Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Elevator Guy (Chapter 1)

Noel’s Memory Book:

Sonya, my speech therapist, wants me to keep a Memory Book to help me with my memory, which is crap.  That tends to happen when you destroy half your brain.  So this book is for me to try to remember appointments and stuff that’s important for me to remember.  Also to help me to learn to write better with my left hand, since my right hand is curled into a mostly useless ball.  Next time I fall asleep while driving and smash my head in, I’m going to try not to destroy the dominant side of my brain.  That’s the plan.

I told Sonya I’d try this out but I kind of feel like I’m keeping a diary which is about as emasculating as my shit job pressing buttons in the elevator.  That’s right, I press buttons in an elevator at the local hospital.  They call me the Elevator Operator, but I don’t kid myself.    

All right, stuff I’m supposed to remember:

1.        Go shopping for toilet paper.  Rose got me groceries yesterday but no toilet paper.  Situation getting desperate. 

2.        Doctor’s appointment next week for Botox injections in my right arm and leg.  Hate injections.  But seems to help.

The new medical students are starting this week.  I’m considering calling in sick.  The students always stare at me, like I’m some kind of freak, which I guess I am.  Last year on their first day, I left my cane in my locker to give them one less thing to stare at, but that didn’t go well.  It’s one thing to walk while holding onto furniture in my apartment, but it’s much harder to hold onto the wall at the hospital.  No traction on the wall.  I practically ended up flat on the floor, and I don’t need any more facial fractures.  And now, since I’m due for injections, I’m walking worse and worse.  Very unsteady on my feet now.  If I’m totally honest with myself, I’d probably be better off with my forearm crutch, but I only resort to that on my very worst days.

I hate those med students.  I hate the way they look at me.  They’re so full of themselves.  Especially the ones who think they’re going to be famous surgeons some day.  I wish they could see a glimpse of what their lives are going to be like ten years from now.  Maybe they’ll be fighting malpractice suits.  Maybe they’ll have quit medicine.  Maybe they’ll be pushing buttons in a goddamn elevator.

Shit, what was I talking about again?  Right, shopping for toilet paper.  Can pick it up at the drug store.  Need two packages, maybe three.


Chloe’s Diary:

You know what I hate more than anything? 

When you’re sitting on the toilet in a public restroom and the person in the next stall starts talking to you.  I really, really hate that.  I do not want to have a conversation when I’m peeing.  Nobody does.  If people were meant to talk while sitting on the toilet, God would have put phones in bathrooms.

But my new roommate, Olivia Chaw, doesn’t seem to get it.  She does it all the time at home and it drives me crazy.  Seriously, Olivia, you can’t wait two minutes to ask me what I want for dinner so I can finish peeing?   The Lean Cuisine isn’t going anywhere.

And now she’s doing it in a public restroom at school.  She’s talking about the boys in our med school class, who we just met during a luncheon for the entering med school class.  She’s already ranked our male classmates by order of cuteness.  Tell me, who does that?  This girl is insane.

“That guy Graham is number one,” she says.

“Uh huh,” I mumble, determined not to get involved in this discussion till I’ve flushed.  She’s not getting the hint At All.

After two consecutive flushes, Olivia and I emerge from our respective stalls.  One thing I can say for Olivia: she’s a hottie.  She has a petite, heart-shaped face and flawless skin, and although she’s wearing a ton of make-up, she doesn’t need it.  Also, not that I’m into that kind of stuff, but she has a killer bod. 

Olivia checks out her make-up in the bathroom mirror.  I kind of get the feeling that Olivia is on the prowl.  I’m less on the prowl.  Or rather, not on the prowl at all.  Actually, getting a date is pretty low on my list of priorities right now, a little bit below making sure there’s milk in the refrigerator and worrying about world hunger, which is actually really low on my list of priorities too.

“Hey,” she says, “you going back to the luncheon or do you want to find our new lockers?”

This morning, we were assigned lockers near the anatomy labs, to store clothing and other items while in the lab.  I’m not particularly excited about visiting these lockers.  For starters, they probably smell horrible.  The last thing I need is to have the smell of anatomy lab clinging to me while I meet all my new classmates.  But then again, what else am I supposed to do?  Study?

“Lockers,” I say without enthusiasm.

We go out in to the hallway and Olivia hits the elevator button.  The elevator arrives and to my surprise, there’s a guy inside sitting on a little stool.   I couldn’t be more shocked.  Olivia looks as taken aback as I am.  We both stand there, staring at him, not sure what to do.  I almost expect him to tell us that this elevator has been reserved for a private party.  “You getting in?” he asks in a low, bored voice.

We timidly get into the elevator.  Apparently, this guy is the elevator operator because he asks us where we want to go and presses the button for us.  (That or he’s just really really bored.)  I’ve never seen an elevator operator before, except in a Looney Tunes cartoon and that’s usually a dog.  I mean, his job is to press the buttons on the elevator.  That’s not hard or anything.  I could do that on my own and have been since I was five.  Actually, I think when I was five, being an elevator operator would have been my dream job.  Maybe it still is.  Maybe he and I could trade places, like in that movie with Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy, I forget what it’s called.

The guy is staring at us intensely the whole ride and it’s scaring me a little.  He’s slightly older than us, maybe late twenties, and he’s got this kind of glazed look in his eyes.  I guess operating the elevator is not that stimulating.  He has short brown hair that looks reddish under the lights of the elevator, and a light stubble of a beard across his chin.  It seems like the elevator operator ought to speak with a clipped British accent and be dressed up in some overly fancy royal blue outfit, but this guy is just dressed in casual clothes: sneakers, blue jeans, and a green T-shirt. 

After we get out of the elevator, Olivia takes my arm and whispers in my ear, “Oh god, he was kind of creepy, wasn’t he?”  She then adds: “Although sort of cute.”  I’m starting to think Olivia has divided the male gender up into The Cute and the Non-Cute.  I had to agree with her on this one though.  The elevator guy was a little creepy but also pretty cute.

We pass the anatomy labs, which are locked.  I shiver as we pass by.  It’s cold down here.  I guess they keep it cold because of the dead bodies and all.

Our lockers are in a long narrow hallway around the corner from the anatomy labs.  Olivia’s happy her locker is one of the lower ones, because she’s short.  My locker number is 257.  I open it up and inside there’s… a bloody severed arm!  No, I’m just kidding, it’s empty. 

I try to picture myself coming here every day, pulling out a pair of scrubs and changing to march off to anatomy lab, and I almost smile.  I am now a med student.  That’s sort of cool, right?

Noel’s Memory Book:

The new med students started today.  I still hate them, but I think my anger is improved because I only want to punch some of them in the nose.  Good progress.  Must tell Sonya.

I have good days and bad days and lately the good days are fewer and further in-between.  Today was not a good day.  The splint that I wear on my right hand to keep it in a “functional position” did not want to go on.  That whole arm is just getting worse—the muscles tightening up until the little strength I have is pretty much useless.  My fear is that someday all that will be left of my hand will be a gnarled fist.

My right leg was even worse.  My right ankle kept spasming every time I touched it, going into rhythmic jerking movements that the doctor referred to as “clonus.”  On days like this, I get worried that my time on my feet has an expiration date.  I hope not, obviously.  There was a moment when I considering crawling to the closet and getting out my wheelchair, but the spasms finally calmed down enough that I could get to the bathroom to take an extra pill. 

Unlike my hand, most people don’t notice my legs until they see me walk.  I don’t walk well at all.  At best, I need a cane, and let me tell you, my cane isn’t subtle or decorative.  It’s not a Mr. Peanut cane.  It’s a metal quad cane with four spokes that touch the ground to give me added stability.  And even the cane alone isn’t enough to keep me upright.  My right leg would probably collapse if I didn’t have a brace riding all the way up to above my knee.  And then my left leg (or what’s left of it) is all plastic and metal.  My pants mostly cover up the messes that used to be my legs.

In attempt to look normal today, or as normal as is possible for me these days, I had my cane behind my stool in the elevator.  I didn’t want any of the students to have the pleasure of seeing me hobble along.  They’ll figure it out eventually though, I guess.  I’d like to say I don’t care what those assholes think of me, but it’s pretty hard not to care at all.

I saw a girl in the elevator today who reminds me of Liz.  She looks sort of like Liz, but it’s more than that.  I’m not sure.  She’s cute, anyway.  I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s something about her that reminds me of the Liz I knew eight years ago, before she became the way she is now.  That old Liz was great.  Before she became Miss Heartless Chief Orthopedic Surgery Resident engaged to Mister Backstabbing Psychiatrist. 

I wonder when that wedding is anyway.  It’s probably at the end of the year.  Liz will make a beautiful bride.  I always thought so.  God, I hate her.

Chloe’s Diary:

In order to postpone the inevitable actual starting of medical school, today we’re all learning Basic Life Support.  We’re learning how to save lives.  This is important stuff, you guys.

In the elevator, Olivia is reciting stuff she memorized last night.  “The ratio is thirty compressions for every two breaths,” she says authoritatively.

Creepy Elevator Guy, which is the nickname we gave him last night, is watching us, and when Olivia says that, he snorts with some mixture of laughter and contempt.  When even the guy who presses the buttons in the elevator thinks you’re a loser, you know you’re in trouble.

Olivia looks pissed.  She tries to stare down Creepy Elevator Guy, who clearly has no intention of getting stared down.  “What?” she says.

“Nothing,” he says and shrugs, but I can tell he’s still trying not to laugh at her.  Yesterday Olivia called him cute and he really is.  Although most of all, I’m intrigued by the thin white scar below his left eye.  And actually, now that I’m looking I can see another scar along his left jawline that’s almost concealed by his reddish brown stubble.  I’ve always found scars incredibly sexy.  Except now I’m staring.  Stop staring at Creepy Elevator Guy, Chloe.  It’s impolite.  People will get the wrong idea.

“This could save someone’s life,” Olivia says.  “This is really important stuff.”

“It sure is,” Creepy Elevator Guy says in a way that makes it really obvious he doesn’t think so.

Olivia mutters the word “asshole” under her breath and either Creepy Elevator Guy doesn’t hear it or he pretends not to.  Either way, I’m extremely relieved to get out of that elevator in one piece.

Noel’s Memory Book:

I saw that girl again this morning.  I think her name is Chloe, or at least, that’s what I heard her friend calling her.  I didn’t catch her friend’s name, but I think they might be roommates.  Between the two of them, the friend is the prettier one, for sure.  But I was never the kind of guy who went for the hottest girl in the room. 

There’s something nice about Chloe.  I like the way her otherwise straight brown hair curls around her ears.  I like the way she chews on her lip as she watches the floor numbers in the elevator.  I like the way all her clothes are at least a size too big and her shirt sleeves come down nearly to her fingertips.  She looks like she’s trying so hard to be like everyone else, but she just can’t quite fit in.  Like she’s playing Medical Student Dress-up.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been attracted to a girl.  At least, in a serious way.  I’m sure they would be mortified to learn this, but there have been a few times when an attractive woman was standing close to me in the elevator and I started to get hard.  It’s been a really long time, as I said, and I can’t control it as well as I used to.  It’s hard to distract myself.  Anyway, it’s not like I would do something about it, like rub against the girl.  I’m not a pervert. 

But this is an entirely different thing.  Liking Chloe isn’t a reflex.  In another time or place, she’s the sort of girl I would have liked to go out with.  But I realize it’s not going to happen in this time or place.  I may have smashed up my brain, but I’m not a complete idiot.

And if I had any doubt in my mind, as the girls were leaving the elevator, I heard the friend mutter something about “Creepy Elevator Guy.”  Apparently, that’s my nickname this year.  All right.  Could be worse.  Last year, there was a guy who used to call me “Gimpy Joe.” 

Chloe’s Diary:

I think there’s supposed to be something magical about the first anatomy lab.  The first time you cut into that cadaver is supposed to be one of those transitional experiences that turns you from a boy into a man.  (I guess in my case, it would be more appropriate to say “a girl into a woman” but I’ve noticed that things that turn girls into women generally involve sex and I really really hoped there would not be any sex involved in this first anatomy lab.)

I got good grades in college, so I’m not used to feeling stupid.  But I did feel stupid, over and over.  My partners in the lab are Olivia, my roommate, which is fine, but then I’m also stuck with Olivia’s number one pick on handsome classmates: Graham Kingsley.  Or should I say, Graham Kingsley, Future Surgeon, as he’s reminded us half a dozen times in the five minutes after we were introduced.  I have to admit, Graham is very good looking in a classic movie star kind of way.  He’s got dark wavy hair, really chiseled and perfect features, and he’s even got a little cleft in his chin, if you like that kind of stuff, which I honestly don’t.  Most girls do though, apparently, because they’re throwing themselves at the guy left and right and it’s incredibly annoying. 

The last of our lab partners is Claire Sheldon: gorgeous, blonde, and tall as the sky.  (I am short as the grass.)  She’s the only girl in the class who looks good in scrubs, and of course, we hate each other immediately. 

For the first half of lab, Olivia and I huddle in the corner and she whispers some rumor in my ear about our professor, Jeremy Conrad.  Dr. Conrad is in his early forties and has brown hair threaded with silver and what seems like a kind face.  He looks distinguished yet somehow approachable.

“You know what I heard?” Olivia whispers in my ear.  “I heard Dr. Conrad comes into the anatomy lab at night and has sex with the female corpses.”

I stare at her.  “Okay, there is zero chance that is actually true.”

“It IS true!” Olivia insists, her voice much louder than I would have liked.  “Everyone knows that Dr. Conrad is a huge necrophiliac.”

The terribly handsome Graham looks up at us, obviously having heard.  I’m blushing, but he seems totally unperturbed.  “I heard the same thing,” he says.

At this point, I don’t even care if Dr. Conrad is reading French poetry to the cadavers at night, I just want Olivia and Graham to shut up about it.  Thankfully, Claire turns to them and snaps, “Can you shut up, please?  You’re all disgusting.”

I spend much of the rest of class watching Graham and Claire do our dissection.  Graham informs us again that he wants to be a surgeon, in case I have early Alzheimer’s disease and have forgotten.  I’m minding my own business until Dr. Conrad approaches me from behind and scares the shit out of me. 

“Chloe, what muscle is that?”

How the hell does he know my name?  My lab partners don’t even know my name.  Dr. Conrad is smiling at me, but all I can think about is what he might be doing with the cadavers at night.  Thanks a lot, Olivia. 

“Um,” I say brilliantly.  “Which muscle?”

Dr. Conrad points with a gloved hand.  I’m wearing two pairs of gloves, although it seems sort of unnecessary considering I’ve barely touched the body.

“The trapezius?” I guess.

Dr. Conrad stares at me like he can’t believe I said something so stupid. 

“The rhomboids?”  Dr. Conrad looks even more horrified. Clearly, I have no idea.  Please somebody put me out of my misery.

“It’s the serratus posterior,” Graham says.  I hate that guy.

“That’s right,” Dr. Conrad says.  My cheeks are on fire.  I’ve never been so embarrassed.

By the end of lab, my brain feels full.  Graham takes off early, leaving Olivia, Claire, and me to clean up.  Claire looks pissed.  She’s muttering under her breath that next time he’s going to damn well do his share.  I’m past caring.  I just want to get out here.

Instead of going to the bathroom where all the other girls are changing, I grab my clothes and go up a flight, so I can be alone.  I sit in the stall for a long time, just trying to calm myself down.  Dr. Conrad thinks I’m an idiot.  Actually, I kind of think I’m an idiot now.  I don’t belong in medical school.  I hate it.  I don’t want to be here.

I pick up my cell phone, wondering who I should call who might make me feel better.  None of my friends from college were dumb enough to go to med school.  They wouldn’t understand.  My parents?  They’d freak out if I suggested I was quitting, especially my dad. 

Finally, I get dressed and go back downstairs to put my scrubs in the locker.  Everyone is gone.  Olivia is probably wondering where I am.  Or else she’s with Graham, hearing all about how he wants to be a surgeon.

I head over to the elevator and press the button.  The door opens and just my luck: Creepy Elevator Guy is sitting on his stool.  I stand there for a minute, frozen.  He stares back at me.  “You coming inside?”

I nod and slip inside and tell him my floor.  He hits the right button, which seems like a bit of a miracle after yesterday.  When there were a bunch of people in the elevator, he was missing about half the buttons.  It’s not like this is a hard job.

I see him crinkle his nose and I know why: I stink.  It's an inevitable side effect of anatomy lab.  Good thing I'm not looking for a boyfriend.

“Sorry,” I say.

Creepy Elevator Guy shrugs.  “It’s the same every year,” he says. 

I snort.  “So I’m typical?”

“Yes, you are,” he says.  “You’ve got that look.  You just had your first anatomy lab and you want to drop out.”

I stare at him.  “What?”  I had just been talking about the smell.

He shrugs again.  “Typical.  Soon you won’t be a first year who wants to quit—you’ll be a second year who wants to quit.  Then you’ll be a resident who wants to quit.  It’s a natural progression.”

This seems like a suspiciously large amount of insight for a guy who runs the elevators, but then again, I guess he’s seen a lot of us come through over the years.  So I’m typical.  That’s not so bad.

He lifts his green eyes to look at me and for a second, my breath catches in my throat.  It’s been a while since I’ve been physically close to a guy and he’s surprisingly attractive.  For a guy who runs the elevator.  “You’re Chloe, right?” he says.  I like his voice.  

“Right,” I say, surprised.  He must have heard Olivia say my name. 

“My name is Noel,” he says.  “So you don’t have to call me Creepy Elevator Guy anymore.”

Oh hell, he heard us.  For a second, I thought I was connecting with Creepy Elevator Guy, but apparently not.  “I didn’t…” I begin.

He shrugs again and the elevator doors open.  It’s my floor.  I hurry home to shower in scalding hot water and possibly bleach. 

Noel’s Memory Book:

Chloe has a positive Fingernail Sign.

The Fingernail Sign is something I made up last year.  I see the med students in the elevator and I look at their fingernails and how bitten down they are.  I call it a positive Fingernail Sign and it’s suggests a pretty bad prognosis.  It means the student is probably going to be miserable all year.

Chloe probably has the most strongly positive Fingernail Sign I’ve ever seen.  Her fingernails look terrible.  She’s only been here a week and I could already see little droplets of blood oozing from the jagged edges of her nails.  She really brutalized her poor nails.

I was never a nail-biter.  I never even got nervous before exams.  I always felt confident I’d do great and I always did.  When I took the MCATs to get into medical school, I didn’t even break a sweat.

Now I do worry, but about entirely different things.  I worry that the shots will stop working on my leg and I won’t be able to walk anymore.  I worry about how I’m going to manage my finances when my parents aren’t around anymore.  And most of all, I worry that a nice, cute girl like Chloe will never be interested in me again.

Actually, that last one isn’t so much of a worry as it is a certainty.

Chloe’s Diary:

My first anatomy quiz is tomorrow.  I’m not going to panic.  Okay, I’m panicking a little.  I just need to relax and not panic.  STOP PANICKING, CHLOE!  Get a hold of yourself, woman.

Graham has seized control in anatomy lab again.  Olivia and I are helpless to stop him, but Claire is the only one who tries.  The two of them bicker like they’re married.  Olivia thinks it’s just a matter of time before they start hooking up.  Actually, I think they’d make a good couple.  They’re both really attractive and very driven.  I think when they fight, there’s an undertone of sexual tension.  Like yes, they’re yelling at each other, but any minute they might start making out.  Any minute now.

“If you don’t move over, I swear to god I’m going to stab you,” Claire says.  She’s kind of intense.  She wants to be an OB/GYN and I can practically see her screaming “PUSH!!!” at a laboring woman.

“You don’t have the guts to stab me,” Graham says.

I’m not so sure.  Claire really looks like she might stab him.  I think despite his confidence, he’s a little worried too, so he steps aside.

Graham has been stripping the spine.  He’s ripped out the vertebrae and now we have to get through the layers of the spinal cord.  We’ve been here an hour and I haven’t picked up the scalpel once.  I don’t even know where my scalpel is.

“Chloe, what are the membranes covering the spinal cord?”

Goddammit, it’s Dr. Conrad again.  Why me?? 

“Um,” I say. 

Graham is watching this little interaction in amusement.  I hate him. 

“Chloe, are you reading the lab manual prior to coming to lab?” Dr. Conrad asks me.

“Honestly,” I say, “no.” 

“Why not?”

“I just don’t get a lot out of it,” I admit.

“That’s not surprising if you don’t read it.”

Oh ho ho, so funny.  What I’d really like to ask him is if there’s some easier version of the lab manual.  Like “Anatomy For Dummies.”  I bet a book like that exists.  I’m going to check on Amazon as soon as I get home.

“Are you studying for the quiz tomorrow?” Dr. Conrad asks me.

“Yes,” I say.  I have a sinking feeling in my stomach. 


I’m going to fail this quiz, aren’t I?  I’m going to get the lowest score in the class.  I’m going to get the lowest score in the history of all time.  I’m going to get, like, negative a thousand. 

Noel’s Memory Book:

Doctor’s visit.  Injection day. 

Rose drove me.  I was so nervous in the car, I was shaking.  I hate these goddamn injections.  She was making chit chat during the drive, because she knew I was scared and wanted to get my mind off it.  It didn’t really help.  I never liked needles, at least not on myself.  Now that I get stuck with them on a regular basis, it’s worse.

I started getting the injections about six months ago.  This was my third set, I think.  Yeah, definitely was my third.  The first time I felt like crap for days after, like I had the flu or something.  The second time was better.  This time, who knows?

When the nurse called my name, Rose came into the room with me without asking.  I probably would have wanted her to come anyway, but I wished she’d ask.  She never asks.  She’s my big sister, not my wife or my mother.  She should ask.

When did it stop being okay to be afraid of needles?  When I was five I got vaccines and I cried, and I got rewarded with a lollipop.  When you’re 29, you can’t cry from pain anymore.  It’s not macho.  No girl will want you.  Although it’s not like any girl will ever want me again anyway.  So I may as well cry, right? 

The doctor doing the injections was real cute.  Dr. McCoy.  She was maybe five years older than me, but she seemed really young and sexy.  She wore a navy skirt that came down just above her knees and I got a good view of her legs.  Just her touching me got me visibly turned on.  Yet another thing I have difficulty controlling now, it’s embarrassing. 

I saw Dr. McCoy looking down at my lap and I was scared she could tell the effect she was having on me.  If she did, she was probably either amused or disgusted, though I’m not sure which would be worse.  I tried my best to distract myself and get rid of the damn erection.  Dr. McCoy didn’t have a wedding band, but I didn’t kid myself for a second that she’d be interested in me.  Five years ago, I think I could have hit on her and she would have definitely gone for it.  As a surgery resident, women were always flirting with me.  I didn’t even have to try back then.

She took my right hand in hers and tried to stretch out my wrist and fingers.  She was real gentle but it still made me wince and I could tell she felt sorry for me.  My fingers don’t move easily.  They tend to curl up into a fist.  I’ve been using a splint, but it just keeps getting worse.  I can’t even really move my fingers anymore on my own and the splint barely fits.  I try not to let on how much this bothers me.  But they’re my fingers goddammit.  Of my right hand, which used to be my dominant hand.  “Do the injections help?” Dr. McCoy asked me.

I nodded.  Injections + stretching + splints make it somewhat better.  But I can’t do much with my right hand anymore.  My handwriting with my left hand is crap, but I’ve been working on it because I’ve abandoned all hope that my right hand will ever function normally again.  The best I can hope for is that it won’t end up as a curled up, immobile, unusable ball.

Then came the needles.  A shot, I could take.  But in this case, the needle was attached to an electrical stimulator that worked on the muscles in my forearm.  When she moved the needle and applied a current, my fingers started to jump against my will.  Dr. McCoy dug around, waiting for my fingers to jump in just the right way.  Every time the needle shifted, I wanted to scream with pain.  Rose was holding my left hand and my eyes started tearing up against my will.  I wasn’t crying, just tearing, but it was still really embarrassing.  I closed my eyes and tried to pretend I was somewhere else.  “It’s okay, Noel,” Rose rubbed my knee.  “Almost done.”

Except she wasn’t almost done and it took for freaking ever as usual.  Dr. McCoy injected the botulinum toxin, the same stuff that causes food poisoning and makes wrinkles go away, into the muscles of my arm.  She’s killing the muscles.  In a week or two, things should start to get better.  My fingers will open up and I’ll maybe be able to use them again a little for basic things.  That will be great.

When she finally removed the needle from my forearm, Dr. McCoy gave me a kind, mildly condescending smile.  “You did great, Noel,” she said and patted me on the shoulder.

I wished it could have been over at that point, but it wasn’t—I still had to get injections done on my right leg.  I wear a Knee Ankle Foot Orthosis on my right leg that goes all the way up above me knee, and Rose helped me take it off so that Dr. McCoy could get at my right calf.  Without my KAFO brace, my knee buckles and my foot scrapes against the floor as I walk.   

I lay down on my stomach on the table and I braced myself as Dr. McCoy cleaned the skin with alcohol.  I got four needles into my calf, to kill the muscle that makes my foot point downward against its will.  I put the brace back on and I was glad Rose was there because I could tell right away it was going to be hard to walk out of here, even though I brought my forearm crutch for extra support.  I hate the way that forearm crutch makes me look, but it definitely provides more support than my cane.  I’d stowed my wheelchair away in a closet and was determined to never use it again.  That was out of the question, at least right now.

After the injections were done and Rose was helping me put my brace back on, Dr. McCoy said to me, “How is your prosthetic doing?”

“Fine,” I mumbled.  In addition to my weak right leg, I lost my left leg just below the knee.  I wear a prosthetic, but it’s still much more stable than my weak right leg. 

“Would you like me to take a look?” she asked.

I tried to shake my head, but immediately Rose was insisting she should look, because she had noticed a red area last week.  I put on the prosthetic myself, so I’m not sure how Rose had the opportunity to notice such a thing, but the two women in the room weren’t satisfied until I’d stripped off the prosthetic and Dr. McCoy was fingering my stump.

It’s embarrassing to admit that my stump is fairly sensitive and under ordinary circumstances, Dr. McCoy’s soft fingers on my flesh would have been enough to bring my erection back.  But my arm and leg were still smarting from the needles, and all I could think about was whether my leg would work well enough to get me from here to Rose’s car.  I knew she’d drive me straight home and then I could lie down until the pain disappeared.

Yeah, it was awful.  But it’s done.  Three months until next time.  Rose already wrote it in my calendar book because she knows I won’t remember otherwise.


  1. I'm loving it already. I don't think you could write something I don't like. :)

    And thank you, because I was just sitting here mourning not getting to look for more of The Best Revenge.

    Christmas is here early!

  2. I'm glad you started another story. Great beginning. Can't wait to see how it progresses. Hope it won't be long before the next nstallment.

  3. I'm also enjoying it and awaiting the next part.

  4. Thanks for the story. Just love it!
    Can't wait for the next part!

  5. Wow, this is awesome! It's a super interesting premise. Well written too. And I'm going to sound like a sap, but it's already got me emotional and it's only the first part! Please continue, I'll keep reading! :)

  6. Great job!!! I love it all ready!! :-D

  7. I love it, too. You are a great writer and I am already emotionally invested into your characters!

  8. Thanks, everyone! I've vowed to write a chapter every week... hopefully I won't disappoint since Noel isn't a "typical" dev love interest.

  9. Looking forward to reading more of your terrific story.

  10. "Bethany said...
    Thanks, everyone! I've vowed to write a chapter every week... hopefully I won't disappoint since Noel isn't a "typical" dev love interest. "

    Do that, please!
    And yes, he is.

  11. It's going to be another fantastic story! Looking forward to the next chapter.

  12. I am thoroughly enjoying this story, and cannot wait for more!

  13. this is great! a total turn on, i love it, don't stop please. pretty pretty please keep writing. It is amazing.

  14. You know, this so reminds me of Med-school. Except for Noel obviously.
    Great writing