in the Where They Left Off series
"Kath," he said sleepily. "I just had the weirdest dream ..."
Kathryn smiled out of relief. She helped him to sit up. "Are you all right? Are you in any pain?"
"No. I‘m fine," he answered rubbing his eyes. "I was dreaming, but I was awake. I could see you ... there were bright colors and the water was dripping... again.... It was creepy. What happened to me?" he asked finally looking up at her.
"I have a little
idea about that," she said.
The EMH closed his tricorder. "Well Captain, it seems that you‘re diagnosis is accurate. Mr. Paris is indeed suffering from a REM sleep disorder, narcolepsy to be more precise."
"Hey!" Tom protested. "Mr. Paris is still in the room."
Kathryn reached for his hand and squeezed it as an apology.
"Narcolepsy? Doc, it doesn‘t tell me much about what‘s wrong with me. Why do I fell asleep everywhere? What happened to me in that corridor?"
"Well to answer your first question, Mr. Paris, the primary symptoms of narcolepsy are sleep attacks, overwhelming urges to sleep, that can happen at any time but occurs most often under monotonous, boring conditions."
"Like working in sickbay," Tom pointed out as matter of fact.
The Doctor gave him a sideways look, but refrained from making any comment "I believe that what you experienced in the corridor was an onset of cataplexy," he continued instead. "One characteristics of REM sleep, muscle paralysis, occurred at an inappropriate time. However, you described having a dream. Usually, people lie there fully conscious."
"I was conscious, and yet I wasn‘t," Tom said with a hint of frustration in his voice. "It was like I was hallucinating and I couldn‘t move. It wasn‘t the first time that it happened. Each time, it‘s very creepy."
"Your waking dreams," Kathryn stated in a soft voice.
Tom nodded to her.
"The phenomenon is called hypnagogic hallucination," the EMH told them. "You dreamed at the wrong time."
"I seem to do a lot of things at the wrong time," Tom said on a self-deprecating tone.
"Does Narcolepsy affect the mood?" the Captain asked.
"The lack of proper sleep is a symptom of a depressive state. Paradoxically, total sleep deprivation and REM sleep deprivation have been shown to relieve depression. The former does it more quickly, although the latter provide more lasting results."
"What can you do for Tom‘s narcolepsy?" Kathryn questioned again.
"I can start a drug treatment right away. It would take care of the symptoms and provide Mr. Paris with a more normal sleep pattern. I could also prescribe some anti-depressant for the depression."
"I said no to that before," Tom reminded them. It was obvious that he did not quite like the fact that Kathryn and the Doctor were discussing his case in front of him as if he was unable to make the decisions regarding his health on his own. "I don‘t want to be put on any anti-depressants."
"Tom, it would make you feel better," Kathryn pointed out softly.
"It takes forever to kick in and it didn‘t worked well for me the last time I was on it," he argued.
Kathryn knew that even if they were to agree on anti-depressants that Tom would not comply with the prescription. They had to come up with something else. "What about the REM sleep deprivation that you mentioned before?" she asked the physician. "Could it have a positive affect on both Tom‘s depression and his narcolepsy?"
"It could be an alternative," he conceded. "Assuming that the treatment would be effective for the depression, when Mr. Paris would be allowed to sleep normally once again, his sleep would be mainly compose of REM sleep. Hopefully, he could subsequently fall back into a regular sleep pattern. If not, we could continue with the drug treatment."
"Well, with a little luck, Mr. Paris won‘t have to," Tom said.
Tom was cuddled in Kathryn‘s arms. They had read Irish poetry, laying on the couch, until he had fallen asleep, more than half an hour earlier. She had not moved away form him the entire time. She had kept on holding him in her embrace with contentment, as it had been Tom‘s habit to do ever since they had been together. He slightly shifted in his sleep and she recovered him with the quilt. She would have to wake him up soon, before he could enter into REM sleep. It was tearing her apart even if she knew it was for the best.
A few days before, Kathryn had thought herself ready to go to war against Tom‘s depression, however she had not anticipated that she would have to wage two battles at the same time. They would have to take this one step at the time, she reminded herself.
As usual, Tom
did not like to talk about his problems. He kept on saying that they were
no big deal. He was turning them into jokes. However, Kathryn could tell
just how overwhelmed he was about the situation. The more he joked, the
more stressed he felt. It was a simple equation that she had understood
early on. She had rarely minded the jokes especially in time of crisis.
They had a special relaxing effect on her. It was one of those things she
liked about her Sailor.
A week later, Kathryn walked into her quarters to the sound of Tom‘s laughter. It was music to her ears and she felt a beaming smile creep to her lips. Tom was sitting on the sofa facing Chakotay who was sitting on a chair. The two had met regularly over the last week for some informal counseling. It had been Chakotay‘s initiative to seek out Tom and offer his services as a friend. It had been important for the Commander that Tom understands that he was considering him and Kathryn as precious friends and that he wanted nothing less than to see both of them happy and well. Tom had been deeply touched by the support that his former nemesis was giving him. God knew, that for some eluding reason, he desperately needed it these days.
For Kathryn, the crew‘s acceptance of her relationship with Tom had been an important blessing. But Tuvok‘s and, even more, Chakotay‘s approval had been crucial. She had never dismissed the fact that if it had not been for her first officer and friend‘s support, she would never have engaged herself romantically with a member of her crew. Sadly, Tom most of all.
"Gentlemen," she greeted. "The two of you surely seem to be having a great time. Mind if I join the party?"
"Would we ever?" Tom replied with a mischievous smile.
She sat by his side and they exchanged a kiss.
"So, what did I miss?" she asked.
"Believe me Kathryn you haven‘t miss anything yet," Chakotay assured her as he rose from his seat.
"You‘re not leaving already, are you?" Kathryn ask a bit surprised. "I though you would have dinner with us."
"Thank you, but not tonight. You have other plans in which I don‘t fit," he told her with a smile.
"We do?" Kathryn asked, giving Tom a questioning look.
"We do," Tom confirmed. "That is assuming I don‘t fall asleep before we even get started."
"Don‘t you dare!" Kathryn told him teasingly.
"You have a great plan. It would be ashamed to pass up on it.
Just hold on a little bit longer," Chakotay said encouragingly. "After this evening, you‘ll have the luxury to sleep as long as you want. No one will wake you up anymore."
"That remains to be seen..." Tom said, rolling his eyes in mock disbelief.
"So this is it? Tonight is the night?" Kathryn asked hopeful.
"It is," Chakotay answered. "With the kind of plans that Tom is starting to come up with, both the Doctor and I agree that he his more than fine."
"This is wonderful!" she said cheerfully, squeezing Tom‘s hand. That meant that Tom‘s depression had been alleviated. Kathryn could not be more relieved. Of course, they wouldn‘t been sure if the treatment would be a full success until Tom had the opportunity to have a good night of sleep, but it was good news nonetheless.
"Have a good evening," Chakotay wished them before leaving them cuddled in each other‘s arms.
"So, you‘re starting to make plans, are you?" Kathryn told Tom teasingly. "What kind of plans?"
"Well, it‘s a surprise," he said playfully.
"What kind of surprise?" she asked on a childish tone.
"A nice surprise," he assured her.
"Nice how?" She wanted to know.
her with a long and fervid kiss.
Not only did her Sailor have the most beautiful blue eyes— hum... make that most beautiful body altogether, he was a romantic. No wonder so many women had fallen for him! Now, however, he was hers, all hers.
His arm around
her shoulders, hers around his waist, Tom and Kathryn quietly walked along
La Seine River. They had enjoyed dinner in a charming little Parisian bistro
that Tom had programmed just for the occasion. The food, the wine, the
flowers the music... Tom had thought of everything. By a bridge, they stopped
and took in the beauty of the City of Lights which the brightness was reflecting
in the river. Softly, Tom began to sing.
(At the clear spring)
M‘en allant promener,
(As I went for a stroll)
J‘ai trouve l‘eau si belle,
(I found the water so beautiful)
Que je m‘y suis baigne,
(That I bathed
I forget you).
"Never will I forget you."
"Don‘t ever leave me, Kathryn Janeway."
To the sound of the water dripping under the small bridge, their bodies passionately melted into one another.
REFERENCE: Carlson, N. R. (1998). Sleep and Biological Rhythms.(6 ed), Physiology of Behavior (pp 252- 288). Boston: Ally & Bacon. A La Claire Fontaine is a beautiful song that is part of the French folk repertoire.
Note: Text mode don‘t like French accents on vowels, so I didn‘t put any.
reading this little piece.