Chapter Six Hundred and Forty-three - Neighbors
Chapter Six Hundred and Forty-four - Getting help (part one)

Chapter Six Hundred and Forty-three - Neighbors (part six)


(part six)

Saturday morning — 12:07 p.m.

Nelson was standing in the middle of the medical offices looking at all of the people sitting there. The teens and tweens had gone through their street and checked in on other elderly people that Delphie knew. When there was a swarm, Blane had called Nelson to ask if he’d be willing to assist him with assessing everyone’s medical needs. Nelson had dressed in scrubs and headed over.

He heard a woman clear her throat behind him.

“If you can take a seat, we’ll get to you as soon as possible,” Nelson said.

He turned around to see an oddly familiar small dark skinned woman wearing scrubs and a lab coat. The woman looked embarrassed.

“My dad sent me over,” she said in a soft voice. “I brought the supplies you requested, and. . . um. . .”

Nelson gave her a long look.

“I’m Jeraine’s sister,” she said. “La Tonya La. . . uh. . . Smith. I. . . um. . .”

“You’re a medical doctor,” Nelson said.

She nodded.

“I haven’t worked since. . .” La Tonya said.

Nelson nodded that he knew what had happened. She looked relieved at not having to explain herself.

“I brought my kids,” La Tonya said. “The elderly white lady in the back said that she’d be happy to take care of them. I recognized her as a friend of my mom’s but I’m. . .”

La Tonya waved her hand around her head to indicate that she was a little spacey now.

“Flowery skirt?” Nelson said. “Red hair?”

La Tonya nodded.

“That’s Delphie,” Nelson said. His eyes sparkled. “Mask up, doctor. We can really use your help.”

He gestured toward a sink with a shelf of N95 masks, hand sanitizer, and supplies in the corner. La Tonya went to the supply. She washed her hands, put on a mask, and grabbed a handful of latex gloves, which she stuffed into her pocket. She put on a pair of purple latex gloves.

“Who are these people?” La Tonya asked.

“Neighbors,” Nelson said. “Blane’s doing acupuncture in that room. You and I are checking for the obvious signs of Covid — you know the symptoms to check for?”

“Dad said that you’d help me,” La Tonya said. Looking terrified, she shook her head “no.” “You’re an ER doc?”

“I have been,” Nelson said. “I do mostly forensic science at the Denver Crime Lab now. But I still have admitting privileges at Denver Health. If we need to get these dears to the hospital, we can admit together.”

La Tonya nodded. Nelson pulled a laminated sheet out of his pocket.

“Memorize these,” Nelson said. “The biggest one is temperature. As far as we can tell, nearly everyone who has this crappy disease eventually gets a temperature over 100 degrees.”

“Oh, temperature,” La Tonya said. She gave him a shy smile. “That makes sense.”

“Would you mind checking everyone’s temperature?” Nelson asked. “We only have one so you have to disinfect it after everyone.”

He set a handful of alcohol swabs into her hand.

“I can do that.” La Tonya nodded.

“Tanesha and Fin will be here after their shift,” Nelson said.

“Miss T will be here?” La Tonya visibly brightened.

“Around three,” Nelson said. “We’ll have fun.”

La Tonya gave him what he thought was a real smile. He was struck by how beautiful she was and how deeply sad.

“Hey, everyone!” Nelson said, loudly.

The chatting neighbors fell silent.

“This is Dr. Bumpy’s daughter,” Nelson said. “She is also a medical doctor and the daughter of the amazing Nurse Dionne. She is also Jeraine’s sister which makes her family to me. So be nice. You may call her, Dr. Smith. We are lucky to have her.”

The elderly women sitting six feet apart along the wall clapped for La Tonya. Nelson shrugged.

“There you go,” Nelson said.

La Tonya chuckled. Nelson put a forehead thermometer in her hand and she got to work. Nelson watched her for a moment and then dug into the supplies La Tonya had brought. Finding an IV kit and a bag of saline, he said a quick prayer for Dr. Bumpy and went to put it into Ginny Sage.

Denver Cereal continues on Monday...


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