Saturday, February 21, 2015

A day at the spa

[ From the Glassman anthologies. These aren't really numbered or in any order so &etc. ]

A day at the Spa

    I swapped my ultrasilk suit for one of the medicinal bathrobes in the dressing room. The escalator swept me downstairs to one of the private vat rooms. I could still afford a little aloneness. Before getting into the gel I set the walls on four sweeping panoramas from around the globe. Gobi desert, Florida Keys underwater, Australian reefs, Oregon rainforest mountain view from 6500 feet. Flicked on a randomize routine to slowly drift the views. So glad they never privatized the global reserves.

    Sometimes I run the process as part of a sensory deprivation trip. Not even being in space can produce a better zero G than the med tanks.

    Climb into the tank slowly, allowing the dendrites to scan my skin first. Feet always need the extra work anyhow. I still walk almost everywhere I go. When the medgel finally reaches my neck,  pause for a second to steel my mental discipline. Many people still get sedated for this part. Gradually dunk my head, swallowing a couple pints first as my mouth goes under. The paroxysm of coughing and choking that comes with inhaling the goo is mostly mental the techs tell me. Yet I’ve seen many of them go under sedated. I endure it anyways, finally falling back into my natural breathing rhythm as the pseudo-fluid establishes itself in my lungs and extrudes a tiny bit of analgesic to numb my autonomic response to its presence.

    Here’s another reason many people don’t like to remain awake during the process. The faintly pink gel around me begins to grow cloudy. Strange tugging sensations become noticeable in my extremities, the gel grows thicker, almost stiff in places of contact. Nanothreads are penetrating my skin in places, stripping off dead skin cells here and there, tugging other cells into newer, better overlapping regions.

    The threads running into my muscles are checking for strain damage, pumping out any toxic metals I might have picked up, sorting cell arrangements for maximum shear resistance.

    Disturbing gray streamers are emerging from my mouth. All that dust and smoke I picked up while working on the apple trees. I’m glad my hash-patch works well enough I don’t need to smoke anymore. Even with nano, cancer surgery is still expensive.

    My teeth and digestive system tingle and twitch. “Three microcavities sealed” the readout dumps into one of my headscreens. I won’t bother describing the readout on my other internal organs. All shipshape, except for a tiny bit of liver repair; always gotta watch my self when I go to one of Steve’s parties.

    I only get my bones done once a year. Some things I feel are best left to nature.

    I haven’t requested any installations or modifications this time, so when the medthreads have finished healing what they can and pumping my blood and tissue full of Optimum, they drain the fluid away at last. At the very end a fogger comes on (that's new!) as I puke and cough up the last bits of gel. Almost no sensation with that by the way, medgel is very efficient at diminishing discomfort. The fog lays down a seal coating to cut down on UV for a couple of days, I datagaze.

    Climbing back into my robe, I feel it fluff up and throb with warm, comforting vibes. It is no doubt checking with my implants and the medical database to make sure that everything went fine. Triple, triple, triple redundancy. My refreshed nerves are minutely sensitive to the vibrations of the terry cloth tendrils as they scrape over my skin, looking for any possible stray threads or tissue damage left by the gel.

    I feel a faint affirmation ding! in the back of my mind as I return to my dressing room. My coverall has also freshly cleaned itself and done a long diagnostic. Swap out the robe for the strong sense of purpose running in the old smudged tan jampsuit. I flick the colorswirl and pick out a late summer scene to match my return to work.

    All is right with the world, or at least my part of it.


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