Life in the Land of IS – Friday Fiction
I don‘t remember arriving at Baptist Memorial Hospital nor do I recall the brightly lit emergency room. When I finally came to, I was in a dark room and somewhere in the distance I heard a voice calling, ―Mo…ther …Mo…ther…ple…ase… The sound of that cry was followed by a hurried rush of footsteps and a second voice telling me to calm down that a nurse was on her way. Only then did I realize the earlier voice had been my own. Before I could clarify my thoughts, a nurse jabbed a needle into my arm and I drifted into nothingness.
I can‘t say how many minutes, hours or days passed before I opened my eyes again, but when I did, it was daylight and the pain in my head was excruciating. Mother and Carl, her third husband, the man I called Pappy, were beside me. ―Thank God, you‘re awake, she sighed, ―we‘ve been sick to death with worry.
Sick to death with worry? Where was I? What had happened? ―Wh…wh… It felt as though an elephant were sitting on my chest. I could barely breathe and a single syllable had to be sandwiched in between shallow wisps of air. There were so many questions to ask, but each effort to speak brought more pain—pain that raced through my body and settled in my head, pain so intense that it was impossible to think beyond it.
Ever so slowly Mother began to peel back the layers of what had happened, ―The water at that seawall was far too shallow for diving,‖ she explained, ―When you dove in, you hit your head on the bottom and it caused a form of paralysis, but mind you, it‘s only temporary. You‘ll probably be on your feet again in a matter of weeks.
Pappy, still looking shell-shocked, nodded.
Mother, having known me all my life could read the questions in my eyes. ―Pa…in, I gasped, ―Pa…
―I know, she said sympathetically. ―It‘s what the doctors call spinal-shock. When a spinal cord is injured, and yours was…