There's No Vaccine for Misgivings


megan_icon.gif pandora_icon.gif

Scene Title There's No Vaccine for Misgivings
Synopsis Megan stops by the Lighthouse to dole out vaccinations to the kids and Pandora's little one.
Date September 22, 2010

The Lighthouse

From the outside, the Lighthouse looks as if it has had better days. The massive tower rising out of the house has fallen from its former glory. It is no longer a shining beacon, guiding wayward ships in from the lost harbor — though some may argue its purpose now is even more admirable. In its current state, the lighthouse seems to be in disrepair. Though upon closer inspection it all seems to be in the details. The paint has chipped away, leaving a discolored patterns of grays, whites, off-whites, and more grays. The occasional graffiti tag is here or there along the large building. One would notice that the doors, the windows, and the integrity of the building are all quite sound and newly repaired. The lighthouse has just been left with the look of abandonment.

Inside is a completely different story. Upon entering the main door, one will find a completely furnished and cozy arrangement. A spacious living room lined with two large blue sofa's, facing each other, a coffee table between them and several large bean bag chairs have been planted in the room. Shelves have been hung on the wall to display various different pictures of the occupants. A large bookcase is against the wall, holding a large variety of books from Dr. Seuss to the Bible, and even a copy of the Qur'an. The living room is focused on the fireplace a small black fence encloses it, the wood stocked on the bricks in front of it.

Connected to the living room is a kitchen, complete with a large rectangular table capable of seating around four on each long side and two on each end. A sink, a stove, an oven, a microwave and two refrigerators complete the look. Several low and overhead cabinets line the kitchen. At the edge of the kitchen are a pair of doors, one leading to a bedroom and the other, which has a padlock on it, leads to the basement.

At the back of the living room a glass sliding door leads out into the backyard of the Lighthouse, but just before it a staircase leads to the upper levels of the structure.

The trip up to the Lighthouse has been planned for a week. Megan has patients all over the place — not just in her role for the Ferry, but she also regularly volunteers her time in various places including St. Luke's Hospital, St. John's, and the Lighthouse orphanage. It's a way for her to be anywhere at any time without people looking twice. Today's trip is a mundane one — flu vaccines for most of the children, and additional vaccines for one particular infant. As she carries in the duffel that is transporting the syringes and vials she needs, Megan is greeted at the door by several kids. In spite of the fact that she gives shots, she also gives lollipops and stickers and stuff, so she's pretty popular with the children. She's herded along by a group of them into the main dining room, where she'll set up.

"Hey guys," the tall redhead laughs. "Wow, you're all looking chipper. You liking school, Lucy?" she asks a girl who's just starting. "Hailey, how'd that spelling test go? Oh, Lily, that's a beautiful picture!"

In the doorway, the dark-haired caretaker for the morning lets out one of those theatrical gasps of surprise as adults so often do for the benefit of the little children around them. "Look who's come to see us," Pandora exclaims with a big smile on her face. She wears a large sling of burgundy paisley-patterned fabric across her body, her little baby girl secluded inside and sleeping soundly.

Passing into the dining room proper, Pandora offers a less exaggerated smile to the ginger-haired doctor. "Would you like some coffee? I just made up a pot for myself."

"I want some coffee!" one little boy cries excitedly.

"No, no. Coffee is for the grown-ups," Pandora reminds gently and the boy quiets down and pulls up a seat at the table with some of the other kids.

"Love some," Megan replies to Pandora with a grateful smile. She looks at the group gathering around, and tells the other woman, "This won't take long. We've got the FluMist this year." Which means that most of the kids won't have to have shots, though there are a couple who will. They are the ones who'll go last because Meg knows they hate it. "All right, guys. Line up, everyone get a tissue." Assembly line vaccines. Hoo-rah!

Pandora plucks a box of tissue off the top of the refrigerator and sets it on the table in front of Megan for the kids to pluck from as the take their turn. "That's a relief," she intones about the FluMist. Two mugs are pulled down from a cupboard and filled with coffee. Carefully, Pandora takes a seat next to Megan, sitting far enough away from the table to leave room for her baby. "How're things at the Suresh Center?" she asks conversationally.

Slanting a glance at the woman, Megan shrugs a little. "It's a job," she replies, her jaw a bit tight. She makes a point of loosening it up and smiling for the kids. "I like being here better. I have a tone of my friends hanging out up here." She winks at the kids. Her gloves are quickly snapped into place and Meg starts with the line of kids, each one getting a squirt in each side of the nose and scooted along. The nurse's movements are efficient and her eyes on the children sharp, looking for any signs of other issues that might need addressing. But most of them look pretty healthy, thank goodness. She even kisses the occasional boo-boo when it's shown to her too.

"You've been a great help to us here, Doctor Young. I hope you know how thankful we are for that." Her tone is just a touch too serious and it draws a concerned look from one of the older children who knows what serious voices mean. The young mother is quick to smile again, a reassurance to someone too young to have such worries. "Things have been kind of tense since… You know who left us." Pandora won't invoke Gillian's name around the kids, unprepared to deal with the pouting faces and the tears because their beloved caretaker is so very missed.

Megan smiles for the children, ruffling the hair of the one in front of her and chucking the chin of the next one in line. "I know. It's a rough situation," she replies. "But everyone's doing well here, it looks like." She glances at Pandora and asks with a grin, "I keep telling you I'm no doctor. I work for a living." Tongue firmly in cheek. Brennan'd be amused. Or his wife would be, at the least. "How're you two doing?" she asks, nodding toward the sling. "Getting any more sleep?"

"The joys of a colicky child," Pandora smirks, nodding her head to the child that's actually sleeping now, while she has to be awake to look after the other children. Not that she couldn't get the time for a nap if she really wanted to. Brian would take over for her, but she wants to pull her weight. "I discovered running water calms her. I tried to tape it and play it back for her, but she's too smart for my own good. She has to hear it live." She sighs quietly, "Maybe if I'd used Memorex…"

It makes Megan laugh. "Wow, now there's a phrase I haven't heard in years," she retorts. Her hands continue to move and one by one, the children each go through recieving the flu vaccine as well as each one getting a gentle touch and caress from the nurse. The physical affection is just as much a part of the redhead as the practical care that she provides them. There are four children at the end who already know from past experience that they cannot have the mist. And they're all somewhat subdued by the wall.

"All righty, you guys. Special stickers for you four — and I brought something even better with me for snacks when we're all done here. You ready?" Her eyes are on the balker. There's always one — one who will scream and try to run. In this case, it's a boy named Joe. And he's getting ready, seriously. So Megan holds up a Bakugan in the palm of her hand, a little marble that turns into a dragon. "Wanna see my new one?" she lures him in with a grin.

Pandora slowly rises from her seat and places herself between Joe and his escape route while he's being lured over, just in case he decides to bolt instead. When he finally, somewhat reluctantly, makes his way over to Megan, Pandora closes in and crouches down on the floor next to him, one arm beneath the sling to support her baby, and the opposite hand held out to the boy. "Can you help me sing a song to Junie, Joe?" Her smile is bright, encouraging. "Twinkle, twinkle, little star…"

Megan smiles at the boy, her blue eyes on him solely. The nice thing about flu shots is that if you do them right, they don't hurt much. She waits until he has the little marble and is singing with Pandora before popping that needle in and out of his arm with a speed that speaks of long practice. She massages his arm where he has to get it, too, and then smiles. "You're so brave," she tells him. "You'll have to keep singing to Junie when she gets hers, okay? You think you can do that?"

There's a momentary wince from the boy when the needle goes in, but he doesn't howl in pain or start crying or anything, which does a lot to reassure the others lined up against the far wall that maybe this won't be as bad as they've worried it's going to be. "See?" Pandora squeezes Joe's hand tight after they finish their verse. "That was so good! Go on and sit down until it's Junie's turn, then you can sing to her while she gets her shots, too." And unlike the older kids, that baby is gonna scream bloody murder, as babies often do. Which is why she's definitely going last, or the other kids would go bolting for the tower and not come down until Megan's gone.

Megan takes the next one in line and she tag-teams Pandora in the same ways. With something sparkly or fun to keep the child's attention, needle in and out in a flash, and a rub of the site. Only when all the big kids are done does she turn her attention to the sleeping baby. "Man, I hate to wake her just for this," Megan admits on a laugh.

"Tell me about it," Pandora laments, reaching carefully into the sling to pull her growing child out and hold her in her arms. "Heyyyy, little Junebuggy," she murmurs with a tickle to her belly. Tiny limbs streeeeetch slowly and a little mouth opens in a big yawn before blue eyes open up. "Doctor Megan's here to make sure you're gonna grow up big and strong," the mother sing-songs.

Oh, she so hates this part of her job. Truly. Three needles are prepped, one of them the flu shot and the others the regular vaccines that babies need. There's no prepping the baby, either. Not like she understands. But Megan does stroke the infant's leg and smile at her. "Hey, sweetness," she murmurs. "I'm sorry ahead of time." Then she tells Joe, "Okay, kiddo. Sing your heart out for her, cuz she's gonna be mad about getting a shot, okay?" She looks up to be sure Pandora's all settled in the seat with the baby held firmly and then pops the shots into the bare legs in rapid succession with a firm hand holding at the knee. Two shots in one leg, one in the other, bandaids on before the baby even manages to get to full volume. She's good.

Junko Rasmussen has got a pair of lungs on her, that's for sure. Her little fists fly as her face scrunches up and she turns beat red and just screams for all her little body is worth. Pandora wears a guilty expression as she holds her baby still, cooing reassuringly and stroking her dark wispy hair back from her forehead. "Oh, I know. It must be so tough being such a little baby," she murmurs.

Once Megan has finished her work, Pandora hefts Junko up a little and turns her toward her chest. The child doesn't quiet right away, but it doesn't take long before she begins to calm. "Thank you." She smirks to Megan. "You're good."

Megan grins. "Gotta get them fast — they get so mad," she laughs. "She might have a slight fever tonight, or she might not. Everyone reacts differently. If anythign seems off, as usual, call right away. Okay?"

"I've got you on speed dial," Pandora confirms. After a couple minutes, Junko is quiet and back to sleep. "Man. So long as it isn't actually bedtime? That position works every time." She carefully resituates the baby in the sling so that she can save her arm muscles. "Should I give her anything if she runs a temp?"

"Some Tylenol would be fine. You might give her some this afternoon even, if she seems like her legs are sore." Megan starts packing up her gear. She brought a box of fresh-baked cinnamon rolls from a local bakery for the kids, so they get a special treat on shot day. "I think that pretty much covers everyone. If you want the flu vaccine, I have enough to innoculate the adults while I'm at it," she tells Pandora. Some people want them, some don't, so she brought enoguh just in case.

"I can't speak for Brian or Eric," Pandora says with a shrug of her shoulders. "I prefer to wait until after I make sure the kids are over their side effects, because I always get the aches and sniffles after a flu shot." Which earns a roll of her dark eyes at her consitution. "Maybe next week? I'll come to you. Just… not at the Suresh Center. Been avoiding registration for her sake."

That is to say, Pandora hasn't had Junko tests for the SLC gene that her late husband possessed. Part of her just doesn't want to know. She turns her face down to coo sweetly at her child, a cheery tone, "Who lives off the grid? Is it you?" Another of those mock gasps like she gave earlier, a finger coming down to tickle under the baby's chin, "It's you!"

There's a bit of a grimace and Megan simply nods. There's not much she can say at this point. She had to register for her job, but for her it's as simple as having a social security card. She can't say the same of other people she knows. She wouldn't work for the Ferry if she agreed with it, though. "All righty, then, lady. We're done." She smiles and finally picks up her coffee to take a swallow of the beverage. "Thank God," she murmurs, relieved to find it still warm.

Pandora offers an apologetic shrug at the grimace. "I won't be able to avoid it much longer. I'm sure they'll make registration checks before too long and then I'll have to do something." It's justification, because she feels guilty for her choice. "But, enough of that nonsense. Stupid government," she says blithely, taking a drink of her coffee. "It's been good to see you. It's nice to have another woman around once in a while, even if it's brief."

Megan smiles at the woman, listening to the children boisterously help themselves to the cinnamon rolls. "It's going to happen. You have to decide for yourself what you want done, Pandora. It's why I work with this group — they believe in choice."

Pandora looks like she might want to say more. Like she might want to talk about her thoughts on the new registration act, but she doesn't want to talk about such topics at length around the children. She gets a dour look and then they ask questions, because they've all had to grow up just a little bit too fast and learn a bit too quickly. So, Pandora smiles. "Thanks, Megan." The kids aren't the only one she's provided comfort to today.

Megan too will keep her own counsel with the little pitchers. She can tell it's bothering the other woman, though, and says quietly, "If you want to talk privately, feel free to call. I'll meet you." Although getting away from the Lighthouse and over to the other side is a dicey proposition.

Pandora rises from her seat with a gracious smile and a nod. "I'd like that. We can meet for coffee in the park sometime before it gets too cold." She reaches out and offers a squeeze to the other woman's forearm. "I'll walk you out."

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