Damn that was a weird dream! Why hasn’t my alarm gone off? I haven’t slept in since college but I must admit it’s kinda nice. Wait, something feels wrong! My arms, it’s like they are really heavy and fuzzy?? No, that’s not it.
“Eric, can you hear me honey. Open your eyes”.
“Mom, just a few more minutes. Go away. I don’t feel well”
“I know you don’t feel well, that’s why I need you to wake up. You were in a bad accident.”
I slowly start to come around out of the fog. I open my eyes and my mom is standing over me with her red rimmed eyes.
It starts coming back to me. I spent the day at the zoo with my longtime girlfriend. We had dinner reservations and I was going to propose that night. What happened? I don’t remember anything after the getting to the zoo.
“Mom! What happened? Where is Jessie? I remember getting to the zoo, then nothing”
It was clear my mom was trying to hold it together. She took a deep breath and then told me what she knew. We were on the park trolley and it collided with a bus. Apparently one of the driver’s was texting. She got choked up again and then continued “You were thrown from the car and your arms got run over by a tram car.”
I cut her off before she can continue “Fine fine my arms will be fucked up for a few weeks, what about Jessie? Is she ok? When can I see her?”
“Honey, Jessie was seriously hurt but they think she will be ok” another deep breath “She lost her right leg above the knee and her left leg is very damaged. They thought for a while she had some spinal cord damage but luckily that wasn’t the case.”
I started to cry, how could the best day of my life end like this? How would she cope with having one leg. She loves to run and hike. Will she get depressed?
My mom breaks my thoughts. “Honey, there is one more thing. Both of your arms we amputated between your elbow and shoulders “
I froze, stunned. No, that couldn’t be true. I still felt them, even though they felt funny. No! it must be some mistake. How will I live and work? I can’t possible lose my arms.
I steal my nerves and I slowly turn my head to right and then to the left. I’m horrified to find matching bandages ending half way between my elbow and shoulder. I want to scream or cry but I can’t do anything but lie there processing it all. What the hell am I going to do?
My mom bends down to kiss my forehead and she stops trying to hide the tears running down her face.
Just then the doctor walks in “Oh good you are awake! How are you feeling? Any pain? I know this is a lot to take in right now but we left you with two good stumps. They are the perfect length for prosthetic arms.”
He is way to chipper. All I wanted to do was punch him in the face with hands that I didn’t have. “I’m not feeling much pain, can I see Jessie?”
Did that really happen? The crash, it was horrible. It started off as such a nice day and then everything fell apart. I lost my leg, my beautiful sexy leg. I hope Eric can deal with that, I hope he won’t leave me for someone with two legs.
I feel so lonely stuck in the recovery room all alone. Since Eric’s in the hospital too there is no else for me to call. My parents are both dead and I’m not ready to see any friends. So I just lay there staring at the ceiling and thinking about my life with one leg and praying Eric is ok. Eric is strong; I know he will help me through this.
A very stern doctor walks in and gets right down to business “We had to take your right leg a little below the hip. The stump should be long enough for a prosthetic leg but it will be difficult. Also your left leg is in tough shape, we have a number of pins and screws in place and it will be quite some time before you can put some wait on in. Any questions”
Only like a million, I think. “Yes, can I see Eric? Is he ok?”
“He is still in the ICU. It will likely be a few more day before you can see him. I can’t tell you anything more than we hope he will make a full recovery”
A sigh of relief washes over me. He is going to be ok! Tears of joy roll down my face. I almost forget about my terrible predicament for a while. Then I realize I will be in a wheelchair for a while and I start to cry
GOD DAMN IT! A shooting pain fires up my arm as I go to pick up a glass of water with my arm that isn’t there. Why can’t I seem to remember, I have NO hands. They still kind of feel like they are there and my muscles still react to my brains commands. On the bright side, at least I’m stable and it looks like I’m out of the woods. For a while they thought they would have to re-amputate my left arm at the shoulder. Luckily the antibiotics worked and the infection receded.
Since I’m stable they are transferring me out of the ICU today. That means I will get to see Jessie, they are going to let us share a room. I’m terrified and excited all at the same time. Lord, I hope she can love an armless man. I made everyone promise not to tell her about my arms. I wanted to tell her myself, more because I wanted her to look me in the eyes as she ran away screaming. I guess with one leg she would hop away.
A kind nurse comes in says it’s time to move. She unplugs me from the machines and starts wheeling me in my bed down the hall.
As we get close to my new room, I tried to find a way to hide my stumps. I wiggle a bit and then decide it’s useless. Here goes nothing.
I enter the room and I see Jessie asleep in the bed next to the window. Her left leg is elevated on the pully thing and her right, her right is…… nowhere to be found. I take a quick breath in and my heart breaks for her. Part of me wishes I could have lost my leg too just so she wouldn’t have to. Then I think better of that. Missing arms is plenty to deal with.
As soon as I’m situated she starts to open her eyes. I speak first “I’ve missed you and I love you no matter what” I say in a low tender voice. She lays there dumbfounded. She doesn’t speak for a long moment. The bottom drops out from my stomach. Is she going to leave me? What am i going to do? Shit shit shit! For a long moment there is nothing but an empty silence filling the room
OMG!!!! No! That can’t be right. They told me he was going to make a full recovery. I just lay there not knowing what to say or do. He says something to me but I can’t make out what he is saying. All I can do is lay there staring at the two bandages covering his stumps. He has no hands, how is going to live with no hands. How am I going to deal with him having no hands? My mind starting spinning a 1000 miles per hour
I want to start crying but no tears come. This is all too much to take in. How will we be able to cope with both of us so handicapped?
I managed to crook out “I love you” Before hitting the morphine drip and going back into a deep slumber.
One Week Later
I’m not sure if I will ever get used to this armless thing. Do you know how embarrassing it is to have to be fed in front of your almost fiancé? The first few times I managed to make a big mess. I guess it’s time to stop blaming the babies for being such messy eaters. I blame the feeders. It surprises me that some nurses are so much better at feeding me than others. Some take the spoon out of my mouth before I can get all the food off of it and it ends up all over my face and down my shirt. Angie is my favorite nurse, she is great at feeding me and she has been very supportive. Her son was injured in Iraq so she has some understanding of what I’m going through trying to adjust to my new body. She has also been great about training my mom on how to care for me. Now there is a sentence I never thought I would have to say.
After I’m fed it’s time to clean me up. I just love being a 30 year old man that needs someone to clean his ass for him. Today is the first day I get to take a real shower. I never thought I would look forward to simple thing like at shower. Angie covers my arms I mean stumps with a waterproof covering and then helps me to my feet. I’ve only stood up a few times and it’s still a very weird sensation to stand without arms for balance. I now have an irrational fear of falling because I won’t be able to catch myself. I ask her to hold me while we walk to bathroom, I had to swallow my pride to ask but I really didn’t want to fall. I’ve had to swallow my pride a lot lately and it still doesn’t taste good. Once I’m standing in the shower Angie takes some shampoo and washes my hair and gives me a head massage. It’s actually really nice and I think this might be the first perk of being armless. That feeling only lasts a moment. She starts washing my body with a sponge. Once she gets to my dick I immediately start to get hard. I try to cover it with my hands but …I don’t have any. I turn red and she says to me “don’t worry, it’s a great dick. Don’t try and hide it”
That makes me feel a bit better until I start thinking, how am I ever going to be able to touch my dick again? I shake my head I can’t focus on that now.
No no no no no! My left leg has become infected and will have to be amputated just below the knee. I tell the doctor he should make my legs even. What does it matter at this point? He gives me some bullshit about it being easier to walk with a below the knee amputation.
I don’t think things could get much worse. I will have no legs and Eric has no arms, we are the freaking yin and yang of amputees.
Once I get the news about my leg Eric tries to comfort me but it’s no use. I can barely look at him. I can’t stand to see him so helpless. He needs help with just about everything. I know once he gets prosthetics he will regain a lot of his independence but it’s really hard to imagine at this point.
I love him, I really do but I’m just not sure I’m up for helping him and trying to recover myself. We definitely have a long road ahead of us.
3 weeks later – Leaving the hospital
I get to go home today. I have mixed feelings about this because Jessie has to stay a few more days because of the surgery to remove her left leg. Neither one of us is doing very well emotionally. I’m hoping we will be able to work through it but it’s not a good sign when your girlfriend can’t look at you. Jessie and I lived together in an apartment but since I’m so helpless I’m going to go stay with my mom as I go through rehab.
The decision to do inpatient versus outpatient rehab was really hard to make. Jessie doesn’t have any family in the area and the both of us together in our current state would have been too much for my mom to handle. Jessie had to do rehab on an inpatient basis. I told her if she was doing inpatient rehab then I would do that too. My mom was pretty insistent that I go home with her. It broke my heart when Jessie agreed.
I know we will get to see each at rehab but the fact she didn’t want to go through this together stung. I was beginning to think this might be the beginning of the end.
Eight days ago, I woke up after surgery to find two matching leg stumps. They we both about 6 inches long. The nurse came in a few minutes later and told me the infection had spread so they had to take more then they expected. At that point I really didn’t care. Eric didn’t try to comfort me this time. I could tell he wanted to but my iciness towards him hasn’t made it easy.
A few days ago we were both continuing to improve and the doctor asked us to start thinking about our rehab plans. I knew I really had no choice but to do impatient care. There is no way I can fully care for myself yet and I have no one to help me.
I’ve come to the conclusion that Eric and I need to take a break. We need to both learn how to be independent disabled people before we can help each other. I pretty much ganged up with his mom and forced him into outpatient rehab. I might be making the biggest mistake of my life but in my heart I know it’s right. If it’s meant to be we will find our way back to each other