|Nadia Hartley (stealthyy) wrote in avengers_logs,|
@ 2019-07-12 14:54:00
|Entry tags:||-complete, ava starr, christine palmer|
Ever since Ava had received help to stabilize and heal her condition, her abilities and pain level were both no longer flaring up. Which was remarkable, and had given her both a new lease on life, as well as a new outlook on a variety of things. Still, there was a lingering voice in the back of her head that questioned how long this would last, if it was too good to be true, and if her symptoms would return randomly one day - anxiety, basically.
So she figured the best thing she could do to put that out of her mind for the time being was to get a physical, just to ensure her body was healthy. That way she would have a baseline to go off of; should anything in the future go awry with her abilities. Hope and Scott had offered to retrieve more quantum healing particles should that happen; so really this appointment was mainly for Ava’s peace of mind.
“Hello?” she called out, after a few knocks against the door of the exam room. She hadn’t been to a regular, normal doctor’s appointment since before the accident with the quantum tunnel when she was young; so this was all pretty new. But from what she’d heard from others, Dr Palmer came highly recommended both for her skills and her bedside manner, not to mention her capacity to handle super powered individuals and their unique physiologies.
Unlike other times, Christine really was sleeping. She’d just gotten off an 18 hour shift, and realized that the Tower was closer to the hospital than her house. She toyed with the idea of asking Stephen to portal her home, but he seemed to get annoyed when she asked him to use magic for trivial things.
Pfft. What was the point of magic if not to use it on your best friend?
Instead, she went to her now second home (or third, since the ER obviously came before) and fell asleep within seconds of her head hitting the pillow, reminding herself to set her alarm so she didn’t miss her appointment with Ava. Her dreams were boring, nothing interesting (at least nothing like what everyone said), so when she heard the hello, it took her a moment to realize that it was real life.
“Come on in,” she said, sitting up with a jolt. Years of living on interrupted sleep meant that all she needed was a cup of coffee and she’d be good to go. She glanced at the clock and gave Ava a sheepish look. “I guess I was playing a little nap roulette. I could have sworn I set my alarm…”
“How’s it going? Remind me if this is a general visit, or if you’re here for something specific.”
“It’s alright,” Ava said, stepping into the exam room. “At least I didn’t have to come in here and yell you awake? That would’ve made the exam a little awkward,” she said with a smile. She figured anyone working in a hospital setting probably kept odd hours, so she wasn’t too surprised to hear that she’d been catching a nap.
“I’m here for a general visit. I’ve recently undergone some significant changes to my physiology, and I’d like to make sure my body is handling it well. I feel good,” she explained, “I’m just… here to make sure I stay that way.” Establishing a baseline was a good enough step in that direction, that way if ever her abilities became unstable again in the future, she’d at least have this information to go off of.
“I’m Ava, by the way,” she offered, glancing around the exam room with a bit of trepidation. She didn’t exactly love being in settings like these; what with SHIELD putting her through extensive and traumatic testing when she was younger. That had been quite a long time ago, but the echoes of those memories remained. She just tried to remind herself that things were different now, and that this woman came highly recommended and was not here to put her through those same kinds of tests.
Christine nodded as Ava talked. That all made sense, and frankly, she was so glad to see the sudden influx in the clinic. It was important that they all took care of their own health, and she was happy to facilitate it. It was getting to the point where she wondered if she really needed to keep her ER job ...but she did love surgery, it was her passion, so she stayed.
Plus there were those student loans.
“Normally, I do the wellness check at the end, seeing how you’re doing, how you’re feeling and all that, but since I’m clearly unprepared, how about we do that first?” She smiled. “Would it make you feel better if I told you a bit about myself?” She could see there was some apprehension, and she wanted to quell that. “I mean, who I am, besides the medical degree and all.”
Wellness checks? She kind of dreaded that part; if only because it would result in her having to detail the parts of her past that weren’t exactly pleasant to revisit. But it was necessary, if she was going to get anything out of this particular visit she would need to be as honest as possible. The doctor couldn’t exactly help treat or prevent what she didn’t know about.
Ava gave a relieved smile when she offered to tell her a bit about herself. “Yes, actually, that would help.” She didn’t know if that was common with most doctors, but it certainly would take some of the edge of - knowing who this woman was, beyond just a title and a degree. After all, the doctors at SHIELD had extensive degrees and logged numerous hours; it hadn’t made them remotely decent or compassionate. Most of them time they worked with her, they barely made eye contact - she’d just been a nameless weapon.
So the fact that this doctor was willing to chat a bit first to set her at ease, it definitely helped.
“Your name is Christine, right?” She’d start there, get the introductions out of the way first.
"Christine Palmer, yup." While Ava sat down, Christine was busying herself with prepping things. " And let's see. I grew up in Seattle, with no siblings, to an older couple. They wanted me to be a housewife and marry into their church and I said thanks but no thanks. Moved to New York to get away, and never left. I like to crochet and watch trashy television, especially reality tv, although," she added as an aside, "lately, our lives are better than anything a writer could come up with."
She grinned and put a new sheet down on the examination table.
"I also like to read, and I just finished The Shining, because I'm trying to go through all of Stephen King's books." A pause. "Except It because like everyone in the world, I too was traumatized by the miniseries." She gave a little shudder. "Clowns are creepy. And so are spiders. So yeah, me in a nutshell. Any questions?"
“I’d have to agree with you on that,” Ava responded with a half grin. Even just having been here a short time, everyone’s lives were already resembling some sort of odd reality show. Or fantasy based reality show; complete with time travel.
“Clowns I get - too weird, but I’ve always liked spiders,” she said, hopping up onto the exam table once Christine had placed the new sheet down. “You get a lot of people in here with enhanced abilities, I take it?” she asked, wondering what part of the exam would be next - needle sticking, taking her pulse, heart rate.
Fortunately, all of those things could now be performed without the frustration of her body phasing in and out of tangibility; so she wasn’t too worried about that. Other than the general discomfort of being in a medical setting, so far Christine’s casual and friendly way of communicating was helping to make this not feel like she would be poked and prodded at like a lab rat.
“Everyone on the network has been here in one way or another,” Christine said, setting up the blood pressure machine. “Whether it’s just dropping things off and trying to avoid me or Bruce, or actually having an appointment.” She grinned sweetly. “I don’t know why everyone is afraid of me. I always pick the smallest needles…” Christine gave a wink and moved closer to Ava.
“Would you believe,” Christine said, reaching for Ava’s arm, “that once upon a time, I didn’t have any knowledge about any of this ...world? And by that, I mean, like a few years ago, I watched Tony Stark announce to the world that he was Iron Man and I went ‘huh’ and then carried on with my day. Now, Iron Man funds me and we chat about his baby.” She almost rolled her eyes but she did give a shrug.
“I think we’re all normal until we’re not ...and even that’s subjective.”
“For finding out about all of this only a few years ago, you’ve adjusted to the chaos pretty quick,” Ava remarked. “I suppose part of that comes with the territory, being a doctor,” she added. Although she hadn’t been fond of the doctors who had tended to her in the past during the SHIELD experimentation; she knew from experience all of them had to had nerves of steel in order to deal with the constant stress the job brought about.
She flinched slightly when Christine reached for her arm. “Sorry. Force of habit.” The prick of a needle wasn’t the issue, it was just leftover reluctance to being examined in any fashion.
“Do you think it’s possible to still find some normalcy, even after… you’re not normal anymore?” she asked, referring to her own enhanced abilities. It made her not technically normal anymore, but there were things she still wanted out of life that were pretty boring and normal - friends, a home, stability, purpose.
Christine thought about Ava’s question for a moment, focusing on getting the blood in the vials before setting that aside and reaching for the other arm. Blood pressure was easy to check, and it gave her time to come up with an answer. It also forced her to slow down a little bit -- she didn’t want to scare Ava off, after all.
“What is normal?” Christine definitely didn’t know that. She’d thought she’d known it until that one day Stephen portaled into her emergency room looking like a cultist reject. Now, that was her normal and this all fit into that world. “What’s normal for one person isn’t for another. I used to just work in an ER. Stephen was my only experience into anything else, and he only brought me here a few months ago to help out with Jane. All this?” She waved at the clinic. “Brand new. Does that make me less normal that apparently with my very limited spare time, I’m a doctor to superheroes? Nah. I still put on my tights one leg at a time.”
Blood pressure normal, only slightly elevated but that was due to nerves rather than anything else.
“I mean, we can’t unknow things, just like we can’t unexperience things. What matters is what we do with it. So I could go, curl up in a ball and cry or I could just .. keep on swimming.” She gave Ava a wink. “And I love Pixar, so swimming it is.”
She took the vials back over to her centrifuge and started loading it up. Having everything there in the lab made it much easier to find results. “Do you think you’re not normal anymore? You seem fine to me. Healthy, even.” Another wink.
Ava smiled, taking a moment to let Christine’s words sink in. It was true - you couldn’t unknow or unexperience things. The Pixar reference went over her head, but only because she hadn’t really had much time to see many movies the past decade or so. She’d have to do something about that, now that she had more time and freedom.
“I think I was normal once, when I was younger. Before my abilities.” And because this particular doctor seemed to do well with weird, and it was easier than trying to explain it verbally; Ava demonstrated her abilities then. Her body flickered, going invisible for a moment, then returning to normal. “I use to not be able to control it,” she explained, phasing just her hand through the surface of the exam table. “And it caused me a great deal of physical pain. But Hope Van Dyne and Scott Lang were able to help with that. So now… I guess I’m just trying to figure out a new form of normal?” Once that didn’t include having to spend every night in a stabilization chamber, for one.
“You’re right though, everyone has a different definition of normal. To me, I suppose it means the things I didn’t have time for previously - friendships, a job; stability, basically. At least, as much stability as possible in this sort of universe.” She smiled a little at that, given they had just recently jumped four years in the future.
Christine watched as Ava ...well dematerialized in front of her. On the outside, she kept a straight face, watching impassively so as not to show anything.
On the inside, she was so intrigued, and she could see why someone would want to study that. From a scientific perspective, from a medical perspective...this was amazing. Of course, she had morals and values and ethics and all those things that would never allow her to do that kind of thing. But she could understand why.
“Well, you have friendships. You mentioned Scott and Hope. And you have me.” She smiled. “I’m in a strange position here that I’m everyone’s doctor, but I also like being everyone’s friend. It’s hard to go back to Metro General and tell them about the craziness I’ve just witnessed. They don’t get it, and I don’t want to tell them anyways. Now job… well, that’ll come with time. Have you ever heard of Maslow’s Needs Hierarchy? In a nutshell, we can’t achieve self-actualization, you know the ‘best you you can be’ until we’ve met the physiological needs like shelter, food, clothing, blah blah blah. The next step up is safety needs, followed by I think love and belonging, and then esteem. So what I’m saying is -- take your time. Make sure the foundation is there before you reach for the stars and then you’re set for success.”
“Now, just a few more things and we’re done.”
“I hadn’t heard of that, no,” Ava responded, thinking about it for a moment. “But actually that makes a lot of sense.” She hadn’t really been thinking about things in such a simple, linear fashion. Of course she would need the basics taken care of before she tackled things like purpose and belonging. She had shelter and food taken care of; but safety… well, that was part of the reason why she was here. Getting her disequilibrium taken care of in the long term was immensely important to her, since it held her back from achieving the rest of those needs Christine had listed.
“Thank you,” she said. “I honestly haven’t had a good track record with doctors. It’s nice to have a different experience, for once,” she said with a smile. This appointment had gone well, and at no point did she feel unsafe or wary of Christine’s intentions; like she had felt with her former SHIELD doctors.
“And I won’t turn down the chance to make a new friend,” she added with a smile. “I keep odd hours, so anytime you feel like having a drink and some gossip; let me know.”
“Drinks and gossip? You just said the magic words.” Christine stepped away from Ava and went over to her chart where she jotted a few notes in a somewhat legible writing. Not all stereotypes about doctors had to be correct. “I’m more than happy to show you how amazing I can be. And you really should get to know Bruce too -- Dr. Banner. He covers the clinic with me, it’s kind of both our baby.”
She tapped her pen on her lips thoughtfully.
“I think I’m the dad. But don’t tell Bruce.” She gave a wink and a smile.
“I’ll be sure to keep that between us, unless I’ve had a little too much to drink and it slips out,” she replied with a chuckle. “I haven’t met him yet. All I know if what I’ve seen on the news,” she said with a shrug. “But I’m assuming that’s not the whole picture.” It rarely was, in her experience. If people were to judge her solely on what was in her file or her history, it wouldn’t be flattering. Given that, she had a pretty non-judgmental outlook on most people.
“Everything look ok so far?” she asked, watching Christine as she worked around the room. She wasn’t sure how quickly the results would come in, if she’d have to wait a few days or not. So far the doctor hadn’t gasped and staggered around in shock at any of the numbers she was seeing, so Ava would take that as a good sign for now.
“So far so good,” Christine said. She wasn’t going to get into the fact that some of the blood work would need a few days, and that the cultures weren’t going to grow overnight. She could see that Ava was apprehensive. Sometimes, you had to fudge things a bit, or be deliciously vague.
“From what I can see, you’re completely normal with some really interesting abilities. But is your blood still red? Do you still have one heart? Do you have a right and a left foot? Yes to all of it, so I think I can say you’re probably a-okay. I’ll know more when the rest of the tests are complete but yeah. Relax.” Always easier said than done, of course.
“We’re done for now, so if you want to, I’ll just give you a call with those results and we can go from there. Otherwise, barring another random alien attack in New York, which,” she looked at her watch, “will probably happen in a month or so, we’ll do another check in a year from now. But I expect those drinks sooner than that.”
“Sounds perfect,” Ava responded, hopping up off the exam table, relieved to hear that everything seemed normal so far. As far as doctor’s appointments went, this was by far the most uneventful and that was a very good thing.
“I’m sure I’ll have something to gossip about soon enough,” she said with a chuckle, “So, be expecting drinks soon.”