Cailin Weber.   Posted by Dragondog.Group: 0
Dragondog
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Fri 28 Feb 2020
at 17:27
Cailin Weber
The bell rang at the end of the school day. For Cailin's final class of the day at Kearny High School, they had discussed Kafka's The Metamorphosis. The school was located next to the California Army National Guard. Its football field was of much better quality than the two baseball fields were. And most of the rest were the various buildings the 1,700 student school needed.

It was Friday 3 May, the start of the weekend, one week before prom, and a little over five weeks to graduation. It was a good time to be alive.
Cailin Weber
 player, 4 posts
Fri 28 Feb 2020
at 18:41
Cailin Weber
Pensive, Cailin exited the building, still thinking about their study of The Metamorphosis. On the one hand, it was a bit depressing given Gregor's fate, on the other his sister Greta had come out of it stronger, a woman ready and able to take herself and others in hand. If one forgot the little betrayal episode of course: becoming responsible was good and all, forgetting who allowed you to reach that point less so.

Briefly shaking her head, Cailin went to grab her bike, glancing at the football and baseball fields on the way, with the teams starting a light practice to prepare for the week-end's game. Neither sports attracted her - she was much more likely to follow handball or basketball - but it paid to know what was going on. For herself, she much preferred basketball or handball, playing in the latter.

For now though, she had plans: like every Friday afternoon, she went to the Rady Children's hospital next door to spend some time with the little patients before the week-end. Not so much because she had plans - even if that was true - but because Saturdays were the parents' days. As such, a lot of the children got over-excited, or anxious, to see their parents and could freak out a bit so it was the best moment to spend time with them and help them relax a bit.

Though of course, it was heart-wrenching at times...
Dragondog
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Sat 29 Feb 2020
at 08:08
Cailin Weber
Cailin rode her bike along the Mesa College Drive over the Cabrillo Freeway, turning right on Health Center Drive, left on Frost Street, and right on Children's Way. Parking her bike in the parking structure across the street from the hospital about seven minutes later. She crossed the street and continued down the road for about 200 more feet before she passed a fountain depicting seven children playing with three kites on some rocks to her right and the clocktower entrance into the Rose Pavilion beyond that. She continued for another 200 feet until she reached the entrance to the Acute Care Pavillion.

It was the largest children's hospital in California and affiliated with UC San Diego School of Medicine. And Cailin was one of more than 450 active volunteers at the hospital. She had even met with Ernest Rady once, the Canadian born, San Diego resident philanthropist who had donated a total of more than 400 million dollars to the hospital that now shared his name. Not that that was as important as the actual work she was doing. That he was one of the trustees of the Salk Institute for Biological Science wasn't even on her radar.

That side of the building was four floors of glass. On the first floor there was a large sitting area to the right and a circular main lobby to the left.

The first child she was visiting that day was Jorge, a Hispanic 5 year old boy, bald from chemotherapy. She had visited him before on a few occasions. He was staying in a single patient room.
Cailin Weber
 player, 5 posts
Sat 29 Feb 2020
at 16:16
Cailin Weber
Before she went to the kids, Cailin spent a moment to talk with the nurses to get the latest news: when she arrived, she almost never had anything planned. Oh, she had ideas on who she'd try to see, but a lot of things could change in a week, in good...or bad. And there were of course the new arrivals: she didn't always spend a lot of time with them straight away, but she tried to at least introduce herself to all of them, letting them know that if they wanted to talk to someone, she was available. In the end, all of that meant that each visit was different with nothing set.

For today specifically, it meant that Cailin's first visit would be Jorge. She went to his room, lightly knocked on the door and poked her head through to check if he was awake: she wasn't going to wake him up if he was sleeping after all, the kids needed all the sleep they could get. Noticing that he was awake, she called to him. “¡Holà Jorge!” Smiling, she stepped inside, careful to keep her voice pleasant but neither somber nor cheerful: she'd adapt her tone depending on how he answered. “¿Cómo estás?”
Dragondog
 GM, 327 posts
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Sat 29 Feb 2020
at 19:46
Cailin Weber
The nurses updated Cailin on what had happened since she was last there. Two new children had been added. Alicia, a female nine-year-old, and Joseph, a male 13-year-old. And it would be good if Cailin at least popped in to introduce herself to the two before she left.

"Hi," Jorge said in Spanish with a smile. "I'm good. After a fashion. How about you?"

[OOC: My Spanish isn't actually good enough to carry on a conversation, even if I know enough to understand what you just said.]
Cailin Weber
 player, 6 posts
Sat 29 Feb 2020
at 20:10
Cailin Weber
Cailin had easily agreed to meet both Alicia and Joseph.

She smiled brightly at Jorge as she stepped in. “Haa, I'm terrible.” She waved her hands to the side. “Well, it's not too bad, it's the week-end, right? But my friend wants to go shopping tomorrow.” She wrinkled her nose, dramatically adding. “For a dress.” She shook her head.

“I don't even want to think about it.” She sat on the edge of the bed. “What are your plans for the week-end? Your mom is coming tomorrow?”

OOC -
No worries, I haven't spoken Spanish since my own High School years, so it'd be pretty limited too :)

Dragondog
 GM, 328 posts
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Sat 29 Feb 2020
at 21:21
Cailin Weber
Jorge clapped his hands gleefully. "You must show me the dress."


"Yes, my mother's coming. And I think we're doing something new. We're just going to hang out here.
Cailin Weber
 player, 7 posts
Sat 29 Feb 2020
at 22:11
Cailin Weber
“Oh, something new? That sounds mysterious!” Cailin sounded happy for Jorge, but refrained from adding anything more on the subject: she didn't want to do too much when she didn't know what was planned in order to avoid Jorge being disappointed for nothing. Plus, the important thing was that he'd spend time with his mom, the rest was simply a bonus.

“As for seeing my dress... I'm not sure you'd merit it you little traitor!” Cailin placed a hand on her forehead, as if she had been wounded. After a couple of seconds, she squinted. “Maybe we won't find anything?” She was almost hopeful at that. Oh, it wasn't quite as bad as that, but while she knew quite a few people - girls mostly - for whom the prom was the event of the year, it wasn't quite like that to her: she simply had other things in mind.

“If we do though...” She tilted her head to the side, a small smile tugging her lips. “What do I get in exchange?” Not that she cared obviously: she didn't mind wearing a dress for the kids, to her it was nothing. It wasn't like she had anything against dresses per se after all. But asking for something in exchange was a good way for Jorge to feel invested and more importantly, to feel a measure of personal success when he "convinced" her. And it also gave him something to look forward to for the coming week, to talk about with the other kids, and that could make a huge difference on his health.

This message was last edited by the player at 22:23, Sat 29 Feb.

Dragondog
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Mon 2 Mar 2020
at 00:21
Cailin Weber
Jorge laughed at Cailin's traitor comment. "More, more," he said while applauding. And when she commented that she might not find anything at all, he said "You can do anything if you put your mind to it."

And when she offered the exchange. "An exchange. Let's see. I've already given away all of my hair. I wouldn't mind giving away my cancer, as long as no one else got it instead of me. But both parts of that trade would be for my benefit." He paused, looked in various directions, making lots of thinking faces as he tried to think of something. And then he smiled. His face radiated with happiness. It was clear that Jorge had thought of something really good to trade.

"I'll give you five hugs," he said.
Cailin Weber
 player, 8 posts
Mon 2 Mar 2020
at 00:46
Cailin Weber
Five hugs?” Cailin shook her head, looking almost insulted. “We're not talking about a random dress you wear any day of the week. It's a prom dress, something that's supposed to be awesome.”

She squinted. Ten hugs, no less.”
Dragondog
 GM, 331 posts
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Mon 2 Mar 2020
at 00:52
Cailin Weber
"Let's split the difference then," Jorge suggested. "Seven hugs."
Cailin Weber
 player, 9 posts
Mon 2 Mar 2020
at 00:58
Cailin Weber
“You bargain hard.” Cailin pretended to consider it, then nodded grudgingly. “Fine, seven hugs.”

After that, Cailin spent some time talking about everything and nothing with Jorge just as a friend would do. Twenty minutes later or so, she left him - having asked for a hug in advance - to go visit the newcomers, starting with Alicia.
Dragondog
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Mon 2 Mar 2020
at 01:09
Cailin Weber
When it was time to leave, Jorge hugged Cailin as she requested. And Cailin went to visit Alicia. The nine-year-old was also in a private room. By the looks of her, she was of Chinese descent. Her long black hair was braided. She was in her bed and she was there alone.

"Who are you," she asked.
Cailin Weber
 player, 10 posts
Mon 2 Mar 2020
at 01:25
Cailin Weber
“Hello.” Cailin smiled, careful not to do too much, but also making it clear she wasn't here to bring bad news or anything. “My name is Cailin, I'm a volunteer here at the hospital. I do a few things, but most importantly I'm here for you if you ever want someone to talk to. Not as a doctor, a nurse or a parent, but as a friend, as your friend.”

“Today I wanted to introduce myself, and if you're feeling up to it to get to know you. But if you don't, it's alright too: you never have to tell me anything you don't want to.”
Dragondog
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Mon 2 Mar 2020
at 08:21
Cailin Weber
"Hello," Alicia replied to the greeting.

"Ok. I guess you already know that I'm Alicia. I've been here for three days now. I wish I was at home." Her demeanor was quite different from Jorge's. She seems to be more sad and lonely.
Cailin Weber
 player, 12 posts
Mon 2 Mar 2020
at 14:45
Cailin Weber
“That I can understand.” Cailin agreed with an understanding smile as she approached. She tapped the border of the bed and asked. “May I?” Sitting down, she added. “You should try to meet and talk with the other kids here if you can. Some are older than you, some are younger, but it doesn't matter all that much and they'll be able to help you, show you the ropes.”

She leaned in conspiratorially. “I'm pretty sure some of them even found a way to smuggle ice-cream in.” Which of course, was handed out by the nurses but the kids didn't know that: it gave them the impression they had a measure of control, it gave them a shared secret - with which came a sense of belonging to a community, so very important - and as long as it didn't happen too often it didn't represent any risk whatsoever. “But you didn't hear it from me, okay?”
Dragondog
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Mon 2 Mar 2020
at 19:35
Cailin Weber
She only nodded to Cailin's question about sitting on the bed.

"Maybe I'll try later," she replied to her suggestion.

The mention of ice cream does get a reaction. "Ice cream? We can have ice cream? How can I get ice cream?"



[OOC: I've already posted once, but it didn't stick. Sorry about that.]
Cailin Weber
 player, 13 posts
Mon 2 Mar 2020
at 19:52
Cailin Weber
Cailin spread her hands, feigning ignorance. “I have no idea. You will have to ask one of the other kids. You can try Jorge, but I'm not sure if he knows. He's only five after all, but maybe he knows who to ask.” She shook her head. “I'm not told such things myself.” Though of course, even if no one had needed to tell her, she knew perfectly well how it happened.

Lower, in a whisper, she added. “You should be careful that no one hears you ask though, we don't want the nurses or the parents to find out, alright?” Which of course in the case of the nurses was a moot point, but some parents had peculiar ideas so it couldn't hurt, especially considering all the good that whole ice-cream smuggling scheme accomplished.

“In the meantime,” Cailin asked. “Is there something I can do for you? Questions I can answer?”
Dragondog
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Mon 2 Mar 2020
at 20:01
Cailin Weber
"When can I go home," Alicia asked and her mood returned to what it had been before ice cream had been mentioned.
Cailin Weber
 player, 14 posts
Mon 2 Mar 2020
at 20:13
Cailin Weber
“That, I do not know, I'm sorry. The doctors haven't told me anything.” Which was perfectly normal: Cailin knew what the kids - or sometimes their parents - told her, but that was pretty much all. Part of it was simple doctor-patient confidentiality of course even if her status was a bit special. More importantly, she felt it allowed her to see the kids before the patients, and that was something she thought mattered. Plus it prevented her from saying things to the kids that the parents or doctors preferred to keep from them.
In the latter's case that was rare though: the doctor were more likely to use her as a conduit to share information to the kids that they believed they should have despite their parents, than the opposite.

Cailin approached Alicia, putting a hand on her shoulder with a thumb on her cheek. Depending on how the younger girl reacted she would give her a hug, but she wanted to leave the choice to her.

This message was last updated by the player at 21:04, Mon 02 Mar.

Dragondog
 GM, 341 posts
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Tue 3 Mar 2020
at 18:24
Cailin Weber
Alicia nodded to Cailin not knowing anything.

And it was obvious that she didn't want a hug. At least not right now and not from Cailin.

She looked out through the window towards the Ronald McDonald House, even though it couldn't be seen from her vantage point.

"Why did this have to happen to me," she said not looking at Cailin nor explicitly addressing her with the statement.
Cailin Weber
 player, 17 posts
Tue 3 Mar 2020
at 18:39
Cailin Weber
Cailin took her hand back, not feeling disappointed or anything, perfectly willing to accept Alicia's decision. Not surprised by it at that, from what she knew Asians were definitely not into hugs.

She didn't answer straight away to Alicia's question, looking by the window for a moment too. “Depending on who you ask, you're going to get lots of different answers.” She paused, thoughtful: that was one question on which it'd be easy to step on a religion mine… “I think there is one thing they'd all have in common, and it's that none of it is your fault. Or you parents'. It seems silly to say of course, but there are lots of kids who come here thinking they must have done something wrong for this to happen.” She didn't get the feeling Alicia was one of those kids, but if she were, she wouldn't appreciate being directly called out on it. She shook her head. “There isn't a shred of truth in that, and it's important to know it.” After all, how could you even begin to fight something if you thought you deserved it?

After a moment, she added. “There is one thing that can make it a bit easier. Not easy, no one will even think of pretending that. Well, on top of meeting the other kids like I mentioned before.” She looked serious. “It's something that will at times seem impossible to do, but smile. In front of a mirror, to a nurse or a doctor, to one of the other kids. Because you thought about something you liked, a fond memory you have, or because of a joke… Neither the why nor the where matter, only that you do it, at least once a day.” Cailin looked at Alicia. “Do you think you can do that?”
Dragondog
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Tue 3 Mar 2020
at 19:12
Cailin Weber
Alicia sighed again. And with great effort she smiled. It looked more like the smile of the Joker than that of a happy child, but it was a smile.

"I would like some ice cream now."
Cailin Weber
 player, 19 posts
Tue 3 Mar 2020
at 19:22
Cailin Weber
Cailin smiled with her, though hers was a happy one. “That's a start! As for Ice Cream…” Her eyebrows rose. “I guess you'd better go hunt for it then, right?” Cailin stood up. “And I'll come back next week, okay?” She paused at the door and with a wink added. “You should start with Jorge.” Not that Jorge had much to do with ice cream, but he was in a good mood and would easily be able to guide her towards those who did know. And since he was younger than Alicia, she wouldn't feel any restraint she'd have with an older kid.

Outside, Cailin took a second - no more, she wanted to be gone when Alicia got out - then walked to Joseph's room, where she repeated the same actions: knock on the door frame, poke her head and see if the kid could entertain visitors.
Dragondog
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Tue 3 Mar 2020
at 19:45
Cailin Weber
Alicia asked where she could find Jorge and when Cailin had given her that information, she said that Cailin could come back next week. She then stalked her prey as if she was a jaguar and it was a deer.

Joseph was a young teenage Caucasian sitting in his bed and playing with a Rubik's Cube. He was more than willing to entertain visitors. Especially when they came in the form of stunning women. He was unable to hide his satisfaction.

"Hello - what have we here," he said.