Recovery of a Hero Ch. 05byRoadbug©
Chapter 5: Willing to Die
This story is a work of fiction only. Any chance resemblance to actual people or events is purely accidental.
Over the next few weeks, my friends came over almost every day. By now this included Nancy and Ellen. Dar was always happy to see them, and he started teaching us stretching exercises as he got better. He even knew a few I didn't.
One day I got up and went down to help him get his breakfast. He was already up as Janny usually helped him in the morning, checking his leg and such to make sure there was no sign of infection.
I took him out back to eat, and ate my own breakfast. As we ate, he would ask me how my new computer was working, and tell me things about what he called tweaking it.
Sometimes George would come out too, and this morning he did.
He said that he had the day off from work, and since it was Saturday, he didn't have school. I asked him if he could stay with Dar for a few minutes because I wanted to go swimming. He said he would so I ran up and got my suit on.
When I came back down, he went back inside. The last thing I recall after that is getting up on the diving board and yelling at Dar, "Watch this!"
I took 2 running steps forward and jumped. When I came down on the end of the board, my feet shot straight forward and I went over backwards. I hit the diving board on my the back of my head and my back with my feet up in the air. After that, I saw a bright flash and don't remember anything until I woke up in the hospital.
George was there when I woke up, and he told me what had happened. It appeared that someone had put some kind of oil on the end of the board, and when I hit it I slipped. I was knocked unconscious when I hit the board and rolled into the water.
Dar saw it all. He somehow got himself to the edge of the pool, destroying the fence in the process. When he got there he went straight into the pool
George told me that he managed to tear the back of the chair free of the frame and crawled out of the chest strap since he couldn't reach it and swam up to me. He then pulled me to the stairs and since I wasn't breathing, he did CPR with me in his lap.
After he got me breathing again, he started screaming for George who heard him through the basement window.
George came out and saw him sitting in the pool holding me and called an ambulance right away, then got me out of the pool.
He said he thought Dar was ok at the time so he gave Dar my phone from off the table where I had left it and showed him how to speed dial. He then called Janny and went out front to wait for the ambulance to get there.
After they got there, George said they were so busy taking care of me that nobody had checked on Dar until he asked George to help him out of the pool because he was getting cold.
"He was real pasty when I went over to him, and was shivering heavily." George said. "When I got over to him, I saw a lot of blood in the water and yelled 'We've got a bleeder over here."
One of the medics came over right away, and they got Dar out of the pool. The blood was all coming from his leg so they cut off his pants leg to check the wound on his thigh. It had re-opened, and since Dar was in the water, it wouldn't clot and he had almost bled to death.
After George finished, I asked how Dar was. I could barely whisper but George heard me.
He said that Dar was ok, and had spent most of the day next to my bed, refusing to move until he fell asleep.
I asked for a drink, and George gave me a little sippy cup like for a child. I drank a little water and felt better with my mouth and throat no longer dry.
I told George that I wanted to see Dar when he woke up. I wanted to thank him for now saving my life. George had told me that if Dar hadn't have done what he did, I would probably have drowned before he could have gotten outside and gotten me out of the pool. Now 2 of us owed Dar.
Latter that day, (Or night, I wasn't sure) Janny came in with Dar.
She said, "look what I found trying to steal a chair."
Dar smiled at me and said, "I'm glad your awake now. How are you feeling?"
I said, "I feel like I got hit in the head with a hammer, and someone is still hitting me." That wasn't far from the truth.
Janny said, "That's normal for someone with a concussion. It'll fade in a few days, but your stuck in bed for awhile. And no cheerleader practice for at least a month.
I almost cried over that. I really wanted to be on the squad, but if I missed that many practices I thought they might drop me.
It was while I was sitting there that the whole cheer squad came into my room. Even coach Coulter was there with them.
When I told her how long I'd be out and that I was worried about getting dropped from the team she said, "So? Kids get hurt. All this means is that you have a lot of catching up to do when you come back. I don't drop someone from the team for a medical problem. I just put them to work doing something else that they can do. You get to do the laundry for awhile, I guess.
"You mean it?" I asked. "I'm still on the team?"
"You don't have a chance of getting away from me. A cheerleader with gymnastics training? Not a chance. Your going to have to try harder than that to escape from me young lady."
That was good news for me. I wasn't going to loose my place on the squad, and they'd all even come to see me. It sure told me who my friends were.
Looking around the room, I could see how Dar would get so depressed when he was at the V.A. hospital. I'd only been awake for a day and I was already willing to climb out the window to get out of here.
My friends stayed for about half an hour before a nurse came in and told them that it was time to leave. They all hugged me goodbye before they left, and Sandra, Shelly, Nancy and Ellen all told me that they'd have to have a party when I got out. I told them that the party would be for Dar.
They agreed and went after the others. The nurse came back in and said that Dar had to leave now too since he wasn't next of kin.
That had to be the first time I ever saw George get mad. I mean really mad. He said, "No. He stays as long as he wants. He almost died saving this little girl, and as far as I'm concerned, after what you people did to him, you don't have any authority over him now."
"Since I'm currently listed as his legal guardian, and since my wife and I are this little girls guardians, we'll decide when Dar can or can't visit"
The nurse blushed and left. I asked George what he meant about what they had done to Dar.
He said, "They had him restrained in his bed because he kept trying to come see you and make sure you were all right. When I found out about it, I had the restraints removed and brought him here myself. I have an attorney checking on a possible law suit against the hospital, and I've already informed the V.A."
"When Dar was brought in, they didn't contact the V.A. like they were supposed to do. They didn't do much more than put him into a bed and bandage his leg. Then when he tried to come see you they strapped him down and put an orderly at his door. He had bruises on his left arm from the straps because they were too tight."
"The only reason he's still here is because we couldn't move you until you regained consciousness. Now that your awake, your being transferred to another hospital and Dar is going back home. Janny and I'll take care of him for awhile. I have a leave of absence from work, and since Janice is a volunteer, she can set her own hours."
"Don't worry about Dar. He'll be able to come see you every day until the specialist is satisfied that you're ready to come home. He told me that now it's his turn to take care of you, so I guess you're stuck with him now."
I laughed at that and said, "Aren't we a pair? I'm supposed to take care of him, and now he's taking care of me and you are taking care of both of us."
I looked at Dar then and said, "Thank you. First you save my only brother, and now you've saved me. For that, I'll always be your friend and anything you need, I'll do my best to get it for you."
That had to be the first time I ever saw Dar blush. He didn't say anything, but what I could see of his face with that beard in the way and his head down was all red.
After that, I fell asleep again. I don't remember the next couple of days real well, but I was soon moved to a different hospital and Dar came to see me every day until they let me go home again.
Sometimes Erica came with him too, but not often. She said that someone had to stay home and take care of the house and answer the phone and such. It seemed that a lot of people were calling and sending get well wishes. Erica said I'd be busy for a week just answering all the cards.
Finally, the day arrived when I was allowed to go home. By that time, Dar was walking a little bit. When they brought in a wheelchair to take me down stairs, Dar stood up from his and said, "My turn."
He grabbed the chair from the orderly and said, "You push that one, I push this one."
The poor guy. He didn't know what to do. George told him, "I wouldn't argue. He tore apart a chair like that to get out of it just to save this kids life. If he wants to push her out of here, I'd let him."
"He did what?" asked the orderly.
"He wheeled his chair to our pool and then into it. Then he tore the vinyl back loose from the frame. After that, he pulled himself out of the chest restraint. And this was while he was on the bottom of a 12 foot deep pool. On the deep end. With one good arm and one good leg."
"Then he pulled that girl to the shallow end and sat her on his lap on the stairs and did CPR with one hand. He saved her life, so I think he has the right to push that chair the short distance to the elevator and then to the car out front. So, I'd let him. He might get mad at you if you don't."
Even though it was the second time I'd heard the story, I still felt that it was amazing that Dar had done that. Plus the fence. They may be for little kids, but that fence was tough.
So Dar got what he wanted and pushed me to the elevator. On the ride down he sat in his chair. I noticed that it had a lap belt instead of the chest one that he couldn't reach. Good, I thought. Now he isn't stuck if he wants out.
When we got home, I couldn't believe what I saw. The cheerleader squad was all there with the coach and a bunch of my other friends. There must have been more balloons there than at a carnival. When George got me out of the car, they all started yelling, "Welcome home Sally."
I never knew that so many cared about me. That kind of thing really makes a person feel good. I started crying, and George pushed Dar up to me. "Want a ride little girl?" asked Dar.
I sat on his good leg and George pushed us both up to the crowd. Erica came up to me and hugged me saying, "Welcome home little sister. I missed you."
That started a lineup as everybody there did the same. Then it started over again, when Sandra did the same to Dar.
Dar didn't say anything, he just held me on his good leg and smiled at every body.
When the second round of hugging was done, Erica said, "Lets go out back now. We have food and stuff for everybody there.
I said, "Great. Decent food at last. I thought I was going to starve to death in that hospital with what they feed you.
Dar laughed and said, "It's worse at the V.A. and in military hospitals. It's worse even than field rations were when I was in."
"Remind me never to eat what they feed patients in a government hospital then," I said to Dar.
"I won't need to," he said. "Just seeing it will tell you not to."
George said, "That's a fact for sure. All hospital food is bad, but the military hospital food is dangerous."
I laughed at them about that. The food that I'd gotten at the hospital wasn't really bad, you just never got enough. I'd been thankful that Dar had brought me treats every time he came up. He always brought something that tasted good and he would hide things in my dresser that I could get at during the night if I got the munchies.
When we got out back, I saw that the fence around the pool was fixed. There was also a pair new of new tables back there that were both covered with fancy table cloths and piled with food. Erica hadn't been kidding about there being something to eat back here.
I asked her where it all came from, and she said that the cheerleaders had made some of it and that everybody who was there had brought something. It was like a pot luck and a huge party at the same time. George pushed Dar and me over to another table and said he'd get us both something to eat.
I got up and got a folding chair and put it next to Dar and sat back down. Leaning against his arm, I said, "I never knew I had so many friends who really cared about me."
He said, "Oh I think they're here for the free food. That's what I came for."
I punched his thigh and said, "But you live here. You had to come if you wanted to go to bed."
"Yes," he said, "but I'm back here instead of there because the foods here, not there. Besides, you're here too."
I hugged him for that and said, "Thank you. This party is as much for you as for me because of what you did. Anybody that doesn't agree can just go home hungry."
"I don't think you'd want them to do that," said Dar. "We'd have way to much left over and wouldn't be able to eat it all. You're going to just have to let them eat so we can get rid of it."
George came up then with 2 plates for Dar and me. He put them down and said, "Now it's my turn if there's anything left when I get there." With that, he walked back and got in line again.
Shortly after that, first Ellen and then Sandra came up and sat down with us. Ellen said, "the other 2 are further back in the line so it might take them a bit to get here."
If there's any left by then," said Sandra.
"I told them to hurry into line," said Ellen, "but they were too slow. Ah well, at least I don't have to starve with them."
"Thank you for coming," I said. "I know you couldn't visit me in the hospital much, but I'm glad you're both here today. I've missed all 4 of you a lot."
"Thanks," Sandra said. "We'll be coming over every day to see you too. Dar got me a bike so now I'll just ride over with Shelly and the cousin twins."
"The what?" I asked
"The cousin twins. That's what we started calling them at practice. They look so much alike that we call them that."
"Oh," I said. "Well I agree about them looking like twins. I still can't tell them apart most of the time."
About then, the other 2 of our little group joined us. Nancy put her plate down on the other side of Dar from me and Shelly sat down next to me. Now I felt complete. My 5 best friends were here and we had good food.
Dar looked around at the others and asked, "Can someone get me a cup of coffee? I don't want any more soda now."
All 4 of them stood up at once while I tried to. Dar gently pushed me back down and said, "I'd get it myself, but my leg is sore so let one of them. You get to rest for awhile and let them help now. You deserve it so don't argue either."
I agreed and let them, as I really was tired. It felt nice to have someone get things for me for a change so I decided to enjoy it for a little bit.
Then something strange happened. I was sitting on Dar's right side, and nobody else was near bye. I felt a hand on my shoulder and when I looked, I saw it was Dar's right hand. I also realized that when he pushed me back into the chair, he'd used his right hand.
I asked him, "How long have you been able to use that hand?"
"Since the hospital. I needed both hands to get out of bed to come see you. I fought to move it for hours, and it finally moved. I've been working it ever since, and now I can move it around. Janny's helping me get better with it by helping me exercise it every morning."
"I'm so happy for you Dar. Your really getting better now."
"Yup," he said. "But if I'd been able to use it when you fell into the pool, I wouldn't have hurt my leg or wrecked that old chair. That gave me the reason to try at the hospital. If I'd been able to use it, I would have gotten to you sooner. I couldn't let you die. I'd rather die myself than loose another friend."
"Thank you Dar," I said. I guess I'll be saying that a lot to him, but I really was thankful. He'd almost bled to death saving my life and he'd almost died saving Georges life. I just hoped that this wouldn't become a life long thing for him.
Janny came up then and said, "Ok you too, time for bed."
Dar squinted up at her and said in his little kid voice, "Aw gee, do we have to? I'm waiting for my coffee still. And I want a smoke. Please can we stay up a little longer? Please?"
Then he batted his eyes at her so I knew he was teasing her. We both started laughing at the same time. "Ok, but as soon as you're done it's off to bed with you both. No arguments either, or I'll spank you both."
Dar said, "Really? How bout now?"
"You are a really bad man, Mr. DeShade," said Janny.
"I know. I practice real hard at it too. At least I have something I'm good at even if it's being bad."
With that I just cracked up. I almost fell out of my chair I was laughing so hard. I'd never seen any body, including George, tease Janny like that. I just couldn't believe that someone would either, until Dar did. He really is surprising.
When the others came back, they each had something. Sandra had Dar's coffee in a big travel mug, and the others had plates of cake and ice cream.
"We cheated a bit on the deserts," said Shelly. "We grabbed ours early since Janny told us you 2 had to go rest soon. I'm glad I don't have an older sister who's a nurse when I'm sick."
"It does have a few drawbacks," I said. "But all in all she's a great friend as well as my older sister. Erica is too."
"Erica is too what," I heard her say from behind me.
I said, "A great big bully, I said. Mean and cruel and picks on me every day. Steals my toys too."
"Oh my, she must be feeling better to talk so nice about me to her friends," said Erica. She sat down across the table from me and said, "Since I'm a bully, it's a good thing that Janny told me to keep an eye on you. You go to bed as soon as you finish your desert."
I said, "Janny said we could stay out for a little longer while Dar has his coffee and a smoke. Then we'll both go to bed."
"Erica said, "Dar hired a couple of guys from school come in and set up a place for you to sleep in his room. You won't have to climb the stairs and your area is walled off for privacy. Then he and George got your computer moved next to his so you can use it there."
I looked at Dar and asked, "Why'd you do that?"
"Because the doctor said you're not supposed to exert yourself too much for awhile. You might get dizzy if you do, and I was afraid you might fall down the stairs. I also didn't want you to be so far away from help if you needed it."
"Thank you Dar. You really are a friend."
Sandra said, "It also gives us the 2 rooms upstairs to sleep over like tonight."
"Your staying tonight?" I asked.
"Sure," said Nancy. "And tomorrow, we'll take turns playing on your computer."
I giggled and said, "So that's the reason your staying. To play on that beautiful computer Dar gave me."
"Yup," said Nancy, "and on Dar's too. He got an even better one for himself when he got yours."
While we were talking, Dar finished his coffee and his smoke and said, "Ok, who's going to push me inside. I'm kinda tired now."
I'd already finished my desert, so I got up and grabbed his chair. Erica said, "No, you're supposed to be taking it easy for a month. Let someone else have the fun for a change."
Ellen grabbed the handles and said, "My turn anyway. We drew lots and I'm first."