I can’t believe how quick the last 3 years had gone. One more exam and I was a fully-fledged nurse and Matt would have his degree in business and finance. We could then finally begin our lives together for real.
“Good luck babes, you go and knock them dead,” Matt stated as he placed a firm kiss on my lips. “I can’t wait until you are qualified and you can be my very own dirty nurse.”
“One more exam and this nurse will show you how good her bedside manner is,” I replied whilst giving his bum a firm squeeze.
I had promised Matt I’d live out his dirty nurse fantasies once I was qualified. “Ok, I’ve got to go but I’ll see you straight after the games,” I explained. Today was Wednesday and it was the final sporting fixture of the year. Both myself and Matt were playing rugby like we had done for the last 3 years. I took in all Matt’s beauty before I turned to leave. He was 6 foot 2 with deep brown chocolate eyes, his hair was shaved at the sides but much longer on top, a strong jaw which was covered in a neatly trimmed beard and a body to die for. Matt was as solid as a rock from all the sport he played and his legs and arms we’re rippling with muscles.
I pulled up at the rugby ground and I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket. I quickly pulled it out and saw it was from Chloe, the message read: I’ve nailed it! The easiest exam I’ve had to date. Xxxxxxx
I quickly replied: Well done babes. I knew you would do it. Can’t wait to play with Miss Smith later ;) xxxxxxxx
Chloe: Neither can I! Love you loads and I’ll keep an eye out for you on the pitch. I hope you win xxxxxxx
Matt: Thanks babes and good luck too. I love you more xxxxxx
“What are you smiling at?” asked Zack who was my best friend and sitting beside me.
“Chloe has smashed her last exam and I get to have some fun in return,” I replied feeling very smug.
“Well you need your game head on first before you have your sex head on,” stated Zack. “We need to nail these. They beat us last time by 2 points. I want to finish Uni on a high.”
“Same here,” I stated. “Let’s show them what we are made of.” I quickly stepped out of the car and reached for my kit bag before slamming the car door shut.
The game was just about to kick off and I saw the girls team setting up on the pitch next to us. Just what I needed, the view of Chloe in skimpy tight shorts right next to me throughout the game. I turned and waved at Chloe. God she looked hot, at this rate I was going to end up with a hard on. At the exact moment Zack walked up to me and gave me a shoulder barge. “Eyes on the game Hopkins,” he attempted to say whilst wearing his gum shield. “You have 80 minutes and then you can do all the eye fucking you want.”
“I’m ready,” I replied and made sure my mind was firmly on the game.
60 minutes of the game had gone by in a flash and it was still very close. We were winning by one point and the way the game was going it could still go either way. At that moment I received a ball from the left, I had no real option other than to run at the 2 players in front of me and hope to gain some distance. I ran at full speed towards the players and felt one wrap his arms around my waist and the other wrap his arms around my legs. Immediately, I felt my feet been lifted off the floor and could feel myself falling backwards head first. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion but I was unable to do anything to prevent what was about to happen. Seconds later I landed on my neck and heard a loud popping sound. Instantly, I knew it was bad as I tried to move but nothing seemed to be following my instructions. Panic immediately set in and a crowd of people came around me. Zack leaned down next to me and said, “You ok mate? Do you need a hand up?” Zack put out his hand to me and when I didn’t take it he realised something was wrong. He reached inside my mouth and took out my gum shield. In a quiet shallow voice, I spoke, “don’t move me. I think I’ve broken my neck.”
I looked up towards the lad’s pitch and noticed a group of people huddled around someone on the floor. I signalled to the coach to bring me off and I instantly got a bad feeling in my stomach. I tried to see who was on the floor on the lad’s pitch and then I saw the boots. Green Adidas Predators that I’d recognise anywhere. It was Matt!
Without saying a word, I sprinted up the field towards the crowd. I barged past everyone until I got to the front of the crowd. I knelt down next to him and said, “babes it’s me, are you ok? Where have you hurt?”
“I’m scared. I’ve hurt my neck and I can’t feel anything,” Matt cried.
“It’s ok. An ambulance will be here soon and then everything will be ok I promise,” I lied. I knew it was a promise I couldn’t keep but it was one I hoped would be true.
It seemed to take ages for the ambulance to arrive. We wrapped Matt in foil blankets and I did my best to reassure him whilst he drifted in and out of consciousness. Zack had made all the rugby lads go inside apart from one who was a trainee doctor and had known Matt for the last 3 years. A few minutes later my best friend Carly was beside me. I sent Carly inside to get all my things in case I had to rush off, and to make sure she grabbed my phone so that I could call Matt’s parents.
Time seemed to pass by slowly but only 10 minutes after the call an air ambulance came into sight. The girl’s rugby pitch was evacuated and the helicopter landed. The paramedics hadn’t even gotten out of the helicopter when the ambulance also arrived. The paramedics quickly assessed him and had him strapped onto a stretcher within minutes. They decided he needed to be airlifted to hospital to get immediate medical attention, but there wasn’t any space for me.
“Don’t worry Chloe, I’ve got my car so I’ll take you,” stated Zack looking very worried. “Come on it won’t take us long to get there and he’s in the best possible place.”
“Thanks,” I muttered through my tears in return. I couldn’t concentrate on anything because I was so scared. What would I do if Matt didn’t make it? I couldn’t live my life without him.
The journey to the hospital was only a 20-minute drive, but each minute seemed to last forever and my nerves became more and more alive. I couldn’t stop shaking and I felt sick. I sat in the front next to Zack who looked as scared as me and Carly sat in the back trying her best to keep us all calm. “Someone needs to ring Matts parents,” reminded Carly. “I’ll ring them if you want?”
“No, they know me. I need to be the one,” I replied.
Nervously, I took my phone out of my bag and rang Matt’s mum. Instantly, she knew something was wrong from my tone of voice. I told her what I knew, which wasn’t a lot and she said they would be there in just over an hour.
Eventually, we arrived at the hospital and were led into a family room at the side of the ICU wing. We were told that Matt was in surgery and they were doing everything they could to save his life. At that point I lost it and broke down crying. Just then Carly took me in her arms. “What am I going to do if he doesn’t make it?” I sobbed.
“He will do,” replied Carly, trying her best to reassure me. “He’s a tough cookie, every thing’s going to turn out fine.”
I sat nervously between Carly and Zack, each of us were deadly silent as we waited for the surgery to finish. Suddenly, the door swung open and inside the doorway appeared Mr and Mrs Hopkins. Instantly, I broke down crying and ran up to Mrs Hopkins and put my arms around her. I filled the Hopkins in with what had happened and we all sat in silence waiting for the doctor’s arrival.
Two hours later the surgeon, who had been working on Matt, appeared at the door. He slowly walked through the door, and carefully closed it behind himself and sat down on a chair. “Well the good news is that we have stabilised Matt and he’s going to pull through,” he stated. Relief washed through me, no matter what else the doctor said we could get through it. Matt was alive and that’s all that mattered.
“Unfortunately it’s not all good news,” the surgeon continued. “Matt has suffered a serious spinal cord injury. He has shattered his vertebrae at C6. We have managed to stabilise his back by fusing C5 down to T1 but I’m afraid there has been some cord damage.”
“What does that mean?” questioned Mr Hopkins. I didn’t need the doctor to explain to me what that meant, I’d spent a semester working on spinal injuries. I felt my stomach drop and I felt like I was about to be sick. Zack seemed to notice the change in me and grabbed hold of my hand in a reassuring way. “The spinal cord was severed at C6/7 which means Matt will be a complete Tetraplegic,” the doctor continued to explain. “In layman’s terms that means that Matt is not going to have any function below his level of injury. Every spinal cord is different and I’m hoping he will regain most of his arm and hand function back but it’s all a waiting game now. Unfortunately, there is no chance for his fingers and legs. Matt is going to need to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life. I’m sorry it isn’t all good news. Any questions from anyone?”
Everyone seemed to be lost for words. I looked up and asked, “when can we go see him?”
“I can take two of you now for a few minutes and then the rest of you can take it in turns,” replied the surgeon. “I do have to warn you that Matt is hooked up to a lot of machines. One of the machines is breathing for him but we hope that when he’s conscious again he won’t need the machine.”
“Chloe, you go in with Julie first,” stated Mr Hopkins.
“No, you are his parents, please go first. Honestly, It’s fine, please,” I demanded.
His parents followed my instructions and left me sat with Carly and Zack.