I opened my eyes and shut them again immediately. The room was very bright. I heard someone pulling the curtains.
“Are you awake?” asked a soft voice. I opened my eyes again. A grey-haired woman was smiling at me. I tried to nod my head, but couldn’t move it. Oh my God, I thought. I’m paralyzed!
“Why won’t my head move?” I croaked. My mouth was dry and my voice sounded to me as if it was coming from miles away. “Why won’t my head move?!” I asked louder, happy to see I could still speak.
“Hush, hush, my dear”, said the woman. “You’ve been in an accident. You’re safe now. You’re going to be OK.”
“I can’t move my head”, I said, frustrated. Tears started streaming down my cheeks. “And everything aches – what happened to me?” The tears floated down the corners of my mouth.
“It’s OK, dear, it’s OK”, said the woman and rushed over to my side. “I’m giving you something for the pain right away”. She took an injector from a small table, pulled up my right-arm’s sleeve and injected some Morphine in. “Ssshhh…” she said in a soothing manner. “Don’t you worry now about anything.” I lay there silent, helpless, waves of pain going through my entire body. I tried hard to think what happened; to remember; but I couldn’t. In seconds I fell asleep again.
When I woke up again, the room was lighted with the dim light of a reading-lamp. The grey-haired lady was sitting on a chair near it, and reading a magazine. I again tried to move my head, with no success.
“I’m thirsty”, I managed to whisper. She got up instantly and smiled at me.
“It’s good to see that you’re up”, she said. She took a small glass from the table, filled it with water, and then covered it with a special plastic cap that had a straw attached to it. This way I could drink without the water being spilled all over me.
“What happened to me?” I asked her. This time she answered me.
“You’ve had an accident,” she said. “Do you remember anything at all?”
“No,” I said. She looked concerned.
“Well, apparently you were hit when you were crossing the street on your crutches. A truck hit you, and then a car. You are lucky to be alive,” she said.
“Am I paralyzed?” I asked.
“Oh no, not at all,” she said. “The doctor said you will be as good as new, eventually. It will take some time, though, as you have some serious injuries.”
“I can’t move my head,” I said.
“Oh, that’s because you’re in a neck-brace. The doctor wanted to make sure that you have no back injury. But by now it looks OK, and they were just waiting for you to wake up to change it to a soft collar. It is just to be on the safe side, you probably will not need it at all in a few days. And you’ll be free to move your head as much as you want.” That was calming.
“Are you in any pain?” she then asked.
“No,” I said. “I just have a weird sensation in my legs. I can’t move them as well.”
“Well, that’s going to stay like this for a while”, she said.
I looked at my legs. The right leg was cast knee-high, and resting on a pile of pillows. My left leg was not visible to me. I could feel the blanket on it, but I couldn’t move it. I felt metal. It was in traction. My left arm was cast as well, so high I could actually feel the cast almost touching my armpit. My elbow was bent to 90 degrees, and three fingers were casted, too, leaving only my thumb and my pointing-finger revealed. My arm was also rested on a high pile of pillows, so that my shoulder was almost higher than my cheek. It was throbbing. I raised my right hand to try to touch it. My hand, fingers to elbow, was wrapped with bandages. There was a burning sensation to it, and I quickly put it down. I moaned as it hit the bed; the wound was still open, and it hurt.
The gray-haired woman approached me hastily.
“What is it, dear?”
My eyes were full of tears from the pain.
“My arms hurt… I hit my right arm on the bed, and it hurts.”
“I will give you something for the pain in a few seconds”, she said in a soothing voice. “But I want to let the nurses know you’re awake. All right?”
“Yes”, I whispered. “But I thought you were a nurse”.
“Oh, I am a nurse, but I don’t work for the hospital. You’re mother is paying me to take special care of you until you leave the hospital. Than she would probably prefer someone else, may be stronger, as you are going to need a lot of help and be carried around.”
“Where is my mother?” I asked.
“She couldn’t stay, dear, but she calls every day to see how you’re doing, and I bet she’d love talking to you later on.” And with that, “my private nurse” left the room. I was alone.
I began exploring my body again, trying to list all my casualties. So, my left arm is definitely broken, and also 3 of my fingers. My right leg must be broken, too – the ankle may be? I tried moving my foot, but I couldn’t. The cast was very heavy, and I was so weak I couldn’t even move my leg over the pillows. I couldn’t see my toes, but I could wiggle them. That felt nice, and didn’t hurt at all. I was not paralyzed and my back was not hurt. That was good. But it was very annoying not being able to move my head. I really wanted to see what was going on with my left leg: why was I in traction? How bad was it? Is traction a good sign or a bad one? Was it broken? If so, where?
The pain in my right arm was still throbbing, and my again eyes filled with tears. I wanted to call my nurse to come back, but then I realized I did not know her name. I was about to start crying, just as the door opened and a man in a white gown walked in, followed by the grey-haired woman.
“So, how are we doing?” he asked in a cheerful voice, putting his hand on my forehead and checking the chart that was laid near my bed. I bit my lips not to cry, and he looked in my eyes and told the nurse to give me some Morphine. She took an injector that was full of some kind of liquid, than cleaned a small area on my right arm, and injected to it. The pain the needle had caused was nothing compared to the pain that I already felt, and, thankfully, in a few seconds I was relieved of both. The doctor had inspected my left leg, touching some of the metal poles and rods that were around it.
“So, how am I doing?” I asked with a bit of a smile, now that the pain was almost gone.
“Well”, he said, “Some things are more serious than others. All in all, you are a very lucky girl. Not many would survive an accident like this without being permanently damages.”
“So I am going to be OK?” I asked. Sure it was a long-time wish to be in cast, but this was too frightening, and painful.
“Yes”, he said, “but that would take a while. There are a lot of things to fix.”
“Can you tell me exactly what happened?”
“Well,” said the doctor. “Your left elbow is broken. We’ve already operated it, and for a joint fracture, it’s not that bad. But it’s still a joint fracture; meaning, it will take some time to heal, and there’s plenty of physiotherapy ahead, when you’re out of the cast. You also broke three fingers on that hand, probably because you held your crutches tight when you were hit. That should be fine in about three weeks, and then, according to your elbow’s progress, we will change the cast and let your fingers free.”
“What about my right hand?” I asked. The medication started to affect me, and I was getting sleepy.
“It was scratched badly, but nothing more. It is bandaged so the wound will not get infected, but it won’t even leave a scar. It will be better in a few days.”
“Oh…” I muttered. “And my…”
“Ssssshhhh”, said the doctor. “Sleep now, and I shall check on you again later”. A few more seconds, and I was sound asleep.