Well, at least, not a normal woman.
There were probably other women out there who might date me. Like maybe other disabled women. But I couldn’t imagine how going on a date with a disabled woman would go. I was already so impaired. How would it work? If we were both in wheelchairs, how could we even kiss?
There were no female spinal cord injury patients in the hospital right now, but there were some other disabled female patients. The next day, I was in the patient lounge and I saw one of the brain injured female patients. Her name was Sally, I thought. Her formerly blond hair was half-shaved, where she’d had some kind of surgery. She looked like she’d been pretty and I wondered if she’d been an actress or model.
She was sitting by the couch, watching television in her own wheelchair. Unlike me, she was in a power wheelchair with a joystick control. As I got closer, I noticed that her eyes were divergent.
“Hi, Sally,” I said to her as I wheeled closer.
She didn’t look at me at first, and I was worried that I’d called her by the wrong name. Then she finally said in an extremely slurred voice, “Hello.”
“How are you?” I asked.
“Fine,” she said, then turned her crazy eyes back to the television.
I didn’t know what I was trying to do. Flirt with this girl? It was obvious Sally was really impaired. No matter how disabled I was, I wasn’t going to date a girl like Sally. I’m not even sure that would have been legal.
But then what the fuck was I supposed to do?
I remembered what Savannah had said before she marched out on me. She said that I’d have to pay for sex from now on. Except how the fuck was I supposed to do that? I couldn’t envision having a conversation with my parents where I asked them to hire me a callgirl, and then get me into bed so she could fuck me. I needed so much help with everything, there was no chance of doing it in secret.
I decided that my only chance was Mason. I could probably ask him to set the whole thing up and then get the girl to come to his apartment. Of course, Mason had turned all goody-goody lately, so I wasn’t sure how he’d feel about it. But I think there’s got to be part of the “bro code” that obligates you to help your disabled friend get laid.
Maybe that could be my birthday present next year.
Before my return home, I was supposed to have a home evaluation with my therapists. Basically, my therapists and I were going to go to my parents’ house and make sure everything was in place for my imminent homecoming.
This would be the first time I’d been anywhere outside of the block that the hospital was on since my injury, so I was some combination of nervous and excited. Jane and Cam were going with me, which I wasn’t that excited about. I didn’t mind Cam so much, but I hated seeing Jane lately. The two of us barely talked during our therapy sessions.
While I was waiting outside the hospital in my wheelchair, I saw a dark red van pull up to the entrance. I was shocked when my parents opened the doors and came out. Much like me, my father always loved to drive little sports cars, so it was weird seeing him behind the wheel of a big van. Maybe in the back seat of a limo, but definitely never a van. Of course, it made sense. My wheelchair definitely wasn’t going to fit in his Mercedes Benz.
“We got one of the best wheelchair vans there is,” Dad bragged as he lowered the lift for me to get inside.
“You should probably back up onto the lift,” Jane instructed me.
“I know how to do it,” I said irritably.
It was actually a little harder than I thought to do this though. I did what Jane said and ended up with one side of my wheelchair not on the lift. It’s pretty fucking hard to back up onto something when you can’t really see behind you. It took me a few tries before I got on the lift and Dad was able to raise me into the van.
I hated riding in that stupid van. I missed my old Ferrari. I was disgusted that the only way I was going to be able to get anywhere anymore was in a wheelchair van. Even a regular sized car wasn’t going to fit my wheelchair.
It was an hour’s drive back to my parents’ house, but we made it in just over half an hour. I took a little satisfaction in the fact that Jane looked terrified while we were zooming on the freeway. I think in my Ferrari, I could have made it in twenty minutes.
My parents had a gigantic house that was only two levels, but sprawled out over the length of an entire block. There was a gate at the front entrance, and I noticed that they had repaired it from the last time I had been here, and had smashed into it with my car. When we drove up to the front door, I noticed there was now a narrow ramp next to the stairs.
I wasn’t crazy about how narrow the ramp was when we got up close. I could see that Jane was a little critical too. “I thought we talked about how wide this should be,” she said.
“Oh, I know,” Mom said. “But it ruined the whole appearance of the front of the house!”
“Can you get on the ramp, Nick?” Jane asked me.
The ramp was just barely wide enough for my wheelchair to fit. It was a little scary. I felt like if I veered at all left or right, I’d fall off. I wanted to yell at my parents for building me such a shitty ramp, but I was trying to turn over a new leaf, so I just said, “It’s fine.”
I’d gotten so used to the automatic doors at the rehab hospital that it was a little unsettling to realize there was no way I could open my own front door. I had to sit there and wait for them to open it for me. Of course, there was always a servant around, so it wasn’t like that was a big deal. I could just use my stick and mouthpiece to ring the doorbell.
When we entered the apartment, there were a few people waiting by the door. I guess all the servants were curious to see me. I recognized two of them. One was Ana, who was from Mexico and I was fairly sure I fucked her last time I was here. And the other was Gloria, who had been with the family since I was a kid and possibly raised me more than my mother.
“Nicky!” Gloria cried out when she saw me. To my surprise, she threw her beefy arms around my shoulders, which was a little awkward with my sip and puff controls in the way. “Oh mi querido, look at you…”
“I’m okay,” I managed, although I could imagine how I must look to someone who hadn’t seen me since before my accident.
“I wanted so much to come visit you at the hospital,” she whispered tearfully. “But Missus Edwards told me not to.”
That didn’t surprise me at all. My mother was all about appearances, and I’m sure she wouldn’t have liked the help visiting me at the hospital. Still, it touched me that Gloria cared so much.
“Gloria is going to be helping out a lot during the day,” Dad told me. “She’ll feed you your meals and help you with whatever else you need.”
“I’ll fatten you up again,” Gloria promised me.
I had no doubt in my mind that Gloria’s cooking would get me to pack on the pounds. Probably way too many pounds. Then again, who the fuck cared if I got fat? It wasn’t like I needed to stay slim to attract women. I was going to eat whatever the hell I wanted from now on.
The bonus to living in a huge mansion is that there was plenty of room to navigate my wheelchair inside the house. It wasn’t as good as at the rehab hospital, but at least I felt like I could make full 360 degree turns without a problem. Most of the doorways had been widened appropriately, except for the kitchen. That made sense, since I wasn’t going to be cooking.
“Let’s check out the bathroom,” Jane said.
There were two bathrooms on the first floor, and my bathroom was at the end of the hallway, and I could enter easily in my wheelchair. The sink and mirror had been lowered and there was a shower chair set up to push me into the shower. It certainly looked very handicapped-accessible. There was something bothering me about the bathroom though, and it took me a minute to figure out what.
“There’s no toilet in here!” I cried.
“You noticed,” my mother laughed. “Yes, we had it removed to give you a little more room. It’s not like you need it anymore, right, dear?”
She was right, I guess. There was nothing that I did anymore on the toilet. Presumably, my leg bag could be emptied in the other bathroom toilet. Still, somehow the whole thing made me feel bad. Why couldn’t we at least pretend that I wasn’t some crippled freak who didn’t even use a toilet anymore?
I watched as Jane looked through the cabinets, pulling out a bunch of catheter bags and other equipment. “This all looks fine,” she said. “Cam, what do you think?”
“Looks good,” he said.
The next stop was my room. To say it was a lot different from the way my room looked when I was a teenager would be an understatement. This room was clearly a room set up for a disabled person. There was a Hoyer lift in the middle of the room, a hospital bed, and a computer with mouth controls jutting out of it. I knew I’d eventually get used to the sight of it, but for now, it just screamed out “CRIPPLED.” And I hated it.
“What do you think?” Mom asked, beaming.
“Great,” I muttered.
There were a bunch of supplies set up on the bed, mostly stuff for my bowel program, since I’d be doing that in bed. There were a bunch of chucks, my Magic Bullet medication, and to my horror, a pack of Depends. I’d gotten my bowel program under control and I hadn’t been wearing any protection anymore. I didn’t know why my mother had bought those.
“You can get rid of the Depends,” I told her in a low voice, trying not to call too much attention to it. I could have told her later, I guess, but the sight of them was making me sick. “I don’t need those anymore.”
“Sometimes when you first go home, your bowel regimen gets knocked off course,” Jane explained to me. “I told your mother that would be a good idea, just for the first few days.”
I wanted to kill Jane for betraying me this way. How could she? She, of all people, knew how important it was to me not to have to wear a fucking diaper.
“I think I’ll be okay,” I said.
“It’ll just be for a few days, Nicky,” Mom said, touching my shoulder. “It’s not a big deal, is it?”
“Yes, it is a fucking big deal!” I snapped. “I’m not fucking wearing them!”
The room got really quiet and I knew everyone was staring at me. I also knew it wasn’t really up to me whether I wore the Depends. And that wearing them would probably be better than having a huge bowel accident all over my new wheelchair.
“Fine,” I finally mumbled.
“It’s just for a few days, buddy,” Cam said to me.
“I said fine,” I said, trying to keep the irritation from creeping into my voice.
Jane cleared her throat loudly. “I think we should practice a transfer into the bed here. Make sure everything is set up properly.”
Jane and Cam stepped back to let my parents do the transfer themselves. Despite the fact that they’d come in for training, it was really like they’d never done it before. They were fumbling a lot, and Jane kept motioning for me to tell them what to do, so I’d try to help, but it was still very bad. It literally took like fifteen minutes for them to get the sling under me.
The sling felt a little different than the one in the hospital. It tipped me back a little bit more and it wasn’t quite as secure. I realize as I was being lifted into the air that they hadn’t put my left arm securely in my lap, and it slipped out and hung out over the side. That triggered a spasm in my arm until Jane noticed and put my arm back in place.
My parents couldn’t figure out the controls on the lift, so I spent several minutes hanging in midair while they discussed which button to press. When they finally lowered me into the bed, I felt really relieved.
Jane nodded her head at my parents. “Very good,” she said. Despite how really fucking horrible they were.
Then she made them repeat the process, getting me back into my wheelchair. This was possibly the worst thirty minutes of my life. I was sick at the thought that I was going to have to do this every single day for the rest of my life. I would never be able to transfer myself, that was for sure. I was really starting to feel how limited I would be, how dependent I was for every little thing.
As my parents strapped me back into my wheelchair, I felt tears rising up in my eyes. I felt so frustrated by my situation. But I really didn’t want everyone in the room to see me crying, so I took a few deep breaths and calmed myself down. I could cry later tonight, when I was in bed and nobody was looking.