God of Small Problems


bao-wei_icon.gif hao-tung_icon.gif

Scene Title God of Small Problems
Synopsis Hao-Tung pays the resident triad physician a visit about a years-old injury.
Date August 7, 2009

Cong Medical Clinic

Tucked in a sidestreet of Chinatown, the presence of the clinic is somewhat deceiving in that it possesses an old shopfront as the entrance instead of the usual single door. The large, single window is blocked from the sidewalk by white blinds, and the lettering emblazoned upon it reads the name of the clinic in Mandarin Chinese and English text; Doctor Cong's name is written below in a similar fashion, and below it is the Rod of Asclepius.

Inside, the front room is the waiting room, with a row of chairs along the sides, all of which more or less face the nurse's station behind a low wall and a windowpane. The trained eye will recognize it as very high-grade bulletproof glass.

To the side of the nurse's station is a hallway; there are two smaller exam rooms on the right, and a larger one that includes more major equipment on the left. Further down on the left is a locked door, only accessible by the doctor or his aides that leads into the fineries and inner workings of the office; important files, equipment, a small clinic lab, et cetera. At the very end of the hall is a heavy, often locked door, which opens to an elevator-sized room with three exits. One is a plain staircase leading up, and parallel to this is a inconspicuous door that leads to a staircase aiming downward. At the bottom is another door that looks like something straight out of a high-tech bank vault, though considerably more intimidating. Unless you are supposed to, you will not get in.

As for the door straight ahead of the main hall in the clinic, the heavy door leads into Doctor Cong's personal office. It is a rather picture-perfect physician's office, complete with a hardwood desk in front of a duo of chairs, framed documents, a large bookshelf, and only one window that offers a view out into another Chinatown alley.

It's still early in the morning when Hao-Tung decides to make his visit to the clinic, though the early-risers in this section of the city had begun to stir long before this, storekeepers with businesses to run in particular. The streets are still barer than they will be in only a few short hours, and there is still a sense of laziness hovering about those who are making their way up and down the sidewalks in small, loose clusters. The reason for the ungodly hour? The man is fond of punctuality, and not so fond of waiting. There are few people lounging about in the waiting room, therefore, when he makes trip down the sidestreet where the medical facility is nestled.

The door is opened curtly, momentarily supported on one shoulder as Hao-Tung tucks something back into a pocket of his slacks, and then closes again. The curt question: "«Is Bao-Wei in?»" takes the place of a more traditional, friendlier greeting, to the receiving nurse at the desk. He does have places to be and people to see in short order, after all.

The morning in the clinic is often made up of older patients- or in this case, younger ones. There is at least one tired looking woman with a fitfully sleeping toddler curled up in her lap with her head buried in the crook between her elbow and stomach. Miserable, oh so miserable! It is very likely it is only a flu or fever- but to the mom, there's something horribly wrong. There's an old lady and an older man, but otherwise quiet and slow.

The nurse at the station acts with generally passive recognition when Hao-Tung approaches her and speaks. "«Yes, he's in the first exam room. No patient in there yet, you lucky dog.»" In other words, the kid is probably next- so maybe it'd be wise to move on the emptiness while it remains…empty.

Doctor Cong himself is indeed in the first exam room, brooding in the direction of the corner from his place standing in the center of the room. He is almost distractedly flipping through a metal clipboard and several papers, looking very much the part- white coat and stethoscope and all.

Pfffft. Knowing Hao-Tung, any such kid who dared to place himself first would be first told to scram and then forcibly hiked out by the back of his collar, if the former didn't work— precedence or no. There's yet another reason the operations officer likes to come early. Less sniveling old people and youngsters to have to look at. The nurse, in turn, receives a short "«Good,»" as he turns away.

Heavy footsteps a little ways down the hall herald Hao-Tung's approach before he comes into view, but neither takes long. One hand in a pocket of his slacks, he rounds the corner into the doorway of the first exam room. "«Morning», ah-Wei," he greets Bao-Wei shortly as he sees him, eyes falling on the clipboard and papers as he takes a step further in. The drill should be a long-familiar one to both, by now. "«This shouldn't take long, but I hope you have a few minutes.»" Few things are as irritating to have to deal with as intermittent leg pains.

Bao-Wei looks up from his notes only after the other man speaks for the second time. Then, he does offer a nod as greeting, though from the looks of things, does not seem as surprised to see Hao-Tung. The doctor gives a small, almost wry sort of smile- it's a hard expression, honest- and tucks the board under one forearm, slipping a hand into his coat pocket.

"«You need a new bottle? Or an actual prescription this time?»" Long familiar, yes; familiar enough that Doctor Cong has also come to know when the officer is favoring one leg over the other as he walked in to stand there before him. "«Do you need a bigger dose, perhaps? What was the dose you had, again-»" A rhetorical moment, as the wider of the two seems to have paused to search his mental rolodex. "«I think I had you on the compound analgesic. With Codeine.»"

"«This time? A bigger dose would be nice.»" It's grudging in tone, though that has nothing to do with having to deal with Bao-Wei. Thanks to Hao-Tung, too, the good doctor is well-acquainted with the story of how he had sustained a gimp leg in the first place. Shootout with a group of Ghost Shadows, one of them went KABOOM on him, etc. etc. "«At this point, anything you could do would be helpful. An updated prescription— whatever you think best. It's gotten to the point where the pain is disrupting my work, and that's unacceptable.»" It saddles him with increased vulnerability, too.

"«Codeine is an opiate.»" Bao-Wei's voice sounds like a warning as he draws out the pad of paper from his front pocket, finding his pen from the lip of cloth. "«Granted, one of the lesser of them all, but every time you come I do try to remind you that it can be habit forming. I've tried to go in the smallest increments when it comes to you wanting a bigger dose-»" He has the pen in his hand and the pad on the countertop, but he has not clicked the tip nor looked to start writing as of yet. Cong looks with both eyes to Hao-Tung, the unmatched one seeming to want to look a bit harder, though impossible.

"«Because the bigger the dose, the less pain- but at the same time you complain that your leg is intervening in your work. Too much of this good thing could do exactly the same, and I would care to avoid, ah, putting you 'off your game'.»"

"«A compromise seems to be in order. I don't need a jump up, you know, but at the same time, the amount you have me on now isn't working." Or working at a sufficient level to meet Hao-Tung's tastes, anyhow. He tips his chin upwards to meet Hao-Tung's look, after a moment, his own gaze dark, brooding, and perpetually on edge with some degree of work-preoccupied annoyance.

After a moment more, he folds his arms across his chest, easing one large shoulder up against the doorframe. "«And I can take the risk. I find that a long-term addiction is the -tiniest- of all my problems right now, and certainly not the most immediate.»" He lets one heel slip off his ankle and down against the floor, as if to illustrate that point by emphasizing his leg.

"«So I hear.»" Bao-Wei responds rather dryly, putting the pad of paper onto the countertop of the exam room, clicking the tip of his pen almost hesitantly. "«I can put it up an extra increment, rather than only one. It seems like you do just need to find your medium. Some people are genetically predisposed to be resistant to some medicine, I'm sure you know.»"

Doctor Cong scribbles something long down on the paper now, his tight scrawl giving him one more doctor stereotype for the day. It is legible if you know his writing, of course- but otherwise tight and incomprehensible. "«I only have the maximum doses myself, but take this to any pharmacy and they will happily fill it. Have you had your leg reexamined since your last surgery?»"

"«I do know. And no, I haven't had it formally reexamined— but I haven't had reason to. It's done nothing more than be a nuisance, on occasion.»" Hao-Tung does not have time for such nonsense as worrying about his basic health, don't be silly. Rather than paying attention to the small click of the pen's cap in his ears, he lets his dark eyes wander briefly over the contents of the room before moving back to Bao-Wei's face.

Patiently and almost a little curiously, he waits until the doctor is done with his notes, letting his breath out through his nostrils in an audible exhalation.

"«Reason or not, major injuries need examined regularly. I know you're not all too concerned with your health, but I am saying it anyway.»" Which seems to be right on the button, no?

Bao-Wei tears the square paper from the pad with a flick of his wrist, holding it in his fingers while he tucks the rest and the pen away again. He only hands over the paper after a second or two of thought. "«You'll be letting me know how effective it is? I suspect in a few years you'll have to switch medicine, at this rate. If you live to be an old man- well- let's just say you'll want me to chop the thing off.»"

Hao-Tung reaches for the slip of paper only when Bao-Wei appears good and ready to give it up, the crease tightening in his brow as he skims it to make sure it has everything he needs. The skim becomes a harder gaze at one or two points, something required to decipher some of the more difficult-to-read writing. It isn't very long though, before he looks like he's appeased. He does trust the doctor, or at any rate, a lot more than he is known to trust some of his other 'brothers'.

A wry half-smile is given in response to Doctor Cong's last comment. "«I'll tell you how it goes, yes. And as far as old men go, I wouldn't worry about me just yet.»" The smile shows some signs of turning into a smirk, meant as a jibe and little else, before the officer uses one elbow to lever his weight off the doorframe. "«I won't bother your work any longer, though. You're a busy man.»" They both are.

"«As are you.»" Mind reading? No, not quite. Just inclination. "«And face it, Tsang, we are not as young as we used to be. I will bring it up as often as I please." Surprisingly, Bao-Wei jibes back. Moments like this are so few and far between, that most people already might have been thinking 'where did you take the Doctor?'.

One wide hand motions to Hao-Tung to corral an exit from him, and Cong steps forward to exit the exam room as well. Closer, he does look quite tired; not so much more than usual, just that this particular time, Bao-Wei actually shows it. "«We've a few more good years to go. We would be so lucky to last that long.»"

Moments like this are few and far between, more than Hao-Tung would like. For that kind of age-related camaraderie, Liu is too young; Chang had been too old; Song is too young and too female. "«Luck has little to do with it,»" he answers over his shoulder, lifting one heavy eyebrow as he allows himself to be ushered back out into the waiting room. "«We old ones make our own luck; that's how it's always been. Oh, and I suspect you'll be hearing about my results soon. Your nurse should expect a call.»" Schedule permitting.

With a short grunt of farewell to the other man once he is nearer the doors, he lets himself through them and back onto the streets of Chinatown, feeling at least slightly more cheerful than he had before his arrival.

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