“Why is she breathing so funny, Doctor?” Mrs. Logerquist has gone through measles with 4 of her 5 children but none of the others had the degree of cough, labored breathing and protracted fever as Mary is having now.
“She has pneumonia, and that can be serious. But fortunately we now have penicillin and it may help. I’ll give her a shot now and be back to check on her tomorrow.”
As I carried my bag out to the car, I again thought of Andrew. When I first walked into the Logerquist house to see Mary, I immediately detected that unmistakable odor of measles, reminding me of little Andrew. June Burgess had called me to see her son who had a sore throat, red eyes and high fever for 3 days. When I had entered the house, I smelled measles. “But he doesn’t have a rash. I thought there was a rash with measles,” June had told me. As I checked Andrew, I looked into his mouth and there they were: Koplik’s spots, the indisputable but fleeting sign of measles.
“June, Andrew has measles, and you can expect him to break out in the measles rash in a day or two. He needs to rest. Children who have not had measles yet could catch it from him. Let me know if you have any concerns.”
A week later, June had called me, sobbing, because Andrew seemed so much worse. I had returned to their house and was alarmed when Andrew barely responded to me. His breathing was shallow and his forehead was hot. I had put my stethoscope to his chest and heard rales in both lungs. His lips were parched and bluish pink. “Andrew has pneumonia, June, and he is seriously ill. I wish there were something I could do for him. It’s in God’s hands now.”
I had made 2 more house calls, then drove home. When I walked in the door, the ‘phone was ringing. It was June, again sobbing, and between sobs had said, “Dr. Fulton, Andrew has stopped breathing.” All I could do was to return to the home and console June and her husband.
From that day to this, whenever I smell measles like I just did in the Logequist home, I think of Andrew and how helpless we were before we had penicillin.
Challenge: Start a story and have your character smell/hear/feel/taste/see something that reminds him/her of someone (s)he knew in the past. Your challenge is to use prose or poetry and describe that person from the past and explain why that particular sensory input reminds your character of the person.