In Angela's Ashes, why does Frank end up in the hospital and how does this experience change him?

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On the day of Frank's Confirmation, he is suddenly struck with an unstoppable nosebleed and falls terribly ill. Within a few days, a doctor diagnoses him with typhoid fever, and Frank goes to the hospital to receive treatment. Although Frank nears death during this time, he manages to survive. 

During his recovery period, Frank meets Patricia Madigan, a girl dying of diphtheria. Patricia lends Frank a book, introducing him to the work of...

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