basric: (Once upon a Time)
[personal profile] basric
A FRACTURED FAIRY TALE
(Still trauma just a different POV. Nothing graphic)


Once upon a time a little girl lay in her bed each night and listened to her mommy and daddy read from her big book of fairy tales. There were stories of princesses and the prince who saved them from the monster and they then lived happily ever after. There were fables with morals with ravens and tigers and oh so many scary things. They were all deliciously terrifying as she lay safe in her warm bed with her beautiful mommy and big, strong handsome daddy.

Her daddy even called her princess a nickname that stuck even as she grew into a lovely young woman.

My name is Rebecca but everyone calls me Becca except those close to me who called me princess. I determined at the age of four I would find my handsome prince and live happily ever after just like in the fairy tales.

My parents’ best friends lived in the Castle across the street. I was not allowed to go near the street without my mommy, so it wasn’t until I was five she met their son. I knew why I saw his blonde curls he was destined to be my prince.

We were together from the first moment we laid eyes upon one another. He protected me in first grade from a bully who would take my lunch, pushing him into the dirt. At fourteen when that boy pushed me against the locker and tried to kiss me, my hero bloodied his nose and spent a week in detention, all to protect me from the monsters.

Everyone said I was beautiful. I was popular and friendly with everyone. My prince, Daniel, was handsome, big and strong and the schools’ quarterback. He was smart, too. I thought him wonderful.

We attended a private school and in our senior year Daniel had been offered a scholarship to Notre Dame. I had applied and with my grades and the fact mom and dad had attended, along with a building having been donated by grandmother years ago, I was accepted.

It was an exciting time in our lives and I thought our ‘happily ever after’ was a done deal. We both loved each other deeply, neither ever looking at another.

I was voted Homecoming Queen and Daniel the King. That night we rode sitting on the back of Daniel’s convertible while his best friend, Jimmy drove us around the track surrounding the football field and led the other cars in the procession.

I suffered through the cold in a gorgeous sleeveless gown coming together with Daniel so handsome in black, to walk and take our place upon the thrones with our court spread out at our feet. Afterwards the team won the game with Daniel named player of the game.

I sat shotgun to Daniel’s driver. His best friend Jimmy sat in the seat behind him his girlfriend on his lap. Ricky, my best friend’s boyfriend sat behind me with Julie on his lap.

Though the adrenalin from the game ran high, Daniel was a careful driver. We were headed to a party at our friend Jack’s parents’ pool house.

I sat still cloaked in happiness. I felt guilty for the relief that Daniel and I wouldn’t be alone tonight. After we’d both turned eighteen last month, we checked into a motel. There were parts of it mostly before when he caressed and kissed me I really enjoyed. He’d even used his fingers and mouth to give me a bursting orgasm. The actual sex part was at first painful. Daniel was large and he lay still after he’d taken my virginity to give me time to adjust to his size so when he moved it was just uncomfortable.

I caught sight of us in the dresser mirror and thought how ridiculous we looked with my bare feet in the air and his naked butt pumping into me. At least it didn’t take long. He had used a condom; we didn’t want a baby to screw up our plans. As far as I could see, it was just messy. He sweated -- a lot and it was uncomfortable.

Now when they went out he expected the night to end with sex and since I’d given it up already, I couldn’t think of a reason to say no. Anyway, it wasn’t quite so bad anymore and Daniel enjoyed it.

Daniel turned off the parkway onto a two lane road without street lights. Two vehicles followed. I reached and touched Daniel’s arm, a warning to slow down for the severe curve into the bridge. It had been nicknamed Dead man’s Curve like it seemed every city had one.

As we came out of the curve, a big truck roared by us. It moved into our lane and clipped the front bumper when it passed and pulled back into our lane. Daniel fought the steering wheel but the right wheels were in the gravel. The front of the concrete bridge loomed before us. I think I heard Julie scream. I first felt the seat belt drag me back hard against the seat, and then the airbag hit me and knocked the breath from me. I felt the tires leave the ground as we went airborne.

Everything happened so fast we were suddenly upside down in the creek underwater. The car slammed into something that flipped the car on its side. The back of the car held steady against the rush of water. I dangled from my seatbelt the airbag pressing into my chest. It was dark but the moonlight was bright so when I glanced back to check on Ricky and his girlfriend, she was gone and I could clearly see he had been decapitated his body held by the seatbelt.

I quickly looked away and down toward Daniel. The water level was above his head. I strained down, scooped my hand under his neck and pulled his head above the creek’s level. I screamed Daniel’s name but my voice was gone. I worried about my friend Julie—had she been thrown to safety. What about her boyfriend did he share the same fate as Jimmy. I couldn’t bring myself to twist and look.

I shuddered with fear, with cold. My arm grew tired as it held Daniel’s head above water. I saw him as water was coughed up and felt relief he was alive.

Things got fuzzy for a while. Someone took my hand away and held Daniels neck. I think it was a man.

Then there were bright lights. I heard the sound of a helicopter over the sounds of the rushing waters. Someone clambered onto the side of the car door above me, there was a shearing of metal and the door was ripped away. I remember the blast as the airbag deflated.
A fireman in a yellow slicker reached down and took me in his arms, someone below clipped the seatbelt and he lifted me up as if I were a child. I was dizzy and everything got fuzzy again, and when everything was back in focus the fireman was fighting the current of the creek cradling me close. I felt safe in his arms and I knew I would be alright with him as my champion. So I gave myself up to blissful unconsciousness.

The noise woke me. It took a moment to realize I was inside the helicopter strapped to a gurney. The interior was gloomy or maybe my eyes were fuzzy. A nurse came to check my blood pressure and said words meant to reassure me though the sounds blasting from the air outside made whipped most of the words away. I drifted with the rocking motion.

Movement. They were running beside me two people dressed in black through the dark, I could see the stars and then bright lights had me squinting as a tall nurse stood over me, touching me. One of the people in black ran through a list of things I didn’t understand. The all nurse brushed tears I didn’t know I was shedding away with a soft cloth.

“One girl thrown from the car was able to give us personal information. Both victims are 18. This is Becca.” I understood that then was confused by the words that followed about sternums and traumatic head injuries. My head hurt but I didn’t think—I tried to lift my arm and suddenly realized I couldn’t even against the restraints. I couldn’t feel anything but the pain in my head. I caught the words . . . male—underwater—traumatic brain injury and I thought Daniel. He was here he was alive.

The tall nurse said “Bay One, Stella you and your shadow. Get her ready for CT. Make sure her lab tests are back and you have a result on the pregnancy test before she goes to radiology.

I was pushed into a room with curtained walls. I tried to tell them I wasn’t pregnant but my voice refused to cooperate.

The nurse put something blowing up into my nose and secured it around my ears. She said, “Becca I am putting a nasal cannula on you to give you oxygen and help your breathing.”

“Candy is drawing your blood.” I was relieved I felt the stick of the needle though I still couldn’t move my hand. I tried but was unable to speak. I heard snipping. It was then I realized they were cutting my beautiful gown. Why couldn’t they just pull it off? I tried to protest to fight but nothing worked. I panicked but it was all locked in my head. They rolled me to the side and pulled the pieces of my gown from beneath me and to my embarrassment snipped and removed my bra and panties. I lay naked on the table.

The embarrassment didn’t stop there. My legs were separated and while one held a light the other searched up inside my vagina. She said she was putting a catheter in my bladder to remove my urine. I wildly wondered if she could tell I’d given Daniel my virginity would she tell my folks?

She lifted my breast and placed sticky patches underneath and on my side then snapped cords to them. I heard a steady beep, beep, beep which I guessed was my heartbeat. One nurse stood on each side of the table looking down at me. I was covered with a sheet and wheeled out and I counted ceiling lights. Thirty-two lights and I found myself in a circular tube around me. Nothing hurt. I tried to relax and soon floated away. I woke to voices. My head hurt.
The one called Stella talked to her shadow. “When patients arrive at the unit, the extent of their injuries often is unclear. Our doctors and nurses must work quickly to determine the care that the victim receives, and then we closely monitor the patient for any sudden changes, which can often happen with trauma patients. The difference between ER and Trauma is that when a patient is brought into Trauma they are in real danger of dying. We work in a high-stress situation. To be here you have to work well under pressure. You need to be aware for subtle changes, and you need to be compassionate and caring."
I could hear my heart rate increasing and suddenly it was hard to breath. The tall nurse came into the room like an amazon.

“Ladies?” Both nurses jumped to attention. “Your patient is awake and hearing everything you say.”

She leaned over me stroking my forehead, “Becca, concentrate on breathing slowly. That’s it. You’re doing great. Becca you have several fractures but nothing life threatening. Are you in pain?”

I shook my head. She turned and walked to the exit, “You are professionals ladies. Act it.”

The nurse called Stella gave her the finger to her back but she answered back, “THAT is not professional, Stella.” Inside it made me giggle.
A man walked up and bent close to my face. It was a kind young face. He spoke to me, “Becca you have a skull fracture but it didn’t pierce the lining around your brain. That’s a good thing. They’ll fix that in surgery. You also have a fracture in one of the bones in your lower arm and some wrist damage that will also require surgery.

The airbag cracked two ribs and cracked your sternum, your chest plate here.” he touched the middle of my chest. He disappeared to the bottom of the bed, “Can you feel this?” I shook my head no.

“Can you squeeze my hand, Becca?” I looked around the room wildly, panicked and so afraid. It terrified me that I couldn’t speak.

The doctor came close again. “Becca you have a broken neck disk and three broken vertebrae in your upper back. The good news is they’ll be removed and titanium will support your back. None of the disks or vertebrae punctured your spinal column; but your spinal column is swollen from the trauma. We will be giving you massive doses of steroids that will bring the swelling down over the next week then all feeling and movement should return.”

“I’m gonna get you ready for surgery by putting a tube into your mouth and down to reach your lungs. This will allow a machine to breathe for you during surgery.”

He stood at the head of the bed and tilted my head back. He sprayed my throat. I could feel the tube pressing into my throat,

He pulled it out and frowned. “Her vocal chords are swollen, probably why you have lost your voice, Becca.” To the nurse, “Give me the smallest you have we have some peds. kits in the storeroom if I can’t get this one—and there we go.” For a moment I couldn’t breathe. A man who said his name was Bill put some round blue pump over the thing in my mouth and down my throat.

“Becca, this is an Ambu bag. I squeeze it and breathe for you. Once in surgery they will hook you to a machine but for now relax and let me breathe for you, okay?”

The doctor pulled the sheet down to my breast on the left side and spoke gently to me again, “Becca I am going to put in a Central Line, see,” he showed me a long tube with three line on the end with caps, “I am going to push a needle down into a vein above your clavicle or collar bone called the subclavian vein then I will thread a soft catheter into your heart. I will stitch it in place then the nurse will hang IV fluids, and antibiotic to prevent infection and blood.”

When he said blood my eyes widened, he patted my shoulder and I could feel it, tears came to my eyes and I think he thought I was upset but I was thrilled. I could feel. I could feel.

“Becca, your spleen ruptured. It’s a little organ with lots of blood but not necessary for life. It’s more an immunity aid. So they will remove it, but we need to replace the blood you are losing.”

I felt cold wetness on my skin. “Becca, this is betadine, killing any bacteria on your skin so it doesn’t go into your body with the needle. Now you are going to feel a prick here.”

I screamed inside my head and screwed my eyes shut against the pain. It felt as if an ice pick was driven into my body. It was gone in an instance then I felt him stitching it to me but it barely hurt. “They’ll be coming to take you to surgery soon, Becca. You’re doing fine.”

He turned to the nurse and in a brisk voice, “Hang LR, Ancef, and a unit of”. . . papers rattled, “A positive packed RBC’s.

The nurses bustled around me hanging bags of liquids; big bags, little bags, a red bag of blood.

I closed my eyes and listened. That’s when I heard them in the outer room. There was fear and panic in their voices. The word V-Tach and traumatic brain injury and we’re losing him and push epi NOW. Crushed chest—can’t do compressions.

I realized then while I was lying here with my puny injuries the love of my life was fighting for his. What had that nurse said about patients coming here when they were dying? My prince Charming, my handsome Daniel was dying. Then the male voice sadly said, “Time of death 11:59.”

Daniel was dead. I didn’t want to live either.

Bill called out, “She’s in distress.”

The tall nurse came in and looked at the two sitting nurses. “You realize the boy on the table outside was in the car with her? You let her listen to that. Get out, go write your notes.”

Idiots I heard her mumble under her breath in disgust and saw her exchange a look of mutual understanding with Bill who continued to press air into my lungs.

The doctor came back and the nurse took my hand and called my name but the pain in my heart was too great. I screamed my rage inside my head.


“Her heart rate has skyrocketed along with her BP up to 180/100. They let her listen to them call TOD.”

Idiots he mumbled then, “Give her 5 of Ativan and go on and administer the sedation prep.”

I felt her at my head, she stroked my head, “Becca you must calm down. You are trying to breathe too fast, let Bill lead you. Breathe in and out. That’s it follow his compressions.”

“ Becca your mom and dad are in the waiting room. They are very worried about you. And your young man, Daniel, he left his room where ER put him and is waiting to see you.”

My eyes flew open and I glared at her, I heard Daniel die. Two girls came into the room. The tall nurse still stroking my forehead spoke again with understanding, “We need to pause for Becca to see her family.They both shrugged and I heard the wheels being unlocked.

As we went through the large room outside mine I turned my head seeking Daniel’s body but nothing was there but two people cleaning up blood. Daniel’s blood on the floor, NO STOP I want to be where my love died.

They could not hear me. They pushed me through a long room. I counted fourteen curtains, fourteen rooms. A long desk ran the length of the other side. I looked up at the white ceiling and soft lights. Someone pushed a button and the door whooshed open. They maneuvered me through the door with all the things attached to me. The tall nurse stopped them and disappeared.

I stared at the dark corridor I was about to be pushed into when I heard her call, “Would the Donelson family please come with me.

There was my mom crying. Her face was puffy from all the tears she’d shed. And Dad, he was there. “Princess, you are going to be alright. Daddy’s here waiting with Mom. He pulled mom back and then—there was DANIEL.

He kissed my forehead, held my hand. My love. My princess. You must fight for us both. Fight baby. I love you. I will be waiting.

Everything was getting fuzzy but I felt the joy rushing through my veins like a shot of adrenalin. Daniel was alive was my last thought as everything faded to black.

EPILOG

It’s been two years since the accident. Both girls in the back seat were thrown free and had only minor injuries. Ricky died at the scene. They said and Jimmy died at the hospital same hospital where I was.

I remember the accident, the helicopter but nothing else until I woke in the recovery room. I was told Jimmy died in the same area I was but I can’t remember.

The drunk driver of the truck was arrested and got two consecutive fifteen year sentences for killing Jimmy and Ricky—vehicular manslaughter they called it. I think it took a lot of the guilt Daniel was carrying from his shoulders.

Daniel and I recovered, though I had some rehab. Daniel was with me every step of the way. We are both in our second year at Notre Dame. We took an apartment as the end of our freshman year dorm requirement was met. Our moms are busy working on a summer wedding for us.

We are blessed. We know it. Daniel held me last night after we made beautiful love and whispered that we have our happily ever after. But now I know how fragile life is. How easily it can all be taken away and I feel blessed at the end of each day to lie in my prince’s arms. Happily tonight for now is enough.

It is common for trauma victims to remember nothing or anyone in triage.

This was strictly from the POV of a victim.
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basric

September 2013

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