"I can't . . . do this . . . anymore," the young man stammered to his father. The two had been working together in the father's heating-and-air-conditioning business for the past several weeks, ever since the son was fired from his job. His boss said that he never seemed to feel like working. And it was true. He was tired out by the tiniest effort.
The father turned to his 19-year-old son and saw his head slumped on the worktable. His eyes were empty. "My hands," he whispered through blue-tinged lips, "they are so cold." His fingers were also blue, although it was warm in the building. The father hurried over and half-carried him to the car.
At home in their small Oklahoma town, his wife, too, was frightened. "Take me to the E.R.," her son breathed. "I'm scared." By this point they'd been to the emergency room many times. "If they can't figure out what's wrong this time," the man told his wife, "we're taking him to Tulsa."