The Things He Shattered

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 13 (v.1)

Submitted: April 12, 2013

Reads: 331

Comments: 20

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Submitted: April 12, 2013

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23

As days pass I make the decision that I no longer need the neck brace. Yes, I’ve had one for weeks now. I keep wearing it during the day, but I take it off at night. It is a lot nicer to sleep without it. I also take it off when I am eating. I know my jaw is still recovering, and my slurring of words seems to be less noticeable, but I am still unable to move my mouth like I used to. The neck brace holds my chin in one place. When I chew it is very hard to do since my lower jaw can hardly move because of this thing. I had noticed a week ago that one of my lower teeth started to become loose. Today it has fallen out. I feel like I have just been punched in the stomach. I feel naked without it.

My parents come by to see me, and I cry. It’s a lower front tooth. I show my parents the gap. In reply my father tells me he has the exact same one missing and pulls back his lower lip to show me. It is the exact same tooth that’s missing.

"When did this happen?"

"Back in 89."

That was more than two decades ago but I never even noticed.

"It’s probably genetic." My dad jokes, and I smile.

"I don’t notice yours is missing, it’s not like it’s your upper front tooth. If that was the case I would see it, but I don’t. No one will notice Karina."

I am still very restless about this. So some time later, I call and notify the nurse about my tooth falling out. In response I am told that unless bleeding is involved, there is nothing they can do. I decide that when I leave the hospital, I will have a new tooth put in. It does not matter that it is not noticeable. I know that it is not there, and this causes me to feel extremely uneasy over it. I’m willing to pay for a replacement no matter how much it will cost.

Months later a dentist will tell me there is not much he can do. My jaw is mostly made up of metal, so sticking a new tooth inthat, doesn’t look promising. But I do not know this right now, so I have hope.

 

I save the tooth and leave it on my night stand in my room. A nurse who comes in to give my medication sees it and asks right away,

"Do you want me to throw it out?"

"Please don’t. We’ve spent many years together. I’m not ready to say goodbye."

In response the nurse chuckles and smiles at me. This lifts my spirits a bit. But I still feel empty. I wonder if this disappointment will stop soon. I decide that it should. I’ve had enough. I’m in for a shitload of disappointment, but I do not know this right now. I’m busy pining over my lost tooth.

I take off the blasted neck brace.

 

It is the next day and my mother comes to visit me. She sees me without the brace and begins to panic.

"They said you are supposed to keep that on for at least 6 months Karina! At least. It’s only been three! You broke your neck. Do you want to make yourself worse?"

I decide to have it on when she is around, only to make her happy because I do not want her getting upset. I do not want to hear what she has to say, because whatever she will have to say does not lighten the mood. I always take it off at night. It is a lot more comfortable to sleep without it. I hate it. I know it does absolutely nothing good for me. Just restrains me. Apparently I’m months away from having this thing taken off. I’m also months away from finally going to rehab.

I’m still on hold.

 

It is the next day and I realize I have slept in because I wake up to Dr. Pretty-boy walking into my room. I wonder if it will be possible for me to go through an entire day without having to see his face. He makes himself comfortable in a chair beside my bed and begins with his useless habitual questioning. "How is the pain today ?"etc... Half a minute into this he realizes I do not have a neck brace on.

"Didn’t you have a neck brace on before?" What a smart man.

"Yes I was wearing a neck brace before."

"Who gave you permission to take it off? I do not have notice of this."

"I gave myself permission to take it off, and you do not have notice of this, because I did not provide notice of this."

He looks speechless.

"Please put it back on. You have to have it on until a specialist examines you and allows you to remove it."

"Yeah... I have absolutely no intention of doing this."

He is at a loss for words. I’m glad. He says something along the lines of him having to look into something and leaves my room. I only wear the neck brace when my parents come around, so that I will not upset them further. Otherwise I do not wear it.

A week passes, and I am finally taken to Toronto to see a specialist about my neck. I wear the neck brace because my parents are coming along.

When we arrive at our destination, I am first taken to a room to have X-rays done. Then am placed in a room to see the Doctor.

The Doctor comes in. He looks ancient. He begins by making me smell some things. Even though my sense of smell is no longer as good as it once was, I can smell whatever he gives me because it is so horrid. I want to get to the point and ask him when I can have the neck brace removed. He tells me he needs to study my scans first. They are in another room. He tells me to give him 16 minutes.

"He’s a strange man," my mom says. "Why 16 minutes? That’s getting very specific."

The Doctor comes back, and without a word reaches for my neck brace and takes it off. And that’s that. I knew I didn’t need it. I feel so happy I could jump around, if I could physically jump.

 

?

 

24

A few days pass. I give my tooth to my father to hold on to. I cannot say goodbye to it forever.

I have yet another appointment in Toronto. I go through the ordeal of being transferred into a mobile bed, placed into an ambulance and driven to Toronto. This takes over an hour. I get nauseated. My parents come with me.

Today is the day my right leg is scanned and a Doctor will decide whether or not the cast on my right foot will be removed, and if the metal bolts should be unscrewed out of my leg.

It is actually a long process. We get to the hospital. I am first put under a machine and scanned. Then I am placed in a mobile bed and moved into the Doctor’s office. My parents tag along. There is mention of my thoughtless actions causing so much grief. If only I didn’t go out that day. I wish that I was the only one who has to pay for being so naive, and it hurts to know my parents have to pay for my stupid mistakes as well. I realize I have become a burden, but I wish the mistakes I have made would not be pointed out. I have to live with them every single second of every single day. It hurts more when I hear them being said out loud. There are actually a few times during the day when I feel normal and forget I am now crippled. Sometimes my attention shifts to something else, and for a few seconds I feel like I used to feel. I feel normal. We cannot have this.

I wait for the Doctor. A young woman Doctor comes in and I ask her what we are looking at here. She tells me that the cast on my right foot will be removed and replaced with a new one.

"Are you serious? That was just done over a month ago. How many times does it need to be changed and why?" I cannot believe I have come all this way to Toronto to have the stupid cast changed. What is it? And article of clothing or something? Stupid.

 

An older man comes into the room and sits by the computer. He looks over my scans and nods. "Looks like we’re good to take them all off."

"Yeah and then put them back on." I roll my eyes.

He looks confused, so I tell him that the young woman Doctor told me the cast needed to be changed.

"Oh no, everything is healed. Your left ankle has athritis which can't heal, but there is no sense in you having the cast or pins."

The cast is removed. My foot looks tiny. Then it is time to remove the pins that have been screwed into the bones. A man uses what looks like a screwdriver to unscrew them. I am very happy until he actually begins to unscrew them. When he begins, I feel like my kneecap has just been bashed with a mallet. I scream in pain. The man then holds onto my kneecap. I am then given pain medication, that is supposed to take effect in half an hour. In other words it is useless to me right now. He continues to unscrew and holds on tightly to my kneecap to minimize the pain. I will remember that pain for the rest of my life. I pray that one day, the man responsible for all of this gets a good taste of what he’s done. But I also realize that I have developed a history of God not answering my prayers the way I would want him to. My pleadings tend to fall on death ears.

 

 

25

Time passes, and one day I am taken to see the Doctor who worked on my face. We make the very long journey to Toronto, and by now I despise this process. As always, there is traffic, and after what feels to be about 5 months, we arrive.

It is not a long wait for the Doctor, and when I see him I like him immediately. There is something kind and humane about him. He studies my face and pokes away at it with his fingers. He smiles and tells me that the surgeries he performed have been a success. I tell him that I tend to slur my words, and that my mouth is a little crooked. He tells me I will need to give it about two years, and this should get better. I am hopeful. I ask him what I should do concerning the scars and he tells me some vitamin E would be helpful.

"Does it look like the injuries to my face may have been caused by someone punching me?"

"Well the injuries to your chin and jaw were most likely caused by the fence you landed on. I can’t say I know what happened to your left eye."

He looks into my eyes very sympathetically,

"I am just not able to say. Is there a chance that the injuries were caused by a punch to the face? Absolutely. But I cannot be certain, so I can not make that conclusion."

 

Later my parents tell me that they met this Doctor soon after my fall. He had worked on me almost immediately. In the beginning he raised concerns about the damage that the left side of my face had sustained. He didn’t understand why my left eyebrow was badly damaged and dented in. Why my left cheekbone was broken and began to impale my eye. And why was the left side of my nose broken? There were no explanations as to how I could have possibly gotten these injuries if I fell chin first on the ground fence.

The thing that stood out to my parents the most was when I first came out of a coma. I told them right away that a young male police officer punched me in the eye. My father did not tell me which eye had the most damage, because he wanted to make sure my memory wasn’t compromised by his theories. I told my parents immediately that it was my left eye. I remembered the event as clearly as if it had just happened. I remembered it in great detail. I could picture his face as if he was standing in front of me. Authority figures of course dismissed this as ramblings of a "severely brain damaged" moron. My parents must have implanted these horrible thoughts into my head, because they have something against the police. Never mind that no one even mentioned that the police had come to the apartment. I remembered that on my own. I remember it very clearly. He punched me in the left eye twice.

My parents tell me that if at first the Doctor who worked on fixing my face presented his concerns, this did not last long. One day they found out that the two ‘special’ investigators had a long chat with him. He then began to say that he could not tell what the injuries could have been caused by. My father has always been able to read people very well, he has a gift for it. He told me that as the Doctor was telling him this, his eyes were saying, "This could have very well been caused by a punch to the face, because the injuries could not have been the result of the fall, but I am not at liberty to say. If I know what’s good for me I will keep my mouth shut. If I say that the injuries could not have been caused by the fall alone, I can say goodbye to my job."

 

 

?

26

My left ankle begins to trouble Dr. Hasten. It is very swollen so there is obviously something not right about it. He comes to the conclusion that it must be a bone infection. I am then given antibiotics to take every day, two times a day. I take them. I take them the next day. They don’t agree with my stomach, and kill my appetite. On the third day I am finally taken to a room to have my ankle x-rayed. The x-ray results will show how serious the infection is.

There is no infection. The antibiotics are stopped.

 

A few weeks have passed since I spoke to the investigators. They had told me they would ‘stay in touch,’ yet they seem to have disappeared. I still have their business cards. I call the younger one. Something about the old investigator with his quite low pitched voice makes me very uncomfortable.

I call, and the investigator does not pick up his phone. Naturally. I leave a message. I ask him to give me a call back and give me some sort of update about my case. I go through the rest of the day watching TV. I am relieved that all of the casts have been removed along with that dreaded neck brace. It is extremely painful for me to move my right leg, considering it was kept in one position for so long, and the kneecap is held together with metal now. I am also grateful the antibiotics have stopped. They made me feel so nauseated. It makes me only slightly angry that I was taking them for absolutely no reason considering there was no infection. I spend the day in my room alone watching TV, and waiting for 9pm to roll around so I can take my sleeping pills.

 

It is the next morning, and Billy comes into my room letting me know right away that she has great news. I sit up and eagerly wait for her to continue.

"A space in rehabilitation has opened up!" she smiles. "They are just getting ready for you and you’ll be leaving tomorrow."

"What time?"

"Oh, early in the morning."

I’m so happy I could cry. Finally. I was expecting to have to wait several months like Billy had initially told me. But this is finally happening. I will finally regain what I have lost. I will finally go back to my normal life before so much was taken away from me.

I’ve longed to have my old life back for 3 months now. I begin to picture myself running. After all, the rehab I will attend is considered to be one of the best in all of Canada, so I am convinced that when I am finished I will go back to physically being the same way I was on the morning of August 13th. Lots of thoughts are running through my head. Technically I will still be on ‘employment insurance’ until April, so hopefully I’ll be fixed up before then so I’ll still have money coming in and I will have time to find a job before it runs out. I picture myself going back to restaurants that I loved so much with my friends on Friday and Saturday nights. I have been missing those times so much, since they have been replaced with hospital stays and pain, completely against my will. But I know that I will soon have that back. My life is not on hold anymore. I’m moving forward. I cannot remember the last time I felt this kind of happiness. Before I crashed from the 7th floor, I know I used to feel it. I know I always did on those Friday and Saturday nights. I know I did whenever I saw Travis. Granted I don’t remember much, but I remember walking to his home. How excited I used to feel. So at this moment, when I am only hours away from being taken to rehab, I feel that kind of happiness again. It equals the happiness that once existed.

My parents come by and I ask them if they have recently spoken to the investigators ‘working’ on my case. I had called them but got no response. My parents shake their heads no.

"It’s like they disappeared off the face of the earth. If they are working on your case, they are working on closing it up. They had closed it right away because you were in a coma and were expected to die, then the second time because your mouth was wired shut, so you couldn’t tell them anything. They want to wipe their hands clean of you finally. They probably see you as being difficult because you just won’t let it go. You selfishly want justice and are giving the poor investigators more work to do, because now they have to work hard to come up with yet another reason to close your case."

Something does feel troubling about the whole ‘investigation,’ yet I don’t feel worried. I have hope that everything will work its way out.

 

?

 

27

It is the next day and I wake up to my mother and father having a conversation. They are in my room and they will accompany me on my journey to rehab. Soon after, a young man and woman come into my room with a mobile bed. They will now transport me to Toronto. I’m just so damn happy.

It takes just over two hours to get to the Toronto rehab.

Traffic is bad today.ItisThursdayNovember 18th, 2010. It is chilly, but the nurses have wrapped me up in blankets for my trip. My parents as always, look worn out. My father has still not been able to go back to work. Their expressions look empty, but I feel overjoyed despite. My life will finally go back to the way it was. I noticed that I have recently had less trouble situating myself in the wheelchair. It started with three nurses helping me into the wheelchair, then two, then just Loupe, then finally, just a couple of days ago I was able to do it all on my own. To me this is huge progress, and this progress was made without any rehabilitation. I did it solely on my own . So now that I will have professional help, I feel like I have no limits.

My ambulance finally reaches the destination. I was so excited throughout the entire trip, I didn’t even get car sick. I am rolled out of the vehicle then on to the 4th floor, and into my room. When I am told that I will have two roommates, I ask if they will be males. Just as in Green Meadows, this nurse responds to this question with a confused look,

"It’s a woman’s room." I still remember sharing a room with three men, but my question is always looked at as being ridiculous. Maybe my memory is slipping since I did crash my head from the 7th floor, so I ask my mom for verification.

"All together there were four people in the room. You were the only girl." I’m happy that I am not put through that again. I don’t know who thought it was a good idea to keep me in a room with three men, especially with one that continued to take his hospital gown off every day. I guess the only explanation is that space was an issue. For several weeks space was an issue apparently. I have really big hopes for this place though.

I am taken to my room and my parents tell me that they’re going to have a quick look around while I am being situated. My bed is beside the widow. This room does not have a TV so I realize boredom will occur in the near future. But I am here to get physically and mentally better. I am able to climb into bed by myself now. A nurse brings me a wheelchair and places it beside my bed. She tells me that it will help me get around, and I tell her that that’s good. I’ll need it to get to the washroom that’s in the same room. It’s only a few steps away, but I’m not capable of taking steps, so I am grateful for the wheelchair.

A male nurse comes into my room, and automatically begins to put up the railing attached to my bed. I ask him what he is doing this for. It would make it impossible for me get to my wheelchair. He tells me this is for my safety. They are there so that I do not fall out of my bed when I’m sleeping. I tell him that I have been living in a hospital for three months now. I have never had railings on my bed put up around me like this, and I have never fallen out, and I don’t intend to start doing this now. He tells me to give it a few days, and I point out that if anything this will create a huge barrier for me when I try to transport myself to the wheelchair. Now if anything, they may cause me to fall and injure myself further. I can see he’s uncomfortable, but he puts the railings down. I tell him I need to use the washroom, since it took such a long time to get here. I climb to the wheelchair. The male nurse shows me how to put on the breaks, so that it doesn’t roll away from me. It has become easier for me to stand on my legs now. The knee on my right leg no longer bends like it once used to, and tends to hurt badly when I move it. There is an attachment on the wheelchair that I can rest my right leg on so I won’t have to bend it.

The male nurse keeps his hand on my shoulder. He’s not actually doing anything helpful, so I’m guessing this is more for his peace of mind. Just in case. I roll myself to the washroom, and he follows.

Now we are both in the small washroom and we look at each other.

"I kinda have to pee now. Do you mind?"

"Well it’s your first day here. I need to see you physically do it to make sure that you can."

"You have got to be kidding me. I’m telling you right now I can do it, no problem."

"Yes, but I need to see to make sure." He nods, looks at me and waits. I really have to pee. I’m wearing two hospital gowns, so it won’t be possible for him to get a good look at anything, but I still feel very uncomfortable. I pull down my underwear and sit down on the toilet seat. He is satisfied with this and leaves. At this moment I have a bad feeling about this place.

I roll myself back to my bed and lie down. It is still morning and I do not see any of my neighbors. I am in the room alone.

My parents come in. I tell them that I was given a wheelchair. My mother tells me she found what looks to be a common area with a television, and offers to roll me there in my wheelchair. My father on the other hand seems very uncomfortable.

"This is an insane asylum ."

"Nah. I’m guessing this is just how rehab is. I mean this is one of the best ones in Canada. So this is how it’s supposed to be."

My father looks around the room and shakes his head.

"No Kar, something is wrong. This place is meant for people who are really not right in the head. I saw some of them watching TV in that living room area. I know you’ve had brain damage, but I do not notice a difference in you at all as far as your mental capabilities go. I saw some of the patients here. You need to take one look at them to know something is seriously not mentally right with them."

"Well I notice I forget things quicker now, so I guess I need to work on that..."

"Possibly yes, but you in no way belong with the others here. You cannot compare your forgetful memory to whatever it is they have. I don’t know what’s wrong with them, but I do know that it is a lot more serious than anything you have."

I shrug this off. After all, it was a professional medical staff who placed me here. They should know better than my father as to where I belong. They should.

My mother rolls me out of the common room and I see right away what my father was talking about. I refuse to register this, because this is the only piece of hope I have left to hang on to. This rehab has to work. There are three people in the living room area. One is a woman and is watching TV. One is a man who has about 40% of his head dented in very badly. He is rocking back and forth. Back and forth, lost in thought . The third patient is an older gentleman. He is having what appears to be a very serious conversation with the wall. He moves his hands a lot and is becoming very agitated. We are near the receptionist desk, and my father asks to speak to a Doctor. A young lady responds and asks him what his concerns are. She is a Doctor.

"Why has my daughter been placed here? This place is meant for crazy people. My daughter is not crazy!"

"Oh no sir. Our patients have experienced severe brain damage. Your daughter has experienced severe brain damage. This is where she belongs."

"Dad it’s fine," I say. "I’m sure it’ll work out. I’ll be back to normal in no time." I look around. I notice the elevators are behind a glass door. The glass door is closed, and a security code is needed to get out.

Some time after we arrive, my parents leave to catch a bus back home, and I try to come to terms with my surroundings. I crawl into bed and I look out the window. My father had brought along my cell phone with the charger, so even though I no longer have a TV in my room, at least I have my cell phone to occupy my time. In the two years I’ve had it, I’ve downloaded plenty of games on it, so that will keep me busy.

 

?

28

A worker I haven’t seen before comes in. She tells me she will set up my schedule, and lets me know where everything is, so I will know where to go to get to my appointments.

"Also, I see you are wearing a hospital gown. You will have to change out of it before you go to any of your classes."

"But I don’t have anything to change into."

"Why not? Did you not bring anything with you?"

"I had nothing to bring with me. I was in the Green Meadows hospital. All of the patients there were expected to wear hospital gowns. I came here straight from there. I didn’t have any clothes with me."

"You cannot participate in any activities we offer here wearing a hospital gown. I suggest you contact your parents and have them bring some of your clothing today."

"No. They are on the bus to get back home. It will still take them over and hour to get home. Then it would take hours to get back here. I’m really not gonna do that to them."

She gives me a disappointed look. "Okay." She proceeds to leave my room and I am left alone. I decide to call my mother in a couple of hours, when she gets home and let her know that I cannot get rehabilitation until I am wearing my own clothing.

 

I spend my first day adjusting to my new environment. I call home, and my mother promises to bring me some clothing tomorrow. As the day progresses I meet my roommates. One is a much older woman who experienced a fall, and the other woman is in her 40's and has suffered a stroke. She has to relearn how to do some things all over again. I tell them my story and both women sympathize. Helena, the older woman replies,

"I have heard many stories of ‘corrupt cops,’ but I have never met a victim. I am so sorry that someone has done this to you."

I thank her. In my last days of living in Green Meadows I had the room all to myself, so I’m not too excited about having roommates, but it could be nice. These women seem kind, and at least they are women.

The day progresses and it is almost 9pm. I call a nurse and ask her to bring me my medication. She tells me she will give it to me at 10pm, because there are sleeping aids. I wait. I still have 2 novels with me. One in English, one in Russian. I try to read but the words merge into each other before I can get through 2 pages. I am bored silly. I transport myself to the wheelchair and wheel myself into the common room to watch some TV. A couple of patients are watching TV. They are not young. I would say they are both in their 60's. At least. I remember my mom humored the idea that I might find a ‘significant other’ in rehab. Someone who can relate to my physical struggles. I giggle quietly to myself. I have no intention of dating a senior.

Whatever they are watching on TV looks extremely boring. There is nothing else to do so I watch. I realize I’m beginning to drift off. Maybe I won’t need sleeping aids after all today. I realize that if I continue to watch there is a possibility Imight be induced right into a coma . I also feel it would be very impolite of me to ask to change the channel, so the only other option is to wheel myself back to my room. I crawl into my bed and grab my cell phone to check the time. It is almost 10pm. I decide to start playing a game on my cell phone. Time goes by and it is now well past 10pm, so I call the nurse to ask for my sleeping pills. About 6 minutes later she arrives with my pills. They look a little different to me. I realize it’s probably the exact same medication, but the pills look different because it’s a different hospital. I ask her to tell me what they are anyway.

"Oh yeah, it’s your first day today. Well over here are your multi vitamins, these are your sleeping pills, and this one is to help you relax." She looks at me with a look that would suggest I am keeping her from doing something important.

"Oh that reminds me," she says and wheels my wheelchair as far away as she can from my bed, still keeping it on my side of the room.

"What are you doing that for? I’m gonna have trouble reaching it."

"Well yes. You have not been assessed as a patient. The therapists have not reviewed your physical capabilities, so we do not want you to use the wheelchair without our assistance, until we know you are able to."

I am surprised by this.

"I am able to. I had a wheelchair in Green Meadows, and for the past few weeks, I did not require any assistance to use it."

"Well that’s good, but we need to evaluate you first. Now please take your medication."

I pick up the paper cup with the pills, put them in my mouth and use the water left on my table to swallow them. The nurse continues to look at me.

"Did you swallow them?"

"Yes... I swallowed them."

"Please open your mouth."

"What? Why?"

"I have to check and see if you swallowed them."

"You can’t be serious," I say as I open my mouth.

"Please lift your tongue up." I do. "Okay. It looks good." She says and quickly leaves. I try to process what the hell just happened. I lay back on my bed and decide to just keep playing one of my cell phone games. I feel the sleeping pills slowly begin to work. I decide to use the washroom before I fall asleep. I look over at my wheelchair. I’m supposed to call her, but something about her has made me feel very uncomfortable. I admit that it takes a good struggle and a lot of effort, but I manage to physically walk to my wheelchair. I do not let go of my bed for a second. I don’t think that it’s actually doing anything for me physically, holding on to the bed, but it makes me feel secure. I reach the chair, sit in it and roll myself to the washroom without incident.

I roll back to bed and do not bother to leave the wheelchair far away from my bed like the nurse had done. I’m finally feeling very sleepy. I do not feel that what I have just done will have repercussions.

 


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