A/N: *looks around the corner* Hello my dear followers. I am glad to say that my huge writers block seemed to be gone and I'm in better spirits now. I can't promise that it will never happen again, but I hope that I'll never need 4 months for a chapter again.
I want to thank Throppsicle for her beta reading and her advice, it helped a lot ;-)
It was late in the night when Galinda woke with a start, having an uneasy feeling. She sat up and thought that she heard a whimper coming from Elphaba. The blonde quietly got up and walked in the dim light of the room over to her roomie. As she came near her, she heard Elphaba whimper again.
"Oh no, not another nightmare!" she whispered and called Elphaba's name, hoping she would wake up. When the green girl didn't respond, Galinda lightly touched her shoulder to get her attention. She was shocked that Elphaba felt very, very warm and was shivering. Galinda gently touched her forehead. It was hot and covered with cold sweat. The blonde quickly put on the little lamp on the nightstand, reached for the alarm cord and pulled it.
"I hope Nurse will come quickly, this fever can't be a good sign," she mumbled and looked closer at Elphaba. She noticed that her face was angry red all over, not just her injured parts. Was the sweat burning her skin? Elphaba was still whimpering, shivering and slightly tossing in her sleep. Galinda was not sure if she should wipe the sweat away or not; she was afraid to hurt her roomie even more. Just then, Nurse Clare came in, followed by Doctor Bradburn. Galinda was surprised that both were here so quickly; it was three in the morning after all.
"Galinda dear, what is it?" Nurse Clare asked as she and the doctor hurried over to them.
"I woke up and heard Elphaba whimper, so I went to check on her. I thought that she was suffering from a nightmare and I touched her. It seems that she developed a fever during the night; she felt very warm," Galinda said with worry in her voice.
Both adults exchanged a significant glance and the nurse quickly put a hand onto Elphaba's forehead. She was very concerned when she felt that the green girl was indeed burning up. She also noticed that Elphaba's face was very sweaty and saw the angry red splotches that had formed all over it. All the while, Elphaba was still whimpering in her sleep and did not wake up.
"Oh dear she seems to indeed have a fever. And I am not sure, but it looks like her skin is very irritated by the sweat. We need to take her temperature immediately and check the rest of her body for more irritations. Would you please try and wake her?" Nurse Clare said.
"Of course Nurse," Galinda said and started to gently say Elphaba's name. Both adults waited near the bed and quietly conferred. After two or three minutes Elphaba groggily opened her eyes.
"Galinda?" she called, her voice was even more hoarse than before; she wasn't feeling well at all. Her whole body seemed to be on fire and her skin prickled all over.
"I'm right here with you. I am afraid that you developed a fever during the night. I alerted the nurse and doctor and they are here to check you over," Galinda said.
The nurse stepped into Elphaba's line of sight. "Hello Elphaba, I need to take your temperature. Is that okay with you?" The green girl nodded, not feeling well enough to even fuss about it. She barely noticed what was going on around her. After a few minutes, the nurse took the thermometer and looked even more alert after she jotted down the number. Doctor Bradburn looked at it too and his brow furrowed; the fever was very high and needed to be treated immediately. It seemed that they weren't able to avert an infection.
Galinda saw the looks on their faces and knew that something was indeed wrong. "Is the fever bad?" she asked the doctor.
"Yes, unfortunately the fever is very high and we need to treat it as soon as possible. Elphaba, we have to bathe you in order to get the sweat from your body, your skin seems to be very irritated by it. Nurse will attend to that task now," he said.
"I will go and see if your father is still in the lab, he told me that he would be there most of the night. Our biggest problem at the moment is how to cool her down," he said to Galinda.
"Oh I didn't think of that! You can't simply put her into a cold tub," Galinda said, shuddering at the thought of Elphaba immersed in water. "I am not surprised that my father is working all night, when he is on a mission, you can't stop him." Galinda smiled slightly; she always admired her father for the lengths that he went to to help others.
After the doctor left, Nurse Clare came over with a soft cloth in her hands. "Elphaba, I will carefully dry your skin with this cloth now. I hope that I don't hurt you in the process."
"I think it will be fine, please just make it stop!" Elphaba whimpered groggily. She just wanted to go back to sleep again and feel no additional pain. Galinda was a little surprised by Elphaba's change of demeanor; normally the green girl never showed any sign of weakness.
"Alright my dear, I'll try to get the sweat off as quick as possible." The nurse lowered the hospital nightgown and revealed more angry red and green skin. Galinda blushed and turned slightly away as she saw Elphaba's body so exposed, but the green girl didn't seemed to notice the delicate situation she was in. Nurse Clare gently wiped the sweat from Elphaba's skin and tried to be as quick as possible, because she began to shiver more and more throughout the process.
Dr. Bradburn hurried up to his private lab, hoping desperately that Mr. Upland would be able to help them. He was at a loss with the treatment of his patient now. He knocked on the door and entered after he heard a soft reply. Timion was busy mixing something and as he saw the concerned look on the doctor's face, he knew that something must be very wrong.
"Dr. Bradburn, is everything alright?"
"I'm afraid no, Elphaba developed a high fever during the night and we don't know how to help her besides treating her with the common medicines. We need to cool her body down, but you know where the problem lies..." the doctor replied with an resigned tone. He hated being so helpless.
"Oh dear, we all were afraid that she would get an infection. Actually I have a solution for the bathing problem. Highly concentrated peppermint oil has very good cooling properties when applied to the skin. It was recently discovered and tested on very young patients with fever who refused to get into a cold tub."
"Peppermint oil, how intriguing!" the doctor said. He was very glad that Mr. Upland seemed to know so much about herbs and their properties.
"I already prepared some, because I was relatively sure that it would be needed. The two bottles of oil on the table over there are both ready," Timion pointed to a table on his left. "The bigger one contains the antiseptic cleaning oil, the other the sterilized peppermint oil."
The doctor was very surprised that there were already two oils ready to be used. "I don't know how to thank you for what you have done for Elphaba so far. I never expected you to be so quick; you must have worked without a pause since I left you in the evening."
"Oh there is no need to thank me, when I am on a mission, nothing can stop me," Timion laughed. "Now take these oils to where they are needed. I hope that you are better able to help Elphaba now."
With that Dr. Bradburn took the bottles and quickly hurried out of the lab.
Back in Elphaba's room, the nurse was still gently drying the green girl's skin. Galinda held onto one of Elphaba's hands, but looked discreetly away with a slight blush, as the nurse was drying the intimate parts. Elphaba still didn't seem to notice much about what was going on around her. Galinda thought that it might be the best for the situation.
"I'm almost finished," Nurse Clare said while attending to one of the legs. After she had dried every part of Elphaba's skin off, the nurse went over to the cabinet and retrieved some new medicine. She gently helped Elphaba to sit up and drink the pills down. After five minutes, the doctor came back and quickly went over to them. Galinda saw the two bottles in his hands and sighed a breath of relief; her father was a marvel!
"I have good news! Mr. Upland provided me with an oil, which should help cooling Elphaba's body down."
"I'm very glad that he is able to help us," the nurse said and accepted the bottle with peppermint oil from Dr Bradburn. She looked intrigued as she read the label. She turned to Elphaba and noticed that she was asleep again. "Poor dear, the fever is taking its toll, but it is very good that she is asleep, now I can apply the oil without stressing her further."
After the peppermint oil was thoroughly smoothed over the parts of Elphaba's body that weren't bandaged, Nurse Clare carefully put the nightgown back in place and covered the green girl with the thick comforter.
"Now we have to wait and see if the peppermint oil is working on her. I want you to try and sleep too Galinda, we will look after your roommate regularly," the doctor said.
"I will try, I don't think that I have an option to say no," Galinda sighed and lay down on her cot.
"Good girl," Nurse Clare said and turned off the lights.
Soon fatigue overtook the little blonde and she drifted of into a fitful sleep. As the nurse came in to check on Elphaba who was sleeping soundly, she noticed that Galinda was tossing and turning in her sleep. She went over and tried to wake her. Galinda woke up with a start, looking at the nurse with a frightened look.
"It's okay dear; everything is alright. I woke you because you seemed to be dreaming."
"I did, it was awful! I dreamed that I didn't find Elphaba in time and... that... that she was..." Galinda stammered and burst into tears. The nurse was not surprised at the outburst. She sat down on the cot and held the girl in a motherly way. For close to ten minutes, Galinda cried into the older woman's shoulder. Nurse Clare handed her a handkerchief and Galinda accepted it gratefully.
"Are you feeling better?" the nurse asked while rising from the edge of the cot to get some water.
"Yes I am, I'm glad that you were there for me. That dream was horrible!"
"I was afraid that something like that might occur. Please feel free to talk about your fears; I am known on campus as the gentle, granny nurse," she chuckled. She had seen many things over the years, but Elphaba's case was very different, as she felt far more protective over her and her roommate than usual. Galinda assured her that she would talk if the need arose and this satisfied the elder woman for once.
"I will check on Elphaba's temperature now, I hope that it is not higher than two hours before."
She managed to get the temperature without waking the green girl and was relieved that, for the moment, her fever had not gotten worse.
"Is she okay?" Galinda asked, her voice laced with concern and a hint of panic.
The nurse sighed inwardly. "Galinda, please listen to me. If your friend were in immediate danger, we would watch her constantly and would never leave you alone in this room. Please don't make yourself crazy right now. The peppermint oil seems to work, as her skin feels a little bit cooler to the touch than before and she isn't sweating too much at the moment. I am really concerned about your health and you know it. I will give you two options: You promise me to go to sleep again while I'm watching over both of you, or I feel the need to give you a sleep aid, but I am pretty sure that this isn't the way you want it, am I correct?"
"You are right, I have to sleep and I really don't want to get sick too." With that she settled herself down onto her pillows again and tried to clear her mind. She didn't mind that the nurse was present; she had her reasons to watch over her. Thankfully she fell asleep after ten minutes and stayed that way for a couple more hours.
A young nurse was assigned to look after them while Dr. Bradburn and his head nurse were able to get some much needed sleep.
Timion spent the whole night in Dr. Bradburn's private lab, carefully measuring and mixing a variety of oils and other things he thought might help Elphaba. He knew that he had to think unconventional in her case; the standard treatments were absolutely inappropriate, not to mention dangerous and life threatening for her. Timion was very glad that he could count himself among the sort of scientist who worked to help others. He had to learn the hard way that there was an opposite side as well.
"I hope that my experiments with different components will help her in the long run and I'm sure that she will benefit from the new oils I mixed for her," he said quietly. It was past seven and he was nearly finished with his latest project, a poultice with antiseptic and pain relieving properties. After he was finished, he stepped back from the lab table and surveyed his work. The doctor would have some good supplies to hold the infection at bay and hopefully help the healing process along. Timion collected all of the bottles and tins and put them in a box to take to the infirmary.
He had lost all track of time and was surprised that it was already eight 'o clock. As he entered the infirmary, he was greeted by Nurse Nikota and was told that the doctor would be there in just a bit.
"Thank you, I want to give him the supplies for Miss Elphaba's treatment. Do you know anything about her actual condition?"
"She has been sleeping all night as far as I know. Nurse Clare told me that they want to check on her soon."
"Okay, I will explain the new oils and mixtures to the doctor. I hope that all of it works as it should," Timion said and sat down on a chair. Dr. Bradburn arrived after twenty minutes.
"Good morning Mr. Upland. I thought that you would be in your room in the guest quarters by now."
"Good morning as well. I'm planning on it, but I wanted to show you what I have created in addition to the two oils I gave you earlier."
"Very well, let's go into my office then," the doctor said and soon Timion had explained everything to a slightly stunned Dr. Bradburn, who had never expected that the men before him would be able to do so much overnight.
"I think we now have many options to treat Elphaba; only time can tell how her system will respond to them. We will go and check on her, my head nurse must be here by now. I suggest that you get some rest. I will inform your daughter that you will be here later on."
Timion agreed and after he briefly greeted Nurse Clare, he made his way across campus to his room.
Galinda groggily opened her eyes. She saw daylight shining into the room and Nurse Clare, who was quietly preparing something on the other side of the room. The nurse noticed that she was awake and came over to her.
"Good morning Galinda, I'm very glad that you got more sleep. And before you ask, Elphaba didn't wake up while you were asleep." she said as she noticed Galinda looking over to Elphaba.
"Good morning. Thankfully I had no more nightmares," Galinda sighed and got up.
"Is it time for her checkup again?"
"Yes, I was preparing the new supplies your father brought us not to long ago. He went to his room to rest and said that he will be back here in a few hours."
"He was up all night, wasn't he?
"After what I heard yes. It appears to me that he is a very passionate man."
"He is, as I said before, when he is working on a project, nothing can stop him from working, even at night," Galinda said, her pride in her father evident in her voice. She collected her last set of clean clothes and went to the bathroom to freshen up. As she looked in the mirror she was shocked to see that she was rather pale and had really dark shadows under her eyes. No wonder that everyone was concerned about her. Under normal circumstances that situation would induce a stroke in the always perfect, fresh- looking blonde, but not today. Today she didn't care about how bad she looked. If my classmates could see me, they would think that I have gone completely mad Galinda thought and chuckled in spite of her self.
She heard Dr. Bradburn's voice out in the room and quickly finished fixing her hair.
"Hello Galinda, we have been waiting for you because we think that you should try and wake your friend again," the doctor said.
"I think so too. I hope that she will not be afraid of you anymore because it breaks my heart," Galinda said and went to sit beside Elphaba's bed again. It took over five minutes before Elphaba began to stir slightly after Galinda called her name repeatedly.
"Galinda?" Elphaba whispered, her eyes still closed. Galinda was not sure if she was completely awake.
"Yes Elphaba, I'm still here with you. Please wake up for me, the doctor is here again."
The green girl opened her eyes with effort. She had difficulties with focusing on anything, her head was hurting and she felt very hot. After a minute, she was able to see clearer and looked directly into Galinda's concerned eyes. "Galinda, please make it stop, it hurts," Elphaba whimpered.
"Where does it hurt?" Galinda asked, trying to sound calm as she exchanged a worried look with the doctor and nurse.
"My head, it feels like bursting, please make it stop!"
"It's okay Elphaba, the doctor and nurse are here to help you. See, they are right here on the other side of your bed."
"Elphaba, we will give you something for your headache immediately. You still have a very high fever. I will examine you to see what we have to do now," the doctor said and told the nurse which medication was required. He gently felt her skin and saw that the loss of fluid was increasing; they had to do something quickly.
"Elphaba you need to try and drink something. I know it is very uncomfortable for you to sit up now, but we have no other choice," Doctor Bradburn said. The nurse came over with the medicine and gently helped Elphaba to sit up. The green girl felt very dizzy as soon as she was semi - reclined and just wished that she could lie down again. The nurse handed her a glass of cider, but Elphaba's hands were shaking too much to hold it alone. Galinda had tears in her eyes as she gently steadied her hand and helped her to drink down the pill. Elphaba looked thankfully at Galinda. "Thank you for still being here," Elphaba said quietly.
"That's what friends are for Elphaba," Galinda simply replied. "Please try to drink some more."
She had to help her again and was pretty sure that he only reason that Elphaba was not overly uncomfortable with the situation was that she had no power left at all. Elphaba managed to empty the glass but she started to feel nauseous as soon as she started on the second.
"I don't think that I can drink any more, it makes me feel nauseous."
"Oh dear, I was afraid that this would happen. Milk will work too, it will hopefully soothe your stomach," the nurse said and poured some milk into another glass. Thankfully the nausea eased after Elphaba sipped some milk. The doctor and nurse both sighed a breath of relieve.
"Alright Elphaba, we will check your temperature now and then we have to bathe you again with the peppermint oil. Mr. Upland told us that it has cooling properties. We can attend to your wounds later on, the treatment of your fever and the infection is more important right now. Mr. Upland provided us with more supplies for you and he will be here in a few hours to assist us," the doctor explained.
Nurse Clare helped her to lie back down and took her temperature. They were not happy to see that the fever was as high as before.
"The fever is not getting worse for the moment but we need to get it down. Nurse will apply the peppermint oil again, only time can tell if it is enough. I will be back in a few hours when Mr. Upland is here again to assist me."
After the doctor had left the nurse immediately started to apply a good amount of peppermint oil on Elphaba's upper body. The green girl felt like a giant candy cane but had to admit that the oil was indeed very cooling. She didn't know that it had cooling properties either. Although it made her feel a little bit better, Elphaba felt very uncomfortable with the nurses' touch. She was not accustomed to it, expecting rough hands and pinching instead of gentle touches. Elphaba flinched several times during the process and both Galinda and the nurse noticed it. Nurse Clare was sure that it wasn't from accidentally touching her injured body parts. Elphaba was wondering why she could accept that Galinda was holding her hand more readily. Somehow I know that she won't hurt me.
While she applied the oil, the nurse was very glad to notice that Elphaba's skin was not as irritated as before. But she also noticed that her patient grew more and more uncomfortable the longer she was giving attention to her, so she quickly completed her task.
"Alright Elphaba, I am finished for now. Does the pill for your headache work?"
"Yes, a little, but I would be glad if I can go back to sleep now," Elphaba said, her tiredness evident in her voice.
"Of course my dear, but we have to wake you up in an hour, so that you can have a drink again. The fever increased the loss of fluid and we are afraid that you are getting dehydrated."
"Alright with me, as long as I can sleep," Elphaba said and close her eyes. She was asleep after only two minutes. Galinda sighed "I hope that she will get better soon. It breaks my heart to see her so vulnerable."
"We are trying to get the infection under control as soon as possible. But injuries like hers need time to heal completely. Now I suggest that you go over to the cafeteria and eat a good breakfast. You don't need to stay here all of the time. I think Elphaba is comfortable enough with me by now."
"You are right; I should leave her alone at some point. I will go and have breakfast and a nice soak in the tub I think."
"That sounds good to me, now scoot!" The nurse smiled and followed Galinda out of the door.