Bethany’s Awakening, Part 4: Alternative Therapies
Location: Wizard’s Tower, Medical Ward
Timeline: Friday, August 27, 2010/Early Afternoon
As she admitted that feeling of safety, relaxation, and exhaustion, Bethany’s skin and hair began shifting away from the unnatural colors that tinted it and slowly regained their natural hue, the hair normalizing far more quickly than the rest. She released a relieved breath as her vision stopped changing at random, grateful that she was no longer staring at bones, body heat, or some other strangely colored pattern.
Abby was smiling as she motioned for Jon to take his hand away. "Keep your breathing even, but you can open your eyes now. You need to know that breathing too deep will hurt. We had to put a graft on your lung to patch it. It wasn't easy and neither the doctor nor I want to go back in there to fix it. Per your request we've scrubbed all the painkillers from your system. The only thing you're getting now is fluids and nutrients. But that means that as your adrenaline fades you are going to feel every one of your wounds. Now, you are still hooked up to a machine that will give you small doses of morphine. I've turned it down to the smallest setting so it's just tiny amounts. Your pain is in your hands now." She handed the girl a little square box with a button on it. "Press this if you want. Cam and I are going to leave you with Jon for a bit. So long as you keep calm we'll give you as much space as you want, but you set those monitors off again and I'll be back in here in seconds, understood?"
"You can also press the call button on your bed if you need her," Cam said. "If I know our Abby she'll be in her office waiting in case you need her."
Without the obnoxious colors, the bedraggled patient in the bed was a pale, bruised, and battered young woman, and she took the little box, eyeing it dubiously as Abby told her what it was for. She’d spent her entire life surviving some pretty horrible treatment without the aid of man-made pharmaceuticals and she really didn’t trust anything that wasn’t natural. Still, Bethany was already feeling the pain of her injuries, even if she was loathe to admit it, and she knew that she was going to break down and push that button eventually, just like she had taken the pills that Jon had gotten for her before.
“My kingdom for a some marijuana...” Bethany muttered, as she set the box to the side and looked back over at Abby with a small, pained smile. “Thank you. I appreciate everything you’ve done, that you’re doing. I didn’t expect to make it out of there.” The girl sighed as she remembered not even wanting to make it out, and she closed her eyes and looked down again, trying to stop the fresh welling of tears from falling.
The headmistress laughed, then tried to hide it with a cough.
Abby gave Cam a harsh look. "Go ask Timo. She can't smoke in this condition."
"Gran has edibles," Cam pointed out.
"She's not on solid food yet," Abby countered.
"I'll see if she has anything in pill form or something else," Cam said then held up her hands in surrender. "After I get permission and discuss strains with the doc. I know, in here he's the boss."
Abby shook her head as the headmistress left, still chuckling softly to herself. The young nurse turned back to her patients. "We're not opposed to alternative therapies around here. You wouldn't be alive if we did. The patch we did on your lung is still highly experimental. That said, our resident elder grows a wide variety of marijuana strains. Just as you are linked to Iris, she is linked to Gaia. But MJ isn't going to take away your pain. It might dull the edges, but that lung is going to just hurt for a while. And if Timo approves it, he's going to be in here a lot to keep an eye on you. His abilities let him see how your body is working and healing, and there simply isn't enough literature on how pot affects a healing body. He'll need to make sure you don't have a bad reaction, and catch it early if you do. You going to be okay with another stranger coming in and out of here?"
Bethany carefully took in a slow breath, testing the limits of her wounded lung, and winced when it got to be too much, then let it out slowly. She looked over at Abby and said, “There are other ways of taking marijuana that are less damaging than smoking it. Tinctures, oils, a few others I can think of off the top of my head, but Jon won’t let me smoke it, anyway. And as long as he’s here, I’ll be fine with people coming in and out.” The girl’s absolute trust in the stoic, former soldier showed clearly in her bright green eyes.
“The smell is just obnoxious,” Jon told Bethany. “Just trust the morphine. It will work better,” he assured her. “And I will be here,” he promised.
“God made weed, man made morphine. Who do you trust?” asked the rather devout, if not strangely prone to violence, believer in the Divine Creator, with a bit of a sly grin. Bethany laughed softly and tried to shift in the bed, then cried out as her shoulder lit up with pain. The girl’s jaw clenched down and she sank back, glancing skyward. “Alright, alright. I get it. You made doctors too. Maybe morphine wouldn’t be so bad this time.”
"Cam is looking into the alternate methods of administering it," Abby said with a nod. "As for the morphine, we actually distill it here from organically grown poppies. We add nothing to it so it's not all that different from a tincture or oil made from marijuana. It's up to you how you want to manage your pain. The only thing we ever do without asking is life saving things like patching your lung. We don't force any care on you here. I will tell you and remind him that you are restricted to this room unless escorted by one of us. Once you are up and moving around a little bit more we'll get you a real shower and some real clothes, then we can talk more about this place and if you're interested in staying. Iris wants to check on you too."
“Really? You’re going to have to teach me that trick,” Bethany said with a smile, her voice soft, but curious. “Poppies aren’t really something I’m familiar with, honestly, but if it’s a natural way to kill pain, I’d like to learn about it. I’m kind of a lightweight too, at least that’s what Jon says. I always seem to do silly things when he’s had to stitch me up. I just don’t really like my mind being all foggy, out of control.”
With the way the girl felt, the rest seemed almost laughable at that moment, dim concerns at best in her mind. Bethany thought for a moment, then continued, her voice still soft but with a hint of pain along the edges, beginning to ramble as she gave in and pressed the button, trying to ignore the sickening feeling of the morphine entering her system. “I don’t think you have to worry about me trying to move around too much right now, and something tells me I couldn’t stop Iris from checking in on me if I wanted to, which I don’t. Jon won’t let anyone hurt me if he can stop it, so I’m okay with trying to get some rest. I’m sorry if I seem to have a hard time trusting people, I’m really not trying to be rude after all you’ve done. If it helps any, I think your hair is kind of neat. I like the green streaks. You remind me a little of my friend Jade. Not exactly the same, she’s not a nurse or anything...”
The girl actually blushed and bit her tongue as she realized that she might be perilously close to insulting Abby. Bethany sure hadn’t liked it when someone had mistaken her for a prostitute, and while Jade was her friend, she didn’t know the young nurse well enough to know whether or not she’d understand that. After a moment of silence the young woman cleared her throat and finished, a bit lamely, “Anyway, thanks again.”
“OH! One more thing,” Bethany added suddenly, glancing between Jon and Abby and taking a careful breath. She winced a little as she spoke, as if the very words pained her to speak them, her speech already becoming lethargic, “If ya hafta tie me down again, let Jon do it. ‘Kay? So I won’t panic if I wake up. Really don’t wanna hurt anyone, ‘specially people tryin’ ta help me. Won’t even try ta hurt him. ‘Kay?” It seemed to be very important to the woozy girl that Abby understand her request.
"So long as you aren't thrashing around and undoing all our hard work we won't restrain you. You weren't being held down as a prisoner, just to keep you from pulling your stitches. But since he's the one in here keeping the closest eye on you, that shouldn't be a problem," Abby said with a smile. "And if you're good, and get all healed up, I'll show you what I can really do. Now rest. By the time you wake up we'll know if Timo's approved cannabis for your treatment. The morphine is still a chemical process, but no more so than creating a tincture or other compound from cannabis. We can show you once you're better."
“Thanks, but the nightmares will come,” Bethany all but mumbled as her eyelids drooped heavily. The girl blinked a couple of times and a grimace settled on her young, battered features as she felt the morphine begin to fog her mind out again. She truly did seem to be a lightweight when it came to pharmaceuticals. “Jon knows. You’ll see...” she finished softly as the pain blessedly dimmed and she slipped into another drug induced slumber.
“Just rest,” Jon said, smoothing back the young woman’s hair again. He leaned over and gently kissed Bethany’s forehead as she drifted off once more.
NPC Xander Carlisle