count the days

january 2029
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(Siew Household Profile)
Quint Siew (39 years), Rebecca (39 years), Elodie (13 years), Wyatt (10 years), Tyson (8 years)

For months, the family has been waiting on test results, and finding no conclusive answers. Their eldest daughter, Scarlett calls daily, while she struggles to find the motivation to stay on campus. Rebecca doesn’t know what to tell her aside from staying at school and getting her business degree.

Sometimes Rebecca thinks that not having the answers is worst than any answer they could be given, but then she regrets it. While they don’t know, they still hold out hope; a diagnosis could kill that. The limbo of this waiting is wearing everyone thin though, and the tests are accumulating an insurmountable debt that strangles her if she dares to think of it.

All the while, Elodie attempts to fill Scarlett’s empty space in the family dynamics, and falls miserably short. She isn’t strong like her big sister, and relies on daily messaging with her after school just to face the evening at home. Even still, she doesn’t confide everything, she knows that it would burden Scarlett, and that she’d likely quit. She can tell that she’s just waiting for the excuse to drop out, and Elodie refuses to be the responsible party for that.

She doesn’t let on that their parents are cracking under the unknown, one minute their Mom is seducing their Dad. Elodie even seen him look at her in disbelief before the door had fully shut.

But mostly it’s cold indifference or screaming. Their Dad has had to work less hours as fatigue sets in, making his degree and career as a Private Detective ineffective for bills. Whereas Rebecca has been forced to return to full-time hours, and volunteer to start working the closing shift at the diner.

Tyson struggles with the fighting the most, he always had even as a toddler. Elodie feels bad for him, she believes that at one point her parents had been happily married, though Scarlett isn’t as certain.

Elodie puts children music on, and reads to her brother to drone out their parents, and bring him comfort. He insists that she has the best voices which make her fill up with warmth and perform even more outlandish voices for him.

He’s the rowdiest kid in the family, but also the most sensitive. Wyatt also steps up to the plate and distracts Tyson as well, even going so far as playing games that he feels are beneath him. He’s felt much more mature since he started the fourth grade in the fall, so Tyson eats it up when he’ll play “kiddie” games with him.

Mostly Wyatt is attempting to teach their old dog, Gulliver some new tricks. He’s enlisted his best friend, Nolan’s help, who has experience training their dog Blue.

Gulliver is ether too old for the task or just plain stupid, Wyatt isn’t sure which. Their parents are so distracted with themselves and waiting for the doctor’s latest call, that they are unaware of their kids the majority of the time. Wyatt is nearly frostbit, and none had realized he’d been outside at all.

Quint immediately whips up some cocoa for him, then insists he hops in the bathtub. Guilt and uncertainty make it hard for him to focus. He wants to be the Dad he had once been, but is plagued by concern that he won’t have the time.

Rebecca doesn’t share these feelings outloud to him, but he knows she has them. She insists the family have their portrait taken by a professional, something they’ve never done nor can afford.

She puts down all of Meg’s ideas, and takes the reign of the entire project, though she lacks all knowledge of photography. Quint knows that it’s from stress and concern, but they aren’t in a place that he can help. Anything he says, she takes the wrong way.

After an hour, they finally end with a print that everyone is happy with including Rebecca. It makes Quint uncomfortable, seeing all his children and knowing the responsibility he has to them.

All his adult life, he’s struggled to get ahead, to catch up to those that had waited for marriage and children. He’s always just wanted to provide for his children and wife. Finally, he was going somewhere, and he couldn’t help feeling that the rug had been pulled out from underneath him.

Rebecca starts her first late-night shift in more than a decade, and Quint decides the kids all need a sleepover, a bit of fun brought back into their lives. Elodie immediately invites her best friend Ainsley, then Domenico and Nolan for the boys. The girls immediately hole up in the bedroom, with Ainsley using Scarlett’s bunk bed for the night.

Quint hears snippets of their conversation and smiles when it’s mostly about classes, homework, and their anticipation for university one day. He also hopes that she confides in Ainsley, but is happy that his illness isn’t consuming her.

The boys are easier, Wyatt and Nolan watch TV though he can tell that Nolan isn’t entirely interested in the programming on insect mating.

While Tyson and his partner in crime brainstorm for wild ideas of tricks they can perform and stories they can tell their peers, parents, teacher, anyone who will be gullible enough. Neither fall for the others exaggerations which make them perfect pals, though quite a team when they pair up with some tall-tale.

Tyson tries to trick the older boys at breakfast, which Quint prepared all on his own for them. None of the boys fell for his story and Quint could easily see that Domenico hadn’t approved the collaboration.

Wyatt apologized to Nolan for his silly little brother, always being the one to take on the higher tone of a situation, even when he didn’t know anything on the topic.

When bill collectors call, Rebecca tries to keep it from the kids, but Elodie isn’t deaf nor blind. She just doesn’t know what to do about the situation, though she hasn’t quit on finding a way to help.

Whenever a debtor calls, Rebecca fights. This time she couldn’t constrain herself from getting into it while Quint took the trash out. It was embarrassing enough for the kids to hear it in the home, but the whole neighborhood was pure mortification. Millwood was small, people talked, and if they didn’t already know their dirt, they would now.

When she reams into Quint, he wonders when his wife became such a monster.

She’d say it wasn’t fair, that he’d had a part in her creation as the monster, and if he were honest with himself, he wasn’t sure he could deny that blame. If he had aided in the downfall of everything though, he never intended it.

When they get a call the next morning from the doctors, they are all on edge. His doctor believes that he finally has the diagnosis. Rebecca insists that the kids go to school anyway, and that Scarlett stay on campus. Quint doesn’t agree, but he can tell that its a battle he won’t win, and so hugs the kids and texts Scarlett encouraging words of hope.

At South Mercy, they get shoved into a private room to await Dr. Dwyer. Rebecca appears troubled, maybe even sad, though Quint sometimes believes she’d be happier if her were dead and left with a lump sum of insurance money.

Dr. Dwyer doesn’t seem morbidly depressed when he comes in the room that they both feel a kindling of hope that all their worry had been for naught.

He goes over Quint’s history as he checks his stats. He is especially interested in all the years Quint did construction, and what type of construction work. He asks for timelines of how many years in certain jobs, and Quint has to rack his brain with Rebecca to answer, both dumbfounded on why it would matter.

He goes over Quint’s symptoms, and begins to explain what has been ailing him. He goes over Quint’s past career, and the risks involved with working with such hazardous chemicals, gases, and even the dust posed a risk.

All of this doesn’t sound terrible to Rebecca, but she’s naive to the risks that Quint took in that career. However, he wasn’t. He saw older guys forced to retire and spend the remainder of their life struggling to draw a breath. He thought he’d be immune to that risk, after all, not everyone fell ill.

When Dr. Dwyer says irreversible lung disease, he is not surprised.

Rebecca starts asking questions while Quint still processes the prognosis of a progressive disease. Dr. Dwyer explains that his first order would be for Quint to quit construction, since he’s working as a Private Detective, he has already taken the first step to a longer life. He goes over diet, exercise, oxygen tanks, and a myriad of other orders that neither Quint nor Rebecca can retain in the moment.

Then he turns to the PC, and prints out page after page of information for them, encouraging them to read it together and separate and call him with any questions. They thank him for finally giving them an answer, and then in slow motion they leave the hospital.

The nurse hands them all the papers when they checkout, and goes over their mountainous bill. She suggests they sit down with a financial assistant to come up with a payment plan.

That evening, they force the boys to work on their homework, while Quint calls his insurance to up the policy on his behalf, and then his eldest. Scarlett had text and called him all day, and he knows the prognosis will hurt her especially all alone in another town, so he doesn’t give her the diagnosis. They decide to not tell any of the kids yet, instead they will wait until the semester has finished and Scarlett is home for the summer.

In the meantime, Quint is serious about taking care of his health and getting the most of his life. When Dr. Dwyer said that he could easily live another fifteen to twenty years, Quint heard it as a challenge to live even longer. He begins his own research that evening when none of the kids could spy on his internet searches.

Notes: Quint rolled the ROS that a routine doctor visit went wrong, roll if you survive. I struggled with this. Then it all came together. Construction workers are more likely to suffer from lung disease (different diagnosis depending on field). I didn’t want to just kill Quint off ether, and this gives him more time with his family. His kids really need him. Lastly, this will be easy CC wise for me to implement since it’s mostly lungs/oxygen later in the illness. So all in all, I am happy with how this ROS has worked out for Quint, though not happy for him to have one if you follow.

I’m leaving his diagnosis as lung disease, there are different afflictions that fall under this umbrella, but I won’t be getting into them. And I’ll be rolling for how much time he has left, just like I do for my elders, so his health will matter, just as it usually does with lung disease from what I have read.

Likewise, I felt that Quint would leave Scarlett in the dark, hoping for her to finish her freshman year, then have the summer at home to come to terms with it all.

Thanks for reading!

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6 thoughts on “count the days”

  1. The Siews were already struggling emotionally, with Rebecca’s discontent and Quint’s difficulty finding a job even with his new training that paid better, and now this! I feel so badly for Quint, feeling that Rebecca would rather just have an insurance payout than him. And Elodie’s taking a heavy burden on, glad she has Ainsley, and it was so sweet, Quint eavesdropping and being cheered to hear their girl talk.

    1. I feel bad for Quint too, what a crappy ROS roll. They were just getting on their feet too! They finally make decent money now that I’ve had to put Scarlett back on longer shifts, (she’s assistant manager and makes good pay when she works). But now I have Quint taking time off of work, so he’s losing some of that income, at least they don’t need a nanny. I’ll be deducting some medical funds, I haven’t rolled for that yet or decided exactly how I’ll implement it.

      Elodie and Ainsley are sweet together, they’ve been pals since they were little. Both are shy girls, and it was a slow building relationship. Thanks for commenting Shannon!

  2. Oh man, this poor family. 😦 Serious illness, especially when the actual diagnosis is up in the air, can take such a toll on everybody. I’m glad the boys could find a few moments of levity at least, among all that stress.

    Quint’s illness makes a lot of sense with his former job in construction. It reminds me of the many, many legal challenges against the asbestos industry. It’s banned here now but it was too late for the people who worked with it and got sick from it. 😦 I’m glad that Quint is still expected to live several more years and I love that he’s viewing that as a challenge to do even better. That’s going to make it more likely that he’ll take care of himself and follow doctor’s orders and a positive attitude can’t go astray either.

    I can understand holding off on telling the kids until everyone is at home for the summer. I hope that means Scarlett can take that time to digest the news and still go back to campus afterwards and finish her degree. Unless she’s got a solid plan of what she wants to do instead if she quits, finishing college is probably going to be the best plan for now.

    1. Asbestos! Yes, that is such a killer. My old school had asbestos and it was shut down for a fair bit, and then the area with it was off limits. I still wonder if it was really safe. And felt bad for those that had to work in there.

      I am inspired to give Quint as much time as I can, because I can’t see him rolling over. He is such a devoted family guy for this kids, and they are his priority. I’ll be using my elder rolls for him, but am considering doing it as a progressive average. So if one round he is in especially great health/fitness etc, then he’s not stuck with what I configured from the previous round. That it can build by adding a year or so… I’ll see what works best as I play him.

      Scarlett has no plans really, she’s kind of a dutiful daughter that wants a steady income, and provide for a future family. It isn’t her dream, but becoming a country singer now isn’t likely in the cards, she’s had zero practice outside of her bedroom, and in the end, she may not like a crowd to watch her sing ether. While she may not enjoy college, I agree it’s the best place for her, and her Dad would agree too. Even if she doesn’t go into business, the degree is still useful for many careers.

      Thanks for commenting Carla!

  3. Oh gosh, how awful for them all. I wonder if this diagnosis will bring Quint and Rebecca closer, or else just finish them off? If they’ve always been unhappy, it could go either way. She might be resentful, or he might not want to spend his last decades unhappy. Or else, maybe it will bring them together and they’ll stick it out to the end. I hope it does bring them together rather than apart, for the kids at least.

    However, I am so happy that he’ll have some time to see all of his children reach adulthood.

    That is very thoughtful of them to wait until Scarlett is home again. And on a complete side note: Elodie is so pretty! 😀

    1. I will definitely be going into Quint and Rebecca’s relationship more in a birthday post. (I love that I have birthday posts to do just that!). Because it definitely has an effect on them.

      I am so glad that he will be alive for his kids to grow up. I was so sad by the ROS, and was happy that I managed to make it work in a believable way for him and his past work experience, and still be a Dad for his kids. He was always supposed to go bald as an elder, and I don’t know that I’ll get to do that though, which as lame as it sounds, I’m rather disappointed on. I have a hard time making my elders bald.

      Elodie is super pretty! I adore her, and am excited for the one day (ten real life years from now lol) that she has babies!

      Thanks for commenting Laura!

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