Autobiography of Ralph John Wesley Howard

AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF
RALPH JOHN WESLEY HOWARD

(Page 20)

 

together in the early days. I was feeling worse in the morning but managed to get dressed and laid down on Aunt Minís lounge and the next thing I knew, a man was standing over me with a watch in one hand and holding my wrist with the other. In a few moments he spoke to Aunt Min, "This man has all the symptoms of typhoid fever". To me he said, "Get into bed and I will see you again this evening". We had known this doctor before we left Dakota twenty-two years before and he was still practicing and had much experience with typhoid fever. The Doc came again, in the evening and brought another physician with him to confirm his diagnose. He supplied medicine and precise instructions for its use, and visited me twice daily for many weeks. I finally survived but Mr. Balderson, who drank from the same well as I did, did not. I think that by travelling north, I had a few degrees lower temperature in my favor. I had a severe run of typhoid and a few days, Mother was at my bedside, I think someone must have sent her a telegram. Shortly after her arrival, the Doctor asked in my presence, when had I last taken any nourishment. I believe it was Bert who answered, "Seven days." The doctor said, "We will have to get him to take some nourishment, Iíll be back toward evening and tell you how to cook an egg for him." I couldnít stand the thought of food but I knew I had to take something. I spent the hours trying to find courage to try.

When the egg was done, I did manage to get some of it down. It felt like chunks of lead. In the morning, they brought me another egg, and said, "take it". I knew this was to be a continuing routine and asked for a square of fresh watermelon with the skin and seeds removed. This happened to be okay and relieved me some and soon the danger point was passed. My recovery was very slow and for many days, I had to be turned over in bed and could not move. I gradually took more nourishment, mostly watermelon, and the only thing that seem to work. I got so I could wiggle my toes and quarrel with the nurses. I would ask what day it was occasionally, and be told it was Friday, I would wait another day and asked again, the following day was also Friday. Finally I told the nurse it had been Friday for three days, werenít there any Saturdayís left? Delirium associated with fever is a real as life itself; a patient canít distinguish it from reality and you canít tell him any different. I got so I would turn my back on the nurse when she came in and the cook wouldnít cook what I wanted and only a starvation ration at that. It made me so mad, I wiggled all over and remember I am on my way to Canada. I decided maybe the cook was keeping daily business at the beer parlor and maybe he would run out of money pretty soon and then do better at his job. He didnít and the rations only increased a very little, and in a

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