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Seizures Part 1
At the age of sixteen, if you haven’t done a few things, you become impartial to the rest of the world until they are completed. One of those things is called a kiss. I was determined to become the basketball star of my school AND find a date to the dance. I didn’t realize it yet, but that was the least of my problems.
The big basketball championship was just around the corner and I was practicing outside with my dad. The weather was probably too cold but my dad and I were both too stubborn to give up yet. My mom was working late that night so I was happy to get in a couple extra shots before we called it a night and ordered some pizza. “I win!” I called out excitedly.
“And I’m hungry!” Dad said laughing and trying to change the subject. He grabbed the phone off the counter and dialed the ten-digit number, “Hi I’d like to make an order for delivery…mhmm…906 Grove Street…ok, Mandy what do you want on your pizza?” dad asked tilting the phone away so the receiver couldn’t hear. He waited about fifteen seconds until I shook my head, squeezed my eyes shut for a minute and opened them again. “What do you want on your pizza Hun?”
“Oh, ummm….everything?” I smiled and he laughed under his breath.
“Ok, we’ll have one large pizza with everything on it, a personal pan with cheese only and a large order of cheesy bread please,” Dad winked at me, mouthed the word mom and rolled his eyes, “a half hour? Ok, thanks. Bye,” He set the phone back down and waited for the click. I knew mom hated the “everything pizza nights” but for me and dad, it was perfect. I always found it kind of funny that mom was a family social worker, but wasn’t open to trying new things. If it wasn’t for dad, I would’ve never tried Brussels sprouts or lobster or anything else especially if it had to do with seafood, which in a way is good and bad. “So, you wanna watch a movie or something?” I nodded and he popped in Nightmare on Elm Street. Sometimes, my dad seemed like my best friend.
Ding Dong! The doorbell chimed and dad jumped up to get it. After reaching in his back pocket, and realizing it was empty, he glanced over at me, “Mandy can you run upstairs and grab my wallet on the nightstand, please?”
“Yeah, sure,” I sprinted up the stairs by twos and grabbed the brown, worn out wallet. I should get him a new one for Christmas, I thought. “Here dad, catch!” I called as I held up the wallet. I was just about to toss it when a big orange ball of fur sped past my feet. Jinx, my adorable cat, was unharmed but, the fast confusion impaired my sight momentarily and according to my dad, I ended up unconscious, head first against the stair’s railing. My foot must’ve popped out a post because Dad said the other side of the railing gave in and crushed my legs. When I woke up I was laying in the ER bed with a headache that would kill anyone that came near talking distance to me.
“Hello, Amanda, is it?” The doctor smiled cheerfully. I weakly lifted my pointer finger and pressed it against my lips. Shhhhhh was all the noise I managed to get out. He laughed and quieted his tone only for a moment, until my parents returned with two coffees and a cup of water which they gladly passed to me. “Honey you’re awake!” mom said gratefully, “I came as soon as I heard.” I glared around the room trying to find the blurry culprit of all of the racket.
After asking a ton of questions, doing x-rays, and shining lights in my eyes, the doctor came back with a verdict. “Well I’ve got some good news and some bad some news. The good news is, there are no signs of a concussion, and your responsive brain activity is perfectly normal for someone with your condition,” I stole a glance at my dad but he pretended not to notice. His eyes were red from crying and my mom seemed to be barely holding it together, “The bad news is…. When you fell, your left leg got stuck in the railing and twisted it, from the knee down, almost completely in a 360. We did some x-rays on it but it seems to be in pretty bad condition. We haven’t gotten the results for your right ankle yet, but that only seems to be twisted. After it heals, we can give you some crutches and we’ll definitely try physical therapy, but the damage in your left one looks irreversible and you might want to consider a wheelchair.”
I looked at him; wide-eyed hoping someone with a camera would jump out and yell ‘you’ve been punked!’ Nothing. I closed my eyes and hugged myself to help forget about both the pain and the new information. I heard my mom step outside and make a call to the school principal. My dad stepped closer, “It’ll be okay kiddo. Everything will be okay,” he whispered to me as he pushed my hair out of my eyes and gently kissed my forehead. He always knew what to say.
“Mr. Heart,” I heard the doctor say, “This is Ms. Jenny. She is going to take your daughter out of the ER and into a more comfortable room, while I discuss a few options with you and your wife, okay?”
“Um…alright,” I heard my dad force out the words. Ms. Jenny tapped me lightly and gestured towards the wheelchair. I craned my neck to see and accidentally sent a pain shooting through my head. I cringed and in reply she looked at me sympathetically and walked outside the room. “Great,” I muttered, “Now I’m left with a splitting headache and I’m all alone.” She came back only moments later with another nurse. He was a male with chocolaty brown eyes, and a great smile. Gay or Taken, were the words that floated to my mind. I smiled at him sleepily.
“Here,” she said, reaching out to me and supporting my back as I numbly attempted to pull myself up. The two of them lifted me off the bed in a cradle like position and I felt my cheeks grow hot. I felt undermined and helpless like a little girl being mobbed by wrestlers. Finally they rested me in the wheelchair before the man left and I was wheeled down the hall. Only then did I realize the true agony I was in. I looked at my leg and instantly regretted it. Tears spilled down my face as I remembered what the doctor had said. ‘Irreversible’ was pretty ugly looking.
“Hey, how are you feeling?” I heard someone say. I couldn’t make out the voice but then again, it didn’t really matter.
“How long have I been out?” I croaked as I stretched my arms and yawned.
“About four hours, that’s the longest consecutive time since you’ve been here, I’m impressed. I can give you another dose of pain medicine if you need it,” ah ha! It was Ms. Jenny. She knew I pretended to be tough and tried to hold out as long as I could before agreeing to medication.
I shook my head, “I don’t need it,” I looked around and saw another bouquet of flowers next to me, “My mom stopped by?”
“No, she sent a florist up.” I had only been here a week and a half, and Jenny already knew my mother didn’t like to sit in the same room with dad and me. She would always claim it was stuffy and walk out, “Your dad came by before work though; He said to tell you that your mother and him are coming around six-ish to talk to you about something.”
“Did you tell them I’d be here?” I smiled. Jenny was great at keeping me company, “So, what time is my therapy today?” Jenny tapped the white board and walked out to distribute medicine to other patients. The white board read: No therapy today, Mandy will be discharged if tests come back okay, “YES!” I could hardly contain myself. What time was it now? 1:00. I’m hungry…I would beep for Jenny but she’s helping other people. Maybe I’ll try getting into the wheelchair myself and going to the cafeteria. I’m sick of sitting in bed anyway. I leaned over, grabbed the wheelchair and pulled it a bit closer. Attempting to lift myself up with my arms, I struggled to the edge of the bed. But apparently too close, I slipped off the side and onto the floor.
“Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!” I screamed in agony. Words couldn’t come close to what I was feeling. I dropped my head against the floor and curled up into the fetal position. Tears poured down my face and Jenny came rushing in. She pressed the help button several times and another nurse hurried in behind her. After helping me back up on the bed, Jenny gave me some pain killers. She didn’t even have to ask. I laid there motionless, afraid to move. My legs hurt more than ever as drifted into a fitful sleep.
Dreams had become my enemy since I came to the hospital. All I dreamt about was staircases caving in, basketball championships being lost, and the fear of living in a wheelchair. I would’ve been fine if the wheelchair was only for a little bit, but sitting in it forever would crush my dreams of ever being a basketball star. Maybe I should just give up on my dreams.
The tests came back fine but after the fall I was sent for a few more and they said they needed to keep me a few more days for precautionary measures. Damn. I waited in my room for my parents to arrive to tell them the disappointing news.
They both walked in together. That’s strange, I thought, I wonder what they need to tell me. My mom smiled at me sympathetically, but dad wouldn’t even give me eye contact. He played with the petals of some yellow roses and my mom asked how I was doing with the wheelchair. “It sucks,” was all I had to say to make her change the subject.
“Honey, your father and I have to talk to you about something,” she said as he automatically snapped out of his flower trance. They both walked over to contiguous chairs and sat down across from me. Two against one I thought I could’ve totally beaten them in a basketball game…before. Mom spoke first.
“I don’t really know how to start…Jerry did you wanna tell her?” Still not making eye contact with me he shook his head. “Ok…your father and I are getting a divorce sweetie. We tried to work it out but we’ve grown apart,” She drew in a deep breath and held it waiting for my reaction as I thumbed through the get well cards from my friends. The truth is I didn’t have one…except maybe anger that they couldn’t have brought me McDonalds to eat while they explained. I was so sick of hospital food.
“Okay…?” I said, absent-mindedly as I pushed myself back and forth in the wheelchair, “Can we go down to the cafeteria and grab a bite? I’m starving!”
“Uh…sure,” mom said, looking at my dad for confirmation, “you’re gonna stay at the house with your father for a few days until I find a more permanent place for the both of us to live, ok?”
“Wait I’m living with you? Doesn’t the court decide that or something?” I fumbled for the right words, still comprehending the fact that she had already moved out temporarily. It wouldn’t have mattered except that it meant no more everything pizza nights, or scary movies, or fun mystery trips dad used to take me on.
This time it was my dad who spoke up, “yeah, honey our lawyers helped us make the mutual plan. You’re gonna stay with your mother on weekdays and I get you most weekends.”
“Amanda, we are just trying to do what’s best for you,” my mom looked at me sympathetically. I wasn’t going to give her or my dad the time of day. They had single-handedly ruined my life in record time. I wheeled myself out the door with great effort and followed the signs to the elevator. Reaching for the button seemed like a lost cause just looking at it, but my dad came up and pressed his finger into the white square until it lit up and the silver doors subsided. Neither of us spoke a word as i wheeled my tray to a table. Suddenly food didn’t sound so good.
Sleeping on my bed felt strange in comparison to the white sheeted mattress the hospitals provided. With the pain medication they sent home with me, I managed to pull together six consecutive hours of sleep. I lifted myself up into the chair and wheeled out to the kitchen. “Hey kiddo! How ya feelin’?” My dad looked at me and smiled cautiously. I mumbled a few words about breakfast and he shot up from his chair dropping his newspaper, “How about some pancakes?” He pulled out a skillet and mixed up the batter as I rolled up to the opening at the end of the table and grabbed an orange from the fruit bowl in the center.
I hadn’t said much to anybody the past few days I had been home but dad continued to act as if he was walking on eggshells around me. My mom on the other hand was straightforward. She even kept me up to date on the houses she was looking at and asked if I had any input. I didn’t. “Mandy?” dad looked at me, “your mother and I are getting together at three-ish after your therapy we have something else important to talk to you about,” He waited for a response. I blinked and looked over at him, so he repeated it.
“Now what?” I didn’t want to sound mad but I was getting sick of the secrets they kept from me. His eyes darted and he winked almost unnoticeably.