Friday, 10 April 2009 - 11:25 am

Pirates are we

Scurvy. We have scurvy.

I can’t believe it. It’s so simple but so debilitating. It isn’t something I’ve ever had to worry about before; all I know about it is that it happens when you don’t eat enough oranges and sailors used to get it.

It’s the sailors that tipped Masterson off. Or, more precisely, us singing about them a couple of nights ago. It bothered him half the night, he said, and it came to him suddenly yesterday morning while I was writing the post. That’s why he was running around like a little kid. He sent Matt and Alice off to the chemist to get vitamin pills and then bounced around the room to tell us the good news.


I haven’t seen Masterson so animated since we left the hospital. He smiled at us – real smiles, not the sardonic lip-stretches that he usually tosses in our direction, or the drug-fuzzed approximations he wore when there were still drugs to take. He’d found the answer to the riddle, and the cure to what ails us is right here, in this building. He can make us better.

This is why he became a doctor, he said. This purpose, this feeling. He had forgotten what it was like. And I think that some of us had forgotten why he was with us at all, even me, though this was the reason I had been so determined to let him stay. This is why we all put up with his unpleasantness and drag his sorry ass around after us even when spite rolls off his tongue.

He’s a doctor; he heals people. That is so precious, even more now than it was before, because there are so few of them left.

One of the few things I know about scurvy is that it killed a lot of sailors before they figured it out. It didn’t get that far for us, though it was starting to get close.

Yesterday, Dr Masterson saved our lives.


We’ll be perfectly fine, he says. We just need to crunch down these pills and it’ll all come right again. I can’t express how much lighter I felt when he said that. I’d have kissed Ben if my mouth had felt better (my gums still feel weird, but I’m trying not to think about that). There were hugs, though, lots of hugs and tired laughter, for everyone.

Today, Matt and Alice have gone outside to see if they can find us some supplies. The Rats have been reassured. Things are looking up. I’d dance if I could – and I plan to once we’re all better.

I’m a feather with its down smooshed right now. I just need some time to fluff up again.