Daniel had to hold Guthrie's head in his own lap all the way to the hospital. He didn't take the time to put the cover on the jeep, as it was mid May and the weather was warm. However, Guthrie was so weak and out of it, Daniel had become worried that he might fall out of the jeep. He considered buckling him in, but he was so small Daniel wanted to keep him as close to him as possible. He held on tightly to his baby brother, cradling him with his right arm as he steered the jeep with his left hand. It seemed to Daniel that the ride was taking forever, but finally he wheeled into the Emergency entrance. He gently scooched out of the drivers seat and rested Guthrie's head carefully on the seat. He moved quickly around to the passenger seat and swooped the boy up into his arms and rushed through the double doors of the Emergency room.
"Help" he cried out "my little brothers' really sick." Two nurses rushed over after retrieving a gurney and took a barely conscious Guthrie from Daniel's arms and laid him carefully onto the gurney. They began to wheel him to the back and Daniel called out after them "Please, let me go with him. He's so little, he needs me to go with him." One of the nurses put her hand on Daniel's shoulder and said "Son, we're going to take excellent care of him, but right this minute you'll be in the way. I promise, we will come get you as soon as we can and let you be with him, ok?" No, it wasn't ok. None of this was ok, Daniel thought. He was scared to death and could only imagine how scared Guthrie must be. He looked past the nurse and called out to his little brother, "Guthrie, I'll be right out here buddy. They are gonna take care of you and I'll see you in just a little while."
"Can I have your brother's full name?" The receptionist asked Daniel. He observed the mountain of paperwork she was holding. Daniel began giving her Guthrie's information. Name, date of birth, guardian's name, etc. "So your parents are deceased?" She asked gently.
"Yes ma'am." Daniel replied as politely as possible. He hated that look of pity she had on her face, but he had become used to it long ago. It was more of an annoyance at this point.
"So, your eldest brother, he's your guardian? Where is he now?" The receptionist continued to question the teen.
"Um, he's...he's out of town. He should be back in a couple of hours, maybe sooner." Daniel answered and just realized that when Adam and Brian got home they'd be worried sick. He hadn't thought to leave a note. He was in such a hurry to get Guthrie help, he hadn't thought about it. "I can give you our home phone number and you can call the house until you reach him." Daniel suggested.
"That's a good idea, I'll do just that. What time do you expect him home?" She asked.
"Probably between five and six this evening. They'd planned to be home by dinnertime." He answered.
"Ok, I'll start calling the house at five then." She replied.
"Thanks ma'am. You think they'll let me know something soon?" He asked anxiously.
"Sure they will. In the meantime why don't you take this paperwork and sit down. Any of the information you can provide until your brother gets here will be very helpful. It might make the waiting a little easier, too." she said as she handed him the papers and led him to a chair in the waiting room.
Daniel sat down and stared at the paperwork. He didn't know this stuff. His older brothers knew this. He'd never had to learn it all. Geez, Adam really has a tough job, he thought to himself, remembering all the trips he and his brothers had made to the Emergency Room since Adam had taken over raising them. Daniel then realized that since Crane went to college and he'd inherited the babysitting job, it was time that he paid more attention to details and learned this information first hand.
Brian and Adam pulled up to the house a little before six. "Where is the jeep? I know Daniel wouldn't go off galavanting with Guthrie in tow, not with him sick." Adam said in a startled tone.
"I wouldn't count it out. That kid acts before he thinks too much for my comfort." Brian retorted.
They rushed into the big white house and started calling out to their little brothers. When neither answered, they ran upstairs and looked in the bedrooms. Guthrie wasn't in bed and neither of them were anywhere to be found in the house.
"I'm gonna kill that boy!" Adam spewed.
They had already checked the table next to the downstairs phone for a note, but found nothing. Before Adam could say anything more, the phone rang.
Brian picked up the receiver and answered "Dan'l? Oh, sorry...who? What happened to him?" Brian asked excitedly.
Adam felt a chill run down his spine. Something was very wrong. He didn't like the tone in Brian's voice.
"Ok...ok, we'll be right there. Thank you for calling." Brian said. "We gotta go Adam, Guthrie's in the hospital. He's got pneumonia!"
"Oh God." Adam sighed, scared to death for little Guthrie.
They jumped back into the old truck and took off down the long, narrow driveway speeding to County hospital.
When they reached the hospital, Adam inquired about Guthrie to the clerk. She gave him a room number and told him how to find it. Adam and Brian rushed down the hall and slowed up only when they saw the room number they'd been given. They quietly entered and were upset and relieved at the same time to see Guthrie, in the hospital bed with Daniel sitting on the edge of it, softly singing to the little guy. They paused for a brief moment to listen.
Daniel was unaware that his brothers' were in the room. He was singing a lullabye that he remembered his mom singing to him when he'd had the chicken pox. It was all he could think of to do for Guthrie. When he finished the song he began to speak softly to a seemingly sleeping Guthrie. "Don't worry little buckaroo. You relax and get some rest. I won't leave you. Adam'll be here real soon, but I won't leave you til he gets here ok? I promise little man."
Adam was touched by the scene in front of him. He remembered that lullabye too. He could remember his mom singing it often to himself and each of his brothers' when they were sick. He knew that song was special to Daniel, because it was special to all of them. He eased over to the bed and put his hand on Daniels' shoulder.
A startled Daniel looked up and when he saw his big brothers, he jumped up and grabbed Adam and gave him a big hug. "I'm sorry I didn't leave a note or nothin'. He just got so sick so fast. I had to get help. He sounded so awful Adam! I was scared to death. I couldn't remember where Dr. Mayer's number was...I panicked. I don't know how you do this, man. You take care of all of us so well. You're always so calm!" Daniel said, crying on Adam's shoulder.
"Shh, hush Danny. You did fine. I'm not always calm, I just don't let you guys see that I'm not." Adam replied, mussing the older kids' hair.
Daniel stepped back from the bed to let Adam take his place. Then Daniel turned and gave Brian a big hug too.
"You did good partner. You got Guth help. That's all you could have done." Brian said as he hugged his little brother. "You did what needed to be done Dan'l. I'm proud of ya kiddo."