Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Notes for "Always Repay the Cost"

These are the notes for the poem "Always Repay the Cost."


Dr. Infanta -- Alicia Martins is a world-class supervillain who looks like a little girl about 7 years old, but is actually centuries old. She has hazel eyes, shoulder-length wavy hair of light brown, and slightly tinted skin. She has a heart-shaped face. She admires altruism and loyalty, hence the makeup of her minion contingent. She isn't malicious, just ruthless. She is effectively asexual, due to her biological age. In French she is called la Petite Mort ("the Little Death"); in Italian, la Angioletta ("the Little Angel").
People tend to mistake her title for nothing more than a cape name, but it is real -- Dr. Infanta earned her first medical degree at the Schola Medica Salernitana in Salerno, Italy. Small wonder people forget; the school has languished in obscurity for centuries and has been a Mob facility in recent decades, Her other degrees come from schools including the Medical College of St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, England; the University of Montpellier in Montpellier, France; the University of Vienna in Vienna, Austria; and the Studium Generale in Alcala de Henares in Madrid, Spain. Dr. Infanta is currently working with the Maldivian government and health care industry to establish both a full-scale medical school and way to incorporate healers into the mainstream system instead of the fringes.
Dr. Infanta is extremely well-protected by other super-villains and many wealthy naries because of her powers. She always travels with a "nanny" and bodyguards, masquerading as a rich young heiress. She can't be killed, has rarely been captured, and it never takes long for her to escape. She is that powerful and connected.
Dr. Infanta often uses her influence to quash legislation that could harm soups. She is a key reason for how little institutionalized oppression there is, given the amount of informal oppression. This makes even some superheroes secretly appreciate her, if they haven't personally had to fight her or watch her give their archenemy a new face.
Origin: Alicia was a peasant child purchased by a noblewoman for experiments to extend life. They worked. She killed her owner and ran away. When Alicia discovered what she could do with her powers, she soon gathered adult protectors and traded her skills for what she needed.
Uniform: street clothes, usually whatever is fashionable for children of her apparent age.
Qualities: Master (+6) Children's Folklore, Master (+6) Wealth, Expert (+4) Intelligence, Good (+2) Cute, Good (+2) Gunplay, Good (+2) Living History
Poor (-2) Pint-sized
Powers: Master (+6) Time Control (Signature Stunts: Erase Memories, Transfer Lifeyears; Spin-Off Stunts: Danger-sense, Precognition), Expert (+4) Healing (Signature Stunts: Plastic Surgery, Regenerate Lost Body Parts), Average (0) Immortality
Average (0) Minions: The Guardians are a set of 7 trusted grownups, in charge of the collective personnel. They protect Dr. Infanta and usher her through the adult world. They are all relatives of people whose lives she has saved, thus all sharing the Poor (-2) Fanatically Devoted to Leader quality. In addition, each has a Good (+2) profession (usually Nanny or Bodyguard), another Good (usually social for Nanny, physical for Bodyguard), and one Average (0) superpower (often Teleportation, Invulnerability, Super-Gizmology, or Sorcery). They currently include Nanette, Cheval, Lorry, and Melissa.
Motivation: Survive and prosper.

Among the oldest medical schools in the world, the first recorded was the Schola Medica Salernitana, in Salerno, Italy which had its height in the 11th to 13th centuries. In local-Italy, it is now defunct; in Terramagne-Italy, it is still running, just a Mob facility now. This is where Dr. Infanta earned her first degree. Having entered the field long before licenses existed, she doesn't think much of them due to the serious drawbacks, and thus doesn't always bother to have some. But she does make a point of updating her medical knowledge every few decades to keep up with advances. Medical degrees don't expire; licenses usually do; and information can change quite rapidly.

* * *

"Nothing great is lightly won, nothing won is lost. Every good deed that's nobly done will always repay the cost."
-- Anonymous

In Terramagne-Omaha, the Freeman Family Hospital is on the corner of 15th and Farnam. This is the closest hospital to the Gene Leahy Mall, Stan's house, and Lawrence's house. Freeman Family Hospital opened in 1890 as a colored hospital. It was named after Daniel Freeman, a Nebraska physician and homesteader, also a Civil War veteran. Freeman Family Hospital started out as a hospital for colored people -- the first of its kind in Omaha -- and has kept up with covering underserved populations. This is the only hospital in Omaha with experience treating soups.

Here is the key to the floor plans. See the first floor plan and second floor plan. The palliative care wing of Critical Care is the T on the left side of that section. Instead of putting all the superpowered patients together in a "soup ward," this hospital has equipped one or two rooms for soups in each major category of care, usually located at the end of a hall. There is one in the palliative ward at the bottom of the T on the left side of that section, one in the regular part of Critical Care at the far end, two in Psychiatry, and two regular rooms at the bottom left of the map where the hallway juts below the stairs.

The main entrance hall leads to the gift shop hall and then the gift shop itself. The offerings include cards, flowers, and other items.

The Memorial Café serves breakfast, lunch, and supper. The most nutritious items are marked with "Healthy Choice" icons. They are always cheaper than the less nutritious options. During breakfast hours, a short-order cook makes fresh, healthy omelettes and other customized items. There is always a sandwich bar, a salad bar, and a soup-of-the-day bar open during lunch and dinner hours. Fruit cups offer fresh seasonal produce instead of conventional desserts. Meals draw from many different cultures, and a meat alternative is often available. There is customarily at least one Healthy Choice and one Food for All dish, and usually one considered comfort food by some culture(s). Various Healthy Choice programs exist in local-Earth including ones in America, the Netherlands, and Singapore. The accuracy varies. Food for Life is a program that offers recipes and other information on eating for health. Here is a sample menu and meal. The hospital has an organic garden that provides much of the food.

See the critical care hallway and patient room. A similar style of room is used for the intensive care unit, surgical recovery, critical palliative care, and other sections.

This is the main lounge and waiting room near the nurses station on the second floor, which also holds the mini-mart of vending machines. Large full-spectrum light panels mimic windows for the benefit of tropical plants and visitors.

T-American hospitals make generous use of volunteers to comfort patients, keep them company, and soothe families.

The history of African-American people in Omaha includes religious institutions such as the Episcopal Church. Read about the history of the Diocese of Nebraska.

Terramagne-America retains more widespread use of the language of flowers. People who buy cut flowers, or who grow their own for bouquets, typically know at least one flower type corresponding to common messages (e.g. baby's breath wishing a safe delivery). Not many people know more than a handful of meanings by heart, although some do. Florists customarily have a card, poster, or more rarely a big book of meanings to assist in composing bouquets. Specialty shops may tune their offerings for romance or whatever, hence the hospital flower shop offering a wide range of things related to health and comfort. The flower names and their meanings often appear printed on the card.
Carnation, Mixed Colors -- Health & Energy
Cedar -- Strength
Sage -- Long Life, Esteem, Health
Pine, Spruce -- Hope in adversity

The name "gladiolus" comes from "gladius," a short sword, as the sword-like leaves have long linked this plant with warriors.
Healing, Strength of character, Faithfulness, sincerity and integrity, Never giving up
Yellow – Cheerfulness and compassion

While the bouquet may sound extravagant, it's not all that expensive. Carnations and gladioli are among the cheapest, most plentiful flowers; T-America also makes wider use of foliage, because many herbs and evergreens are easily grown. Cedar, spruce, and sage all appear in this guide to Christmas arrangements. The bottom of this page lists more types of foliage.

Compared to L-America, T-America has a similar stack of people who can give proxy permission for medical care if someone is unable to communicate their wishes. Among the differences are that they cannot countermand a person's properly filed wishes (which means a Do Not Resuscitate order can be made bulletproof), it is much easier to add people to your personal list by filing appropriate paperwork, and you can set your own stack in any order you wish. The standard stack is just there for medics to use with people who haven't documented alternative preferences. Fiddlesticks put Diamond, then Hefty, then Hefty's husband Roger. If there's ample time to plan ahead, protocol calls for starting at the top of that list; but if time is short and someone on the list is present, they're activated as proxy. So with Diamond out of the room, Hefty can serve as health proxy for Fiddlesticks. It's reciprocal: Hefty's list is Roger, then Fiddlesticks, then Diamond.

Lawrence's "gutterball" remark refers to the risk of saving a life only to trap the person at a minimal level of function: the gutter between a fair recovery and a clean death. This is a serious hazard in L-American medicine. In T-America, the social aspect is better -- more people are aware of it so they know to avoid it -- but the higher technology makes that end of it worse. Just because you could save someone, doesn't always make that the best idea. Violating someone's documented wishes to do so is downright selfish, and constitutes malpractice. Sometimes heroic measures are contraindicated, as in catastrophic trauma or lengthy drowning, with little chance of maintaining quality of life even upon survival. Palliative care protects comfort when death is expected and recovery unlikely or impossible. Such service is far more available in T-America than in L-America, and people use it more due to better education about health outcomes and options. Given that Fiddlesticks was healthy and active prior to sustaining massive trauma, the possibility of a very marginal recovery is plausible -- and it's one he explicitly acted to prevent. Lawrence doesn't have enough bioethics under his belt yet to understand all the nuances of this stuff; fortunately Hefty is prepared to cover it. Notable on Hefty's side is approval for temporary measures to buy time, with a specific treatment goal in mind and an exit plan. That's very different from life-prolonging measures without a limit that are unlikely to restore quality of life.

Loud noise in hospitals consitutes abuse and malpractice because it directly undermines the health of patients, visitors, and staff. T-American hospitals use various methods to keep sound at a low, agreeable level. There are quiet rooms insulated from outside sound, but most areas maintain an auditory baseline intended to cushion sudden loud noises and provide conversational privacy. The Memorial Café usually plays relaxing music at a low level; lounges and waiting rooms may use music, nature sounds, or white noise generators. Moving waterfall pictures with aquatic sounds are especially popular. Actual waterfalls, aquaria, and potted plants also help. Medical equipment uses more visual or tactile alerts targeted directly to caregivers, rather than general audio alarms, to avoid unnecessary distress of patients and guests. Other design factors make hospitals more comforting places that help staff work better and patients heal faster, while welcoming visitors for moral support.

L-American hospitals are so appalling that they often cause traumatic stress in patients and relatives. The rate can run up to 60% -- as bad or worse than that of a warzone. Some hospitals are working on ways to reduce this problem. Because the sense of helplessness is a prevailing cause of PTSD and other mental injuries, and this is something which can readily be influenced by compassionate care, that's a key focus point. The environment should be bright and comforting. The design and layout matter too.

Acoustic panels muffle sound, providing peace and privacy. These ceiling tiles come in many patterns and several colors. They're as nifty as classic tinprints only more practical. These panels come in one wavy pattern and many bright colors. Check out these decorating ideas. Acoustic Art offers ready-made panels in many popular categories as well as custom options. You can also make your own sound-absorbing panels. Much artwork in T-American hospitals is printed on acoustic panels.

Acoustic ceiling tiles may be printed with decorations. One popular option is a puzzle path. It gives people something to follow with their eyes while staring at the ceiling.. A simple set of straight, corner, and T lines will enable many different designs.

Dr. Infanta's T-shirt has this image of River and Simon from the television show Firefly. (It ran for six seasons in T-America, by the way.) This is her brown skirt.

Offensive tackles tend to be the biggest, beefiest guys on the football field. Lorry is a big guy and a bodyguard, so this is how Stan thinks of him.
Height: 6’5”
Weight: 300 lbs
40-yd Dash: 5.2 sec
Arm Length: 32”
Hand Span: 9”
Intelligence: Superior
Awareness, Balance, Recovery, Strength, Intelligence

A palm lock is a small puck-shaped gizmo or super-gizmo, typically a few inches in diameter, which acts as a portable lock to secure any door when pressed over the crack.

Hospitals often use artwork to create a soothing environment and improve health. Evidence suggests that nature scenes of pleasant wildlife, savannah, forest, or gently moving water are most appealing and beneficial in a caregiving context. When thoughtfully arranged, this can also assist in navigating a large complex building. Freeman Family Hospital uses different themes of art in different areas. In this case, the sequence of art "points" toward the lounge by going from dryer to wetter scenes. These great big frames are actually photoprints on fabric, stretched over acoustic foam. See the savannah, forest path, and oasis images.

Freeman's has a mini-mart consisting of several Fresh & Healthy vending machines in the lounge that Stan visits. These are very popular in corporate and health care settings. Offering healthy snacks does not infringe on anyone's freedom, because people can always choose to bring their own junk food or buy it elsewhere -- but the hospital is in complete control of what they make convenient. That has a huge impact on visitor eating habits, and decently fed people are slightly less prone to melting down or faceplanting into the floor. One of the machines has a large touchscreen that serves as the "brain" for the whole mini-mart. This enables it to offer menus, suggest products, play educational health games, and so on. Judging from its behavior, I think the programmer who coded these things modeled them on R2D2 or a similar robot. They're chirpy, enthusiastic ... and occasionally capable of surprising leaps of emotional logic.

Eating the right foods can boost energy. In T-Omaha, the Freeman Family Hospital stocks healthy food in its vending machines. To avoid audiovisual clutter, the centralized audiovisual interface activates only when a customer approaches. The Memorial Café actually has its own organic farm, run by a collective of mostly African-American farmers outside the city limits. They believe that healthy food makes for healthy people, cheering up patients and visitors alike. For staff it means they don't have to eat garbage at work. Conversely, when a hospital serves unhealthy food, this does not help patients recover or staff and guests stay healthy; it can actually make people sicker, which constitutes abuse and malpractice. Worse, it's the most literal possible case of "do as I say, not as I do," undermining public health efforts to teach healthy eating habits. Freeman Family Hospital capitalizes on the opportunity to demonstrate what healthy recipes and portions are like, from the snacks to the entrees. This helps patients heal faster, everyone else stay healthy, and facilitates healthy choices elsewhere. Here are guidelines to improving hospital food.

Barbecue Saucy Chicks are roasted chickpeas, high in protein.

Screamin' Squirrel is a Terramagne-American character used to market both healthy snacks and fitness. The commercials feature Screamin' Squirrel in various sporty activities, with a moral or safety technique demonstrated, and a snack type appropriate to it. They are funny enough that people enjoy watching them. Stan is buying Screamin' Squirrel Brazil Nut Phat Energy Balls. This is a high-fat snack popular with strongmen and other soups.

Deviled eggs are hard-boiled eggs that have the yolks turned into a flavorful paste. There are many versions, some quite healthy. Stan chooses Greek Deviled Eggs, Hummus Deviled Eggs with Za'atar, and Avocado Herb Deviled Eggs. Most recipes that produce green eggs will be served with ham, due to the children's book Green Eggs and Ham.

Jumble Munch is a granola-type snack that comes in many flavors, some more healthy than others. Honeybunch features honey-vinegar candy bits, honey oat cereal rings, honey puffed wheat cereal, plain puffed rice cereal, honey-mustard mixed nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and honey granola squares.

Protein Power House has lentil papadums, kale crisps, pumpkin seeds, candied chickpeas, spiced mixed nuts, peanut butter-quinoa granola clusters, and protein granola squares.

Cozy Crunch offers banana chips, yogurt-covered cranberries, chocolate-covered macadamia nuts, ginger-maple roasted pecans, brazil nuts, pine nuts, diced coconut, crystallized ginger, cinnamon cereal squares, honey-oat cereal rings, granola clusters, and protein peanut butter energy balls. This fat-rich version is popular with soups who have high-burn powers.

Garden Spot presents mixed vegetable chips, oat cereal rings, sunflower seeds, roasted corn nuts, quinoa-pumpkin seed granola with golden raisins, and granola squares with olives and sun-dried tomatoes.

My Yammy Moon includes yam chips, maple-cinnamon apple chips, banana chips, roasted corn nuts, sunflower seeds, and pie-spiced pumpkin seeds.

Rainbowrama contains dried strawberries, dried mango, crystallized ginger, dried kiwi, chocolate-covered blueberries, dried dragon fruit, pink pistachios, pumpkin seeds, coconut chunks, honey-roasted cashews, macadamia nuts, oat cereal rings, multicolored marshmallow bits, and lucky rainbow bark. This recipe is among the most popular with high-burn soups like speedsters.

Golden Hope is similar to Carrot Golden Beet Orange Ginger Lemon Juice. I couldn't find an exact duplicate here. You can see nutrition profiles here. For recipes, consider Golden Spicy Citrus Beet Juice or Carrot Beet Blood Orange Ginger Turmeric Juice.

Fat-soluble vitamins and other nutrients are trickier to manage because their storage method. It's easier to overdose on them, but people with minimal fat may have difficulty storing them. Strongmen and speedsters use so much energy that they have trouble retaining fat -- even if they can put it on, they tend to burn it right off again. There are ADEK supplements, and in T-America it's possible to find low-dose ones that are meant to mixed into fatty food for a minor boost. Healthy buttermints offer a good way to get high-quality fat, and they make a perfect carrier for the minor supplements. Stan uses various flavorings in his. The white ones are wintergreen, the blue are peppermint, the green are spearmint, the yellow are ginger, and the pink are cinnamon.

Respecting differences and honoring choices are essential elements of a healthy relationship. You have to trust and respect your partner, even when they don't think quite like you do.

Images of nature offer many therapeutic benefits. YouTube has a selection of relaxing videos. Stan is watching the bison grazing on the hospital's farm. Local-America offers the CARE channel for medical environments, and MedSerenity offers meditations with a healing focus. A recent favorite is "Birds in Snow," billed as Dog TV. Terramagne-America has many more offerings of this type, routinely played in stressful environments and in some quiet rooms.

Enjoy the song "Come Healing" on video or in text.

The Impossible Will Take a Little While by Paul Loeb is a book of hopeful writings. Read the table of contents. The quote comes from "The Peace of Wild Things." I have a poem reprinted in that book too.

Robert Hayden is a famous African-American poet. The quote comes from "The Night-Blooming Cereus."
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing

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