Thank God for Irish Women Ch. 06bymemorable_event©
Please read the chapters in order. Otherwise, it will be very confusing to you.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
I heard voices and felt the pounding throb of an awful headache. I gradually opened my eyes, which were slow to focus, and heard the excited voice of my mother.
"He's waking up! He's waking up! Oh thank you God. James, get the nurse and Emily. He's waking up, oh my God. Matt, can you hear me? Matt."
I struggled with all the tubes and monitors connected to me and quickly realized I was in a hospital bed. I just nodded my head, but the pain of doing that was terrible. Mom reached for my hand and I lightly squeezed hers. She was thrilled and started crying.
A nurse quickly came to my side and checked the monitors. She looked into my eyes and asked me a few questions. I struggled to respond. My throat was very dry. But I was able to whisper my name and my mom's name. I knew I was 24 and that I was in Kansas City, or at least I thought I was. But I then learned it was already Wednesday afternoon and more than two full days of my life were missing.
She told me to relax and that a doctor would be in shortly. Mom continued to sit beside me and hold my hand while crying softly.
"Can I have water?" I whispered to her.
"Let me check."
She left and came back shortly with a cup of ice water and a straw. That was the best tasting drink I've ever had. I was then able to talk a little better.
"You were shot. The bullet glanced off the side of your skull above your ear. The real damage was done when you fell and your head hit the pavement. The doctor says it's a severe concussion. We were worried to death about you."
About then dad and Emily rushed into the room. Emily ran over and grabbed my other hand and started crying. Dad walked over with a chair for her. He stood behind her with his hand on her shoulder as she cried. I noticed him wiping a tear from his eyes.
Emily finally became calm enough to ask, "Can you talk, sweetheart?"
"Yes, is the doctor in? I have five cents."
Emily was ecstatic and laughed out loud, obviously more from relief than humor.
Dad asked, "What does that mean?"
Emily replied, "It's a little joke we have with each other. It seems like we take turns needing professional help."
I looked at Emily and smiled the best I could. Everything I did with my head hurt. Movement and talking was slow and painful. I mostly listened as dad, mom and Emily talked to me. I was able to answer a few questions but they were mostly about how I felt. I finally was able to ask, "Who shot me?"
Emily responded, "That guy who fondled me. He was waiting for us to come out and shot at us when we got near the truck. Clint was also shot in the arm but he and another friend were able to wrestle the guy to the ground and hold him till the police came."
"How's Clint doing?"
"He's fine. The bullet went through flesh and didn't hit a bone or major artery. He's already back at work."
The doctor then arrived and introduced himself. He checked my vitals and shined a light into my eyes. Again, I answered all his questions correctly.
"Mr. Anderson, your vitals are about normal and your eyes are focusing and dilating normally. The scan we did early this morning showed normal brain activity and there's no evidence of bleeding. The headache you're having will gradually ease and we'll start some pain medication to help. The concussion you suffered did cause some swelling in your brain but we were able to control that. I know you probably don't feel like it right now, but we'll have you up and out of here in a couple of days. Do you have any questions?"
"I have a job starting in California on June 1. Will I be able to do that or should I postpone it?"
"That's almost two weeks away. I think you should be back to almost 100% by then. You'll have some pain for a while but we can give you medication for that. The one thing you need to watch is any contact sport or activity that may cause another blow to your head. Multiple concussions of the type you had are very dangerous."
The doctor said he would check back later and then left. Emily returned to sit beside me. I turned to mom and said, "So you and dad have meet Emily I see."
"Yes and we are thrilled to know her," mom replied with a smile.
Dad added, "Emily called us early Monday morning and told us what happened. We rushed down, of course, but she had taken full control of the situation."
I asked Emily, "Did you have to move out of the hotel room?"
"No, the manager was so nice. He said the suite was not booked until next weekend and he told me to keep it. He sends his best to you and so does Jackie. Jodi has been here twice to visit and bring me food and clothes."
"You've been staying here?"
"Of course, it's where I belong. The chair over there makes a bed and the nurses have been really sweet to help me. Your mom relieved me Monday night so I got one good night in a real bed at the hotel. We were all so worried about you."
Dad added, "I was going to stay with you last night but Emily wouldn't let me. We're staying at the same hotel just a couple of rooms down from your suite. I wish I could afford a suite like you have." I started to protest and explain but he stopped me and said Emily had already told him the story.
"You said the bullet just grazed me?"
Dad responded, "Yeah. Evidently, the shooter was in front and to the side of you. The bullet tore through your scalp above your ear for a couple of inches but then just ricocheted off that hard skull of yours."
Emily added, "Your scalp and hair will grow back and be good as new. The doctor said you needed 20 stitches."
"Is the guy in jail?"
"Yes. A detective came by yesterday to check on you and he said it'll be a long time before the guy gets out. Initially, they wanted to interview you but decided later that all the other witnesses were sufficient. In addition to Jodi and me, two other couples saw what happened."
Mom asked, "When were you going to tell us about Emily, other than you were just giving her a ride?" I looked at her and she was still smiling.
"What did Emily tell you?" I then looked over at Emily and she was also smiling.
"I'll let Emily tell you that. But your dad and I are excited for you. We love her already." Now I was really intrigued.
Dad continued, "Your mom and I need to have lunch. Emily, can we bring you anything?"
"How about a Diet Coke®?"
"Is that all?"
"I had a sandwich earlier so I'm fine."
"OK. We'll be back." Mom leaned in and kissed my cheek and smiled. Dad and Emily smiled at each other and hugged. Mom then hugged Emily and kissed her on the cheek. After they left the room, Emily stood and leaned in for a real kiss.
"Sweetheart, I need to brush my teeth. I'm sure my breath really stinks."
"I don't care about that, Matt. I'll get some breath mints for you later."
We kissed again. "I'm sorry I scared you."
"There was nothing you could do about that."
"I never heard the gunshot so I guess it's true, you never hear the one that kills you."
"We sure heard it. He shot five times but he was so drunk that most of them didn't hit anything. Another guy who was there pulled a gun out of his truck and rushed over. He shot at the guy but missed. Then Clint and a friend of his rushed him. That's when Clint was shot. They finally slugged him and got him on the ground. The police were there is just a couple of minutes."
"Where were you when the shooting was going on?"
"I was on the ground next to you. Jodi was on the other side of you and we were both screaming. I've never been around guns and they scared me. All I could think about was whether or not you were alive."
"I bet you were scared."
"Jodi was the perfect person to be with me and she calmed me down while we were waiting for the ambulance. I was a nervous wreck but she was as steady as could be. Many others came out from the club and waited with us and said many encouraging things to me.
"The paramedics were wonderful and they got you stabilized quickly. I was so relieved when they said it was only a graze wound. They let me ride with you to the emergency room. Jody drove Clint here to be treated. I didn't realize until we got here how bad your concussion was. The emergency room nurse saw it right away."
"How did you find mom and dad's phone number?"
"Your cell phone, of course."
"I have a password on it. How did you figure that out?"
"I tried several things and it finally gave me a clue. When I saw 'GF' as the clue, I figured that meant 'girlfriend' so I started trying some of the ones you mentioned. I finally tried my name and it worked."
"You called them Monday morning?"
"Yes, about 7:30. I knew that being farmers they would be up early. They were shocked, of course, and just dropped everything to rush down. They were here by noon and were the biggest comfort to me. You have great parents.
"After I called them, I called the hotel and told them what happened. The manager there called me back and was so kind. He's not charging us for the room the rest of this week."
"Wow. That's nice."
"Jodi brought me a change of clothes. I had blood all over the shirt and jeans. I'm afraid both our new shirts are ruined."
"We'll get others. I know you were exhausted but you stayed with me overnight Sunday?"
"Of course, silly. You were in the emergency room for several hours. Clint and Jodi were here also and sat with me after he was bandaged and released. One of the other couples we danced with at the club also came and waited with us. The owner of the nightclub also came to check on you. They finally went home after you were sent to this room about 4:00am. I was then able to sleep an hour or so in the chair."
"Could you hand me the ice water?"
She took it from the tray and held the straw to my mouth. My hands were restrained by all the IV tubes feeding various medications and glucose into my arms.
"What did you tell mom and dad about us?"
She smiled. "I told them the truth."
"What's the truth?"
"That you and I are in love and are living together."
"You told my parents that we were in love and living together?"
"Yes, they hugged me when I did and said they were excited for us."
"Maybe they're not as ultra-conservative as I thought."
"I think it's because they love you very much and want you to be happy. They certainly showed a lot of love to me these last three days. By the way, your brother Mark has called several times to check on you. He and I talked a long time on one of the calls. I can't wait to meet him and Cheryl."
"When you and I get married, they'll be your family, of course."
"What did you just say? Married?"
"That's what I said."
"Is this some sort of proposal?" I studied her expression but couldn't tell if she was happy or not.
"Not officially. But I wanted to put that thought in your mind."
"That thought has been there Matt."
"Of course. Every girl thinks about that when she's dating a guy."
"So guys think about sex and girls think about marriage?"
"Girls think about sex also but marriage is the goal."
"Does it have to do with commitment and security?"
"Yes, it does."
"You would consider marrying me?"
"Absolutely. I would consider it. But we don't need to make that decision right now. We need to get you well enough to drive to the coast and start that new job."
"Speaking of getting well, can you find out from the nurse if I can get up and walk a bit. My body feels so stiff." Emily walked out and came back in a few moments with the nurse.
"Mr. Anderson, do you really feel like you want to start walking?"
"Yes, the sooner the better."
"Wow. That's great! Let me get some help and we'll remove your catheter. We'll also bring a wheelchair in case you need it."
She was back in a few minutes with a nursing assistant and they got me ready. I would not miss that catheter.
I was, indeed, very stiff and it took a few moments to find my balance once I stood up.
I had to push the IV "tree" with me so I could stay connected to all my medicines. Emily helped tie up the open back of my gown so I wouldn't flash the neighbors. She stayed beside me pushing the empty wheel chair as I slowly walked up and down the hallway. My head did hurt but not as bad as it did when I was in bed with it on the pillow.
Emily commented, "A hospital is really a depressing place, isn't it?"
"It sure is. Nobody wants to be here and many will never leave alive. I want to get out of here as quick as possible."
"Did you find the insurance card in my wallet?"
"Yes. Your dad also went down and checked with billing to make sure everything was OK. It was."
"Do you have insurance?"
"No, I don't."
"We need to look into that for you. Of course, if we get married, you'll be covered under my healthcare policy with my new company."
"There you go again. You have the strangest way of proposing marriage."
"I'm just saying, not proposing. When I do get around to proposing, you'll know it immediately."
"Just don't embarrass me by doing it in public. I may say 'no' you know."
"Oh shucks, I was going to do it at a Giants ball game with the cameras all focused on us."
"If you do that, I will say no. A proposal should be done in private."
We walked slowly back to my room and I decided to brush my teeth and try to go to the bathroom. Emily came in with me and helped with the IV tube management while I took a leak. The taste of the toothpaste was refreshing. She turned me around for a passionate kiss while she reached around and under the gown to grab my naked butt. Her hands were cold but I didn't fuss. It felt wonderful to be loved by Emily and I could sense that she was now fully committed to me.
"Sweetheart, you've not eaten anything for almost three days. Do you want me to get something for you?"
"I would love a cheeseburger but check with the nurse and see if I can have it." She left and came back right away.
"She said that you could have anything you feel like eating. Maybe I can call your dad and get them to bring you one."
"Good idea. A McDonald's cheeseburger would be good."
She pulled out my cellphone and called. "Mr. Anderson, this is Emily. While you're out, could you pick up a McDonald's cheeseburger for Matt? He has a craving.
"Yeah, I know, maybe a kiddie meal would be perfect for him.
"He's nodding his head. I think he just wants the toy.
"Yes, that's fine. He's up and walking by the way.
"Yes, what about that? I was also surprised. He's sitting in a chair now.
"OK, see you soon." She turned off the phone and put it away.
"He's getting me a kiddie meal?"
"I think he was just joking. They were about finished with lunch and are going by the hotel for a minute. Then they'll come here."
She pulled a chair over near mine and held my hand again.
"Emily, I'm seeing a new and very interesting side of you today. You are now the caregiver and you're very good at it."
She smiled and moved her hand to be over mine. "I almost lost it when you were shot. My whole life just seemed to be ending once again." The tears started flowing. "When we couldn't get a response from you, I just wanted to crawl into a hole and die. Jodi shook some sense into me and pointed out that you were still breathing and help was coming. I was just imagining you dying like Patrick. With the darkness, we couldn't tell it was just a graze wound; and I imagined the worst possible situation, of course." She reached for tissues.
"I understand. I would have thought the same thing."
"These last two days gave me lots of time to think about us. I finally realized just how much you mean to me. I was totally devastated Sunday night. I was a total wreck again on Monday and Tuesday. Your mom and dad assured me that you were going to be OK. They had faith. We prayed really hard for you.
"Now you're awake and I'm on top of the world. The sense of peace and relief I have is almost overwhelming. I know now that I never want to be without you next to me, loving me and protecting me. I didn't think that I would ever be as close to anyone as I was with Patrick, but I am. I truly love you Matthew Anderson." She smiled.
"It's just my endearing personality, I'm sure." She laughed.
"That plus a lot more. You're the real deal Matt. I could live my entire life and not find a man like you again."
"So does that mean I can ask you to marry me?"
"I want to do it in a very special place and I want to do it right. Can you give me a little more time?"
"Of course. I may change my mind anyway." She grinned.
A few minutes later, mom and dad walked in carrying a McDonald's kiddie box, a small bag and a giant Diet Coke®.
Dad handed me the kiddie box and the small bag. I ended up with two cheeseburgers, which tasted great. Although my head hurt as I chewed, the taste more than made up for that. Emily gave me a sip of her soda. As we talked, mom's cell phone rang.
"Hey Mark. Your brother's awake and talking.
"I know, praise the Lord.
"About two hours ago.
"Yes, he's fully aware of everything and the doctor says he's going to be fine. He's sitting in a chair now.
"Let me give him the phone."
She handed it to me.
"Jesus Christ Matt, you sure know how to get attention."
"If it had been up to me, I would have gone a less painful route."
"I'll bet. So how are you feeling?"
"Rough. The headache is terrible but they promised me some relief in a few days."
"Is Emily taking good care of you?"
"Sure is. She told me you called a few times and she looks forward to meeting you."
"Yeah, just get your sorry ass out of bed and get on up here. We have plenty of work for you."
"I though you'd just be taking it easy with dad down here babysitting me."
"Not likely. You know how a farm is. Hey, mom told me about Emily. So how did a ugly looking guy like you get a babe like her?"
"I'll tell you about that later."
"Oh, is she there?"
"Of course, she never leaves my side."
"Now you're bragging. Let me talk to her."
"Hold on. Emily, my ugly brother wants to say hi."
I handed the phone off to Emily.
"Yes, he's doing OK.
"He was lucky.
"Right." She laughed.
"Yes, the doctor say's he'll be released soon, probably on Friday.
"That's the plan. We'll be there at least for the weekend and then see how he's doing before deciding to drive on."
She laughed again.
"Yeah, he can be; but so far, he's been a good patient.
"OK, we'll see you Friday or Saturday for sure."
"OK, here he is." She handed me the phone again.
"Damn, that girl has the sexiest voice. Mom says she's Irish and super-model-cover-girl beautiful. But she's been the most down to earth person to talk to on the phone. I can't wait to hear the story about you two."
"Just hold on for a few days. We really look forward to seeing Cheryl and you."
"Likewise, let me talk to dad."
I handed the phone to dad and he walked out into the hallway to talk.
While he was gone, I munched on the apple slices and caramel sauce that were in the kiddie meal. Emily took her share, of course.
Dad came back a couple of minutes later and said, "Mark just told me that some of the dairy herd appear to have pinkeye and the vet is coming out tomorrow. Kathryn, can I head back up there and leave you here with Emily and Matt? You can ride home with them."
"Of course. We can manage here."
Dad came over and we shook hands; he said how relieved he was that I was recovering. He hugged Emily and kissed her on the cheek and then gave mom a real kiss and hug before he left.
We spent the rest of the afternoon talking about the farm, friends of mine still around there and what they were doing. Mom and Emily talked a long time about our family and crazy things I did while growing up. Emily found many of my adventures to be hilarious and I did have to say that mom made them sound funnier than I remembered them.