Chpt 15- Fever 'n' Ague:
hardship chosen= the illness, a natural hardship that couldn't be avoided. later transpires that the disease was malaria caused by mosquito bites.
"Pa's cheeks were hollows and he walked slowly. Ma often had to sit down to rest"
Often takes people 10 days- 4 weeks to revover now, with modern day treatments. Would probably have taken them longer as it took Dr Tan a few days to find them and the treatments used were not as developed as they are today.
Food and water in short supply. "She crawled across the floor to the water bucket. There was little in it." Highlights the shortage of supplies and also how the illness affected Laura, she struggled to crawl the short distance to the bucket.
US National Library of Medicine: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2600412/
malaria could have caused cognitive impairment. It was a very common disease in the US at this time, mainly affecting children under 5. According to the US Census Bureau 45.5 out of 1000 deaths were due to malaria in 1850.
What if Dr Tan hadn't found them, or if the treatment he gave didn't work? What if a member of the family had died, especially Pa? The source of the disease is later made known and the chapter ends positively with the family celebrating. Another hardship overcome.