Discoveries – Part 3: What's going to happen

When I woke up again, the first site I saw were Daniel’s face close to mine. I smiled.
“She’s up”, he said, and from the corner of my eye I saw the nurse, whose name I still didn’t know, coming towards me.
“How are you, dear?” she asked.
“Fine, I guess”, I said. “What is your name?”
She laughed heartily. “Oh dear, that is a bit rude of me. My name is Dana.”
“And my name is Daniel”, said a smiling voice above my head. “Do you remember me?”
“Well, let me think…” I smiled at him. “You’re the one that helped me around in the past few days, aren’t you?”
“Yes”, he said, and put his chair by my bed. “How are you doing?”
“The doctor said I’m going to be fine, so I’d have to take his word for that. I feel weird, though, as if I have no limbs at all. Everything is immobilized. And I hate the fact that I can’t move my head.”
“Oh”, Dana interrupted. “The doctor said he would take you neck-brace off once you wake up. I shall call him for you”, and with those words she disappeared.
Daniel leant over and caressed my cheek. “You’ll be fine”, he said. “And I will be here to help you. How unlucky you were this week! But it’s all going to turn out for the best, you’ll see.” It was very relaxing to listen to his soothing voice. My heart was so full I felt I was about to explode. I wanted to confess to him how much I loved him. Just as I opened my mouth, my doctor and Dana entered the room.
“Dr. Connor at your service,” he joked as he approached the bed. Daniel moved aside and looked at us curiously. “Are you ready for the neck-brace to be taken off?” asked Dr. Connor.
“Oh yes”, I said. He leant over and unbuckled something at the back of my neck. Dana supported my head as he slowly and carefully took the brace off.
“Keep your head still”, he said as Dana gently rested it on the pillow. He then lifted it again and wrapped my neck with a soft collar. The warmth of the bandage-like fabric felt great, and I felt a lot more comfortable. “Try not to move your head so much for the first day. This is only a safety measurement, but we wouldn’t want anything unexpected to happen, would we? And if everything is fine, we shall have this removed in three or four days.”
“That will be great”, I said. “I already feel I’m getting better…”
“And I think tomorrow we shall operate your left leg”, said the doctor. He lifted the blanket a little bit and looked at the traction. “We will take some x-rays to be sure, but I think tomorrow is the time.”
“What happened to my legs, doctor?” I asked. He never managed to tell me before I fell asleep.
“Well, you have broken your ankle on your right leg. It is casted knee-high. It should heal fine in three to five weeks. Your left leg is another story. It is really messed-up, you might say. You have broken both bones in your fibula and your tibia. We put you in traction to give the bones some time to heal, but we will need quite a serious surgery to get all the bones back set. Tomorrow, as I said, we will take the x-rays, and if all is as expected, we will operate”.
Surgery? I thought in horror. I have heard too many stories about people who did not wake up after they were knocked out. And his description was so frightening – what if I will never be able to use my leg again? He did say I will be fine, but what if he considers limping for the rest of my life “fine”? I was so stupid to use the crutches when I didn’t need to. I might need them now for the rest of my life, even without the enjoyment of a cast. What have I done?!
My eyes filled with tears. Daniel was back at my side, caressing my cheeks and forehead. “Don’t worry”, he whispered, “You’ll be fine, you’ll see. I’m here with you, and you’re safe.”
“Don’t worry”, the doctor repeated Daniel’s words. “ I don’t like to brag, but I am very good at what I do. You will be as good as new. You just need to be patient. It will take some time, but you’re young and so there aren’t many chances for complications. You have already been through one surgery – on your elbow, and you’ve done well. From what I’ve seen so far, it looks like you’re going to do well on the next surgery”.
That was very comforting, but still I had to ask: “Am I going to need more surgery anywhere else?” The doctor smiled. “No”, he said, “no more bad surprises for you. Everything will be just fine, you’ll see”.
“Will I be in traction after the surgery?” I asked.
“No”, said the doctor. “You will be out in a cast, so that we can send you home. There’s no need for you to stay in the hospital to the length it would take your leg to heal.”
“How long will it take?” I asked. Somehow, being casted sounded less and less fun. I was worried – how will I manage it for a long time, with a casted arm, and a broken ankle?
“To my estimation, it might take something like 12 weeks, may be a bit more. But as I said, we will know better tomorrow.” And with that, he left the room.
3 months, I thought. Three months in a leg cast, one of them with an extra short leg cast on the other leg. Not to mention the arm cast – how long did he say that would be? I couldn’t remember. Did they ever catch those drivers? I was worried, angry and frustrated. I felt so stupid, playing my “cripple” games and bringing myself into this. Even if they did catch the drivers, and punish them, I will always know the truth, that I have brought this over myself.
I was silent for a while. Daniel was sitting close, and I could hear his heavy breathing. I was so happy he was there, I never even asked him how he found out about the accident He was the first person I knew that came to see me in the hospital. My parents weren’t there: they did pay for the nurse, but it wasn’t the same. I could understand them, as they lived far away and had to work. But it would have been nicer to wake up and see them beside me. But still, Daniel was there.
“Daniel, I…” I wanted to tell him I loved him.
“Yes?” his face was near my face.
“Thank you so much for coming”, I said. I don’t know why, but I just couldn’t tell him. Not yet.
“I came as soon as I heard”, he said. “You missed school and you didn’t answer the phone for two days. I went over to your apartment, but you weren’t there. Sharon knew nothing, and so she phoned your mother this morning and she told her what happened. Sharon had to go to work, but I just dropped everything and came. I had to see you, to see you are OK”. He was so sweet.
“How long have I been here?” I asked. Dana came over and smiled at me.
“You came here two days ago – it was Friday morning, and today’s Sunday”, she said.
“Do you remember anything from the accident?” asked Daniel.
“Not really”, I said. “I remember being late to class, and I remember almost falling off my crutches at the cross-road. It probably happened then, but I can’t remember what”.
For the first time since they put me in the soft-collar, I tried to move my head to see Daniel’s eyes. The sudden movement gave me a sharp pain, which almost made me shriek. I moaned. Dana came right to me and put her soothing hand on my forehead: “Try to keep still”, she said. “Don’t move unless you must”. That movement instantly made me feel every aching bone in my body, and I couldn’t help moaning. Daniel’s concerned face re-appeared above me, and in the blur of pain I heard him ask Dana if there was anything he could do. She wiped the beads of sweat off my face and injected some painkillers into my arm. Daniel stayed by my side, his hand on my right shoulder, just above my cast. I looked into his eyes till they were all blurs, and eventually fell asleep.

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"אין לך פריצות גרועה מן החשיבה" (ויסלבה שימבורסקה)
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