Recovery of a Hero Ch. 09byRoadbug©
Chapter 9: The Hero's Gift
This story is a work of fiction only. Any chance resemblance to actual people or events is purely accidental.
Special thanks to Mistress Lynn for her assistance and advice.
The next couple of weeks were a bit of a blur for me, but I remember that Sally's friends came over just about every day. They took turns helping me around the house, and they would frequently take me places. All their parents helped with rides and such. I had a lot of fun during that time even if I forgot a lot of what we did.
One morning, after Sally had gotten us our breakfasts and taken me outside to eat, George came out and joined us for a bit. Sally asked him if he could stay with me while she ran up and got her swimsuit on so she could go in the pool for a bit. George agreed, and she ran into the house and changed. It didn't take her long, and she was back out.
George went back inside then and Sally went over to the diving board. She yelled at me to watch, and took a couple of running steps forward and jumped up. When she came down at the end of the board, her feet shot forward and she went down on her back and head.
Even though I was at least thirty feet from there, I heard the loud crack as her head hit. She bounced up and spun sideways and went into the water face down where she just floated. No movement at all.
I don't remember going through the fence but when I got to the edge of the pool I kept going. I don't remember how I moved the chair, just that I had to get to Sally as fast as I could. I went straight into the pool and sank to the bottom.
I somehow got the chair braced so I could push against the back and I felt it tear free of the rivets holding it to the frame. I used my right leg and left arm to push myself through the belt around my chest and got free of it and the chair. I felt a tug as something pulled on the bum leg, but I just ignored it. Sally needed me.
I swam up to her and grabbed an arm and swam to the shallow end where I could use the good leg to push on the bottom and somehow got to the stairs in the corner of the pool.
When I got there, I sat down and pulled Sally into my lap to check her out. She wasn't breathing, so I immediately started CPR. I don't know how long I did this, but she finally started coughing up water and began breathing on her own.
With her breathing again, I started yelling for George. He was out there fast, and when he saw me in the pool holding an unconscious Sally he immediately pulled out his cell phone and called for help.
After that, he came over and got her out of the pool and lying down. I stayed where I was at since it was Sally we were both concerned with.
Now that she was out of the pool, George got me Sally's phone from where she left it on the table and showed me how to use the speed dial to call his phone and went out front to wait for the ambulance to get there.
He was back a short time later with a paramedic team and a gurney. They immediately started checking Sally over, while I waited. I suddenly started feeling cold. I asked George to help me out of the pool because of how cold I was. He came over and looked into the water and yelled out, "I need help. We have a bleeder over here.
I looked down into the water, and saw a stream of blood that originated at my left thigh. I remembered the pull on that leg when I'd fought free of the wheelchair.
I suddenly felt light headed and as I stared at the water it seemed to get closer until every thing went black. I don't remember any thing until I woke up in what I could see was a hospital room.
My first thought was of Sally, so I tried to sit up. I got dizzy for a second, but I kept going. Sally needed me.
When I was sitting up, I looked around and saw a wheelchair not far from the bed. I slowly eased myself over the side of the bed and grabbed it and pulled it over to where I could sit down in it.
After that, I used my right foot and left hand to move myself to the door. I was going to find Sally. That was the only thing I could think of as I wasn't very coherent at the time.
I got out of the door, and headed down the hall. As I passed each room I looked in to see if Sally was there. Not seeing her, I continued on. I don't know how long I looked but a nurse finally caught me. She started saying something about my needing to stay in bed. I don't remember much else that she said.
She pushed me back to my room and had an orderly help her get me back into bed. I don't remember if they said anything or not at that point nor do I recall if I did. My only thought was that I had to find Sally because she needed me.
When they left, they took the chair with them. That only slowed me down. I was determined to find Sally so I again got myself out of bed, only this time I just lowered myself to the floor and crawled to the door.
I got it open by grabbing it from the bottom and pulling it until it was open enough to get through, and then I slid out on the waxed linoleum tile.
I kept crawling and looking into rooms until I was again found. This time, when they got me back into my room they strapped me into bed. I was crying by now and fighting them trying to get away so I could find Sally. I had to make sure she was all right.
They strapped me down tight, and an orderly stayed by my door to make sure I didn't get away again.
I don't know how long I fought to get out of that bed, but George finally showed up. When he saw how I was restrained, he immediately undid the straps.
The orderly came into the room and tried to stop him but he actually threw the man out the door and finished getting the straps off of me.
When the orderly came back in, he ordered George to leave. George said, "I'm this mans legal guardian, and if you restrain him like that again, you are going out that window over there. I want to see the hospital administrator. Now!"
With that, he turned back to me and said, "It's ok Dar. She's fine. You got to her in time and she's fine. Just relax for a bit and I'll get this straightened out and then we'll go see her together."
I relaxed with that. If George said she was ok, I'd wait.
Shortly after that, another man came in. He was wearing a suit instead of medical whites like the nurses and the orderly I'd seen.
When he came in he started to order George to leave the hospital at once or he'd be arrested for trespass and assault.
George said, "That's fine with me. I'll be taking Dar here and my sister-in-law with me when I go. I'll also be calling my attorney and informing him of how you treated this man. He saved my sister-in-laws life and almost bled to death as a result. They were brought in here at the same time."
"If you want, I'll be more than happy to leave," he continued, "but they both will be transferred to a facility where they will receive proper medical care."
I don't recall anything else that was said, as I faded out. When I woke up again, George was still there. He looked at me and said, "When you feel strong enough I'll take you to Sally."
I said, "I'm hungry George. I don't know when I last ate, but I'm hungry. Can you take me to Sally and then get me some food?"
He said, "Yes. I'll get you whatever you want." With that, he helped me get up and gave me a robe to put on. It wasn't a hospital robe and looked like it was brand new.
I didn't ask questions, just let him get me into it and then into a chair.
He then pushed me to an elevator and we went up a few floors. I thought to myself, "I would never have found Sally alone".
Getting off the elevator, we went down the hall to a closed door. He opened it and pushed me in. I saw Sally was asleep or unconscious and hooked up to several monitors. She looked pale, but she was breathing.
I noticed that Janny was there too, but I was only concerned with Sally. After all she'd done for me since I'd been released from the V.A. hospital I couldn't bear the thought of her not getting better. I started pulling myself to her bed with my good leg, and George pushed me the rest of the way over.
He said, "You can stay here with her for as long as you want. I promise that the hospital staff won't cause you any more trouble about it either. They have enough problems with the complaints I filed against them. I also have an attorney checking into filing a law suit against them for how they treated you. That was inexcusable and I intend to make them pay for it.
I looked at George and said, "Don't make it bad for other sick people, George. Just get the ones who did it and leave the rest alone. I don't need any money, and I don't think you do either so just get the bad ones."
He looked at me for a second then said, "If that's what you want, Dar, I'll do it your way. I already have a specialist coming in to see about Sally, and when he says she can be moved I'm transferring her to a different hospital. You are already released, and when I come back I'll bring you some clothes."
I said, "All right George, but I'm not leaving Sally. I stay here."
"That's fine with me," he said. "You can stay here as long as you want. Either Janny, Erica or I will be here too."
Janny walked up then, and hugged me real tight and said, "Thank you again. Now it's my baby sister, and I will never be able to repay you for that."
I said, "She's your baby sister, but she's my best friend. I don't have many friends and I won't loose one if I can do anything about it. You don't owe me anything anyway. She gave me more than I can possibly repay since I've been staying with you. I would rather die than loose her or any of the rest of you."
Janny hugged me again, and kissed me on the forehead and said, "As long as I'm alive, you have a home. No matter what, I'll always make a place for you. First my husband, and now my sister. I don't care what you say. I owe you."
I said, "You owe nothing for what is freely given. No debt for that."
She said, "You are a wonderful man and I love you for it. Very well, then, no debt for what was freely given. From both sides."
She then walked back over to the other side of the bed and sat down in a chair. I tried to lift my left hand up to Sally's right hand but I couldn't.
My shoulder was throbbing and I just couldn't lift it up. George saw what I was trying to do, and lifted my arm for me so I could reach Sally's hand.
I gripped her hand and just sat there holding it. I didn't even notice when George left. I did notice when he came back, however, because he said, "Time to eat boy and time to change into some decent clothes. I don't think it's right for an old man like you to sit in a girls room just wearing those rags you have on."
I looked at him and saw he had a large bag that smelled like Chinese food. He also had another bag in his other hand. I let go of Sally and pushed back from her bed a bit.
George put down the large bag and pulled a table over to me and put the bag of food on it and started pulling out containers and some plastic wear.
"I'm sorry about the table wear," he said, but I thought you'd be happy just to have the food. I also got you a new shirt and some jeans since your's were ruined. Plus underwear and shoes and socks. After you eat, we'll get you dressed."
Janny came over and said, "I'll help him with the food and you can sit by Sally for awhile."
Because of the shoulder, I couldn't get a my hand up to my mouth. I couldn't even reach the table at the time. Janny had to feed me like a baby but I was so hungry I didn't care. I hadn't had anything to eat that I could remember since before Sally's accident.
After I finished eating, Janny put the left over food into the bag and told George that I was done. He came over and pushed me into a bathroom across the hall and helped me get changed into the new clothes. The were much better quality than what I'd been wearing when Sally had gotten hurt.
When I mentioned this he said, "Payback for the gifts you gave the girls. I told you that you'd get yours."
I didn't remember him saying that, but I excepted his explanation.
When I was dressed, he pushed me back to Sally's bed and helped me lift my arm so I could hold her hand again. I fell asleep sitting there like that.
After that, I don't remember much for awhile but I do remember when Sally woke up. George and Janny were there too.
They talked a bit before she went back to sleep. I was relieved that she had woken up. I had been worried that she'd been unconscious for too long. I hadn't believed the specialist who'd examined her.
By this point, after my experiences with the staff of this hospital, I wasn't very trusting of any one in the medical field. I hadn't even been given a meal after I was brought in, and George said that I'd been here for over 12 hours when he came to check on me.
He apologized for not coming sooner, but had thought I'd be ok. I told him that he was where he should have been, with Sally. If I'd have been able to get there, I would have been there too. She was the important one at the time, not me.
George said, "I should still have checked on you sooner. The hospital didn't even notify the V.A. that you were here even after I told them that some of your injuries were service related. When I notified them that you were here and for how long, they said they'd check on it. I think they did and they used a hammer to knock on the door here."
I asked, "Why do you say that?"
He said, "While you were asleep, the guy in the suit came back and started apologizing like you wouldn't believe. He said that he didn't know how that error had happened, but he'd look into it immediately. He also said that your bill had been written off and you wouldn't be charged for any services."
I asked, "What services? I don't think they even brought me a meal tray and even if they had, I wouldn't have been able to eat without help. I can't feature them doing that either."
George agreed with that. He told me, "So far, I know lf at least three people that have been fired over this. That orderly was the first, and the person who authorized the restraints was one of them too. I think they also fired an admitting clerk for not notifying the V.A."
I said, "Just make sure they fired the right people, and not scape-goats. I want the guilty hung out to dry, but not the innocent."
George agreed to check.
Later on, the specialist came back and said that he'd made arrangements to transfer Sally to another hospital and that there'd be no trouble with me staying in Sally's room as long as I wanted. He also said that he'd personally make sure that I was fed and would have help eating as I had severely strained my shoulder.
I didn't remember doing that, but I knew that I'd done a good job of it as the joint was swollen and bruised. And that to the bad shoulder to start with.
I'd injured it while I was in the Army, and it had never healed right. I was twenty percent for that alone, and another ten percent for the right wrist which I'd broken. I had a lot of fun between the two at times.
I stayed with Sally as much as I could, only going home to shower and sleep for short periods of time. When ever I wanted to come back, someone would always be willing to bring me be it George, Janny or Erica. Someone was always there and always willing to play chauffer for me.
I don't know how much time passed, but I tried to be there whenever Sally woke up. She seemed to wake up more often and stay awake for longer periods. This was a good sign, the specialist told me. She'd had a severe concussion and some mild bruising of the brain, but he said she'd make a complete recovery. She'd just have to take it easy for awhile.
I told him that I'd make sure of that. I wasn't going to let her get hurt again if I could help it. Almost loosing her once was enough.
Eventually, they let her go home. When we got her there, all her friends were waiting for her in front of the house. Every body came up and gave her a hug and welcomed her home, then they did the same to me.
When everybody had finished with all the hugging and welcoming and such, we went out back where they had food waiting. George pushed me and I held Sally on my good leg. I wasn't going to let her go just yet.
When we got to the back, I saw at least two tables loaded with food. George pushed us to another one, and left us there. He said that he'd get us something to eat.
Sally got up and went and got a chair to sit in. She put it next to me and sat down beside me. After that, things got kind of fuzzy again. I don't remember much until the next day.
When Janny came in, I told her about the episodes I'd been having lately and she said, "I've expected that. The specialist that's been treating Sally has also been watching you. George got your medical records released to him, and after checking them and observing you he said to expect it."
"He said that because of the stress with Sally, and your own injury you'd be having a bit of trouble for awhile. So don't worry. I'm not going to loose you."
I said, "Ok, but I want to talk to that doctor. Can you take me in the next time Sally goes?"
"If that's what you want, then no problem. The V.A. is footing the bill anyway and I think they're billing that first hospital. Serve them right if so."
That was a relief to know. I'd wondered how much this would cost me since I don't have any actual medical insurance. Rather hard to get when you're listed as permanently disabled.
I thanked her and went back to watching T.V. on that big plasma they'd gotten me. I'd know about the stuff for Sally, but that t.v. was still a surprise. When we'd walked into the room, I thought it was an animated picture until they told me.
It was still a bit early for Sally to be getting up, and the other kids that were around were being quiet so as not to wake her. We'd all been letting her sleep as much as she wanted and like when I first came here, there was always someone watching her when she was up and about. We'd all been worried sick about her while she was in the hospital, but she now seemed on the mend.
Shortly after my conversation with Janny, she got up and joined me by the t.v. She seemed much more like her old self, and looked a lot better.
As we sat watching the tube, she asked me why I'd gone into the pool after her. I told her that I did it because she was my friend. I explained how a true friend would help no matter the cost. If someone you care for needs help the only consideration is how, not cost. There is no price on friendship.
I also told her how I'd grown to love her like a daughter. I didn't have any children of my own and hadn't even seen my nieces and nephews or any of my family except my aunt since before I went to Iraq over two years ago.
I told her how lonely I'd been in the hospital after they shipped me back, and that she and her family were the first people that came to visit me just to see how I was doing. I hadn't known at the time that the government hadn't informed my emergency contacts about what had happened, and I thought they didn't care about me anymore.
When she'd jumped up that first time to push me outside, and said that it was her job now, I'd felt like I'd just seen the sun for the first time. She was that light. I got up and went to my desk where I'd but the medals they gave me after Iraq, and got out the Navy Cross. I walked back and gave it to her.
When she told me that she couldn't except it, I explained why I'd gone after George. It hadn't been about anything more complicated than the fact that he was a friend.
He and I became friends after he and his men had been assigned as my escorts while I was moving around Bagdad fixing and installing computer systems for the Iraqi government. George was just that kind of outgoing friendly person you had to like from the start.