Shawn is still dealing with feelings of anger and guilt and Jesse is the one trying to keep life going as good as possible. An upcoming job would take Jesse away from Shawn for a few weeks and the plan is to hire a live-in Personal Assistant for Shawn, which Shawn is fighting in every way and giving his brother Jesse grief.
“It would be o.k. for Uncle Randy to come and check on me sometimes.”
Jesse was leaning on the kitchen counter, arms crossed in front of him, looking at Shawn, “No, it’s not enough for me, Shawn. Randy works and is really busy, he may not always have time to come over and check on you. It’s for about five weeks and I feel better having someone professional come over here and look after you on a regular schedule.”
Shawn sat at the table and threw Jesse an irritated look, “I don’t need anyone to come by here…I can take care of myself.”
Jesse’s voice was stern now, “No, you can’t! Last week you had spasms almost every night…you need someone to look after you 24/7…I don’t care Shawn. I already picked someone and you are just going to deal with it.”
Shawn replied frustrated, “Of course you do…you make every decision around here without even asking me.” Shawn was angry at his brother, “…you know I can still think for myself, Jesse…I am not a complete vegetable, but ever since it happened you took over all the decisions concerning me. You boss me around constantly.”
Shawn placed his hands on the rims of his blue framed TiLite wheelchair, about to back up from the table.
Jesse sounded stern, “Well, you need it because all you do is sit around here drowning your self-pity with booze and feeling sorry for yourself. Yeah, I’ve been making the decisions around here, because half the fucking time you either lay in bed sleeping or you are lying on the couch wasted, destroying your body even more.”
Shawn backed up his wheelchair and turned around swiftly. While he rolled out of the kitchen he called angrily, “Whatever Jesse! No one is coming here touching me or telling me what to do."
Once he got to the living room his wheelchair hit the carpet and it became difficult to maneuver. He was mad and became frustrated even more when his chair hit a sneaker blocking his way and the wheel of his chair. Aggravated he leaned over impulsively trying to reach the sneaker and moving it out of his path. He lost his balance, the wheelchair rolled out under him and he tumbled out of the chair cursing loudly and landing on the carpet.
Jesse hurried over, “Shawn, what are you doing, bro?”
When Jesse tried to touch him, Shawn yelled at him, “Leave me alone…”
Full of anger he grabbed the sneaker and threw it with full force through the room. He was breathing heavy, pulling himself up on his hands and leaning on the couch in a somewhat sitting position. When Jesse reached out to him, Shawn yelled again, “Don’t touch me!”
Jesse sounded more worried than mad, “I just want to help you.”
“I don’t want your fucking help, Jesse. Keep your hands off of me!”
He grabbed his wheelchair with one hand and pushed it toward Jesse in anger.
Jesse now sounded mad, “What is your fucking problem Shawn? How are you going to get back up into your chair?”
Shawn yelled still, “I won’t o.k. ….I won’t. I am going to fucking crawl to my room.” With that he started scooting himself along the back of the couch with only his hands, lifting his butt up a little, his lifeless legs dragging along.
He was breathing heavy and Jesse demanded, “Let me help you, Shawn. Come on!”
At that Shawn looked up once more, “No Jesse, fuck you!”
His pride forced him to struggle on, making his way scooting, pulling himself along the floor slowly, his body fighting him with every inch. He moaned and huffed, dragging himself partly in a military style low crawl all the way to his room and once inside locking the door and leaning on the inside of it, exhausted, his arms shaking and muscles tightening as he also felt his vision get blurry from tears of anger wanting to find their way out of his eyes. He tried his best to hold them back and leaning his head back on the door, looking up at the ceiling a low curse came over his lips as a tear ran down his cheek. He was angry but knew he didn’t really have a right to act like he did towards Jesse. Jesse only meant well and wanted to make sure he was taken care of. Shawn felt bad but had not been able to control his emotions. As he glanced down at his legs, which laid oddly in front of him on the floor he felt once again like he was looking at someone else’s legs, two limbs that didn’t feel like they were part of his body. He let out another low curse and then sat silent trying to collect himself.
After a short while there was knock on his door and Jesse outside asking, “Shawn, are you all right?”
Shawn wiped over his face quickly, “Leave me alone!”
Jesse hardly ever got mad and even though Shawn had been anything but easy to be around, Jesse usually overlooked Shawn’s outbursts of anger and frustration and had not turned his back on Shawn once.
He informed Shawn, “Your chair is outside your door if you want it. Call me if you need me, I’m cleaning up in the kitchen."
Shawn didn’t reply, but was silently thinking about how much patience his brother had had with him. It had been about eighteen months since Shawn had come home from almost four months in ICU and in rehab. The accident had been a life changing event for him, leaving him a T-6 complete paraplegic. The worst part was that he had no one to blame but himself. He had been drinking and driving when he lost control of his pickup truck on a wet road. He had come off the road in a curve and went down an embankment when his truck flipped a few times. The friend who was with him that night was not buckled up and had been thrown through the windshield of the truck and died at the scene. All the counseling Shawn had been through had not helped him to get rid of the feelings of guilt and anger at himself. Instead he had hid away from the world hating himself and his new life, his brother Jesse being the only lifeline to the world outside and sticking by him through his worst moments. Jesse had tried his best to help Shawn deal with his disability, the guilt and anger but he had not really been successful. Through it all though, Jesse had not given up on Shawn yet. He had stayed positive, had never blamed Shawn and was at his side when Shawn had been in very dark places in his mind. There had been moments when Shawn had wanted to die, but then there was Jesse, pulling him out of the darkness, motivating him to keep going.
Shawn sat on the floor in his room just thinking about things. Jesse worked six days a week on two jobs trying his hardest to make ends meet. Usually his jobs were close to where they lived and he would be home at night. Now he had the opportunity to work on a construction project in California and he would be gone for at least four weeks, more likely five. Jesse had decided to hire a live in Personal Assistant for Shawn during that time and had looked and researched quite a few people until he came across a woman who seemed to be a good fit. She was invited to the house for an interview the next day. Shawn had been arguing with Jesse about the issue for the last couple of weeks and they had not been able to agree, but Jesse was planning on going through with it. He wanted to make sure Shawn was taken care of while he was gone. Shawn had insisted over and over again that he would be o.k. by himself with an occasional visit from their uncle or his cousins.
Jesse was certain Shawn would not be o.k., he still dealt with physical and psychological issues constantly. Jesse had almost declined the job because of Shawn but the money would be really good and they desperately needed it.
When Shawn and Jesse were only 6 and 11 years old their parents had divorced and custody of the boys was awarded to their father as their mother suffered from substance abuse, depression and mental illness. Their father had been a hard-working man keeping food on the table and a roof over their head but the boys were left to their own devices lots of times.
A much unexpected stroke at age 45 brought life for their father to a halt, Jesse then 25 and Shawn 20 were on their own. Their father was put in a nursing home and died 4 years later. Jesse and Shawn had stayed in the one story rambler they had always lived in with their father; they couldn’t afford anything better and even though with both of them working construction things were o.k. but with Shawn’s accident everything changed again.
Jesse was now the sole money maker for them, Shawn only collected a small amount of Social Security every month, he was on Medicaid but Jesse still had to pay for everything else. The house was in bad shape and was not very accessible for Shawn after the accident. They wanted to move but just couldn’t afford it. The house wasn't paid for and was in desperate need of repairs or changes to make it more accessible for Shawn.
The only thing Shawn had known was construction work. His days in construction were over the moment he came off the wet road and psychologically he had been in too bad of a shape to even think about another career path, which would mostly mean going back to school. Jesse was 33 now and Shawn 28. Jesse worked a lot and Shawn hated to not be able to do anything and depending on Jesse. He also knew that Jesse had put his social life on hold for a long time now, caring only for Shawn and being there for him. A serious relationship Jesse had been in with a great woman was over the moment of Shawn’s accident. Women had been a rare sight in their life with Jesse staying home every night and on days off to be there with Shawn. Shawn had not been out in forever even though Jesse had been trying to get him to go out sometime. Just the thought of being around people made Shawn anxious. He had never been short of girls around him before the accident and he had been out every chance he got, Jesse always having been the more settled of the two. Many of the friends had disappeared over the last couple of months after tries of having the brothers come out had failed repeatedly. Shawn lived in a permanent state of guilt and anger, Jesse calmly enduring life and his brother’s moods in the hope that things would maybe change for the better one day.
Shawn was still on the floor, his head leaning on the door and focusing on keeping his body steady. He sat his hands down next to his body and he lifted himself up a bit to scoot away from the door. He wanted to get his chair from outside his door. He glanced over to a corner of his room where a pair of fore arm crutches and leg braces stood upright waiting for him to maybe one day try them on again. The physical therapists had told him to stand up at least a few times a week in the braces to promote blood circulation in his legs. After he had tried it for a couple of months he had given up on it. It was exhausting and difficult to stand in the braces even though they did give him a tremendous rush of being able to stand up and even move a few steps but is was tiring and humiliating to him and he had not touched the braces in a long time. Jesse had been on to him for it but Shawn hated the bulky leg braces and did not even want to try them again. He did need Jesse to help him into the braces and getting up to a standing position and Shawn felt it was a waste of time and energy and had stopped using the braces altogether. For at least three months now he had not gotten a “standing ovation” as Jesse liked to call it. He threw a mean look at the braces, scooting himself over away from the door so he could reach the door knob to open it.
His wheelchair was parked right outside his door as he pulled it into his room and pushed it up against the wall. The wheelchair barely fit through the door.
A small knock on the door announced Jesse stepping into the room.
Shawn said weakly, ”Leave me alone!”
Jesse grabbed the wheelchair and stood it up again, “Shut up Shawn!"
He then walked over to Shawn on the floor and stood up behind him, leaning down to reach under Shawn’s arms to pull him up. Shawn couldn’t fight it anymore; he needed Jesse to help him up unless he wanted to stay on the floor, helpless like a snail. He let Jesse pull him up and into the chair. Shawn kept his eyes down; he couldn’t look his brother in the eyes.
Jesse asked calmly, “You need anything else?”
Shawn shook his head with his eyes down and Jesse added, “I’m watching TV now, “24” is coming on.” Jesse knew to leave Shawn alone and walked out.
Shawn always watched the show with Jesse, he didn’t want to miss it and after catching his breath he turned his chair around and wheeled out of his room. They had planned to take the carpet out as soon as possible because it was hard for him to push over the carpet. So far it had not been possible but Jesse had promised with the money he would make at the upcoming job he would take out the carpet and put in linoleum floors and also fix some other urgently needed things, possibly also widening the door into Shawn’s room and the bathroom door and probably remodeling Shawn’s bathroom. Right now Shawn could barely fit through the doors with his wheelchair.
Shawn wheeled into the living room just as the show started.
There was a beer on the table and Jesse handed it to Shawn.
Shawn mumbled lowly, “Thanks!”
They watched TV in silence. Jesse was stretched out with his feet up on the recliner; Shawn sat in his chair. As he glanced over at his brother, he realized how tired Jesse looked. He always felt guilty about Jesse having to work so much. Fifteen minutes before the show was over Shawn saw that Jesse had fallen asleep. When the show was over Shawn grabbed the remote control from the table and turned off the TV.
He looked over at Jesse and said loud enough, “Jesse!”
Jesse was startled and a curse came over his lips as he quickly sat up, “Shit…”
Jesse realized the TV was off, “Damn, what did I miss?”
Shawn told him quickly the last ten minutes of the show and Jesse got up, “Well, it’s bedtime then.”
He took the two empty beer bottles into the kitchen while Shawn started wheeling toward his bathroom. The rambler had two bathrooms, Jesse always used the one in the hallway off the kitchen by the third bedroom and Shawn used the one in the other hallway by their bedrooms. Shawn brushed his teeth, barely able to get up over the sink, which made it difficult for him with the cabinet under the sink. He could not get very close to the sink itself but managed.
After he had washed his hands he wheeled over to the toilet and pulled out a catheter from a drawer. He hated the fact he couldn’t feel anymore when he had to urinate or when he needed to empty his bowels. Slowly he unwrapped the catheter, lubricated the tubing of it and with his other hand he pulled his penis out of is boxers and sweat pants and inserted the thin tubing into his urethra. He couldn’t feel a thing. The other end of the tubing was already hanging into the toilet and Shawn watched the yellow urine flow through the tubing and into the toilet. For a moment he just sat there watching and once the last few drops were gone he shook the catheter end lightly and then pulled the catheter out of his urethra. He threw the catheter away, tugged his penis back inside his boxers and flushed. Once again he washed his hands.
Every other or third day he used an enema or tried digital stimulation to trigger a bowel movement. At night during sleeping he also wore incontinence briefs so he wouldn’t pee in the bed. On many occasions though he still wet his bed and even though he used a water proof mattress cover the sheets had to get changed a lot. He hated everything about all of that and it was probably one of the hardest things he had to deal with, not to have control anymore of the most basic urges.
He cleaned up in the bathroom and wheeled back to his room. He wheeled up close to his bed and with one strong push up of his arms he then threw himself over on his bed. He pulled his legs up on to the bed with his hands and eventually leaned on the headboard to pull down his sweat pants and boxers. The incontinence briefs were right next to his bed and he pulled a pair over his lifeless legs. With the T-6 complete injury he had no sensation from about under his chest down into his legs. It was still a challenge for him to control his trunk, there were days when he had a hard time holding himself straight and upright.
As he was picking up his legs and sliding them under the sheet Jesse appeared in the door frame, “Are you doing o.k.?”
Shawn nodded, pulling the sheet over his legs, “Yeah.”
Jesse stood there in his lounge pants, “No spasms or anything?”
Shawn shook his head, “No, I’m good.”
“O.k. well, I hope you can sleep all right.”
Jesse’s bedroom was right next to Shawn’s, they always left the doors open just in case Shawn needed Jesse during the night.
Jesse smiled, “Good Night then.”
Shawn scooted down under the sheets until he laid flat with a sigh of relief, “Good Night!”
Jesse walked out and a moment later their cat Rocky jumped up on Shawn’s bed. Rocky slept on Shawn’s foot end every night. The cat walked softly over the sheets and Shawn’s chest with Shawn whispering, “Hey buddy!”
Rocky sniffed Shawn’s face, pushed his front paws into Shawn’s chest, then moved down to the foot end and after a little bit of stepping and circling it found a spot and curled up for the night.
Shawn laid awake for a little while staring into the darkness. He had had a somewhat difficult day psychologically even though he was on anti-depressants. He was very nervous at the prospect of Jesse leaving for the job and having a Personal Assistant possibly live with him for the time being. So many things were so personal and Jesse had been the only person to come close to Shawn physically since the accident. Jesse had helped him on many occasions with catherization when Shawn’s hands were too shaky, had cleaned up messes in the bed or the house, had helped him shower or bathe, or had helped him get dressed.
Since the accident everything had been so much more complicated for him and he could not even imagine having a perfect stranger come close to his vulnerability. He was very worried, but he didn’t want to tell Jesse. Instead he had been acting mean and angry lately towards Jesse. He knew Jesse didn’t deserve his attitude, but he didn’t know how to tell him about his worries. It took him a while to fall asleep and he was hoping for a good restful sleep without the rude awakening of spasms in the middle of the night. He needed to sleep and also let Jesse get some sleep.