Chapter V A Sick Boy

August 23, 2016

Chapter V A Sick Boy

One day Charlie came home sick from school. Mary could tell right away that he didn’t feel well. She touched his forehead and could tell that he had a fever. She sent him to bed. He didn’t want anything to eat. When Paul came home from work they debated about what they should do. Paul said “He probably just has the flu.” The next morning, when Priscilla left to go to school, Charlie was still in bed. He still had a fever and was weak. Mary thought it was something that would pass. She told him, “You will probably be able to go back to school tomorrow.”

By evening Mary could tell that Charlie’s temperature had gone up even more. She didn’t have a thermometer, but she knew that he felt warmer. He lay in bed and hardly moved. Paul still thought it was just a flu. Mary feared it was something more serious. It was hard for her to convince Paul that they should call the doctor. He finally agreed to call the doctor from a pay phone on his way to work the next morning.

About noon the next day the doctor came by to see Charlie. It didn’t take him long to diagnose the problem. He said, “This boy has diphtheria.” He will no doubt need to stay in bed for 20 days. This afternoon I’ll send someone out from the pharmacy with medicine for him. This disease is contagious so don’t let anyone outside the family come in the house.” He gave Mary some suggestions about how to get his temperature down and some advise about what he should eat and drink. After a few days Charlie started feeling better.

One afternoon Mary heard someone clapping their hands at the gate. She looked out and saw that it was Dr. Alverez’s son, Martin. She went out to greet him. Martin told her that he wanted to come in and play with Charlie for a while. She explained to him that the disease Charlie had was contagious and that the doctor said they shouldn’t let anyone outside of the family come in the house. She said, “Why don’t you come back next Sunday? We have a little fold up cot. We could put that out in the yard and you could play with him out there.” Martin agreed to do that.

Charlie was bored staying at home in bed all the time. Priscilla didn’t have much time to play with him. She was in school all morning. In the afternoon she had homework to do and her mother nearly always found some jobs for her to do. He was thrilled one day when Priscilla came home from school with a get-well card that had been signed by all of his classmates. He was happy that they were thinking about him, but he wondered why none of them ever came by to see him. His mother reminded him again that his disease was contagious and that he couldn’t have any visitors.

Charlie could hardly wait for Sunday to come when his friend, Martin, was going to come to play with him. Sunday morning finally came. His father set up the cot in the front yard so he could lay out there when Martin came. He waited all morning and Martin never came. He wondered if perhaps he had forgotten about him. It wasn’t until almost 3:00 in the afternoon when Martin finally came. Priscilla went out to greet him and invited him in. Paul helped Charlie get out to the cot in the yard.

Martin came with a plastic bag in his hand. After they talked for a little while he said, “I brought something for you.” He put the plastic bag in Charlie’s hands and he began taking things out of it. First there was a bag of marbles. Then came out some plastic toys, a puzzle, a coloring book, and a box of crayons. On the bottom of the bag there was a little book. When he pulled it out Martin explained to him that it was a New Testament. He said, “It is the second half of the Bible.” Charlie asked, “What is the Bible?” Martin explained to him that it was God’s Word. He said, “My dad says it is the most important book in the world. Then he said, “At our house we read from it every day after the evening meal.”

Priscilla was standing by to see what was in the bag Martin brought for Charlie. She said, “Why don’t I go get an orange crate and set it here by the cot and we can put the puzzle together on it?” They both agreed that that would be a good idea. Charlie sat on the cot and Priscilla and Martin sat on upside down five gallon plastic pails. They spent a good bit of time putting the puzzle together. They were just about ready to put the last pieces in the puzzle when Mary came out with a pitcher of chocolate milk for them. Martin asked her what time it was. She said “It’s almost 5:00.” “Ah,” said Martin. “I’m supposed to be back home at 5:00.” He quickly gulped down a big glass of the chocolate milk, said good by, and went home.

Paul and Mary had been listening to the children’s conversation. They all had a good opinion of Martin after his visit. They were happy that Charlie had a good friend. Charlie showed his parents the New Testament and told them what Martin said about it. When he told them that at the Alvarez house they read from it every day, Priscilla said, “Ya, why don’t we do that? In the next chapter we will find out what happens.

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