2007-12-05: Support For Those Who Help

Starring:

Erin_icon.gif Taine_icon.gif

Summary: Sometimes the only help someone can give is by supporting those with the skills or ability to help those in need.

Date It Happened: December 5th, 2007

Support For Those Who Help


Children's Ward of a Hospital

It's really not hard to get into the Children's ward of a hospital when you're a television star. Sure, actors on soap operas don't always make the best visitors, since kids of young ages really have no idea who the heck these people are. Even so, most hospital staffers will understand that if you're a public image, you're not there to hurt the kids.

And so here they are. Erin stands outside the door of a child - maybe five or six years old - who has a disease that the family doesn't expect her to Abril Cevallos lies in a coma in the children's critical care unit of the Children's Hospital on 68th Street. Erin's already visited the rooms of many kids who had the flu, or some sort of bad cold. She put the on the path to recovery - not completely, so that no one suspected a miracle, but enough so that they're out of jeopardy. This one's different, though.

The room is completely surrounded by warnings - biohazard, containment area, do not enter unless authorized to do so. It's hard to see the kid past all the HazMat apparatus just on the other side of the door. A sign - WARNING - YELLOW FEVER PATIENT - is present on the door at eye-level, and the door is locked.

—-

It's easy for soap stars to get in also because… the parents tend to know them. And a lot of stars sign up for charity work— ups their images. Taine certainly doesn't do this often, but he'd encouraged her to go and help sick people, and this is a start. The Gemini Virus, as they ended up calling it, had been cured, though he's not sure how big a role she played, he's sure she helped quite a bit— only a few people died, the outbreak was stopped. The meat contamination didn't spread beyond the city.

By her side, he casts smiles at the nurses, talks in his accent to the kids, and then follows along— toward the Warning sign. "Yellow Fever, eh? Doesn't look good for this one." He glances back toward the nurses, who are still watching them, and flashes that smile again— until he looks back. It settles and he looks concerned for a moment before glancing toward the woman next to her. "This something you can— you know?"

—-

Erin might never even know how big a part she had in curing it. This whole thing has left her a little more charitable, though, and unfortunately with a little grey in her hair. That will never show, however, because the hair stylists on set are almost rabid about making her look her awesomeist - so that's not something she really has to worry about. Still, it's weird to know she's going grey before she's thirty.

Biting her bottom lip, Erin leans closer to Taine. He's the one with the charm. She's the one who's gotten slowly less tolerable through the evening as she gets more and more tired. Luckily, it's nowhere near as exhausting as working on the Gemini virus, and this one, she can already tell isn't nearly as difficult. "Think you can convince our watchdogs over there to let us into the room?" she whispers, before looking back to the window. "I dunno if I can. Not 'til I'm closer." Even so, she presses her hand against the window, as if reaching out for the kid. If anything, the nurses might think she's a little callous when it comes to people her own age, but she definitely has a soft spot for children. Ever since taking Taine's advice and curing that kid on the subway the other day, she's wanted to do this.

—-

With all the warning signs, Taine squints through the window at the poor child and then nods. "I'll see what I can do. Superhuman charm is my power, after all." There's a hint of a wink, before he reaches over and squeezes her arm. "Just don't do anything that'll make me have to carry you out of here," he adds, before he breaks off to go talk to the nurses. Pulling out everything from his pearly whites, to a promise of an autographed picture to them both, he spends a good few minutes talking to them.

After those minutes, the nurses come over and give them instructions on how to enter, filter masks, everything short of a suit. "Thank you. It means a lot to us," he adds after they give the instructions. But it seems that the nurses will be going in with them, at least one of them.
Too bad they can't go in alone. Erin risks giving herself away, but… It's better than nothing. She can already tell that the poor kid certainly won't make it into the new year, if she even makes it 'til Christmas. "Abril, huh? Where's she from?" Erin asks the nurse.

"Here. The family's from Brazil, though. They were visiting. There was an endemic there a couple years back… Still a few cleanup cases. The poor girl."

As they're led through the procedure and dressed, the nurse quiets. Once inside the room, she releases a fine fire-extinguisher like spray - it's cold, but effective. It makes the small enclosure sterile, so that any viruses that manage to get /in/ when they enter the child's chamber won't live very long.

Reaching for Taine's hand with her now-gloved one, she gives it a squeeze. It's an unspoken thank you - for now. "Where's the family?" asks Erin.

—-

The whole procedure takes Taine by surprise, makes him tempted to ask his nurse mother about this kind of thing, but he goes through the steps as ordered and stands nearby to look at the poor child. There's no television in a room like this, nothing to read even. Vistors aren't supposed to be comfortable, or in these rooms long at all.

"They father is working, the mother usually spends most of the day in the chapel," the nurse responds in a sad voice. "They visit for quite a few hours every day, but she's not been responsive for some time…"

Nothing makes someone feel more helpless than sitting in a small clean room when there's nothing can be done. And working might be the only thing they can do— keep the paychecks coming in to pay for the medical bills and pray for a miracle.

For the most part, he stays quiet, but knowing that he needs to distract the nurse, since she's standing right there, he does ask questions. "What kinds of medicine do you use to treat this?"

—-

Erin steps close to the bed. The kid must have a million wires going to and from her. A heart monitor is beeping steadily, albeit slowly, nearby, and there's an IV drip, likely with a cocktail of medicines pumping into the kid's system. Erin can see what the nurses already know - they have to treat her, they have to stay positive, but the outlook is grim.

As Taine talks to the nurse, Erin reaches a hand to set it on the child's arm.

"Anti-viral medicine like Valtrex. Some pain killers that keep her asleep most of the time. There's not a lot we can do, unfortunately. She's bleeding internally. We expect liver failure within the week." The nurse pauses. "She's just way too young. Her immune system is having a hard time fighting off this disease."

All this might make the average person cry, but Erin's just quietly leaning over the bed, turned slightly away from Taine and the nurse, looking at the child's face.

The silence is deafening for a few moments. "…I don't really like to pry," says the nurse, and she still seems hesitant, given the situation they're in - that they're within the room of a child who isn't going to see another birthday - but she has to talk, to say something. Lowering her voice, she goes on. "Are you and Erin — Ms. McCarty - are you— There's just rumours, and I really like the show, and I'm wondering…"

—-

The best way to distract the nurse would be to allow her to engage in gossip. Taine can nod at the mention of the medical stuff— but he's not a doctor outside of the show. He doesn't know what half of this stuff means. Other than what he learned in scripts. Immune system isn't equipt to handle it— that doesn't sound good at all. And from a few of his scripts he knows that medicine used to fight a disease like this could destroy someone's organs eventually…

But gossip. Gossip he can handle. The lowered tone draws him a little closer, polite listening distance, before he smiles. "I've heard the rumors. A majority of them are false, I have to say— I'm still technically single," he adds on. Smiling in the room of a dying girl probably isn't the best of things, but he can't help it. This very thing that she's doing… "But I'm certainly trying to get to that point. She's a… very compassionate woman at times." Like right now.

Other times she makes him sick, though.

—-

The news that he's still single brings a smile to the woman's face, albeit brief. She has to maintain her professionalism. As well, there's already a damper on her mood from being in here at all - after all, how devastating must it be for a family to know that their daughter is extremely ill?

Erin never glances over her shoulder to see what Taine and the nurse are talking about. She does, however, reach back to pull a chair closer. Sitting down, she leans back in it for a moment.

The nurse watches this. So… There's some truth to the rumours, after all. A little. She should have known. "So, did you just decide to stop by the hospital? You like kids? I think the parents really enjoyed your visit. That's okay, though. They need cheering up, too. If they're a little happier, their kids are, too."

—-

"I play a doctor on television," Taine explains in a quiet voice. "But rarely do I get to actually help people in any way. I'm not trained in medicine, though my mother is a nurse— her and people like you are the real deal— you help people every single day. I don't have the skill or the knowledge to do anything like that." Or the power, for that matter. He's talking a little more loudly now, just loud enough that the woman by the bed can hear them too. The talk of relationship might have been quieted, but this is something he wants her to hear. Sounds like something from one of his scripts, honestly… Like he's drawing from them for inspiration.

"It wasn't just for the parents or the children— not for me. I'm here to support the people who actually help these children. People like you." The nurse may be who he's looking at, but she's not who he's talking to. "I think what you do here deserves support— and recognition. And even if I'm just a soap star— you have it."

—-

Erin's well-aware that she had a sort of weak moment after she collapsed from healing Elena Gomez. She talked a lot to Taine, but when it was over, when she was more awake, she never denied that anything she said was true. She asked him to stay because she trusted him, and even that was a long time in coming. She still doesn't understand him completely, but she's starting to feel like there's a little more to him than shiny white teeth.

The virus is dying inside the child. It's not nearly as difficult as the Gemini virus. Not even a hundredth as difficult, if she had to put a number to it. It's wreaked havoc on Abril's system, though, but it'll get better. Erin just can't cure it all, because there would be suspicions raised. But she can break down the viruses enough so that they can no longer multiply, or even survive for very long, inside the girl. When her fever breaks sometime early in the morning, her mother will call it a miracle.

"He's so cheesy," she whispers to the unconscious girl. But Erin knows who he's talking to.

The nurse is just eating this up, too. She's about to cry, or burst into song, or so it seems. This is probably her best day ever in the hospital, except for the dying girl and all.

Erin reaches out to pat the girl's arm again. Once she's feeling less winded from the healing, she stands, gives Abril a pat, and starts heading over toward Taine. "Poor kid," she says, almost offhandedly.

—-

Cheesy or not, he means every word of it. Even if it comes straight out of various scripts that they do— or speeches that his publicist prepares for him and jogs into his memory. This is the first time he's ever used it in this kind of situation, though. Taine does mean every word, even then. He's here to support the people who actually make a difference— the people who do things to help others. That's his contribution to the cause— and it's the best he can do. "Thank you so much for letting us in here, Maggie," he says, looking at the woman's name on her tag and using it. Always use their names when you can.

"I sincerely hope that she pulls through," he adds, trying to somber his smile so that he doesn't give away that he knows something will help her get through. "I think we should probably leave soon, though, but I owe you and a couple nurses some autographs before we go." Part of that 'support' thing. But first…

They have to get out of this room. Which includes more procedures to keep the viruses they might have picked up inside in.

—-

It does take awhile to get them out. Longer than it took to get in. The thing is, none of the yellow fever viruses can be allowed to leave the room. So far, they've kept it contained - they routinely test anyone who's had contact with the girl. Vaccinations have existed for Yellow Fever for a long time, it's just that it was too late to help the kid.

But eventually, they're back out in the hall. Erin looks pale around the eyes, they're slightly bloodshot - but only a little - and it looks like she might have been crying. That's okay. That kind of stuff is good for the papers, anyway.

The nurse doesn't really answer Taine's hope. After all, she already knows the outcome of this. Instead, she just nods. "Thank you again - both of you - for stopping by," she says, offering a smile. "I'm afraid visiting hours are about over, though— " Looking back, noticing Erin still at the window, Maggie amends. "You can just leave the way you came in when you're ready. Right out this door here and to the left. We'll be at the nurse's station there, just— you know, so you can…" Autograph! Best night ever.

Once the nurse heads off, Erin lets out a breath she'd been holding. "Don't think she saw anything, do you?"

—-

"We should be getting home— we have filming tomorrow," Taine says, smiling at the woman one last time, before putting his hand on Erin's arm and leading her the way they came in. "I don't think she noticed anything… except maybe my devestating good looks and charm." There's that cocky smirk that's all his again.

"As long as it takes a while for everything to happen, they probably won't think anything of it— likely just think the medicine finally helped her immune system overcome it." Or if they're really supersitious, they might think the mother's prayers finally got answered.

"You did good, Erin. This was one of the best dates I've been on." Yes. He said date.

—-

"Yeah," she says tiredly, though there's a hint of a smile on her face. They need to make up for the time they lost the couple times she knocked herself out healing people. As long as she gets a good night's sleep tonight, she won't have to worry about her 'mystery illness' acting up again.

"You know, you're not as handsome as you think you are," she says, looking up at him with eyes that are ringed by dark circles that only disappear with the magic of makeup nowadays. "If this doesn't kill me, I think you might." Pulling away from his touch against her arm, she instead reaches for his hand, adding after a moment, "Don't get any ideas. I'm just making sure you're not carrying any germs around."

She doesn't, however, let go.

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