. Same way in the whole of the ship. Believe me, we don't have anymore privacy than you do. I don't know if you've seen the berthings, but they're bunked single beds, two high and twenty-four units deep. All you've got between you and forty-seven other people is a curtain." Ximena does try to look back, as Cameron moves further down along her body, but it's not a good angle at the best of times, and she returns to lying out flat. "I can feel a little bit of pressure, every once in a while, but not anything I would call a touch." It's only the tops of her thighs that his pinch gets an 'ouch' from the woman. "I know you're down there." A headshake, at his comment, "Maybe one day I'll see what you see. And that's exactly why they did put me to work. But I have a feeling of they found someone, anyone better, they'd given them my billet. Though, I suppose I could always find a job on the freighter."

"I want more than a quickie behind some crates," Cameron offers simply, and leaves it at that. When did this become about his sex life? But her words about arrangements is less than hopeful. Where does anyone find the space to have any kind of intimate relationship that's about more than just getting off?? "This ship must be full of a lot very sexual frustrated people," he postulates thoughtfully with a shake of his head. He smiles at the ouch though and counters, "Well, if you can feel that, then you can be as much of a 'woman' as you want. Everything from here up is in functional working condition with full sensory input." He returns to her top, taking a seat next to her as he strokes his hands over her arms, massaging the muscles there, down to her very fingertips. Stretching out her hand with both of his, he works his thumbs over her palms, blue eyes meeting grey, like the sky meeting the stormy sea. "I sure hope you do. Cause lady, you take my breath away," he confesses with a small smile. Biting his lower lip, Cameron shakes his head and offers, "I'm going to give you a terrible piece of advice that my mother used to always give to me. 'Cameron,' she would say, 'Don't anticipate. Participate.' I hate that phrase, more often because it's true. There's no point in worrying about whether they're going to find someone better or give your billet away. All you have is the here and the now. You can worry all you want about the rest, but you can't control it. So why stress about what might never even come to pass. Be here. Now. Nowhere else." His head tilts as he asks, "Are you even letting yourself enjoy this? Experience this? Or are you fretting too much about what might be to even feel my touch?"

"Some, yes. Most of the time, you live in sardine cans so long, you just start dong whatever you please and to hell with anyone who could hear you in the area. You live with a lack of privacy long enough, it doesn't much bother you anymore, I suppose. It's like…we don't have separate heads, like you do in the hangar. It's males and females all sharing them at the same time. You just learn not to look. It's all the privacy living like this affords you." Ximena shifts, once Cameron does, carefully sidestepping the issue, even though she was the one that brought it up. She wanted to know, but it's suddenly too close to home, "Then why are you still talking?" But that's gentle said, with as careful a smile for him, as he offered her. "I'm not fretting. I'm asking questions I've been waiting a hell of a long time to ask." She doesn't have to go further with that. Cameron would probably know better than anyone what it's been like for her. Lost in the dark, "I can feel you. And I am enjoying the experience." Soft and simple and honest.

He laughs softly as she cleverly catches his deception on the 'breathless' compliment, returning only, "Touche', your point." Tilting his head to one side, Cameron gets up and shifts around to work on Ximena's opposite arm, repeating the pattern down to her fingertips once again. "Ahhhhh. Well, I'm afraid I have neither a therapist's license or a liquor one. But you feel free to talk about whatever you like and I'll pretend to serve up drinks while I listen. Ask your questions." At her simple confession, he smiles and replies, "Good. I want you to enjoy this as much as possible." But she's given me a great deal of food for thought, recommendations that he ponders making once he's met with the CMO.

"Well, I'm not much of a drinker anymore. Could you picture me drunk in The Chair barreling down the hallways tossing people like bowling pins? I don't think that would go over too well with anyone." Ximena shifts, once again, to again be looking at Cameron as he comes around to her other side, "And I don't need a therapist," which is totally a lie, but you know… "What's your assessment so far? I know you haven't had a chance to stick me in any of your machines and bake me like a turkey yet."

"You'd always be drunk driving," Cameron chuckles softly, the image indeed easily coming to mind and entertaining him vastly it would seem. "Well, if you ever find you're in the need to properly tie one on, you can always give me the keys to the car and I'll see you safely back 'home', as it were." Finishing the massage, Cameron picks up his towel and wipes his hand off noting, "Without the diagnostic equipment it's all guess work, really. Couple of possibilities. Could be that it's all up here," he notes, touching the nape of her neck. "A head injury perhaps that has scrambled some connections, maybe bleeding in the brain that created a swelling that is cutting off nerve control to that area of the body. More likely trauma to the spine, but it's unusual. No obviously crushed vertebrae and the damage is only partial. That's unusual." He doesn't even mention the third possibility, that part of the problem could be psychosomatic. Nobody wants to be told that it's all in their head and they just need to snap out of it. And though not a likely possibility, it does remain a possibility.

"I'll have to make sure to make an extra set of keys, just in case. Driving drunk at eleven miles an hour on a battlestar could make for a very dangerous living environment." Once the massage is done, Ximena shifts to rest on her side, in equal parts studying the man in front of her and listening to his words, "Do you even have the equipment on the ship to look at me properly?" The idea that there could be any number of areas that are broken is not a pleasant thought, "AT least if you have to have a patient, I should be glad that I'm an interesting one." She can at least offer him that.

Taking a deep breath, Cameron replies, "I would be very surprised if we did not have the proper diagnostic equipment on board the ship. After all, this is a military vessel with the high likelihood that its crew will be working under dangerous and hazardous conditions. Good diagnostic equipment would be, in my opinion, essential. Whether the ship has the proper operating equipment is another question entirely. They could diagnose a patient, stabilize them, and then ship them off to some better equipped hospital for the necessary treatment. In truth, I just won't know until I've been approved and can examine the sickbay fully." Hefting a hip up, Cameron seats himself on the edge of the table next to Ximena, his gaze steady and firm as he counters, "Let's get one thing straight. If, and only if, you want me to be, I'll be your doctor. You in turn will be my patient, not my project. As a result, I fervently hope that your condition is the least interesting one possible. I hope it is a minor, simple, easy to repair condition because that is the one that will return you to full physical health the soonest. You are more than sufficiently interesting all on your own without your condition being 'interesting' too. I hope that yours is the most boring problem that I've ever come across in my entire career."

Ximena shifts, as best she can, to make room for the man to sit on the table, still turned on her side, so that she can look up at him. "There is at least one marine who has a cybernetic replacement limb. Give me a moment, and the name will come to me." And she takes that moment, running through her mental checklist. "Lady." The name finally comes to her, "Lance Corporal." Ximena looks away from the doctor, back towards the pool, "I've thought about it before, you know? Even though I know it's impossible…but getting everything that doesn't work replaced with something mechanical that does. That's sort of your speciality, isn't it? I read some of your papers, up in the library." A downturn comes to her face, "Though with my luck that would mean becoming a brain in a jar." She does take the time to consider the offer and the implications, "Do you want to be my doctor?" with all that entails, and all. "I hope that you're right, and that it can be fixed." But it clear she doesn't hold out much hope.

"I'd rather start with trying to restore what you already have in your possession. A biomechatronic limb is an excellent solution for someone who has lost a limb, but it will never compare to an actual functional one in terms of precision and sensation. I'm a skilled neurosurgeon, so if we can restore what you have first, I recommend that course of action. If not, then we can discuss the other possibilities. But you will never be a brain in a jar. Never," he promises her firmly. Smiling at her question, Cameron nods and replies, "I would be honored to be your doctor."

There are just so many things Ximena could argue about the benefits of a prothetic, but she seems to take the high road and avoid needling the good doctor anymore than she already has. It's not his fault she has mental baggage for days. "I wouldn't mind being a brain in a jar. Especially if i had a nice looking brain. It might actually be sort of swanky. I could have different coloured fluid for every day of the week." But perhaps the woman isn't willing to go that far just yet, "I'm thinking that's going to mean a hell of a lot more rules. But I would like it if you were my doctor."

Cameron is utterly clueless about what sort of baggage might make Ximena want different legs than the ones she was born with. They're lovely legs and, if the nerve damage is repairable, they'll be lovely functioning legs. A far better thing that the trauma of having one's limbs removed and then replaced with imperfect prosthetics. So instead he offers blithely, "We could put little sparkling glow lights in there as well that float around and change colors. Totally stylin'." His head tilts to one side in confusion at her final comment, asking, "Rules? What rules?"

"There would be a party in and around my brain all of the time." Morbid as it is, it does have its humourous elements, and Ximena is clearly exploiting it for all its worth. "Well, aren't there rules about the ways in which a doctor and a patient can interact?"

"You brain would be a happenin' place," Cameron returns with a patently faux-solemn air. "All the cool kids would want to party down there." He considers her question for a moment before replying, "Well, my Oath is one where I am allowed to do you no harm, where whatever you share with me is kept private and confidential and that when I work with you and examine you, that my behavior be one of professionalism and for your benefit only." He's quiet for a moment, running the oath that he had to memorize through his mind, wondering what part of it she could be concerned about when he strikes upon the point of Aphrodite, and there he hesitates. She's given no strong indication that she's attracted to him, but then she wouldn't, would she? Hating her body the say she does. "Ximena," he asks cautiously, "Am I being… obtuse, with regards to your feelings?"

"Might even start a trend. No more need for anti-rads…or food from the galley." Ximena finally looks back, away from the pool, though she focuses her gaze on somewhere close to Cameron's kneecap, not completely away from him, but not looking up at his face either. "If I didn't trust you to keep my secrets, I wouldn't have asked you to be my doctor in the first place. And I certainly wouldn't be here." And she pointedly does NOT look anywhere near approaching his face at the question, "That's not going to be an issue. You don't need to worry about that." An answer which, while neither a yes or a no, is closer to a yes, by the very fact of the affirmation.

Anyone could be watching them. Anyone could see them if they simply took a moment to look up from their exercise and glance toward the steamy windows that separate the pool from the rest of the athletics room. But Cameron really doesn't care about that very much at the moment. He leans in over Ximena, placing his right hand by her shoulder as he lowers his face down to hers, his left hand lightly touching her cheek, her chin, shifting her face up to look at him. His eyes are like the ocean on Aerilon, a stormy mix of blue and gray, though more blue at the moment as he gazes into her silvery regard. "What if I want it to be an issue?" he asks softly, his face mere inches away from hers now.

Again, Ximena is at an advantage. Eighteen years in the military, and she's learned to turn a blind eye to anyone who might be around that isn't currently relevant to the issues at hand. She doesn't fight the man's touch, even turns to look at him when he touches her cheek. And whatever other emotions are lurking in those grey eyes, the overriding one, at the moment, is a cross between hope and fear. Terror really, "Then I would say we need to go over the rules very carefully."

"Right," Cameron replies with a nod, though he doesn't move an inch in either direction. "While I'm tending to you, my touch must be professional. Clinical. Completely and utterly non-sexual. That is what my Oath requires of me. Some doctors take this a step farther, saying that it is inappropriate to become romantically or sexually involved with a patient. That it is an abuse of the doctor/patient relationship and far too easy for the doctor, being in a position of powers, to abuse and manipulate the feelings of the patient. However, the oath is not explicit upon this point. Further more, I'm am not officially a doctor aboard the Cerberus. If we decides, for example, that we wanted to try dating one another before I was made official, well, then we would have a pre-agreed upon relationship. Others might frown, but they couldn't necessarily claim that I was taking advantage of my position as your doctor. And since you will most likely need a specialist, and I am most likely the only one available in the field of Neurological surgery, it would indeed be more harmful to give you into the care of a different physician than to allow me to tend to you. It is a delicate, but not an impossible matter." His head then tilts slightly as he notes, "But in all things regarding any relationship we might have, I would defer to you the position of power. You make the choices, you call the shots. That would be the most prudent and fair course of action."

"In the military, we call it fraternization. Usually it applies to officers engaging in relationships with their subordinates or with those in the enlisted ranks. Favouritism is highly frowned upon. The closer you are to someone the more likely your judgement is to be impaired and theirs as well in regards to you. I suppose the more you care about a patient, the more likely you are to take stupid risks to take care of them, or to avoid doing what might be painful or harmful but ultimately necessary. But I'm already broken. What would you do? Make it worse?" Ximena continues to study the man, thoughtful, and while the emotions haven't disappeared, she is doing her best to manage them, "But if you changed your mind, I wouldn't…hold it against you." And then, she does frown, "Why exactly, would it be the most prudent and fair course of action?"

"I'm a Civilian now and I will remain one even after I have permission to treat members of the Fleet. I will have no rank, so I don't think anyone will be able to claim fraternization one way or the other, since there is no clear indication which one of us could be considered the subordinate?" Shaking his head firmly, Cameron reminds, "Do no harm. Your body, your choices. I can only offer you my recommendations as to your treatment. If you disagree with them, at the worst I would argue my case to the CMO, but the final choice is yours. Risks would be evaluated, broken down into numbers. Yes, I would do my best to shelter you against pain and harm, but I would do the same for any patient. That is my job in a nutshell." His lips curl back into a brilliant smile as Cameron points out, "What's to say you won't change your mind instead? As for giving you the power, that way no one can say I forced you or coerced you into doing anything you didn't want to do. Be it professionally or personally; your body, your choice."

"For the time being. We can only hope they don't decide to conscript you into service. You'd be a Lieutenant, at the very least. Probably, maybe something higher, given the level of your education. And I've never had any desire to go to OCS, even the abridged one they're running now." Ximena shifts, moving away, turning to use her hands to give her the leverage she needs to sit up. Perhaps its her own stubborn pride, but she doesn't want to have more of this discussion while she's laid out. Clearly, she'd rather meet you face to face, as normally as possible. "What do you want, Cameron? Whether or not it is or should be my choice, I don't want something one-sided."

Shaking his head firmly, Cameron insists, "I won't let them. Civilians deserve quality medical care as well. I will serve both the Fleet and the civilian populations." As she struggles to sit up, Cameron pulls back, giving her the space to do so, his eyes flickering over her features before he smiles. "From the first moment I saw you I've been terribly attracted to you," he replies without guile or shyness. "I'd like to spend time with you. Be with you. At the very least as friends. If we're a good match, a lot more than that. I have no idea how you feel, but I rather doubt it is one-sided. And, for the record, should we discover we're not a good match? I still want to be your friend. Very much so."

"I'm not sure let comes into the picture, but I hope that they will take your feelings into consideration. I'd really rather avoid all the red-tape." Or the military's solution to the problem. But she won't say that aloud, instead she focuses on sitting up, using her hands to swing her legs down so that she's sitting beside the good doctor, "So did I. But I wasn't sure. I think I was sure, just before I fell asleep in the hangar deck." It takes the woman a while, but Ximena finally nods, "As friends then, to start. I don't want to rush and make mistakes we'll regret later." She turns her head before adding, "We should probably get showered and changed, maybe find someplace more quiet and more comfortable. I hear the Obs Deck has a great view of the planet."

Cameron nods at her proposal, leaving her briefly to fetch her chair and then, with great flair, sweeping her off her feet once more to settle her down upon her chariot. His fingers curl in her damp dark hair for a moment as he crouches down next to her, staring into her eyes with a pleased smile upon his lips before he finally releases her. "Yodel if you need any help," he offers casually, rising up and gathering his towel before turning. "I'll meet you out front. Take your time."

She watches him wander off, and, returning, clings to the man, if only long enough for him to let her down into her chair. Soft eyes, and, for the moment, a quiet voice, as Ximena watches him watching her, before he rises. Just before he steps away, comes the light comment, "You do realize there's only one head, right?"

He stops, turns, and then laughs, shaking his head before waving a hand at her and noting, "Well then hurry it up. Honestly though, if they're going to go on and on about no fraternizing and all that nonsense, it sounds damnably cruel to me that they don't give one the opportunity for privacy in some of the most intimate daily ministrations. That's quite the double standard, if you ask me." Pausing for a moment, Cameron offers, "If you'd like to go first, I'll stand guard over your privacy if you like."

"Cameron. I am thirty-six years old. You are my doctor…which means you are probably going to end up seeing me in ways that no man should ever see a woman. I think you can handle seeing me getting into a shower." The heads here, as all of the heads on the ship, save for the civilian one, are made for at least a dozen to do their thing at a time. But that's neither here nor there, or perhaps more to the point, it's his own choice, as Ximena wheels herself towards the head, maneuvering her way over the lip of the hatch to move inside. "I won't be long."

"So much for trying to be a gentleman…" he murmurs to himself as Ximena sets the score just as straight as possible, making him feel embarrassed for trying to give her an ounce of privacy for a change. And so he follows in after her, determined to act his age and not be a spoiled civilian in her presence. Seems the good doctor has a lot to learn about life in the military and on this ship.

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