Chapter 37: Helping Jensen Fight Back
The fever started rising in the early morning hours. Jared felt the restlessness in the man beside him, and Gus was whining. The younger man laid a hand on the professor’s forehead and swore softly. Scooting down the bed, he inched his way off the bed and walked over to Meg.
The nurse was alert instantly. Jared kneeled down and whispered, “He feels hotter than before, but he’s not reacting to it yet.”
Nodding, Meg got out of bed and turned on a light. She checked the older man’s temperature. Reaching for her cell phone, she speed dialed a number.
“Rufus, his temperature is over 103. I think this may be the turning point.” Meg was quiet, listening to the doctor. “All right, we’ll be looking for you.”
“Turning point,” Sherri asked as she stuck her head through the door.
“Come on in, Mom,” Jared spoke before the nurse could reply.
The woman entered the room and looked down at the flushed face of the young man who was tossing on the bed. He was whimpering softly.
“Usually with this type of flu, it will reach a peak point and the illness will start to wane. The important thing is to help him make it through the course of this peak. It can be very hard on him. He hasn’t had the cough or diarrhea that some are prone to. The suppositories have kept the vomiting down, but the infection has spread enough to raise the temperature higher. At this point, it will either start to break up because the medicines have had enough time to make an impact or he can be hit with a secondary infection.”
“Secondary,” Jared’s voice held a tremor.
“Pneumonia is the usual one. He’s getting antibiotics with the hope of preventing this.”
“Oh god,” Jared called the dog, and the two left the room.
Meg’s jaw dropped, and her eyes were wide. Sherri reached out and patted the nurse’s shoulder.
“He has his own way of dealing with concerns, Meg,” she said quietly. “He’ll take the dog for a walk and a jog, come back, feed and water the dog, and he’ll make coffee. I’ll go fix breakfast for everyone. I’m assuming this will be a long day.”
The younger woman nodded and watched Jared’s mother leave the room, following her son.
Rufus Turner arrived 45 minutes later and hurried to the room to check on his patient. He told his nurse to go eat as he did his physical of the young man. Sighing, he removed his glasses and rubbed his eyes. He looked in his medical bag and removed the new medications. The more powerful antibiotic was placed in the i.v. bag and a stronger pain and fever reducer was added.
The doctor sat in the chair by the bed and called his office. He left a message with the answering service telling them to notify his partner he would not be in. He knew his patients would be tended to.
Sherri entered, bringing the man a bowl of hot cereal with brown sugar and cream, some cinnamon rolls, and a cup of coffee on a tray. She sat in another chair, keeping the man company.
Jared and Gus entered the room thirty minutes later and walked over to his love and gently ran his hand down the man’s arm. The other two could tell he was shaking.
“It’s going to be a long day, Jared. Go read a book, watch a movie….just do something. We’ll take shifts until this fever breaks completely. He’s going to be worse today. We need to take shifts. Two hours on, then two hours off. Sherri and I have the first watch.”
“I’m not leaving him. You gave him baths to bring it down; why not now?”
“It lowered the temperature, but it didn’t stop it. I know what I’m doing. If he starts hurting real bad and crying out in delirium we’ll lower it but not until. He doesn’t need any more shocks at this point.”
Sherri rose to her feet and told Jared she was going to call and talk to Donna Ackles about Thanksgiving. Her son was not happy at the idea of putting Jensen through more stress, and Donna meant stress.
“They are just as used to being together on the holidays as we are so we’ll combine families. I can’t see her not wanting to have her son at Thanksgiving.”
Jared shook his head as his mother left the room.
“Problems in that department?” Turner asked.
“She’s an emotionally and mentally abusive parent. I don’t know that this is a good idea.”
Sherri called the Ackles’ number and asked for Donna. When the woman came to the phone, Jared’s mom introduced herself.
It was quiet on the other end. Finally, the woman spoke. “What do you want?”
“I thought you might come over on Friday, and we could discuss a combined family Thanksgiving dinner.”
“Your son has insulted me more than I can tell you about, and he’s leading my son astray. Why would I want him in my home?”
Sherri bit her tongue as she tried to curb her anger. “I believe this could bring healing between the families. We have plenty of room here to do it.”
“What time on Friday?”
“11:30? I’ll have a nice soup and salad lunch for us.”
Donna was quiet again, and Jared’s mom waited. “Fine, but I won’t promise anything.”
“That’s fair enough,” Sherri responded and Donna hung up.
The remainder of the day was a rough one. The suppositories stopped working, and Jensen was vomiting bile from his stomach. They kept two large bowls in the room for him to be sick in. Meg kept running across the hall to empty one of the bowls while the other remained for the young man’s use. She kept several washcloths in a bowl of warm water to bath his face after he was finished being sick.
The only thing that kept the man calm and able to fight the pain and nausea was Jared. The coach had a stool beside the bed which put his upper body even with Jensen. He laid his head on the mattress with both hands touching and gently stroking the man lying there.
Someone was in the room with the two men the entire time. The family and the two practitioners took one hour shifts, tending to Jensen, and helping Jared.
At one in the morning, Megan came into the room with a cup of chicken broth for Jared. Her brother looked exhausted. Dr. Turner rose and headed towards the kitchen to get a cup of coffee.
“How is he,” the young woman asked.
The coach looked at her as he took a sip of the broth and shook his head.
“The fever’s still high?”
“Yeah,” the young man answered as his sister sat in the chair to take her turn in the room.
Ten minutes later, a soft raspy voice whispered. “That smells good.”
“Jared, I’m so thirsty.”
“Meggy, go get Turner!”
The doctor and nurse ran into the room after she had relayed the message. Meg took his temperature, “It’s 98.04,” she exclaimed. “He’s sweating. His clothes are soaked.”
“The fever has finally broke. Let’s take care of him.”
Sherri commented that the room needed to be disinfected to prevent further infection.
“I’m going to give him a bath. Can the i.v. be removed?”
“When was the last time he vomited?”
“About 10:30,” Meg replied.
“Remove it. Sherri, do you have any more of that broth?”
“Yes. Do you want some?”
Jared interrupted, “Jensen does.
“We’re going to put him in my room so this one can be cleaned. We’re all tired, and we could use a good night’s sleep. I’m going to get him some clean boxers and a tee shirt, and then we’re going to bathe with the whirlpool running and ease his tired muscles. If you would bring some cool ginger ale and the broth to my room, Mom?”
Sherri smiled as the doctor nodded in agreement with her son’s plans.
By 2:30 in the morning the entire family was asleep; an exhausted Jensen was curled in Jared’s arms.