Tasha's Prosthetic arm
“This I'll Defend”
|Crew of the USS Gorkon|
|Lieutenant Tasha MacFarlane|
Due to injuries sustained aboard Starbase 173 Tasha's left arm is a prosthetic from the elbow down.
Externally looks like a real flesh and blood limb
Internally, metal frame bone structure - Titanium alloy
Increased strength in the new hand
Fully connected to nervous system
Sensors in fingertips (like Data) linked to small chip implanted in brain.
The information from the sensors goes to the chip which then converts the information so that Tasha will (for lack of a better description) instinctively know what the sensors are detecting. This chip also helps with motor control over the hand.
Uses power cells to power the limb.
The power cells last for roughly one week before they need replacing, (sometimes last less due other factors, e.g. How often the sensors are used.). Power cells are replaced via a small “access panel” in the underside of the forearm.
Susceptible to fail/malfunction from strong EM pulses and some forms of exotic radiation.
Wound Received and Sickbay segment
Fire and Blood
Stone of Doom
Rest and Recuperation
Part 1 ((Counsellor's Office, USS Gorkon - Sometime between leaving Starbase 173 and reaching Palanon))
::Tasha nervously tugged at her sleeve, she had folded the end in such a way that it covered the stump that had once been her left hand. She took a deep breath and waited for her racing heart to slow before she pressed the door chime.::
::She stepped in as the door slid open. On first glance, it looked more like a comfortable sitting room than a place of work, with plush armchairs and a matching couch arranged around a low table. Pictures of spectacular dawns from a variety of planets were on the wall, and a traditional Igbo sculpture of a woman cradling a child was sat on one edge of the office desk in the corner. Tasha's eyes darted around the room, taking in all the details before they settled on the woman working at the desk, Lieutenant Isioma Uzoamaka.::
::The obsidian-eyed lieutenant had stood as soon as Tasha stepped inside, moving out from behind her desk.::
Uzoamaka: How can I help you?
MacFarlane: I...umm...Doctor Yiggtissi said I should seek out a counsellor...so…’ere I am.
::Tasha began to unconsciously pick at the lower hem of her jacket. She gave a nervous smile, she was sure Uzoamaka was a nice person, but Tasha felt slightly uncomfortable around counsellors.::
Uzoamaka: Why don't you take a seat?
::Tasha nodded and perched on the edge of one of the armchairs, as if ready to flee at the first sign of danger. Uzoamaka settled into one of the armchairs, crossed-legged and looking perfectly at ease, a PADD resting in her lap.::
Uzoamaka: What would you prefer to be called? Ensign MacFarlane, Tasha... something else?
MacFarlane: Uhh...Tasha is fine...a little less formal.
::She gave a nervous smile, and the counsellor echoed it with a gentle one of her own. The counsellor's voice was soft and as warm as her smile, and she spoke with a faded Nigerian accent.::
Uzoamaka: The first thing I always tell everyone when they walk through my door is that our conversations are confidential. That means I won't be telling the chief medical officer the details of what we discuss, nor the Admiral, nor anyone else, unless you want me to.
MacFarlane: Ok, thanks, I..err..don’t really think I want th’ too many people knowin’ what was said in ‘ere.
::Uzoamaka acknowledged that with a nod, but she didn't dwell on it, instead moving on to a direct question.::
Uzoamaka: So what's on your mind?
MacFarlane: I assume yeh know what ‘appened on one seven three? ::Tasha raised her stump and waved it around, while the counsellor nodded.::n’ how I...kinda...went mad f’ a short time.
Uzoamaka: I know what I've been told, but I haven't heard your experience of it.
MacFarlane: I...I lost my ‘and. It...it...my ‘and!
::She thumped the stump against her leg for emphasis, but Uzoamaka remained quiet, as though waiting for her to continue. Lost for further words, Tasha gestured at it, her mouth working, but no words coming out. After several moments she managed to force out a few words.::
MacFarlane: ::Weakly,:: It was my ‘and.
::The counsellor nodded, her expression kind and attentive, and when it became clear that Tasha had -- at least momentarily -- run out of steam, she spoke.::
Uzoamaka: Would you talk me through what happened?
MacFarlane: I...I…::Tasha took a deep breath and nodded:: aye, yeh know about th’ creature tha’ was involved? Well, it came out o’ th’ rift an’ straight through th’ isolation field. It was comin’ straight at me, and I thought it wanted t’ take me like th’ Seraphim did back in th’ nebula. I didn’t want that t’ ‘appen so I shot it, th’ beam went straight through th’ creature an’ didn’t even slow it down. It grabbed m’ phaser an’ it melted, I dropped th’ weapon an’ tried t’ run but it grabbed me. ::Tasha took another deep breath, her palm had become very sweaty and she could feel sweat on her forehead too.:: M’ arm caught fire, it pulled me an’ I fell t’ th’ floor. Then it grabbed me with both its ‘ands an’ pulled m’ arm off. Then it vanished back through th’ rift. I remember very little after that.
Uzoamaka: Why is that?
MacFarlane: I remember screaming...lots of screaming an’ pain, an’ fire, an’ blood ::Tasha shivered:: I dunno if its in m’ record, but I have a bit o’ a blood phobia. I vaguely remember tryin’ t’ ‘elp with th’ stone artifacts, but I ‘ave no clue what I did. Th’ first clear memory I ‘ave after…::she looked at her stump::...yeh know...was wakin’ up in sickbay an’ askin’ th’ doctor f’ some water.
::Every once in a while, the counsellor tapped out a few things on her PADD; short notes to refresh her memory when she wrote up the session later.::
Uzoamaka: That's quite common. Trauma of any kind can leave holes in our memories. ::She paused, then decided to elaborate.:: Some psychologists think it's the mind trying to protect itself.
MacFarlane: ::Tasha gave a small, sad smile:: Then I’m glad, I’m not sure I want t’ remember.
Uzoamaka: What's happened since?
MacFarlane: Well, doctor Yiggtissi said I shouldn’t work f’ th’ next week or so. I’ve been sittin’, bored out o’ m’ mind in m’ quarters mostly. Th’ doc said tha’ we would work on gettin’ a prosthetic replacement, so I did a little bit o’ research into those.
::Uzoamaka nodded, her expression soft and interested as she listened to Tasha speak.::
Uzoamaka: Tell me about that.
MacFarlane: Well, for a start there are several thousand different designs ::Tasha gave a small chuckle:: I could have a sample o’ m’ DNA taken an’ have a new left arm grown in one o’ th’ science labs. I could opt f’ a completely mechanical arm, of which there are hundreds of options. I will admit tha’ I find th’ idea of a mechanical arm intriguing although there were some ideas tha’ I said no to th’ moment I saw ‘em, I want it t’ look, more or less, like a flesh an’ blood arm.
Uzoamaka: It's important to you that you look no different.
::It was phrased as a statement, but there was a lingering question in the counsellor's words.::
MacFarlane: I...ah...people stare. I enter a room an’ they all look at m’ injury. If m’ arm doesn’t look different, they will ‘ave nothin’ t’ stare at.
::Tasha believed it was sound logic. If she looked like everybody else, with two fully functional arms, then the need to stare at her would cease. The counsellor, however, seemed less convinced.::
Uzoamaka: Do you think that's why they're looking? We are talking about Starfleet officers, who serve with a myriad of different alien species and have seen any number of strange and wonderful things.
MacFarlane: Aye, but th’ reason tha’ a fair number o’ ‘em joined was t’ explore an’ see unusual things. Its unusual t’ see an’ officer with only one ‘and. I think they are jus’ curious, but th’ starin’ still makes me uncomfortable, I don’t like it.
::Surely, Tasha thought it wasn’t their intention to make her feel uncomfortable, it just happened because they wanted to see how bad her injury was::
((Counsellor's Office, USS Gorkon))
::After Tasha spoke, Uzoamaka was quiet and thoughtful for a moment. She took a breath, then looked directly at the Scotswoman, redirecting the conversation back toward her.::
Uzoamaka: What about yourself? What do you feel when you look in the mirror, as you are right now?
MacFarlane: I...err...I’ve been avoiding the mirror, I don’t like lookin’ at it, it starts hurtin’ again, but how could it? There is no hand there that can be hurt!
Uzoamaka: ::She nodded,:: It's more common than not. It's called phantom limb pain.
MacFarlane: Phantom? Yeh mean like a ghost? ::she shook her head:: but I have no ‘and, ‘ow can it still be hurtin’?
Uzoamaka: Mostly because our minds are complex and often illogical things. ::She offered Tasha a kind smile -- empathetic, rather than sympathetic. There was no pity in her eyes.:: What we've found is that the more coping mechanisms a person has, the less likely they are to experience phantom pain.
MacFarlane: Right, but why does it hurt? I know its all in m’ ‘ead, but tha’ isn’t enough t’ make it stop.
Uzomaka: In your case, I suspect it's because there's been a change in your body image that you're struggling to process. What you see when you look in the mirror doesn't match the mental picture you have of yourself, and that manifests as pain where the difference is.
MacFarlane: I see, so ‘ow d’ yeh think I can make it not hurt when I look at it?
Uzoamaka: You're here, that's a good start. ::She paused.:: But Tasha, we need to be clear on what's ahead. I can't promise any quick fixes. Phantom pain often begins to fade in the first six months, but some people find it can last years. What I can do is work with you to help you build some coping mechanisms, and I can prescribe some medications that might help as we work on that.
MacFarlane: ::weakly:: Years? I...I don’t want tha’. ::she shuddered:: Anythin’ an’ everythin’ yeh can do t’ ‘elp will be greatly appreciated.
::Uzoamaka nodded, her expression and voice kind, but very serious.::
Uzoamaka: I'll do everything I can, but you're the one who's going to be doing the hard work. ::She paused for a moment, gathering her thoughts.:: Do you keep a personal log?
MacFarlane: I...err...no. Should I be?
Uzoamaka: I'd like you to, from now on. Make an entry at the end of your day; as much as you feel like, and it can be as little as a few lines. You don't have to share it with me, I just want you to read back through them before our sessions, and see if you can pick out any recurring themes or thoughts.
MacFarlane: Aye, I think I can do tha’, I’ve never really considered them, I didn’t see any reason I might need one.
Uzoamaka: Good. I'd also like you to try working with a mirror box. Essentially, it mirrors one half of your body while you run through some exercises, and it can help to reduce the phantom pains.
MacFarlane: A mirror box? Never ‘eard o’ it. But I shall take yer advice an’ make use o’ one.
::The counsellor nodded, lifting her PADD to make a few more notes. Now that they were getting to meat of choosing a course of action, she was making sure she had everything written down for reference.::
Uzoamaka: Would you like to try talking therapies on their own to start with, or do you feel you'd benefit from some medication as well?
MacFarlane: What kind o’ medication are we talkin’ about? Cos I ‘eard it was better t’ not use medication an’ let m’ body heal itself.
Uzoamaka: Heard from who?
MacFarlane: I...errr...I read it, somewhere, in one of th’ descriptions f’ one o’ th’ prosthetic arms. It said, allow yer limb t’ heal on its own first, dunnae take medication if at all possible.
::The counsellor was quiet for a few moments, her lips twitching a little as she thought through what she wanted to say.::
Uzoamaka: I would be wary of anyone who advises their clients like that. They may have the best of intentions, but they don't know your individual circumstances, and so it's impossible -- and quite frankly, unethical -- for them to provide any kind of medical advice. ::She paused.:: Particularly in cases of traumatic amputation.
MacFarlane: ::Tasha nodded, it hadn’t seemed like the most reliable of sources:: I understand, so what kind o’ medication d’ yeh suggest?
::Though she did her best to maintain a professional, unbiased demeanour, there was a brief flare of relief before she composed herself to answer the question.::
Uzoamaka: To try and manage the pain, there's a variety of different options. Anticonvulsants and antidepressants can be effective at managing the phantom pains, but they don't work for everyone.
MacFarlane: I understand, but if it helps t’ stop th’ pains, or even diminish ‘em, then I am willin’ t’ give it a go.
Uzoamaka: All right. I'll write you up a prescription. How about we schedule another session for a week's time, and you can let me know how things are going?
MacFarlane: Aye, Thank you Counselor. If there is nothin’ else, I will see yeh in a week.
Uzoamaka: And you're more than welcome to get in touch sooner, if you need to.
::Tasha stood and brushed a crease out of her trousers. She stuck out her good hand towards Uzoamaka, who shook it with a warm smile. While she wasn’t overly fond of meeting with counsellors, Tasha had to admit that the advice she had been given had been useful, and with any luck it would help with her recovery.::
Letter from family
Messages from home
Preparing for a new hand
Programming the Prosthetic
Armed and ready
Living with a new hand
His Legacy lives
Back to work
The Purple heart
Call from home
Contact from home