Chapter One: Hospitalization
August 17, 2009,
4th Wales Street
Black night whipped around me and wrapped me up in wintry blanket with pasty shimmering stars fluttering above me. I trying to remember anything about myself from the pain in my head that been throbbing.
Zack Owens is my name. Okay, so far it is good to remember something, as far as trying to remembering something about me that I am only eighteen years old with silver glasses on. Feel free to call me a nerd since I feel like one. I love to spend time on my computer, you can say that I am addicted to it twenty-four seven. I loved school more than anything, therefore any normal kids usually hates school. When it comes to school work and homework I really enjoy it, it like peanut butter and jelly.
I’m deaf, I was born that way. I can’t hear anything. How can I communicate in hearing world? Using sign language and reading lips. I had to rely on two of my hands and my sight. My family can sign with me but barely except my older brother, he very fluidly at sign language, and so is my mother, she prefer to sign often more than talk. Another advantage that I had was, taking speech therapy all my life. I can read lips, and speak, barely accurately most of time.
I am somewhat cute lightly blonde hair that combs to the front of my forehead and small flip. My natural color of my hair was really light blackish. I don’t wear overalls that allow the pants cover my belly like Steve Urkel from the show, “Family Matters” I just wear a simple pant with belt that has bald eagle imprint across the leather with dab of white paint only on head of eagle, and a silver faded ring that allow a tip of the belt go through. Then I wore a simple, white collar T-shirt, sometime a light flannel button shirt over it. I also have a small tight abdomen, and well-built chest, I have light tan on my skin.
There were some painful aches inside of my knees, and my right arm has burns to cause me wrangle. I figure that I didn’t have any nerves in my left arm, and it seems to be numbed.
I laid on a gurney morbidly and staring at the starry skies. From the perspective I saw two men standing by the gurney. There was light of red and white whipping around and expose the shadows around from the siren above the ambulance. A male paramedic slaps a blood pressure around my arm. I winced soon as the female paramedic rotated my right leg to straight.
Few minutes later, I was half awake from observing my surrounding, but I can tell that everything was just hazy.
There is a familiar older guy with another younger version of him running next to him and arrived together. He seems almost had a panic attack after he saw imaginable damages around us.
His distinct face happened to grasp my gaze, I started to remember him. John Owens, he’s a lawyer, brilliant one. He has brown hair and it was buzzed by a half inch. He likes it buzzed because he despised his natural curls. He got hazel colored eyes, with brown medium eyebrows above it. His nose widen from the side with his dome sleek down from the temple to point of his nose. He is very rough, mean looking, tough guy.
He wears a white dress shirt, only white ones. With two different prefer color of blazer, blue, and midnight black, and a trouser to match them whatever he had on. He wears polished, black shoes, which it still matched to both of a color whatever suits is.
He is a lot different from being at home than work. He knows that when it come to a job, he must be serious, or otherwise, his employees wouldn’t be serious. He is very ill tempered, he has a point where he reached it, and he won’t hesitate to grab you by the collar to yell in your face. He tells it like it is whether you like it or not. But with us, he isn’t like that unless we do something wrong.
I saw a male paramedic prying Mom out of crushed steel door and it took a while for them to remove her from the car.
There were a short flash back of her that tells me that she is my mother. She had a beautiful long, brown hair; she combed it twice a day. Her hair came over her face quite often, which forces her to pull over behind her ears. Once a while, she’ll put in ponytail with a small strand of hair on the front hanging over her brow. Her eyes brightly green, her skin not too pale, but it likes a light ivory color and smooth like a baby skin. She doesn’t like lipstick, or mascara, or anything, but just a little blue and sometime dark purple shadow on her top eyelid. She loves dark colors, black tight Route 66 Jean, with gray tank top, and mostly sleeveless T-shirt.
Dad clutches his rugged hands into his hair. He whimpered as his eyes glanced at Mom’s horrors cut and broken bones after the paramedic pull her out. Mom is halfhearted breathing and her right brain were swells which it sitting behind decrepit bone of brow.
Two other paramedic push me on the gurney into tight compartment of ambulance. There was blistering hotness surrounding me as paramedics’ heaves their lung’s air in small compartment of the ambulance. They overwork themselves to keep me alive.
A man’s boyish face features climbed into the ambulance and sitting next to me, it’s Channing, or as I call him, Channing. He is really down to the earth, and laid back kind of guy. He doesn’t socially with people, or going out to parties. He does have friends, the good kinds. He doesn’t like to fight unless he needed to defend himself, or kind of person you really don’t want to mess with. He is very much protective of me.
For some reason, I felt little safer and calm around him, I think it because he looks lot like Mom. His eyes are like emerald, it will just glint when you look at it. His front hair combed backward and to sidewards with every strand of brown hair overlapping each other. He doesn’t have really big muscles, or too slim, he is well average built with a six packs abs.
The swelling in my leg was painful. It really starting to irks my nerves. I kept bending my knee to increase the coziness but it wasn’t success. The paramedic forced it to keep it straight.
I turned to the right. A small metal boxes on the shelf. It has an indistinct reflection of my face. I could see that my face was swollen from my brow, and cheek. My bruises were black, and purple, two of my favorite colors.
Blood inside my nose created a path into wrong pipe in my throat. I coughed bleakly; I felt my chest readied to explode. Soft and thick ooze of red blood spurts into an oxygen mask, and I couldn’t stop coughing, and the blood kept restraining the breathing pipe.
I caught the name tag on pale white male’s white shirt that says Henry. He made it easier for me to breath by turning my head sideways as he dab my throat with long Q-tips which even made it worse by cause me to gag. Blood receded from the airway pipe, and slowly drained out of my mouth’s corner.
He abide an oxygen mask over my wiry nose and busted lower lip with simple cracked skin at the corner of my mouth, I breathe into the mask to the side.
“What your name, sir?” Henry asked Channing.
“Channing. Why you asked.” Channing wondered.
“Channing, can you keep him occupy, just try keep him awake.” Henry softly whispered.
Channing’s knee was lowered toward to the tin floorboard, with our hands locked together beside me. He uses his other hand on my forehead, gently.
“Hey, buddy, can you see me?” quietly comforting me.
I bore my eye to the bottom lid. I could barely see him when the lower lid of my eye covers my sight. Channing tilted his head sideways toward my weak eyes.
“Cha...” struggled voice it out, somewhat it barely came out of my aching throat.
Channing couldn’t see my mouth. I squeezed his hand tightly with my barely numbed left arm, then I held my right hand up, slowly spell his name to call him.
“Yeah, I’m here, I just going to keep you company, all right?” Channing slowly spoke, he made sure that I was looking at him; it wasn’t success when my tired eyes kept closing. Instead of talks, he signed, “I here keep you awake.” shorten it in ASL, which America Sign Language that I understood.
I nod twinge. “Where’s Dad?” wiggle my finger for where, but I couldn’t put hand into form of five, against my forehead to gesture it out Dad, instead, I finger spelled.
“He rides with Mom other ambulance.” He signed, sympathetically. He continued rubbed my sweating head. Channing softly chuckled, “Remembered when I got stuck in a drawer with my head in it?”
I blandly laughed, but I stopped when I felt a muscle spasm on my side.
“Sorry.” His close fist move circular motion against his chest to apology.
Next thing I know, something scrambling my brain. Why am I going to the hospital? Why am I in this ambulance or on the damn gurney? Damn, I quite got a headache trying to remember some stuff other than the basic about Channing, Mom, and Dad.
At the St. Augusta Hospital
After ten minutes of writhing in pain, and dealing with small hot space with three people, we pulled into emergency parking lot. I felt soothed, like a cold wind in the summer time, brushing into the compartment and defeating the hot air.
A woman whom I happened to catch her name, Angie, embedded into her white buttoned dress shirt. She also wore a blue trouser with white stripe on the sides and a hat with sewn Red Cross right into front Angie was able manhandle the old rustic door as it was partly stuck.
Automatic door opens when we approaches, I still lying down flat aimlessly. I been feeling helpless and sorry for myself the whole time I was being pushed into a long white hallway. A white bright ceiling light passes above me, beams into my face like it was flicking on and off. I could feel aura of the Black Death lingering in the hall, waiting to take someone’s life.
I turned my ached neck toward my side. A nurse face is like a heroine from the movies, which is a strong jaw with serious expression. She was checking my blood pressure with her two fingers into my wrist. I curiously glance on my other side, a male doctor with a bandana that has stripe USA colors with freakish light green scrub, I couldn’t understand his medical terms he was using.
What even made it worse, another male nurse with buzz haircut who’s pushing behind me, took his silver flashlight and shine it right into my eyes. I prefer ceiling light rather than a damn flashlight. My right hand wasn’t injured badly but sore surely, I smack recklessly into his hand. I fixed my eyes toward the flashlight, and it’s dropped harshly on the floor.
I drifted off, as everything was pitch black, nothing, just complete nothing, absolute zero nothing. I could roll my eyes, but I wasn’t seeing anything. A sharp sting like a bee has broken into my delicate tanned skin. Underneath my flesh I felt a ripple of water churning around, and I knew someone injected a painkiller, which is called Morphine.
Fourth week of August, heat-less cloudy day on Friday, I woke up for first thirty minute, I was burning up; it was like a something in my head cooking a meal with open roaring flame. Merciless sweat emerges from my pores, front of my perfectly rounded forehead. Sweat appeared over my body, my armpit, my stomach, and crease under my knees. I have this blue small diamonds shaped printed gown with gap from behind.
I gazed around the room that have four white walls. A television propped up against the wall with a shelf supported bottom of it. It was boring, and chilled room. There was a bathroom near on the left side of my bed.
I pretty sure there was death in this room. I wasn’t talking about not an actual death such as long black cape and hood with sully bones of hands coming out of cuff with oak scythe. It is a feeling someone had died on this very bed that I am laying on.
The view out the window from my right, quite pretty. We aren’t in Westbrook where my home is. We’re in Jacksonville and the hospital is right after the border between Westbrook and Jacksonville. A certain memory plucked out of my brain that I have been coming in this hospital quite a lot as kid. I remember getting operations for my ear to drain the fluid out of my ear canal to avoid having my eardrum damage.
I peered at Channing doing his homework, or assignment from his Law class.
“Channing…” I half spoke half groan.
He upped his neck. “Zack, I’m here.” He said, with small wiry grin.
I tugged my neckline of the gown to let the my body breathe a little. Hotness clung to my moist flesh. It makes me want to take it off.
Doctor Monroe, a tall hairless man in his forty’s, who been my doctor since I was born. He flipped his metal board over on his clipboard with my crucial information. “He doesn’t look good, his immunity system somewhat weakened, and we can’t trace the metal poison, it’s not coming from the knee.” He coldly sighs out of his frowned mouth. Channing interpreted for Monroe because I couldn’t read his speedy lips.
Dad came in from checking with Mom from I.C, intensive care. She was taken in since she went into comatose.
“Well, Doctor?” he said, concerned.
“I was explaining to your son here, that it doesn’t look good.” He shamelessly admits.
“What the hell was that supposed to mean?” Dad gritted his teeth together with his jaw locked. I figured he would be pissed at the fact he doesn’t like his attitude.
“We found a metal poison in his blood streams; we also suspect the site is in the area of knee. Not only that, we extracted blood from it but it wasn’t in it.” He says with maintain expression with his stilled frowned but coldness toward Dad.
Dad stepped around Dr. Monroe from the front, he shoved his finger tip against the metal board to shut while Dr. Monroe filling out information.
“I really don’t like your cold attitude, and I really don’t like you, okay? You may have doing your job, with you supposedly experienced, this is my son you supposed to take care of, and his life is in your hand. You can treat other patient like that, but don’t treat my son like he’s nothing to you.” He draws near with a step further. “Don’t be a cold hardhearted son of bitch, understood? Two more things,” Dad sticks out his two finger front of his chest. “You better believe that you going to find out what it coming from, and second, show some concern or if you have any feelings, will ya?” he quietly step back, and opens the metal board back up for Monroe.
Monroe feared, and shuddered quietly. “Ye…Yes, sir, we try do the best we could.”
“No, you will” He demanded. He calmed his temper down, “What happens with this poison continues?” he hoped for better answer.
“His fever will persist to rise, right now; his temperature is about one-oh-two, but we’re working on keeping it down below a hundred.” Monroe bobs his head lightly as he exited.
“Umm, before you go, is it possible okay for Zack to remove his gown?” Channing asked Monroe.
“Yes, as long he has article of clothing on.”
I already had my fruit of loom brief short under my thin gown. I couldn’t remove or move my arm for that matter. Dad slides his hand under my sweated neck, with his other hand on my back. He moves me slowly into ninety degree position upward.
Channing grimly untied my gown. My head fell over his hand which moves into my neck from my chest. Channing easily slide the arm hole down my arms, I grimaced. There was a sore spot on my elbow that the gown passed toward my hands.
Channing took over Dad’s position of my neck, and balmy patting my back. Dad slip gown from my shoulder, as soon he slid my hand out of the hole, he gasped. “Goddamn! Channing, just hold him for minute, I going to get a Monroe” Dad soundly shocked.
Dad dashed out, door slams into round rubber, screwed into the wall prevent the knob from putting the holes in a wall.
Channing slide his hand over my left shoulder from the front, my head fell between his forearms and his flexed biceps. He peered over and noticed a huge black mark. It looks like a permanent marker drawn on my side, above my waistline, far left side. It continues to expanding.
Monroe came in with Dad. “Is that supposed to be normal, Doctor?” Dad said. He points directly at the bruise. Monroe presses his finger upon the black surface, I grunted slightly. “This could be it, when we first examined it, it was consider nothing, just a normal bruise”
I breathe grimly and trying to force my eye opens. I tapped Dad’s arm. He grips my head, “Yeah?” I lock toward his eye contact.
I didn’t want to survive, I was completely given up. It was just too painfully for me to fight against. “Let me go, I can’t fight this pain, please?” I signed every sentence slowly as my energy wasn’t enough for me to speak.
Dad set his weak chin on my shoulder, and trying to stifle his tear back. “Son, don’t talk like that, please, just stay strong.” Dad kissed on the side of my head above my ear.
Channing harbor his hand over his eye, and look toward EMT machine right next to him. He couldn’t help it but cried.
I passed out on Dad’s stiff shoulder. Partly, I did give up, and I didn’t have strength to fight against this terrible fever which escalated to hundred and three.
Dad slightly laid me back toward two pillows. Channing tug the blanket over my waistline where it little bit below my bulges on my briefs.
Channing stares toward the bruises that I have on my rib, abs and my right chest. Nurses brought in the ice packs and one of them almost three by three, perfectly for my rib and abs. And small one by one, it was for my chest.
“Mr. Owens.” Nurse spoke toward Dad. “Yes, nurse” replied with a cool tempered.
“Can you pull him up for me to put the elastic band and ice on?”
Dad raised his anger again since he already put me down. Nurse quickly notice Dad’s ill face, and feared. “Dad, I’ll do it, can you go get something for us to eat?” Channing settle down Dad’s fury.
Channing again plant his hand on my chest, and my hot, sweated back. Nurse wrap first layer of elastic band over my shoulder and round my stomach. Then the one by one ice pack on an elastic layer, then she tug the band more over the ice pack and over my sore shoulder. Before she reaches over my rib and stomach, she laid a three by three pack on a band. Wrap twice around to hold the pack tightly.
“You can lay him back.” Nurse smiled.
I felt myself moved back toward the pillow again; then again, I don’t see anything since I must be totally out of it.
“Excuse me, I am sorry about my Dad’s behavior” Channing said.
Nurse shook forgivably, “Don’t worry about it, you lucky you have someone who willing to protect you, or even kill to protect you” she laughs sarcastically.
Channing couldn’t help it but glare toward her brown hair, which she had in a bun, with small bangs front of her rippled crease forehead when she frowned.
“Yeah, that true.” Channing nodded agreeably. She smiled like an angel, an angel from the Chapel in Italy some forgotten artist painted. Her teeth were pearl white. She must be somewhat in her twenty’s.
Channing smiled. It was like a moment, he wanted her for herself. He scolded himself, told himself that he is not looking for relationship, or anybody, if that matter. He wanted his life set before he looking for someone.
It was a first week of September. It was Monday, and the sky wasn’t cloudy anymore, just a terrible storm.
Short nurse came in, this time it was a different nurse, she put on a straight face whereas she very serious. Her hair was red and has grungy brown tips. She has a blue, ugly ass glasses on her droop nose.
She brought a tray with a pink handle on the top of it; it has a several items such as needle, tubes, alcohol, cotton swab, temperature stick, and gauze. She attached a tube into a needle, the prompt it ready for taking my AB blood type. Nurse dabbed my forearm with cotton ball imbued with alcohol.
I pop my eye opened, and seeing this blurry figure. “I’ll be taking little bit of your blood for tests.” At least that what I think she said, her mouth swirled with two different images of her lips. The syringe’s needle injected into my blue thick vein, I winced.
I peered at the tube, a blood being sucked into it. I couldn’t bear to look at it. I looked at the other way, and happened to glance at Channing with his open book lying on his chest. “Nurse, can you umm, do me a favor, can you make him feel comfortable over there?” again slowing say ing it every word carefully especially it strains on my throat.
“What...?” She said and she didn’t understand my speech, obviously.
I sighed. “Can. You. Make. Him. Over. There” I point toward Channing, “Feel. Comfortable. Please?” spoken slowly. Hopefully it should be clear enough for her to hear.
“Sure.” She extracted the needle out of my vein; she prepares it into her tray. She gathers a blue tightly quilted blanket out of the shelf near the bathroom, and then she closes the book and aside on the table. She softly pulls up the blanket over Channing’s chest.
Nurse returns her station putting a temperature stick under my tongue and it was bit cold.
After three minutes, she pulled it out. It was hundred and four point nine degree. It almost point one away from hundred and five degree. “The temperature isn’t going down; I am going to get Monroe” She left the room with my blood in clear tube in her tray.
I stare closely at my bruises. Every breath I took that I could see my ribs stretch within the bruises. I took a big breath, but once the lung inhaled, the sore increased. Then when I realized how much it stings, it felt like a knife stuck in it.
Channing stomped the floor to send a small vibrate across the room to get my attention, I turn to him. “Take it easy, Zack.” Channing signed. He sits by the window. He woke up with his leg up against the wall with his arm cross over his chest.
“Channing,” I clear my throats. “Um, you don’t have stay with me. Don’t you have class?” I barely signed, and felt guilty because I am in the hospital, and he skips his class to stay with me.
“No worries, I explained the situation to my professor, he made a deal with me, he willing to let me take off for three month, and I will be take it three more month worth of class next semester” he explained.
“Channing…” I spoke grimly. It wasn’t easy for me to accept him staying here and missing those classes. A thought kept popped in my head, what did happen.
“What happened? Why am I here…?” rubbing my temple, trying to settle down my headache. I never bother to ask what happened before. I was being drugged, and passing out too many times for couple weeks.
“You remember anything?” Channing signed. He approached next to my bedside.
I shook my head, watching Channing’s facial expression. He looks relived, and calm. Channing signed, quicken changed subject, “Dad gone get us food soon, you hungry?”
I wasn’t hungry because of this I.V on my back of my hand, and forearm, injecting clear liquid, whereas it looks like water, making me feel bit hilarious. In addition the hospital food wasn’t any good, it has no taste, it more of a rubber kind of taste.
“You lost about a pound and half water in your body since your spiked fever. Monroe just took you in for M.R.I while ago, he suspected there something stuck in that bruise causes infection” Channing explained.
I wasn’t focusing my eyes toward him; I was staring out of space at the white wall. I love Channing, but sometime, I wish he would be quiet, even for a millisecond. I feel like I have a mood swing.
Now I know how women feels. They couldn’t control their mood when their time of month. Many of us men think them using that as excuses. I was annoying at first then I was angry for bit. Yet, I wanted to cry. The next thing I know, I was scared. Only this time it last longer. I didn’t know what I was scared of. My eyes detected a door moving as Monroe coming in.
Monroe entered with orange envelop, he pulled the transparent films of X-rays out, shove it under a clip on a mounted light-board. He pressed a white button on the side, the light flickers as it cutting it on itself.
The film shows my rib cage, spine and a pelvis. There are two lines, it looks like a small nails which it seems be stuck about six inches away from spine, and under my rib cage. It’s located behind my kidney, downward instead of through kidney. The nails pressed sideway.
Channing prepared interpret for me. “This is a problem here” Monroe points the two lines figures on film. “These nails are being stuck behind his kidney, and his muscle. I didn’t realize it was in there when I examined it. I assumed it was a cut, or something pokes it with rusted metal” Monroe said with trembling voice. He relived as he gaze around as Dad wasn’t around.
“Don’t worry, my dad isn’t here” Channing knew that Monroe was terrify of him. Since Dad is a lawyer, this hospital will crumble under Dad’s foot.
“You have any idea how that nails gotten in there?” Channing curious wondered.
“Well, it could have been from other vehicle, or unless there some nails in a car, we will prep him for surgery” Monroe theorized. He left the room to set in time for my surgery.
Channing didn’t press. He glanced at with concern facial at me. I narrowed my eyes then tilt my head slowly toward my chest.
Channing just in time breakneck with his arm out, cradle my head as I felled sideways. “Somebody help, please, SOMEONE!” Channing yelling as the voice bounced every corner in the room. An EMT machine beeps rapidly, with flat tone beeps, the line flatten across the screen that it look like a divider to make the screen look two blocks on computer.
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