Upstairs Doctor Lee was looking grave. The patient did not seem to be responding to anything that he had given him. He had ceased his shivering, giving him and the boy’s parents a few moments of hope. However, now the fever had returned with a vengeance and he was wearing himself out with the constant tossing and turning.
They had managed to get some of the soup and some water into him, but he had vomited it all up again a few moments later. If he did not drink or eat something substantial soon and keep it down he would not last much longer. His strength was failing.
Lord Dearing had given the kindly doctor enough money to procure some quinine, but everywhere the doctor had tried had no stock, as it was an expensive medicine to make and it did not keep long.
He had filled out an order with the pharmacy but they could not tell him when the precious compound would arrive. They were trying for an express delivery. It could still be too late for this patient.
“When will you get this miracle medicine?” Lord Dearing was getting frantic. He did not want to lose his only son.
“They said there was some in , your Lordship, it should arrive on the overnight mail coach, if we are lucky.”
“All we can do for tonight is pray” his mother said.
“You must try to get some rest, my dear” Lord Dearing was worried for his wife too. Tom will sit with him tonight, he’ll let us know straight away if anything changes.”
She reluctantly let go of her son’s clammy hand and allowed her husband to lead her out of the room.
Tom took his place by the bedside and listened as the doctor explained what he needed to do to at least make the patient comfortable.
“Try to get him to at least take sips of water when he is awake. Keep him uncovered while he is sweating and pull the blankets up if he starts the shivering again. If he goes quiet and still and his breathing grows shallow, wake his parents…and send for a priest.”