Nothing familiar—bed too hard, the smell of the linens off, the pillow too fluffy—everything is just off. I pry open my sleep deprived eyes.
I shouldn’t be here. I should be home snuggled up against Sean’s warm body. His morning ritual: tickling me until I can’t take any more.
The memories crash into me like hard breaking waves. I miss him so much, but I know deep down that I shouldn’t. He’s moved on—gone. I’ve been tossed aside like a worn out pair of sneakers.
It’s hard for me to fathom that everyone else has had two more months to adjust, but me … I’ve only just found out. I can literally feel the depression oozing into my very core—smothering me with its sludge. My husband of twenty years is gone. I’m going to end up living like my aunt Betty—alone with my ten cats. The tears come again. This time, they might not stop.
Tap … Tap … Tap
The light sound at my door is aggravating. Can’t everyone just leave me alone?
I roll my eyes hearing my hovering sister’s voice, “WHAT?”
“I’m making breakfast. I thought maybe you’d like to join us.”
“I’m not hungry!” Just as I say that, my stomach growls—protesting. I try to rub it, but my arm does nothing. “Damn it!” This whole situation has me feeling so frustrated. A week of therapy has only left me physically and mentally exhausted. The minuscule amount of movement I can get my fingers and toes to actually do is meaningless. Angry—I’m so stinking angry. I want to jump out of the bed and run to the bathroom to slam the door, but I can’t even do that.
Tap … Tap … Tap
“Come on Nikki.”
I shouldn’t take my emotions out on her. I know she is just trying to help, but right now … I just want to be left alone. Thankfully, I hear her walk away. I lay staring at the ceiling feeling edgy and now a new sensation hits. I don’t know what I’m going to do. My bladder yells at me—and I just sent the one woman who could help me—away.
My wheelchair is just within arms reach. The problem—I’ve never tried to get into it on my own yet. This could be disastrous trying to maneuver two limbs that are unresponsive. Twisting, turning and a lot of grunting later, I’m able to get myself in a seated position with my legs swung over the side of the bed. My balance seems so off. It could be from lying down for so long and my muscles are weak, but not having the capability to move my right arm and leg for leverage is – killer. I feebly push down the fluffy purple comforter on the bed. I don’t want to get wrapped up in it while trying to move over to the wheelchair. Now, the tricky part … reaching out to the chair, I grip the arm and drag it towards me. Crap, now what? I stare down the chair like it’s my arch nemesis, my bladder still singing. Pushing up to stand on my left leg, I balance for a moment using the chair for leverage. Awkwardly, I hop around. Twisted around, I go to plop down on the seat, but the chair bumps and scoots right out from underneath me. In two seconds, I go from standing to lying flat on my back.
“Ouch!” My head smarts. I think I whacked it on the metal foot pedal sticking out. Double crap.
“Nikki!” The bedroom door flies open and I see two feet between the wheel chair wheels. Heather, frantic—panicked—and of course hovering. I lift my hand to my head where it clunked hard onto the chair.
“What happened? Are you okay?”
I pull my hand back to assess the sticky blood I feel on my finger tips. “Oh Shit, Nikki you’re bleeding!” She doesn’t even get me pulled up to the bed before she is digging through my hair to check my sore head. “We need to get you to the doctor to have this checked out.”
“No! I’m fine.” I snap, tired of seeing doctors and my bladder getting angrier by the minute.
“Nikki, this could be serious. You have a brain injury that’s trying to heal. We have to take precautions.”
I hadn’t thought about that minor detail, but I feel fine. “It’s probably just a scratch. Do you have any butterfly bandages?”
“In your hair?” Again, she has another good point, but I don’t want to be dragged off to some damn doctor’s office.
“If it doesn’t stop bleeding in a few minutes,” I sigh dejectedly, “then we can go get it looked at, but let’s give it a minute.” Heather seems satisfied … at least for the time being from what I can tell. “Can you please take me to the bathroom?”
When Dr. Mitchell told me this was going to be an uphill battle, what he should have actually said was, “you’ll be embarking on an impossible—mental and physical—trek into the Mojave Desert … with no water”.
After my sister helps me into the restroom, and my bladder resting happily, she talks me into getting cleaned up. “It’ll help make you feel better,” she says softly. The shower does feel good, and it helps my sister forget about the bump I got on my head, but when I get out smelling all fresh and clean, all I want to do is crawl back in bed. Drained from everything, and most of all … lacking the desire to join the rest of the world.