Bad Times In LA

Parte Tres-A

Nancy Smith

It was a restless night for Felipe and Diego. Felipe's fever seemed to be fluctuating from one end of the spectrum to the other. One moment he was burning up, and the next moment he was shaking from sudden chills. Several times during the night, Diego would cover him up, only to have Felipe cast the covers aside.

Diego poured some cool fresh water into the basin and dampened a cloth and lay it across Felipe's forehead to ease his fever. It seemed to help somewhat as Diego pulled the covers up around him. During the night, Felipe's cough worsened and Diego poured some of the infusion the doctor had made up into a cup and managed to get Felipe to drink it. Felipe coughed and shook his head as he lay back on his pillow went back to sleep. Diego removed the cloth from his head and rinsed it and gently lay it back across his forehead. He looked at Felipe and noticed that he finally seemed to be sleeping more peacefully. Diego sat back down in his chair and sighed and nodded off to sleep.

Morning came quickly as Dr. Hernandez quietly walked into the room and carefully pulled the covers up around Felipe. He removed the cloth from his head and gently put his hand to Felipe's face. He still felt somewhat feverish, but was at least breathing much easier than he was when had first arrived.

He had seen a few cases similar to Felipe's many years ago in another pueblo. It was during a measles epidemic back in 1806 when many children and adults in the missions came down with fevers and a red rash that covered their body. Many of the children and some adults died due to breathing complications as the congestion from the disease settled in their and lungs.

Luckily Felipe didn't show any signs of a rash, which is usually the start of the disease. Felipe's illness had similar symptoms but without the rash. He sat on the side of Felipe's bed and looked at Felipe reflectively. He momentarily got up and walked over to his bag and got out his stethoscope. He gently pulled back the covers and listened to Felipe's chest. As he listened to Felipe's breathing, he could tell there were signs of some slight congestion, but it wasn't serious. His breathing didn't seem to be labored and his heart was beating strong and steady. Dr. Hernandez sighed and smiled and gently pulled the covers up around Felipe.

As raised up and turned around, Diego's eyes fluttered open and he quickly straightened in his chair. He shook his head and slightly rubbed the sleep from his eyes and looked at Dr. Hernandez somewhat wearily.

"I'm sorry doctor, I didn't hear you come in. Is there something wrong?" Diego replied earnestly as he slowly rose from his chair and faced Hernandez and eyed him steadily.

Dr. Hernandez shook his head and put a reassuring hand on Diego's shoulder. "So far everything is fine Diego. I was just coming in to check on Felipe. He still has a slight fever and he has a little congestion in his chest, but his breathing and his heart sound good! Keep giving him the infusions and also the willow bark tea. I'll see if I can't find something for the congestion. We don't want any fluids to build up in his lungs and turn into pneumonia. That's the worse thing that could happen. Thank goodness he's young and strong and he's got a good constitution!" Replied Dr. Hernandez

Diego nodded as he looked at Felipe and managed a slight smile. "Yes, he's always been so energetic and outgoing. Sometimes I have to tell him to slow down! He's so full of life!" He leaned over and gently pressed his hand against Felipe's forehead and then lightly touched the sides of his face.

He stood up and looked at Dr. Hernandez resolutely. "Do you know what's wrong with him doctor?" Diego inquired eyeing the doctor earnestly.

Dr. Hernandez looked at Diego earnestly and nodded. "I wasn't sure last night. As I said so many of these illnesses start out with fevers, but considering the sore throat, fever, and chills, and congestion, it looks like influenza. If it is, you have to make sure you wash anything he uses in hot water to kill the germs. It's very contagious. It will be a week or more before he completely gets over it! There's nothing that you do can except give him plenty fluids and make sure he gets plenty of rest.

Suddenly Diego's eyes widened. "Did you say this influenza is contagious?" he inquired looking at Hernandez in disbelief. Suddenly Diego's face somewhat paled as he thought about his father and Victoria being around Felipe and himself for that matter.

Dr. Hernandez nodded his head. "Oh yes, it's highly contagious! That's why you have to wash everything in very hot water. I would suggest that you boil anything that he has used, cups, bowls, glasses…you can't take any chances of spreading the infection to anyone. The more you keep things clean, the less chance there is of spreading the disease." He replied resolutely.

Diego put his hand to his head and shook his head. He turned to Dr. Hernandez and looked at him earnestly. "What about my father and Victoria? They've both been exposed and also myself! How soon will we know whether or not we have it?" He asked nervously.

Dr. Hernandez looked at Diego earnestly. "It depends. Usually children and the very old are most susceptible and people in weakened conditions are also susceptible. You probably will know in two to three days whether or not you have it. Some people get it and some don't. It just depends." Dr. Hernandez replied slightly shrugging his shoulders. Dr. Hernandez momentarily put his hand to his chin and looked at Diego pensively. Suddenly his eyes slightly widened. "By the way, I just received this new drug that I've ordered from Spain. I read where the Jesuits used it years ago for fevers. It's called quinine. In fact it seems to work better than the willow bark tea! I was in such a hurry, that I left it back at my office! That might work for Felipe!" He replied somewhat excited.

Diego looked at Dr. Hernandez curiously. "Since we've been exposed, does that mean we will have to stay here at the hacienda? We won't be able to go to town?" Diego inquired earnestly.

Dr. Hernandez looked at Diego resolutely. "It might be a good idea to wait for a few days to see if any of you start showing any symptoms. I don't think you should take any chances of being around other people." He replied resolutely.

Diego looked at Dr. Hernandez decidedly. "I suppose that means that Victoria won't be going back to the tavern for a few days! I'll have to tell her. She probably won't be to happy about that!" he replied as he slightly smiled.

Dr. Hernandez looked Diego decidedly. "Since she has been exposed, she definitely cannot work at the tavern!" he replied earnestly.

Diego looked around and noticed Felipe stirring and beginning to wake up. He walked over to his bed and sat down on the edge and looked anxiously at him. As Felipe slowly opened his eyes he slightly rubbed his head and looked at Diego wearily. Diego brushed a lock of hair from Felipe's eyes with his fingers and smiled.

"Really Felipe, you sure know how to get attention!" Diego slightly teased trying to cheer up Felipe.

Felipe slightly smiled at Diego. He made an attempt to laugh, but he suddenly began coughing instead. Diego took the cool cloth and began wiping his face and shook his head.

"I'm sorry Felipe! I didn't mean to upset you!" He replied anxiously as he continued to gently pat his face with the cloth.

Dr. Hernandez took the cup and poured in some of the infusion he had made and handed it to Diego. Diego wrapped his arm around Felipe's shoulder and helped him to sit up so he could drink the mixture. Felipe slightly turned his head away.

"Felipe! You have to drink this! Dr. Hernandez says it will help your fever!" Diego said somewhat sternly.

Felipe begrudgingly drank the mixture and lay back on his pillow. How long do I have to take this awful stuff! Felipe signed.

Diego looked at him decidedly. "Until you're well!" he replied as he gently patted him on his cheek. "By the way, do you think you could eat something?" Diego asked as he looked at Felipe warmly.

Felipe slightly nodded and managed a smile.

Diego stood up and picked up the cup and wash cloth that Felipe had used and put them in the basin. He turned and looked at doctor Hernandez resolutely.

"Well, I guess we'd better get this young man something to eat." He replied smiling.

Dr. Hernandez nodded. "Well, at least he still has an appetite! That's a good sign!" He replied resolutely.

Diego turned and picked up the tray that he had used the night before and placed all the things that Felipe had used upon it and proceeded to take it to the kitchen. Dr. Hernandez picked up his bag and followed Diego out the door.

Diego immediately took the tray to the kitchen and instructed the servants to boil everything on the tray as they cleaned them, then he and Dr. Hernandez promptly washed their hands. Before he left, he asked the cook to prepare some broth and juice for Felipe. She nodded and immediately began preparing his breakfast.

As they came into the dining room, Victoria and Alejandro were eating their breakfast and looked up. Diego looked at Victoria with a somewhat smug look on his face and smiled. She looked at him curiously and slightly smiled.

"Good morning Diego! How is Felipe?" she inquired smiling as she took a drink of her juice.

"He seems to be a little better, but Dr. Hernandez says he has some slight congestion in his chest and he's still coughing. He still has a bit of a fever also!" Diego replied earnestly.

Victoria shook her head and sighed as she looked at Diego compassionately. "I wish he would hurry and get well!" she replied sincerely.

Diego slightly shrugged his shoulders and sighed. "So do I!"

"Dr. Hernandez…" Alejandro spoke up. "What's wrong with him?" he inquired looking concerned.

"I was telling Diego earlier, that I think he has influenza. He shows all the signs, sore throat, chills, fever, headache. He may have just a mild case. However, this is only the second day. We won't know until later. He'll have to be in bed for a week or so until he completely recovers. In the meantime, I told Diego that you will have to make sure everything is thoroughly cleaned, such as boiling things he uses. This disease is very contagious!" Hernandez stated emphatically.

Victoria and Alejandro looked at one another as their eyes widened in surprise. "Madre de Dios!" exclaimed Victoria looking at the doctor in disbelief and putting her hand to her cheek. "I have heard of this influenza, but I had no idea it was contagious!" she added shaking her head worriedly.

Diego looked at her earnestly and nodded. "In fact, since we have been exposed, we won't be able to go anywhere for a few days! That includes you Victoria! You'll have to stay here for awhile!" he said slightly smiling.

Victoria looked at him curiously. "You mean I won't be able to go to the tavern?" she inquired anxiously.

Dr. Hernandez looked at her earnestly. "We can't take any chances of spreading the disease to other people! In fact, there's no telling how Felipe caught it!" he replied shaking his head.

Diego walked over to Victoria and put a reassuring hand on her shoulder. "Don't worry Victoria. Hernandez said that not everyone gets it. But just to make sure, we have to wait a few days to see if we are going to show any symptoms. In the meantime, I guess we'll just have to make the best of it!" he slightly smiled.

Alejandro looked at Victoria and smiled. "I can't think of anyone that would be more welcome than you Victoria!" Alejandro responded warmly.

Diego walked over to the table and sat down beside Victoria and began filling his plate. After sitting up with Felipe all night, he suddenly realized just how hungry he really was.

Victoria cast an amiable smile at Alejandro. "Thank you Alejandro! I guess if I'm going to be here awhile, I may as well make myself useful!" she replied decidedly.

Diego glanced around and saw the cook bringing in Felipe's tray. As he started to get up. Victoria got up and firmly pushed him down.

"Diego, you need to eat your breakfast! I'll take Felipe's tray to him and make sure he eats! You need to keep up your strength too!" she responded decisively as she cast a stern look at him.

Diego flashed an abashed look at Alejandro and slightly shrugged his shoulders and sighed and shook his head. Alejandro shook his head and slightly chuckled at Diego's expression and smiled.

"Well Diego, I guess she told you!" Alejandro teased.

Victoria took the tray from the servant and immediately went to Felipe's room.

Diego and Dr. Hernandez had just started eating their breakfast when they snapped their heads around as they heard a pounding at the door. Alejandro motioned for the two men to remain seated and got up and walked to the door. As he opened the door, he saw Roberto Reyes standing at the door somewhat nervously. Alejandro motioned for him to come in. Roberto stepped inside and stood in the foyer as Alejandro closed the door.

"Buenos dias Roberto! What brings you to our hacienda this morning?" Inquired Alejandro earnestly.

"Buenos dias Don Alejandro!" Replied Roberto slightly bowing. "I hate to disturb you but have you seen Dr. Hernandez? I rode out to his place early this morning, but he was not there! I thought you might know!" He replied anxiously.

Dr. Hernandez heard Roberto and quickly got up from the table and walked to the door. Diego got up and followed him.

"Buenos dias Roberto! What's the matter? What is it?" Inquired Dr. Hernandez eyeing Roberto cautiously.

"Buenos Don Diego, Doctor!" he slightly bowed again. "Dr. I'm so glad I found you! You have to come to my house! Two of my children are very ill and my wife is not feeling well herself! All of a sudden my two children Juan and Pedro became ill. I don't know what's wrong with them! Then this morning my wife Angelina suddenly became sick!" He replied anxiously.

"Roberto, what are the symptoms of your children and wife." Hernandez inquired hesitantly.

Roberto looked at the doctor earnestly. "Juan and Pedro have a high fever and chills and Angelina is coughing and her head aches." He replied resolutely.

"Madre de Dios! It sounds like the same symptoms as Felipe! Let me get my bag!" Replied Hernandez decidedly.

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