Jack glanced at the clock, some hours later, then at Alex. He was still sleeping but he'd had an horrendous night. Jack decided to leave him. A day off school wouldn't go amiss. He was on the phone to the headmistress when Mrs Wilson arrived.
“He looks exhausted, Mr O'Connor.” She observed, peeping round the study door.
“I'm thinking he does look a bit pale.” Jack agreed. “I think I'll call a doctor, just incase. Can you suggest one?” He began looking down the list of general practitioners in the phone book. “I don't believe this!” Jack's eyes blinked at one entry in particular. “Mrs Wilson? Ziggy Rigby is a doctor?”
“No. Read it again.” Mrs Wilson pointed at the entry. “She's a medical practitioner. She can examine and offer diagnoses to other doctors but she can't describe medical drugs, obviously.” She explained.
“We are talking proper doctors here? Qualified doctors of medicine?” Jack was feeling pretty exhausted too.
“Of course, otherwise it wouldn't be illegal to describe themselves as such. That's a very old list, Mr O'Connor. Ziggy Rigby hasn't been a part of the community for almost a decade. Dr Pallister is still active. He's my GP.” Mrs Wilson pointed to the number of the doctor mentioned.
Jack had a huge surge of relief when Dr Bernard Pallister turned out to be a respectable looking gent on around fifty years of age and he looked like a doctor. He wore a suit, carried a leather bag, and Jack almost hauled his hand off when he shook it. Jack explained the nightmares, and his concern for his son's pallor. He also explained that Alex was in the office so Jack could stay close to him.
“Hello Alex.” The Doctor smiled. “Feeling a bit rough?”
“My head hurts and so does my tummy.” Alex muttered.
“That's because you're all hot and sticky, young man.” Dr Pallister took Alex's temperature. “Can you take of your t shirt so I can listen in?” Alex nodded and Jack helped him off with his top. “See this stethoscope? Well it's always cold no matter what I do with it so it'll make you jump.” The Doctor smiled. “You ready?” Alex tried to smile and nodded. “Good lad. OK, take a deep ... deep ...” Dr Pallister's stethoscope was poised over Alex's chest.
“What?” Jack panicked. “What's wrong?” He pushed past the Doctor to look at his son. “Oh that!” He smiled. “He fell and got cut when he was a baby. It wasn't even deep enough for stitches. It's OK, it's a very old scratch.”
“Er ... yes.” Dr Pallister packed up his stethoscope. “Keep him cool, Mr O'Connor. Cool sponges, plenty of fluids.”
“Huh? Hang on! Is that it? I thought you were going to listen to his chest?” Jack said in surprise.
“No. I don't need to.” Dr Pallister mumbled.
“Why is his temperature up?” Jack persisted and the doctor merely glanced at him. “I'm talking to you! Is he sick? Do I need another doctor?” Dr Pallister looked at Alex and closed his eyes. Jack felt the hysterics hurtling towards him. “Dr Pallister, he's a little boy. He's seven years old. If he's sick then I need your help!”
“It isn't my help you need.” The Doctor said quietly. Jack hauled him out, physically, into the hallway.
“Now you listen to me.” He snarled. “He has a roaring temperature, he can hardly support his own head, his eyes are glazed and he's as white as a sheet! If you won't give him any medical help, then refer him to someone who can! All I'm asking for is a straight opinion.”
“Dr Pallister?” Mrs Wilson was shaking. “He's only a little boy.”
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