Jan. 5th, 2010

Recovery

Jan. 5th, 2010 12:38 pm
thanksrainman: (Default)
Previously.

He’s not necessarily surprised when he’s moved to a private room. He’s finally to a point where he’s awake about the same amount of time that he’s asleep, and despite his hands still not working, Dr. Miller seems convinced he’ll make a near as makes no difference to full recovery.

“You’ll be starting some physical therapy this week,” Dr. Miller explains. “Motor skills are sometimes amongst the last of everything to return to normal.”

He’s not necessarily surprised to hear this information, either.

What does surprise him is that he’s been left completely alone. It was surprising enough to hear the hospital staff calling him by a name that’s not actually his, but the only thing that means is they haven’t been told the full story yet.

He’s certain that as soon as he’s left alone in his private room, the penny’s going to drop with a deafening clang, and he’s going to get a police officer guarding the door. And he’s surprised when it doesn’t happen. He’s almost surprised that he hasn’t found himself handcuffed to the bed, but for all he knows, he doesn’t remember how to walk any more.

And that’s something he’d rather not even think about.

Though somehow, he’s not at all surprised when Dr. Miller informs him that he may have to re-learn that particular skill as well. He’d completely forgotten about his “third” bullet wound – the one in his leg – until he saw the still-rather-fresh scar the first time a nurse had helped him change into something a bit more comfortable than a hospital dressing gown.


The room he’s moved to is a fair bit more cold than the ward he’d woken up in. Gus watches his new nurse as he fiddles with getting everything set up for a few moments, hoping that one of the things he’s going to change is the heat.

“It’s cold in here,” he says after a few minutes. “I get a sweater or something?”

The nurse – his name tag says Bill – smiles at him lightly. “Sure thing, man,” he says, clipping one last tube into place. “Be right back with that.”

He leaves the room, returning quickly with a grey hoodie, the hospital’s shield embroidered in blue on the front.

“You’re not gonna ask to take this off in twenty minutes, are you?” Bill asks, stepping next to Gus.

He shakes his head. “No. Why?”

As though answering the question, Bill does something with the IV line, separating it in the middle. “Careful,” he says, helping Gus into the hoodie. Once Gus’ arm is through the sleeve, Bill reattaches the IV line.

“Better?” he asks.

Gus nods as he pulls the hoodie around his shoulders. “Yeah.” He reaches for the zip, staring blankly at the bottom hem of the hoodie. “No. Help.”

He knows how a zip works – he’s 41 years old, for Christ’s sake. Or rather, he knows in theory. Somehow, the two bits connect, but for all his staring at the small, vinyl teeth, he can’t figure out how they come together.

Bill quickly reaches over and zips the hoodie for him, the effortless motion only annoying Gus.


It isn’t fair. It’s hard enough to stay on his feet as it is, but apparently getting shot through the thigh tends to complicate things. He doesn’t remember it really bothering him on the night, but he was also running on adrenaline then. And he suspects that things are more complicated for it.

“I can’t—I can’t— I can’t do this,” he manages, his arms shaking as he holds tightly to the arms of the physical therapist, a devil-woman called Wendy.

“You’re doing fine,” Wendy assures him, taking the smallest step backwards.

“Hurts,” Gus says. He’s not really looking anywhere, his gaze unfocused toward the space in front of him.

“I know, but you’re doing great,” she says. “Two more steps.” She steps backwards again, leaving Gus with little choice but to follow after.

“I don’t want to be doing great, I want to be done.” Nonetheless, he takes a small step forward, gasping as a spike of pain shoots through his hip. “I didn’t get shot in the fucking hip. Why’s it hurt there?” he demands.

“That can happen sometimes,” the devil-woman assures. “It’s fine.”

“No it’s not,” Gus argues. “Fine is by the fireplace, watching the fish. This is torture.”

He doesn’t see the confused glances the orderly and Wendy exchange. Eyes still screwed shut, he takes another step forward. Putting weight on his left side doesn’t hurt quite as badly, but it’s not comfortable by any means, either.

He doesn’t even listen to the frankly annoying praise coming from his physical therapist. By this point, it’s all just meaningless tatter that he’d rather not be listening to. He lets the physical therapist help him back down into the wheelchair, and all but pushes her off when he’s situated.

“What’s worse than the devil?” he asks, letting his head rock back so that he’s staring straight up at the ceiling.

“I’m not quite sure what you mean, Gus,” Wendy says cautiously.

“I met the devil,” he says, still panting slightly. “You’re a lot worse.”

Wendy flashes the orderly another concerned glance, but he only shrugs and wheels Gus back up to his room.

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Gus Dickinson

September 2010

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