Posted by Civilian Revna Freya McKenzie (Diplomatic Attache) in “You want trauma? I’ve got trauma” (Tag Rollo)
Posted by Commander Zef Rollo (Counselor) in “You want trauma? I’ve got trauma” (Tag Rollo)
“I have had a few experiences with panic, myself and I have to say it is a detestable feeling.” She crossed her legs and folded her hands in her lap. “If you can, without too much discomfort, can you tell me about the attack?”
Revna was prepared for that question. It wasn’t something she wanted to discuss, but it wasn’t something she shied away from either. Hiding from it only compounded the issues, and she never asked her patients to do something she wouldn’t do. She may no longer be actively working as a counselor, but she felt the need to ‘keep faith’ with her patients and be honest, open, and go through the processes, just like they had.
“I was stationed on the USS Centurion. I was on duty in the mess hall. By that, I mean, we always ate with our patients, someone was always there. We were a hospital ship, and it was always a good idea, for lots of reasons, to have medical staff wherever the patients were. We tried to allow the patients to go about their normal routine as much as possible. We had to eat too, so we always had staff and patients eat together. It was very casual.”
“I was talking with another officer, she had been given clearance to go home. Her husband was coming to the ship, to travel with her. She was so excited to see him again. I’d walked her out to the corridor while we finished talking.” She smiled remembering Lissa. Revna had spoken to Lissa, after she, Revna, had been released as a patient. Lissa’d been doing well at home with her husband and family. “I…I don’t know where the rest of the staff was, but when I turned to go back in, there was a lot of shouting, and Walker was standing over another patient, who was confined to a chair. I don’t know why Walker was there, I don’t know what his diagnosis or treatment was. I’d never worked with him. I’d never spoken to him before that. But he’d gotten ahold of a chief knife from the kitchen.”
Zef felt her insides tense, knowing the really hard part of the telling was coming up, and although she knew it was therapeutic for the patient to vocalize the trauma, she also knew from experience that it was difficult to hear. With the expertise of many years, she watched Revna for any signs of panic.
Revna paused seeing the events unfold in her mind. “The other patient was terrified. It was quite obvious Walker intended to harm him. Everyone was yelling, trying to get Walker’s attention, distract him. It just added to the noise and confusion. I called for security, but…I don’t know where they were.” Revna glanced out the window, “It’s hard to know how to help someone when everything they see is all inside their head. It’s real, but you can’t see it with them.” She returned her gaze to Rollo, “Walker was having some kind of flashback, and no matter what I said to him, he couldn’t hear me. I don’t know who he thought we were, nothing he said made sense at the time.” Her eyes were sad and she shook her head.
She rubbed at her chest, easing the ache, reminding herself that she could in fact breath again, “And that is when I did the spectacularly stupid thing. I got between Walker and the other patient. And that’s when this happened,” she waves a hand towards her chest and the healed stab wounds and now artificial lungs. She didn’t have the words, yet to describe the ripping, tearing, and the world going black. She would, she was so much better than she had been just a few months ago, but just not in that moment. “I was told, it wouldn’t have been so bad if he hadn’t twisted the blade as he pulled it out each time.” There was a slight increase to her respiration, and if Rollo had a tricorder her pulse rate as well, and a slight dilation to her eyes. Revna didn’t try to hide it or make light of it. She simply breathed, in - hold it - let it out.
Rollo watched the woman breathe, silently trying to help by adjusting her own inhales and exhales. “I can’t imagine the terror you must have felt. And I think it was very brave of you to put yourself between them—not stupid.”
Revna smiled slightly, “Oh it was stupid. The right choice, but stupid. There were a number of other things I could have done, but none came to mind in the moment. I wouldn’t change it though. Walker and Vemeg are both alive. But strangely I don’t remember feeling terror at that moment, only a desperate need to keep his focus on me. It wasn’t till they pulled him off of me and I…realized what had happened....” She paused, honesty, “…no that’s not the right words, when they pulled him off of me, I tried to breathe, you know how you do when something really intense is finally over, and I couldn’t, and then I knew I was bleeding, a lot, and I couldn’t breathe and everything was grey and hazy. That’s when the terror started.”
The counselor scooted forward in her chair, sitting on its edge and leaning toward McKenzie. “A lot of us wonder about our abilities in a life and death situation—whether we’ll have what it takes to do what’s necessary at that moment in time. You already have your answer. You know you have the courage to step up and put your life on the line. I almost envy you that.”
Revna didn’t quite smile. There was no real response to Rollo’s words. “We are all tested when our time comes, and then at the end of our days we will be judged on our actions.” This wasn’t the first time Revna had put herself in a position to protect another, and she honestly doubted it would be her last. She was raised in a culture that taught one to protect the weaker, stand up for what was right, and to do so by any means necessary. Whether that was words or deeds, gentleness or strength. But the incident had created doubt, not the attack itself, but the fact she’d not noticed that something was wrong before she’d walked out with Lissa, but that was a discussion for another day. “I’m sure counselor you’ve been faced with your own challenges, we all have, they just manifest themselves in different ways. And you must have performed admirably or you wouldn’t be on this vessel.”
Zef looked thoughtful. “Well, thank you for that. It’s not usually the way I think about my own life experience. As a counselor, I’m more focused on everyone else’s lives. But I know what you mean. So, do you want to meet regularly or would you rather come here on an ‘as needed’ basis?” This would be a telling point for how McKenzie felt about her progress.
Revna nodded, “As counselors we spend our focus on others, it is true, but we are the ones that dive, head long into the primal terrors and help them find the strength to climb out. Don’t sell yourself or what you do short. It may not be fire fights, but the monsters are just as real.” Revna considered Rollo. “Hmmm…if I was my own patient I would recommend regular appointments. My life has been shifting and changing at a rapid pace in a small amount of time, and I am currently in an incredible high.” She smiled, Mike made everything better. “It would be I’ll advised to allow me to say I’m fine and ‘better’ based on the moment.”
Zef was nodding. “I understand, I’ve had a few very high highs and sobbing lows, myself in the last few weeks. Alright, how about we do this? We will meet once a week in the office and also share one meal—lunch or dinner—every week? That way you won’t feel like all you do is vent to me and it will give us a chance to get to know each other. Believe it or not, there are times when I would like someone to talk to also. Does that work for you?”
Revna smiled, “Any time you want to talk, professionally or just because, my door is open. But that works very well for me. What would be easier for you? Lunch or dinner or play it by ear? I don’t want you to feel rushed to get there or get back. Honestly, I’m very excited for that. Being on a new ship can be daunting, and in a new position I am very much feeling like the new kid half way through the school year.”
“I think lunch would work well for the time being. We may change it up now and then for a dinner, but let’s go with that for now. Alright, I’m going to update your records and clear you for duty if anything comes across my desk.” Zef was signaling that their meeting was over. “I’m glad you came by and introduced yourself and I’m looking forward to getting to know you better.”
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