The Things He Shattered

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

Chapter 17 (v.1)

Submitted: April 12, 2013

Reads: 477

Comments: 16

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Submitted: April 12, 2013

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49

The time passes. I sleep. I attend physical therapy classes where I am asked to do squats. Only with my left leg. Not allowed to put pressure on my right leg of course, so this therapy is quite awkward. I wonder when this will change. At least I have the walker, so when the therapists are not around, I can practice walking. I actually have no need for it physically. I just carry it for reassurance. Just in case I lose my balance, since my head spins sometimes. My dizziness never takes me to the point of falling. Thankfully. But I carry the walker, lifting it off the ground, as I practice walking. I take a break from it, and I lie in bed when Dr. Abin comes into my room to speak to me. She again lets me know that she is very concerned about my left ankle. I take absolutely no notice of this. I remember how Dr. Hasten in Green Meadows was also very concerned about this months ago, and right away fed me antibiotics. Tests were performed, scans were then taken. Of course there was no infection. So after going through all of that, I give absolutely no credit to what Dr. Abin is carrying on about. I can not wait for the three weeks to be up, so I will never have to look at her face again. I am informed that an appointment has been set up for me to meet with Dr. Hill in St. Frances’ Hospital, for tomorrow.

 

The next day I wake up I have no idea that what I will experience that day will be the beginning of something awful. For some reason I am convinced that I have lived through the worst. Not so... there is actually more to come. I am told that I have an appointment with Dr. Hill in a few hours. Dr. Abin has worked hard to make this happen. It wasn’t too easy for her, because Dr. Hill is a very busy man, I am told by my nurse of the day, so I should be very grateful.

 

My mother comes later to visit me. My father has finally returned to work a few days ago. Only because there was no money left, and there was worry about putting the family into even more credit card dept. The two thousand dollars I had saved up and gave to my parents is long gone.

A porter comes to take me to St. Frances’ hospital, and my mother comes along. We come to the door, and as I begin to punch in the security code, Dr. Abin spots me.

"Oh Karina! I have something. Please bring this with you, to Dr. Hill." She hands me a folded piece of paper and I do not think much of it. My mother asks to look at it though. We travel downstairs and wait for the cab to arrive. My mother continues to analyze the little piece of paper and frowns. I ask her what’s wrong.

"Well she wrote a note here to Dr. Hill asking him to carefully examine your left ankle. What’s wrong with it?"

"It’s swollen, and she has been very concerned about it for some time."

"I’ve met Dr. Hill. I’ve seen him many times. He’s the one who did most of the operations on your lower body. He’s a specialist when it comes to leg and foot problems, and she’s telling him to take a look at your ankle? It’s like advising an accountant to maybe use a calculator of some sort. Stupid."

The cab arrives. The rest, I’ve been through countless times.

We arrive at St. Frances’, I’m put under a machine to scan my legs, and then back to the waiting room. The three of us wait. My mom, my porter and me. We wait. As always. There is technically nothing better to do. The porter finds a magazine to look through. There are a lot of patients in the waiting area. I study them. I’m younger than all of them. About 45 minutes pass, and I’m asked to go into a room and wait for the Doctor there. More time goes by, and the Doctor comes in. There is a large screen in the room, and pictures of my scanned legs come up. I hand him the small piece of paper and he reads it over.

"Well from the scan your ankle looks fine. There is arthritis... I can see it is swollen, but I’ve seen you before, and it’s always been like that." He shrugs. "But it seems that your Doctor has a lot of concern about it. So I guess we’ll test to see if there is an infection by taking a sample. As far as I can see on the scan, there’s nothing, but I guess it’s better to make sure." He goes through his equipment and pulls out a very long syringe . I ask him what his intentions are, and he tells me that he will insert the needle into my ankle to take the sample. I grimace and ask why the needle is so long. When I say long, I mean it seems to be long enough to go through my entire foot. He tells me it has to be like this because he has to check for a ‘bone infection.’ He tells me to take a deep breath. The needle is jammed in and the pain overwhelms me. My mother is standing beside me and I grab her. I have a feeling that if the pain continues, I would hold on to her so tightly I’ll end up breaking her back.

He finishes taking the sample. I’m crying. My ankle throbs badly. Blood pours from it, and he takes a cloth and puts it on the wound to make it stop. He says,

"Well the fact that blood is coming out is a very good sign. If there was an infection, pus would be coming out."

In Russian my mom says to me,

"Shouldn’t he have disinfected your ankle first before he stuck a needle in it? Maybe rubbing alcohol?"

I don’t pay much attention to this. My ankle is sore, and I’m extremely upset that I’ve been put through this because every fiber of my being knows I do not have an infection of any kind. I hope that the worst is over. If I knew what would happen next, I would have never in my life allowed him to take a sample. But at this moment, I do not know this. I’m upset, and all I want to do is take my sleeping pills and sleep. I do not remember if I even dream about anything anymore, but in the few hours that I do sleep, I do not have to face reality. I long for that. But Dr. Hill continues,

"Okay, well I’m looking at your right leg... you haven’t been walking on it, have you?"

"No, not really."

"Okay, please avoid that as much as you can. You can’t put any weight on it. It’s in very bad shape. The ligaments are very stretched out."

I give him a puzzled look.

"Imagine an elastic band. When you stretch it and let go, it goes back right to the way it was. That was your ankle before. Now imagine you stretch that elastic band harder and further. At some point when you let go, it doesn’t return to it’s original shape. It loses it’s elasticity, and unfortunately your knee has lost it’s elasticity. That’s why it’s hard to keep your leg straight."

I’ve noticed my knee bends side to side, but only when I force it to. I’m not sure where he is going with this so I ask him.

"When can I expect it to get better?"

"Oh, it won’t get better. For now, just be very careful with it. I’ll write you a prescription for a special brace to put on it."

"So I’ll have to walk around with a brace on my leg for the rest of my life?"

"Well no, we can tighten the ligaments with surgery."

"So you think I might need surgery?"

"Well yes... you absolutely need surgery."

I did not expect this, and feel like I have been punched in the stomach.

"I’ll put you down on the list for it. It’s actually a very complicated surgery, so it will be at least a three month wait..."

The rest I do not listen to. I don’t want to hear anymore. I feel gutted. My mother has to catch the bus back home, so she does not return to rehab with me. She says goodbye as I am placed in a cab, and I prefer this. I don’t want her to see me sobbing. In the cab I text message Travis, to tell him what I’ve been told, and how broken up I am about it. He writes back saying, "Stay strong. Pain doesn’t last forever." I know this is true. One day I will be dead and not attached to this failing body.

As we begin to drive back to rehab, my pain is replaced with anger. I wonder why the Doctor hadn’t bothered to do the required surgery while I was still in a coma. He waited until now to tell me?

By the time we return to rehab, I resolve that I will not have the surgery. Something in me tells me... screams at me that absolutely nothing good will come from this surgery. I know that there are only two things that will result from it;

1. I will feel worse afterwards. It will not benefit me, but cause more damage.

Or

2. I will simply not survive it.

 

If I had to pick one, I would pick the second choice. I have had enough pain and heartache to last a lifetime. I decide to not go through any more surgeries. I know that my right knee is okay. Yes, it is not as stable as it was before, but it functions fine. With every passing day, I bend it a little more. It hurts, yes, but it is bearable. And after all, I can walk. I limp, but only a little. Aside from that I can walk like I used to, just slowly. I feel that maybe in a month I will be able to run. I walk with a walker, but never let it touch the ground. My head spins, so it is only there to give me a peace of mind.

 

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50

A nurse comes into my room to see Mary, so I quickly get back to bed, just in case she questions me about my walking.

Mary has a concern that has been bugging her. She asks the nurse,

"Can you please request that I am no longer given those ‘stool softener’ pills. Please? It’s just that it is causing me to ‘go’ two times a day. I don’t feel that it’s normal."

I chuckle, and I can tell Mary and the nurse have gone silent so I add to the conversation,

"I know exactly what you mean Mary. I had to ‘go’ three times yesterday, and that gets pretty annoying when I have to go through a whole ordeal just to physically get to the washroom.

"See. There you go. I’m not the only one," Mary takes over. The nurse replies that she will leave a note for the Doctor.

It would be later that Axel will also complain to me about these ‘stool softener pills,’ so I come to the conclusion that every patient is fed these. I decide to join Mary, and stop taking mine as well. I hide them in my drawer, whenever the nurse doesn’t request for me to open my mouth to make sure I swallowed everything. I decide to put them aside for when I feel I will need them. If I will ever need them.

 

Dr. Towarski comes in to speak to me. He tells me that the date of my discharge has been changed. I will now be allowed to go home on the 21st not the 31st of the month. He has spoken to my father and my father agrees that I should be sent home. Also, my therapists have been talking about me, and feel that I am not really benefitting from the classes that have been assigned to me. I tell him that he is absolutely right. I do not feel that I am benefitting from anything. I am held in rehab completely against my will. I tell him that I am very happy that the date has been changed, because I really didn’t see what the point was to keep me here over the holidays. He tells me that he absolutely agrees with me. They would like to keep me for just under two weeks to wrap up any loose ends. I thank him. I can see that he understands me, and this has become a very rare occurrence, as most of the staff here just seem to label me an imbecile when they find out I suffered severe brain damage. Dr. Towarski and Consuela are the only people I like in this rehab, because I feel like they are actually helping me and treating me like a person.

 

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51

It is the next day, and today Loupe has come by to visit me. This time she is alone. She asks me if I would like to go anywhere, and I tell her that I absolutely would. I put on my jacket and we head out. Just as I start punching in the security code, Dr. Abin appears.

"Where are you going?"

"We haven’t decided yet."

"Is this your friend?"

"Yes this is my friend." Can you not find anything useful to do?

"Well, have you signed out?"

"Have I done what?"

She takes out a large binder. She flips through it and opens it up to my name.

"You haven’t signed out once. But I’m sure you’ve gone out."

I have no intention of telling her that I have already gone out with Loupe a few days ago.

"Yes, my parents took me out for some coffee on my birthday."

"Well you have to report this. Whenever you leave the building you have to ‘sign out’, and then ‘sign in’ when you come back." I now feel like I am in elementary school.

"What do I need to do this for?"

"Well, just in case there is a fire, we can see what patients are in the building and what patients we need to escort out."

"You really expect me to believe that if there is an actual fire, the first thing you would do is go through this very thick binder to see who is in the building, and then personally try to find every patient who is, and escort them out?"

"Well yes, that’s what we would do." That would take a while considering patients sometimes don’t tend to stay in their rooms all day. By the time you start locating the 3rd person the fire would be put out, or the building would have burned down.

"Okay. I’ll sign out and keep this in mind for the future."

"Who are you leaving with?"

"My friend Loupe over here."

"Well we need permission from your mother."

"For what?"

"Well we need to know if she is okay with you going out."

"Why wouldn’t she be? I’m not planning on staying out all night at a bar table dancing." Holy crap, this IS a nuthouse!

"Well yes, but we need permission from your mother. I’ll call her and speak to her right now."

"Okay... but if you call I suggest you speak to my father, because my mother’s English isn’t that good."

"Well I have to ask permission from your mother, if she is okay with you going out with someone who is not her."

"So what if I plan to go somewhere with my father?"

"I would have to speak to her first to see if she allows this."

"What!? Who decided that only my mother can decide who I’m allowed to go out with?"

"She is your parent, so she gets the final word."

"Technically my father is my parent as well. He did lend a hand in creating me, so to speak."

"Okay, I’ll call now and ask her if she’s okay with everything, and if she is okay with sharing the decision making responsibility with your father."

This conversation kills the desire to do anything anymore. She picks up the phone and dials, and asks for Mrs. Ivanov. My mother as usual picks up the phone. Dr. Abin begins introducing herself. My mother instinctively hands the phone over to my father, who is able to understand English better. Dr. Abin asks him to put Mrs.Ivanov back on the phone. I sigh. At this rate we can be here well into the night. She then asks my mother if she will allow Mr.Ivanov to make decisions concerning me on her behalf. I would think my mom is now confused as to why she is asked this, but from what I can tell next, the Doctor is speaking to my father.

"Mr. Ivanov, this is Dr. Abin. The reason why I am calling is to let you know that a girl named Loupe has come to visit your daughter, and your daughter claims that this is her friend. Do you know this person?...Oh okay, the reason I am calling is because your daughter has decided to leave hospital grounds with Loupe, and we would like to know if you and your wife will give permission for her to do so?...Well yes... I know... but as her care givers, we need to know if you give her consent to leave... Okay, thank you, I’ll pass the phone to Karina."

I take the phone from her.

"What is going on Karina?"

"Apparently I need permission to go anywhere."

"Does this woman not know that you’re 26 years old?"

"I’m sure she does. You were right dad. They treat me like a crazy person. They’ve grouped me in with this man who talks to the wall every day. I am not allowed to make any decisions on my own."

"Just wait. They’ll use that against you when you try to file any complaints against the man who tried to kill you. They’ve labeled you a crazy person"

"I completely see that now."

We say our goodbyes and I hang up. The good mood that I was in minutes ago has been killed. Dr. Abin says,

"Alright. So your father says it’s okay for you to go out."

"I know, why wouldn’t he?"

"Just please, next time you decide to leave with someone who is not your mother, make sure you notify us."

"And if it’s my father?"

"That would be okay. Your mother has given us consent, so I will make a note of it. But you have to still notify us, so we’ll know where you are."

I nod. I have absolutely no intention of doing this. What I do have every intention of doing, is avoiding her as much as possible.

 

Loupe rolls me outside. We travel to the building right beside this rahab. It’s a hospital, and it has several stores on the ground floor. Loupe asks me if I want anything, and I say it doesn’t matter, I have no money anyways. But it would be nice to just look around, because I never get to do this anymore. Loupe tells me to pick out whatever I want and she will buy it for me. I see a bag of chips on sale, and tell her that I would really like it. She rolls me over, and I pick out a flavor I like. For a short moment, I forget what has become of me, and that I need to be pushed around in a wheelchair. For a short moment I feel like I am who I used to be, before the young man robbed me of the life I lived and loved. When reality comes back, I dream about taking a mallet to his knees.

 

When Loupe returns me back to my room, we hug and kiss goodbye. I routinely climb into bed and call for my sleeping pills. Consuela comes quickly and we exchange smiles. She is by far my favorite nurse here. She treats me like a normal person. Not a deranged maniac. She sees the real me.

 

 

52

In physio, the pregnant therapist tells me that Dr. Hill is very concerned about my right leg, and worries that out of habit I will put weight on it. She decides it is time the walker is taken away. No more practice walking for me.

I have a few hours before I have to go to speech therapy class. I decide to rest in my room. Maybe grab a nap before I have to go. Despite all of the sleeping pills I have been taking, my sleeping is still kinda crummy. I tend to wake up at 2am now and stay up for a few hours.

I relax but have no time to drift off, because two men come into my room. They introduce themselves. They are psychiatrists. Just like the investigators, this team is composed of an older man and a younger one. I feel this is done on purpose. If I don’t feel like ‘opening up’ to one, I will to the other.

From the very beginning I feel incredibly annoyed. They introduce themselves and suggest that it would be better for us to have privacy, and we should go to the empty room down the hall with the telephone, so that my neighbors do not hear our conversation. It is important to have privacy. I roll after them, and I hope they can tell from my demeanor, that I would much rather be left alone. I already know that they can do nothing that I will benefit from. I would rather nap.

In the empty room, the old psychiatrist closes the door behind us, and takes a seat. I am asked to tell them what happened to me that would land me in this position.

"It should be written in my file. I have told this story numerous times."

"Well yes, it is. We would like to hear it from you, instead of just reading and believing what is written."

I tell them that on Friday August 13th, a young male police officer punched me in the face and threw me off of my friend's balcony. The two of them nod with very intelligent looks on their faces, thinking of what to say next.

"So Karina... how long have you thought this? Did your parents tell you that this is what happened, and now you feel that it is what really happened?"

I feel right away thathe may as well have said;

"We know you tried to commit suicide, but instead of admitting it, you decide to blame a police officer and accuse him of trying to kill you. An innocent man who is trying to uphold the law. You have told this made up story so many times, you seem to actually be believing it yourself. But then again you had severe brain damage... that is why you’re here. If you continue on in this fashion, you will become a danger not only to yourself, but to society as well because you are accusing the innocent of such a heinous crime. But now we are here. We will help put things into perspective for you."

I seem to forget their names as soon as they introduce themselves. I think my brain simply decides not to store this information. So I will refer to them as the ‘old’ therapist, and the ‘young’ therapist.

The older one does all of the talking. In this case he appears to be the leader and decision maker of the two, probably because of his age.

I do not feel like doing a song and dance. I have no energy to try to convince them of the truth. I already do not see these two as being on my side. They just want to make sure I believe what is convenient for everyone else, and just keep my mouth shut.

I can see the older one makes an attempt to be sympathetic after I tell him that what I am saying actually happened,

"Oh wow. That’s awful."

I can see they are trying to make it look like they are compassionate and on my side, in hopes that I’ll open up more and they can get to the root of why I made up such a horrible story. I have no faith in them. I am also not sure what the function of the younger one is. He’s not contributing anything, just looking at my file.

"Have you tried to kill yourself before?"

"No. I overdosed and that was seen as a suicide attempt. That was a few years ago and I tried to convince the medical staff back then that I was not suicidal, which is what I find myself doing again."

"Were you depressed?"

"No I wasn’t depressed."

"Do you feel depressed now?"

"No, I do not feel depressed now."

"Are you afraid that this man will come after you, and try to kill you."

"No, I am not afraid of him coming after me."

He pauses and waits. The silence fills the room. The young one waits as well. I know exactly what they are doing. They are hoping I will begin to feel the need to fill the silence, and begin to ramble on about my thoughts and feelings. I really am in no mood to do this. I look out the window. They wait for me to break the silence. I wait for them to break the silence. Two can play at this game, or 3 in this case. I know I will win this round and every future round. I wait. I hope there will be no future round.

The older one finally speaks. He gives me a textbook question,

"So how do you feel now?"

"Very bored. That’s how I feel now."

He looks over at the younger one. Obviously I will be trouble. There is a knock on the door. The older one gets up to answer. It is a man who needs to use the telephone. They did after all decide tooccupy the room with the only free telephone, which I see as very inconsiderate to other patients. The man is told to wait 10 minutes. The older one returns to trying to start a conversation with me.

"I can sense that you are feeling a little agitated. Is this true and why?" Oh you’re so smart!

"I am, because we have taken up the only room with a telephone in it. Other patients want to use it. It is not a ‘private’ room, and I have a feeling that when we finally finish this, there will be a long line of people waiting to use the telephone." They can now see that I am in no mood to continue this conversation. They would have to be complete idiots to not realize this. The older one says that he feels we have covered enough for today. He tells me that the two of them will visit me on Monday. I sigh quietly. I feel that they will simply treat me like a suicide case, who is obviously in denial and refuses to admit and accept the truth. Absolutely nothing they did benefitted me in any way. It is time for speech class.

 

 

53

Elizabeth does her usual. All I do is look at 2 pictures and spot the differences. I am then shown pictures of objects and I have to tell her what they are called.

"Coffee pot, frying pan, bicycle, ball of yarn etc..."

Elizabeth tells me that she has some homework, to occupy me over the weekend. Since I am progressing so much, I should work on my thinking skills over the weekend. I don’t know if I’ve actually ‘progressed.’ I just feel that the tasks she gives me are not challenging. I thank her, and I mean it. The next appointment I have is with Frankie. She tells me that she is in the process of signing me up for disability support, so that I will have some money coming in. She tells me that she will be able to sign me up for the one that pays $1,057 a month, at the very most.

"That’s really not a lot."

"Yeah, and they actually raised it. It was only $1,000 before."

"And people survive on that!?"

She nods, "It’s a very good thing you live with your parents."

"I guess. I wouldn’t be able to survive on that little if I lived on my own." At this point I am still convinced that I will recover fully, and in a few months find a great job.

"I hope you qualify for the full $1, 057 then. You don’t really have any assets do you?"

"I have nothing."

"A car?"

"No, I don’t drive."

She nods . "Okay, I’ll contact them with all of your information. They will set up a date to have an interview with you. They have an office by Square One, and you don’t live far from that shopping mall ."

"That would be easy for me to get to."

"Yes. The social worker has also signed you up for WheelsHelp. They are like a taxi company, and will take you right where you need to go, but cost as little as you would pay for bus fair."

"That sounds very good."

She takes out two booklets.

"Okay, so at the end of the interview you will be given these two booklets." She shows them to me. "These are to be filled out by someone who works in the medical field. Like your family Doctor." She gives me a look that suggests I should pay close attention. I do. I will forget later, but at the moment I am intent on paying attention.

"You will be given these two booklets, and will be expected to have a medical professional fill them out. I can already see that this may cause problems for you in the future, considering everything you have been through, and things you’ll worry about."

I listen carefully.

"I have a copy of each, so I will fill them out for you. You will not need to worry about making an appointment with your family Doctor, then wait for the appointment, then wait for the Doctor to fill them out and send them in. No, I will have it ready and waiting to be mailed. Now this is important and I will leave you several messages in the binder that you will be given to take home with you. As soon as you have the appointment in the disability office, and are given these booklets, give me a call right away. I will then send these booklets and all the needed paperwork to them. I cannot send them now because you have not had the initial interview where they give you the booklets. So we will have to wait. As soon as you have the interview call me, and I will have them mailed right away. I’ll leave reminders in your binder. I don’t want you to trouble yourself more than you have to."

I now have three people I like in this rahab. Dr. Towarski, Consuela, and now Frankie, simply because they see me as an individual, and not a faceless, nameless, severely brain damaged patient. They actually do things that will better my life, not things that they are expected to do to get a paycheck. These three people are very genuine and caring, and the list unfortunately ends at 3.

At this moment I am grateful to Frankie, however I do not even understand how much impact her gesture of kindness will have on me. She tells me I will not have anything to worry about. I just have to go through the disability appointment.

 

I tell my parents that I have been signed up for disability income. My father later tells me that he told a couple of people at his work that I will probably be able to go on disability. He tells me that their response was, "Oh wow. Your daughter is set for life." My dad says he feels the need to explain that I will be getting up to, $1, 057 a month. Up to. He is looked at with disbelief. If I don’t find a job and stop being disabled I will be ‘set for life’ to be a cripple living in poverty. I’m only 26 and I know that in time I will be back to the way I was. I have no intention to listen to Dr. Hill. I will simply refuse to go through with the surgery. My leg isn’t entirely stable, but I can live with it. I have an extremely bad feeling about the surgery he’s proposing. I know it will bring more harm.

When I tell my father that I do not qualify to get more money because I worked less then 3 years he says,

"That’s because you were busy getting a good education unlike most people I meet. Because you were busy focusing on an education you now have to pay for it? It reminds me of a story I read in the newspaper. A lady discovered that she had cancer, and when she contacted her insurance, they told her they would only cover costs when the tumor reached a certain size. She would basically have to sit and wait for the cancer to grow before she got a penny from them for medical expenses. I do not understand the logic behind these things."

At this point I feel more at ease because I know that at least some things are being taken care of. I do not care about how little money I will receive from my disability support. I’ll just need it for a few months. In this rehabilitation center very little has been done to return me back to the way I was, but the social worker has mentioned that she will sign me up for an outpatient rehab that I can attend. I am sure they will work hard on returning me back to my old self. This rehab is just being on the ‘safe side’... the extra ‘safe side’. I now feel like the only physical benefit I received was when I used the walker. But now that has been taken away from me for their peace of mind. So no more walking for me. My fear of falling overrides the desire to walk.

 

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