Late in the afternoon on Tuesday Pippy had gone to see Mr. Harvey, who had been in the Gangplank at the time. He had the courtesy to say that she was looking lovely today, but she was sure he was just being polite. “Is something the matter?”
Pippy gave a false smile to reassure him and tried to downplay her situation as best she could, “Oh, no…nothing really. Just a cold I think, with the changing weather and all.” She coughed again uncomfortably.
Mr. Harvey nodded in comiseration and understanding, “You should be careful, your size might mean an illness could be serious quite quickly. Let me make you a thimble of soup.”
Pippy managed to retain her false smile, “Yes, I do catch things rather quickly comparitively I’m afraid.” She rubbed her head and followed him, noting that she had shedded even more and sighed.
“I hope you don’t mind if I have some soup too.” He said as he tossed some herbs and other ingredients into a pot.
“I don’t eat much,” She managed a real grin this time.
“Do you mind if I ask you some questions?” After she answered a few simple questions he nodded his head. “You’ve probably caught a chill. What have you been doing for the past week or two?”
“Well I traveled a little, by air vessel. I got back yesterday in time for language class.”
Blackberry seemed to be thinking for a moment, which made her a little nervous, “You might have caught something from exposure on the trip, or just from a fellow traveler.”
“No one else around me seemed sick…then again, my companions were much bigger than me so maybe they just didn’t catch it.” Curse her tiny immune system!
Blackberry Harvey nodded, and started on his own bowl of soup. “That’s possible. I don’t know much about how your size affects such things, I’m afraid.”
“Well, a smaller body just allows a small infection to be…a rather large infection.” Her friends at home had once explained to her that it wasn’t that an infection spread faster in her race, but rather that the only difference size made was that what would be a negligible fledgling infection in her taller friends was devestating and significant in her.
“I’d like you to get as much fruit or fruit juice as you can, along with rest and water. I know you like to be active, but you need to recover.”
“But I have a schedule…” She talked to him and explained her situation as best as she could and he agreed that she could still attend classes, as long as she sat in the back with a face mask. She didn’t feel like mentioning now that she knew that he might want to restrict her from classes that her muscles had started to hurt. She left the Gangplank, unaware that she had left quite a bit of fur where she had been sitting when she left. What she didn’t know yet was that Mr. Harvey collected it in a clean cup after she was gone for later study.
It was past midnight on what was now Wednesday when Pippy had managed to make it to the hospital, she was having trouble thinking now. He had said to come back if she had gotten worse, and things had taken a definite turn for the worse. Mr. Harvey carried her inside and laid her down on something soft…a pillow maybe. He took off her hat…or was he taking off her hair…it was getting hard to tell what was going on anymore but she tried to focus on their voices.
“Oh dear. I think you have a disease worse than a cold, Miss Pippy. Yesterday I checked some of your loose hairs for mange…”
“AUGH!” She screamed, which turned into a horrible cough, the threat of mange bringing her back some clarity for a moment. “But I wasn’t sick yesterday, was I?” She tried to remember. Was that yesterday or the day before…she couldn’t remember! Had she lost track of time?
“You were quite sick, don’t you remember coming to the Gangplank?”
“I thought that was today!” Had she really lost a day she thought in terror.
“No, that was yesterday.” He answered, “I’m afraid I’m going to have to call a doctor.”
Dr. Sonnerstein arrived sometime later, though in many ways he didn’t help her to calm down while they spoke about what it could have been over her still concious and worried frame.
“…could it be rabies?”
“AUGH!” She screamed again, which turned into an even worse cough.
“AUGGGGH!” She had never coughed or screamed so hard in her life.
“Look at her fur color. What would cause fur loss and such a thick cough?”
“A few things come to mind aside from mange… allergies for one…you haven’t picked up fleas, have you?”
“AUGGGGHHHH!” This time she couldn’t stop coughing…
This continued for some time, each thing she learned about her condition made her scream and cough louder, and when she learned about those things growing out of her she even tried to run away because it had seemed like someone was watching her besides the doctors now, but they restrained her for the moment and begged her to stay… she answered a few things as best she could with her mind growing more erratic, she was sure she could hear people in the other room talking about what a ugly freak she was becoming…finally however Dr. Sonnerstein decided they would need a blood sample. One look at that horribly large needle, along with the thought of how much blood they would need to draw out of her, was the last straw and she fainted.