Volunteering in the Plague Ward

Xanadu Weyr - Infirmary
The infirmary here is intended for human care. It is regularly scrubbed spotless and smells of disinfectant, redwort and other herbs that are - if sometimes strong - preferable to the scents of sickness. Cots are lined up against one wall, with a set of curtains that can be pulled to give some privacy to the occupants of the cots if they so desire. They're mostly used for examinations of patients and the treatment of mild injuries that won't require long term care; near the back are some more private areas with folding dividers.
There's a number of cabinets that stand off against another wall, instruments and medications stored against when they will be needed, and a back room holds those supplies seldom required.
A desk with chair is set just off of the doorway to the caverns, meant for the healer to sit and catch up on record keeping after a long day's work or await patients. If things get too busy, the patients can do the waiting on a set of uncomfortable chairs set nearby. The other doorway comes directly from the clearing, wide enough for a team to carry a stretcher through.

If someone was wondering whether Xanadu was in the grip of an epidemic, one look at the state of the infirmary would be enough to settle their question both definitively and affirmatively. Every cot available is in use, and some transport stretchers have been propped up on tables to form makeshift extras - which are, of course, also in use. Few of the resting patients are adults yet, adding an undertone of Many Unhappy Children to the overall unpleasant state of an overbooked infirmary. In this environment, the only healers who aren't currently running around tending to patients are the ones who are already worn out from tending patients and have gone off-shift to get some rest so they can do it again as soon as they wake. In the midst of this chaos, Meion strides in, earning worried glances. At least she's entering under her own power, so this isn't another case of her passing out. The idea that she's here on some sort of business is underscored by D'lei walking in a few steps behind, apparently in an ongoing conversation with the computercraft rider. She starts talking to him without bothering to turn his way. "I don't think the healers have a lot of spare energy for researching the outbreak itself; everybody's already working hard just to keep the patients treated."

In one sense, it's good that many of the children are awake enough to whine or moan. When they're sick enough that they can't complain about being sick, that's when you need to really worry… but it still means that the overflowing infirmary is one outburst away from a riot's worth of simultaneous tantrums, held in check only by the frailest thread of DUN WANNA. D'lei nods, casting his gaze to either side at the cots and the children occupying them… not to mention worried parents, half-conscripted as healer-assistants when they can't be chased away. "It doesn't help that we're just chasing symptoms." A frown, as if he is personally offended by this disease. Which, given that some of the children are not just his in the sense of Xanadu's but also his… "And we don't know how it's going to progress." Is this the first stage? The second, and he and Meion are infected and don't know it? Is there a third, yet to come? Without knowing, the healers are just running the Red Queen's Rash.

"Right. So, I think we can try to do a population analysis on the Weyr, and maybe we can get to the root of it." She looks back to check if D'lei understands, and then launches into a full-on explanation without really considering whether he wants it. "If we track who did what with who, starting… let's say, a few days before the first case - then we can figure out how it was likely transmitted. And if we figure that out, maybe we can get down to who had it first, and if anyone is transmitting it without actually having symptoms." A beat. "There was a bad plague in the dragons back in the Thread days, and we talked about how we could have dealt with a crisis like that in one of my classes when I was studying." And there's the motivation - a real-life opportunity to do something Big and Exciting with her data-related craft-skills! "I'd need help, though - we'd need to go talk to people and try to get all the information." And there's why she's dragged the weyrleader into her scheme.

D'lei nods, at least to start out. Population! Aka, people. Analysis! …which is to say, poking it to see what facts come out. It's like data-oriented pinatas! "…hmm," he says as she continues, with a few nods and a few furrows of brow to go with - though, when he catches a worried glance from a wingleader there by a child's bedside, he gives a quick kinda-smile before refocusing his attention on Meion and her expository monologue. "I don't remember anyone sick before the eggs." D'lei gives Meion a questioning look, like challenge me, though… really, they'd want to ask that one of the healers and the infirmary record-books. "Can't say much about after, I got busy." Because of course he did. "But it'll be memorable to other folks, too. When you're asking them what they did with who and all that…" Was it before or after Leirith declared she was dying LIKE FIFTY TIMES and laid LIKE NINETY (okay, fifteen) eggs? Things like that have a way of making an impression. As does the infirmary they walk through, seemingly every surface available strewn with red-splotched and unhappy patients - mostly children, some teenagers, only a few adults… and barely enough healers to go around.

Meion gives a confident nod to D'lei's assertion. "It certainly wasn't like this before the eggs came. But maybe there was a case or two." She makes her way through the crowd of healers, patients, and concerned relations, looking to find the masterhealer on duty - or which senior journeyman healer they've delegated to while they've got more important tasks like sleeping. "If you think we could get some volunteers to help, we could take over some of the record-keeping, and use those records to try to make sense of things."

C'iel pads in, for the moment on his lonesome. He listens in for a little while before offering in short, "You may not be looking at cause and effect, but multiple effects. I mean, otherwise it simply doesn't make much sense. From a diagnostic perspective?" Blush, tint, adjustment of personal things. He takes a quick scan around before raising a hand of weary greeting. "Speaking of volunteering. I know these are a lot… smaller, but we can spare a couple bodies from the Annex." Read: someone who knows the basics of not getting cross-contamination everywhere.

"Yeah." D'lei grimaces slightly, nodding to Meion. "Easy enough to miss a few…" Children are always coming down with something. "This could be a flu and dust mites… if it was just the one." Buuuut… his gaze shifts around the infirmary again, looking at all the cases that it's not just dust mites. …or if it is, they are unusually fecund this season. Maybe it's Leirith's fault? (She blames Garouth.) D'lei focuses to C'iel, with a slight nod of greeting and then a tilt of his head. "Go on?" he says. "What do you mean by multiple effects?" Please subscribe him to the healer journal, dragons and data edition! Though - aha, there's someone with seniority! D'lei lifts a hand to make a come-hither sort of gesture to the harried and underslept healer, because she's more likely to listen to a Weyrleadery summons than Meion's… and C'iel's good news will probably help keep her from being tempted to use medication on them in non-approved manners.

Meion waves to C'iel, and she nods at the prospect of getting dragonhealer-y assistance. "Oh, it'd be great if you helped! I had some questions I needed to ask you, too!" Which is to say, data analysis would be easier if someone could explain what some of the medical shorthand abbreviations mean to her. "And please, tell us what you're thinking?" She's all attention, listening to the healer of large patients, while the healer of smaller (and somewhat more infected) ones approaches with the weakest possible smile for the prospect of aid from weyrleadership.

C'iel raises a hand in preemptive apology along with his greetings and smiles. "I don't have the knot or the know-how to be a proper people healer, but just thoughts and willing hands." And brain. Brainhands. Does not look like he needs to scrub up quite yet though. "It's just that, when you have a fever and spots, they're both symptoms. Some sort of change that is affecting our bodies and dragon bodies, albeit differently…? The loosest of theories, and one you might have discussed already." He frowns, folding hand over hand. "Anything I can answer, though, I'll try."

The human-healer does not appear to mind C'iel's lack of specific knowledge, not in the least! "Even if you never touch a patient, you can compound to a recipe." With this many people - all with the same symptoms - it's hardly surprising they've run through their stock of some of the pre-mixed medications. "That'd let apothecary get to the front room…" Oh yes, there are wheels turning, and C'iel and the other dragonhealing volunteers will find no shortage of ways to help. So! That does make her a little more inclined to give Meion and D'lei at least a fraction of the time of day, and the Weyrleader makes the introduces, "Meion's got an idea to figure out where this came from." Hopefully it isn't Red Dead: Land Of Plagues and Doom.

Meion gives the healer a formal nod, in lieu of hand-shaking in a medical ward. "If we can help with your records, and get the old ones, I think I can also do research to figure out where this started and how it's spreading." There's more to it than that, and she fills in the plan with broad descriptive strokes, but the gist is there: the healers get volunteers to help with their record-keeping, and the datacrafter gets those records to try to dig to the bottom of to try to slow down the spread of whatever-this-is.

C'iel manages a smile at that. "I've not forgotten how to be an initiate quite yet," he muses. "If I CAN help in any other way, all the better." But he's not so prideful as to not do the work merely so someone more knowledgable and capable is free. "Of course, that's as long as…" Rather than finish the thought, he just gives a soft tap on wood and tilts his head to Meion. A nod. "Once you have something to work with, I'm not sure how much you've interviewed the patients.." Even the youngest ones MIGHT have some surprising insight, or at least reliable memory.

And there will be plenty of opportunities, for sure! For mixing medicines, for wiping things down with redwort… and also for checking on patients and asking how they feel. Such is a healer's life! She lifts her chin a bit at the as-long-as, because she is denying that possibility (that the healers will need healing, that this pandemic will escalate and extend and make the Hall wonder whether to risk more doctors or establish quarantine…) for as long as she can. (While taking all reasonable precautions to avoid infection, of course, because she's not foolish.) D'lei stays out of the conversation, for the most part, just being there to state without words that He Believes In This and occasionally add a clarification. The healer nods. "We're behind on filing." She has no guilt for this. There were more important things. "I'll let you in the records room." Sure, she could worry about patient confidentiality, but the Weyrleader is here being approving and also there's a pandemic on. See: more important things. The healer looks to C'iel again, and shrugs. "Most of them got it after someone in their lessons." Unsurprising, that, and she looks back to Meion. "We don't have a Patient Zero." (Yet?)

Meion allows herself a little grin at the mention of a Patient Zero. "Well, then! I think I know the most useful thing I can be working on, don't I?" She grins. "If you weren't behind on the filing I'd be surprised. It looks like you've got more important things to be doing. But I don't, and I can do the filing for you." She considers C'iel's mention of interviews, and gets a thoughtful look. "I wonder… C'iel, if you talk to any of the patients, could you tell Ceruadharth and ask him to pass it along to Euclath?" It's a bit of a game of dragon-telephone, but it would give Euclath more to think about, too - and if patterns are going to be spotted, then using all the available minds is the order of the day.

C'iel gives a little nod. At least he is not so daunted by this, not to the extent of lock-down though the ambient worry hangs over. "I'll take over mixing in a bit. I trust you've run numbers on your stocks? I haven't heard any issues of shortages in the Annex, but if we're going to have to batten down for a bit…" C'iel shrugs. There is a deferral to the Healer that suggests that he, at the very least, has faith that this place is in working order. Even if a little understaffed. "… oh, yes. I will! I think it'll ease his spirit some, too. Having a way to help will make him less restless.."

"It's in better shape than the filing," is what the healer has to say about those stocks and supplies… which is to say, of course she's run an inventory, but she also knows how little sleep her people have had, and that - as mistakes go - writing the wrong number is so tiny that, if that's what goes wrong, she will absolutely take it. So. "If anything's short, make a note." There's a board for that! And medications, at least, can be dropped off in an exposure-limiting way even if a quarantine does descend. The healer nods, and she looks like she's about to ask if there's anything else when-

"Buh… buurrr…" A child stumbles into the corridor, skin pale against the blood-red of blotched rash and the hospital gown hanging as slack as their face. They stare, seemingly unseeing, before stumbling forward with a lurching motion and a low moan. Is this it? Have the zombies come to Xanadu?

As a healer, Meion makes a great computercrafter. Which is to say that when a dazed, half-mindless-appearing patient appears before her, Meion stumbles backward in a near-panic, slamming back-first into D'lei with the considerable speed of a reflexive flinch. "Ah!" She manages to keep from screaming, at least, containing herself to a mere startled half-grunt of surprise and fear. "Is.. is that?" She isn't sure whether the next words are "a monster" or "a patient," and so she says neither.

C'iel gives a smart nod. "Of course, of course." It's very diplomatic, in that he's absolutely going to double-check all their T's and I's with all that sleep he's been getting in the chamber. But he's not going to SAY it outright. C'iel pivots on a foot, eyes widening and small frown forming at the poor, sickly child. "They're about to be…" Urgent care needs taken! But healers, well, they have a hierarchy. And C'iel is a volunteer here, which places him stately below even many of the first-years until spoken otherwise.

D'lei oofs as he takes a Meion to the chest - he was a Weyrleader once, you know! - and his eyes widen as well, with the sharp inhale to follow it. The healer is more familiar with the fine differences between sick and dead, and she says something under her breath that is probably rude before she compounds it by just walking away to handle that patient. Which, by itself, says that this is probably at least somewhat new, otherwise she might have waited to let someone else deal. Then again, she might just have considered the likelihood that everyone else was busy. "Dragonhealer!" she says over her shoulder, because (triple rude) she's not remembering C'iel's name just now. "Towel!" …he can be useful already! So convenient. D'lei glances to Meion. "…how about those records?" He's probably got the key. Pretty sure, anyhow. And then she'll have a door between her and… whatever happens next.

The wonderful thing about the records room is that it's a room. And since it can be (and is) locked, that means there's nobody in there. So Meion is all about the being in there, with the nods to D'lei and the abandoning C'iel to his fate of helping the human-healers as their new volunteer. Once she's safely in the records room, with the door shut, she can see about other important things like returning her heart rate to normal, and reassuring Euclath that the sudden panic he's feeling is not a cause to come visit her inside the infirmary. She'll just… be in here… a while.

If nothing else, C'iel can poke them through Ceru… who he naturally assures that yes, everything is fine, or will be fine. This isn't the sort of situation that necessitates immense dragon soothes. Though they may be useful in the coming struggles. Somewhere behind all that chaos one might hear him call back, "Towel~" …

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