Heaven or HellbyStangStar06©
Hi folks, this one is a shorter one. As usual I'd like to thank everyone who read and commented on last week's story whether you understood what I was trying to do or not. Always remember, writing is like a conversation. I throw an idea out there and you may see it completely differently than I do. There are sometimes aspects of stories that I never knew were there that you guys point out to me. A great example of that is Chrissie. Which I've recently touched up for another project involving myself and a couple of your favorite writers. I had to include in the new version an idea that I learned from reading your comments. When I wrote the story I just figured that the car loved him. (we all know that Mustangs are far more than mere vehicles, right?) Anyway some of you had the idea that it was his dead girlfriend's spirit inhabiting the car. I truly never saw that when I wrote the story, but I have included that idea in the subsequent version. See you guys are far smarter than I am. Anyway as always feel free to comment on anything I do and please don't hesitate to tell me when I'm wrong or I miss something, especially when you can do it in a constructive way. Before I forget, I need to thank Mikothebaby for her brilliant work editing this one, she really is the reason these things come out as well as they do. SS06
* * * * * *
My first conscious thought was about how annoying the beeping sound was. Then I panicked as I realized that there was a tube down my throat. In fear and confusion, my arms began to flail as I tried to breathe on my own and that was when the pain in my chest took over again.
The mere action of trying to move my arms had lit my chest on fire. The pain was so bad that I thought I was dead. I wanted to be dead just to end the pain. As the beeping increased, the steady drip of medication must have increased as well because I was suddenly barely able to keep my eyes open.
I was aware though at the edge of my consciousness of people coming into the room. They all seemed to be really concerned about me. I didn't recognize a single one of them. A very pretty black woman, who was probably some kind of doctor seemed to be really concerned and in charge.
"Oh fuck!" she yelled. "He tore open the stitches in his chest. I told you we needed to restrain his arms. The frontal Deltoids connect to the pectoral muscles, damn it. If he moves his arms, he's going to tear open the God damned wounds."
"Why the fuck is he even awake?" asked another doctor. This one was male. "He's getting enough sedatives to keep a God damned elephant under. Three more days and we could have taken the stitches out. Everything would have been fine."
"It's the God damned breathing tube," said the pretty doctor again. "He's getting better and you should have taken the fucking tube out and started him to breathing on his own as soon as his lungs were cleared and strong enough."
"Okay, I fucked up," said the male doctor. "It was a judgment call. I'd rather have him alive and uncomfortable, than end up like some of the others who just died in the middle of the night because they stopped breathing. This guy is a fucking hero. I'm not letting him die on my watch. If we had a big enough staff, I'd have someone monitoring him around the clock. But thanks to Obama care we can't even afford a CNA for that." The voices got quieter and more fuzzy and I realized in the back of my mind that they weren't actually getting quieter, I was just going back to sleep.
The next time I woke up, I didn't want to. I was dreaming that some blond woman was crying and she was so pretty, I wanted to stay asleep and watch her cry. I had the feeling that somehow she was crying over me. I believe that I was actually conscious for almost two full minutes that time. And I do remember trying to breathe and noticing that the tube was gone from my mouth. There was a smaller tube, in my nose this time, and it seemed to be pushing air into me but I was breathing without the tube down my throat. I didn't bother trying to open my eyes, because I was just too tired to. I fell back asleep exhausted.
I woke up again shortly after that, I thought, but it might not have been so shortly. I have no idea of time during that period. My blankets were pulled back and I was freezing. My eyes opened and the pretty doctor was cooing over my chest and talking to me.
"You had such nice muscle development," she said. "It's going to be a long time before you can go back to the gym though. Over the next few weeks I'd be happy just to see you sit up. I'd be ecstatic to see you stand up. But you're a fighter. You're going to come through this just fine."
"Arrrrgghhh!" I managed to get out. That one sound that wasn't even a word, exhausted me. Just drawing in enough oxygen to try to force sound out of my raw throat to speak had tired me out. I'd barely opened my eyes enough to assure myself that it was her and then I was out again.
She grasped my hand and I managed through great effort to weakly squeeze her fingers before I fell back into dreams about the blond woman that I was beginning to remember. Remembering her took a great deal of effort and the funny thing was that other than an innate sense of self, I actually didn't know who I was yet. I knew that I was a person and I knew that I was me. But I hadn't quite gone about the process of remembering who "ME," was.
I was beginning to become cognizant of the passing of time though. The last time I'd awakened and tried to speak, it had been dark outside of the windows. This time I was strong enough to open my eyes fully and look around. I looked around the room for my angelic doctor and found that I was alone. I remembered snatches of moments from the other times that I'd been semiconscious. I learned from them. I remembered the searing pain from trying to move my arms, so I remained as still as possible.
I opened my eyes fully and barely moved my head a bit. Except for a wave of dizziness there was no pain or discomfort associated with it.
I drew in a deeper breath and felt pain in both the inside of my chest and the muscles connected to it. I wiggled my fingers both individually and in groups. For some reason, I kept making sure that my index fingers worked. I didn't think of them as index finger though. I thought of them as trigger fingers.
I flexed my wrists and there was still no pain in my chest. I very gently raised my arms at least as far as the restrains would allow and felt barely a tingle. I believe that the tingle was probably more related to breathing harder due to the effort than it was from pain.
I moved on. I wiggled my toes. They seemed to work fine. I almost smiled at that. If there was still feeling in my toes it meant that I'd probably still be able to walk. I tentatively tried to lift my legs and was able to lift each leg in turn off of the bed. After that I was sweating and so exhausted that I fell back asleep.
"So Jim, did you have a good workout this morning," she asked. My eyes fluttered and opened. There she was standing over me. Her smile and the contrast between those very white teeth and her smooth caramel brown skin was almost too much for me. I smiled back at her.
"Okay, we're making big time progress here," she laughed. "Let's try something," she said.
She held a cup with a bent straw in it up to my lips. "Suck on this very slowly just a little bit at a time." she said. That was when I knew that I was going to be fine. I was already reading things into what she said. The things I wanted more than anything else to suck on were her succulent lips. But I took a sip of the water in the cup. It burned as it went down my raw throat at first and then as my throat lubricated itself from the fluids, I tried to drink more and more of it.
She quickly snatched the cup away.
"Jim, you have to take this slowly," she cautioned. "All we'd need is for a sip of water to go down the wrong pipe. If you start coughing, you'll pop your stitches and have to go back into surgery... And you're too weak to start testing out your muscles..." I tilted my head to look at her.
"I figured out what you did the other day," she smirked. "You don't have to worry about it. You have no nerve damage and no spinal damage. Your brain function appears undamaged. You'll be able to walk and talk and do everything you were always able to very soon. The problem is that it's going take time because everything we do involves breathing, Honey. And right now that's where you're weak. You lost about 10 to 15% of your lung capacity due to necrosis of the tissue. I'd imagine that your brain is fuzzy and you're having trouble remembering things too." I nodded my head.
"I know that you probably have gaps in your memory and you want to know all of it but the key thing for you to do right now is just to rest and get your strength back. Until you've been cleared by your therapist, I can't even discuss what I know of what happened to you, or even your injuries, so just sit back, relax and get better," she said.
I was still focusing on the fact that she'd called me, Honey. I closed my eyes and took another nap. Over the next few days I grew stronger. I got to the point where they took the restraints off of my arms and shortly after that I was strong enough to sit up in bed. At the end of the week, I was allowed to push myself up and let my legs dangle over the side of the bed. I never thought that sitting down could be so exhausting.
The best moment of the weekend came when I was allowed to eat. Campbell's chicken noodle soup and Jello have never tasted so good. Bright and early Monday morning I was told that I had an appointment and that my doctor would be in to see me soon. I hit the button for the nurse and asked her for a razor and a washcloth and a pan of warm water. I wanted to shave and brush my teeth and wash my face.
"You can barely lift your arms," she smirked. "What do you need to get all gussied up for?"
"I have a doctor's appointment this morning," I said. "I haven't seen her in about three days so I want to look good."
Just as the nurse broke out laughing the door opened and a woman stepped into my room. I frowned and the nurse stopped laughing. "Hi Beth, what's so funny," she asked my nurse.
I folded my arms across my chest in a gesture of frustration.
"He can barely sit up and he wants to get himself all dolled up," laughed my nurse. "If you want me to, I'll shave you and brush your teeth for you. But it's a bit late. Your doctor is already here."
"She's not in the room yet," I said. "You could do it quick." The new woman started laughing too.
"I'm your doctor," she said.
"No you're not," I said. "Well maybe you are, but I thought..."
"You thought we meant, "The pretty brown skinned one," right?" she laughed. My lower lip stuck out even further.
"Don't worry," she said. "It's a good sign in more ways than one. It just means that you're human and mentally well off."
"How can you tell that?" I asked.
"Almost every male patient here and some of the females fall in love with Doctor Griggs. She really is that pretty," she said. "She's also one of the nicest people I know. And she's very, very good at her job. So being attracted to her just proves you're sane and stable. It also lets me know that you have no prejudices or hang ups. Some of those racist guys who find themselves attracted to her nearly tear their hair out looking for a way to explain it."
"So I'm not her patient anymore?" I asked sadly. She smiled and tried to hold back her laughter.
"She still owns your body, cowboy," she said. "But I own your mind. I'm Dr. Amanda Clark. It's my job to help you get your memory back and make sure that you're emotionally stable. Then I'll hand you over to one of our department's occupational specialists who'll determine when you're fit to return to work, if ever."
I looked at her again. She was very slim with long inky black hair. Her eyes were a bluish gray and were very pale. It was a good look. She had a few freckles smeared across her nose and cheeks and she smiled as I examined her.
"You need to be more tactful," she said.
"Huh?" I asked.
"When you stare at a woman that openly, it's actually kind of rude," she said.
"Sorry," I said. "I was just..."
"Comparing me to the love of your life and finding out all of the places where I come up short," she said.
"No," I said. "Not at all."
"Well, why don't we get started," she smiled. "If you do well, maybe I'll reward you by telling you when Dr. Griggs will be back from her vacation."
"First off," she said, changing the subject. "Let's see how much you remember. What's your name?"
I thought hard. The first thing I remembered was that Dr. Griggs had called me, Honey. But that couldn't be my name. Then thinking even harder, I remembered that she'd called me Jim.
"It's Jim...James," I said. "I'm James Patterson."
"Excellent, Jim, James Patterson," she said. "What do you do for a living?"
I thought about it and drew a blank. I noticed that she wrote that and several other observations down.
"Do you remember your family?" she asked. "Do you remember a wife or children? Do you remember your parents or siblings?"
"No wife...yet!" I said. "No children, either. I remember my parents. I called them Mom and Dad..."
She looked at me and I laughed. "My dad is Greg Patterson. He's a plumber and he's retired now. My mom is Sally Patterson. She's a housewife and she recently started working even more hours."
"How did she start working more hours?" she asked.
"Well, as a housewife, her job is ordering my dad around. With him retired, they're together more and that gives her more time to boss him around but he loves it. The two of them love each other like crazy."
"Is that something you're interested in?" she asked.
"I think it's something that everyone is interested in," I said. "Having someone to share your life with is a very good thing. When that person loves you and you love them just as much, it's almost magical."
She stopped writing and started to look at me. "And you don't have that?" she asked. "Why not?"
"I guess I just haven't found the right girl yet," I said. She scribbled something down in her notes.
"Okay, that's enough for today," she said. "I'll see you again tomorrow. In the meantime, I want you to try to remember as much as you can about your occupation. Don't strain yourself. I've looked at all of your tests and your mind is fine. The memory loss is only temporary. I don't want to traumatize you, but I also don't want to hold anything back. The reason you're having the memory loss is because you lost a lot of blood and your brain didn't get any oxygen for a while. It will all come back in bits and pieces. We just need to give you a little bit more information every day."
As she turned to leave, I tilted my head and looked at her. "Oh yes," she said. "Dr. Griggs delayed her vacation to take care of you. She wouldn't leave until you were out of danger. She should be back in about ten more days and I'm hoping that you're home by then. She will no doubt want follow up visits, so you'll probably see her just after that time period."
The news that she'd delayed her vacation for me made me feel really good. But I also felt confused. I wonder why I kept thinking about the short blond woman every time I closed my eyes. It was almost as if she was trying to ask me something.
I closed my eyes to take a nap and almost immediately lost consciousness. The dream I had was the first that I remembered since I'd originally awakened. It wasn't a dream in the normal sense it was as if my mind had simply started trying to make sense of all of the random bits of memory it had assimilated since I lost my marbles. I heard loud banging sounds always three of them. And white hot periods of pain in my chest. And there was some kind of emblem or medallion of an animal. And I remember the blond woman. All of those disjointed sounds and feelings and images whirled around in my head fighting for supremacy over my consciousness.
And then amidst all of it, I came to in my hospital room and she was sitting right beside my bed. She smelled like flowers. She was wearing a short skirt and her hair was very blond. She wore a shirt with almost all of the buttons open and I could see her breasts. They weren't flat, barely noticeable ones like Dr. Clark's or nice firm, rounded ones like Dr. Griggs'. They were funny. They were long and up turned. I remembered the term banana titties then and it made me laugh.
Almost as if she could read my thoughts, she looked at me. "You never called them banana tits when you were sucking on them," she said. "I seem to remember that you loved squeezing them and playing with them."
"You're right," I told her. "We were both younger then and I was jealous. Since you came back, I've never once thought of them as banana tits."
"I wonder what kind of dream you're having," said a voice. I turned my head and stared right at the nurse.
"I wasn't dreaming," I said. "My eyes were wide open. I was talking to her..." I noticed that the chair beside the bed was empty.
"She was right there in that chair. Didn't you see her?" I asked.
"Nope," she said. "But, when your mind is trying to reorder itself, you sometimes have trouble distinguishing reality from daydreams. It's a good sign sometimes."
"And other times it's a sign that you're going nucking futs," I said. She laughed.
The next morning Dr. Clark was back. "Your nurse told me you had some interesting things happen to you yesterday," she said.
"I had a conversation with a woman who wasn't there," I said. "I kind of almost remember her but not really."
"That's interesting," she said, jotting it down. "What do you remember now that you didn't remember yesterday?" she asked.
"Not much," I said. I gave her a list of foods that I like or dislike. I told her about some of my friends that I remembered. I told her about playing golf and that I liked to run. I told her about how I remembered that I liked to work on cars or at least my car. She nodded her head through all of it.
"Very good," she said. "It's coming back in bits and pieces. But the pace of it seems to be accelerating. I'd say that we need to be very careful because before too long you'll know all of it again. Don't push too hard."
"Why not?" I asked. "I want to be me again. The sooner the better."
We made small talk and she asked me a few questions about things that I liked and then she left. As she walked out of the room the blond walked in. They must have seen each other.
"Who the hell are you?" I asked.
"That's a very silly question to ask the woman who's loved you most of your life," she said. "I have to say that things are proceeding a lot more slowly than I'd like. You do know that you're the only one who can help me, don't you? You have to get your memory back or I'm going to be in a lot of pain."
I just looked at her. I got thirsty and she handed me the cup of water. She brought me the stack of magazines that was on the table near the door.
"Are these mine?" I asked. "Where did they come from?"
"I guess your friends and family must've brought them," she said. "I don't think you can have visitors yet. They're still worried about the fragile state of your head and your memory. But if they brought the magazines, they have to be about something you like. So maybe they'll help to jog your memory. "
I looked at her and smiled. "That really is a good idea," I said.
"What's my name?" she asked. I looked at her and couldn't figure it out. I drew a blank and told her so.
"She walked over to me and gently grabbed my face and kissed me. Her lips and hands felt cool to the touch but they warmed me up. She started out kissing me very gently. It was as if she thought I'd break. But she quickly ramped up the intensity and thrust her tongue down my throat. She wrapped her arms around me and I started to become aroused as her kisses grew even more demanding.