I awoke sometime later. To the smell of too many sterilizing chemicals, the buzzing of fluorescent lights, the gentle beeping of various machines, distant chatter, and running feet. A setting I was all too familiar with. I was in a hospital, Presumably in Seattle, Washington. I was in a lot of pain, from head to toe. I heard an oxygen machine somewhere, but couldn’t turn to see who was in the bed next to mine. I prayed it was Kelli. When my mind cleared a bit more, I noticed the call button was just under my hand.
A beautiful nurse lady came in and smiled, “Ah, you are awake. Good, can you tell me your name?”
“Zara, I’m 19, Depending on how long I’ve been out it could be past new years by now. Now, where is my Fiancee?”
“Wow very lucid, You have only been out for 4 days. You did miss Christmas, it is the 26th. Kelli is right next to you. you can’t move your neck because of the brace, there is a hairline fracture at the base of your skull that runs to the crown and becomes bigger as towards the middle, your left wrist is broken, as well as your ribs. your left leg was basically shattered, I honestly have no idea how you managed to get back to Miss Kelli to hold her hand. Adrenaline is an amazing thing. But, you will probably have to learn to walk again after you heal….”
“You talk too much. I don’t care about my condition. What about my Kelli?”
“Miss Kelli, she’s still comatose, the truck that hit you did so much damage to her, that at first it was medically induced, but she eventually slipped into a non-medically induced coma. She is stable but critical. IF she pulls through, she will most likely never walk again, and may, possibly lose her memory, whether temporarily or not, we can’t be certain. Your family is here, I told them I would call them when you woke up. Should I go get them or would you like sometime?”
“Ugh knowing my family…. I need time, an hour.. with Kelli, just the two of us, Can you maybe move my bed though so I can grab her hand and talk to her? Even if she Can’t hear me. I need to.”
“Of course, I will take my lunch then come back, I apologize in advance if this hurts.”
“It’s fine I just need to be close..”
The nice but annoyingly chatty nurse lady moved my bed, it did hurt a little bit, she put my hand in Kelli’s and said she would be back and exited quietly after writing some notes on her clipboard.
“Kelli, My Kelli, You will pull through this, we still have 5 more states to make it through, though we may not make it to them by next summer as planned, we will make it to all of them. I love you from here to the moon and back. You have to wake up for me My Kelli so we can move to Minnesota. NO matter what happens after you wake, I will always be by your side.”
I felt her hand twitch. I Began telling her stories of our travels, and our nights together. our life. I told her not to be scared when she wakes.
Our families filed in, they had brought presents and said they were taking care of the truck, I wouldn’t open the presents until Kelli was able to with me, I’d have Christmas in March if I had to. It was a bittersweet reunion. Our mother’s agreed to stay with us until we could be treated at home. I asked that we be moved to Minnesota instead. Because that’s what Kelli would want, Even if she wouldn’t know it.
Four weeks later, I was able to move, my bones were mostly healed, and I could move my self from my bed to my wheelchair, I had begun to give Kelli sponge baths, and brushing her hair, and
cuddling with her at night, we were allowed to moved the beds right next to each other. She was out of critical condition, she had a good chance of waking up, the doctors said so anyway.
8 weeks later, all of my casts were off and My physical therapy had started. I would have to learn to walk again as over the last 8 weeks they fixed my leg and corrected some nerve damage. That even after surgery had left me unable to walk, although I would heal quickly, and of course with weakened muscle from not using them much in 2 months.
3 months at a Seattle hospital…
Kelli Finally woke, while I was singing to her, a song we have both loved for many years now ” The Remedy (Won’t Worry)” by Jason Mraz her bones and surgeries had mostly healed. She Looked up at with her big beautiful eyes.
“Kelli?” She just looked at me, fear shrouding her eyes, she started to breathe heavily and looked as if she wanted to scream. I called a nurse in, but tried to soothe her while waiting. “Shhh, calm down you are safe, you are in a hospital. Are you in pain?”
” C-Cancer, is… back?”
“No sweetheart, you were in an accident, you have been comatose for 3 months…”
” Zara?My best friend’s name is Zara…” I must have looked confused because she continued. ” She has long dark hair and big brown eyes, just like yours. But she’s younger like me. I’d like to see her.”
” Kelli, How old are you?”
” 10. if Zara looks just like you when she grows up she will be the most beautiful woman. Are you her aunt or something?” The nurse came in just as it hit me she really didn’t recognize me. She looked at me, then at Kelli.
“She told me she’s 10, and her best friend is Zara..”
“Miss Zara, you didn’t answer my question.”
” No My Kelli… I’m sorry I must go..”
” Then are you a nurse?” I shook my head and wheeled my self to physical therapy, and cried all the way where Our moms were waiting for me.
“Zara, sweetheart, What’s wrong?” It was Miss Lidia, Kelli’s Mother.
“Kelli is awake.. she thinks she is 10, and that I am a nurse with a name just like her best friend, Zara…”
” Well at least she remembers you, we will just have to get her up to speed over the next few months or years. That is.. IF you wish to stick around.”
” I promised her, and you, that I would.” I had spent the last 3 months getting a small house in St. Paul Minnesota, a little 3 bedroom. 2 bathroom, sizeable kitchen, lovely backyard, only $700 a month, with the online help of my father. He was doing some remodeling work… “I am afraid all that work dad put into our house… is wasted..”
“You can still move there, Kelli and I can come with you, The hospitals there are really good anyway.”
“MOMMY!!!!” Kelli yelled from down the corridor as she and her nurse approached us, She in sweats and a teeshirt, she may have been in a wheelchair, but she looks just as goddess-like as ever. “OH Miss Zara, you are here too, and Nurse Leigh!! Wait.Why, is little Zara here? I heard we are in Seattle, I don’t remember coming here. It’s all confusing, but I am not scared, just confused, I guess we are starting therapy, can you believe I have to learn to walk again.”
” We will also have to work on your memory, but of course we won’t push you too hard or could make it worse, or hurt you, but you are almost 19 now, sweetheart.” A slightly saddened response from my mother.
“19?! are you sure?” She looked down at her chest, ” I guess that explains these bazongas.”
” Zara, would you like to help Kelli with her PT? Her’s is a lot like yours, I will show you the differences.” Asked our physical therapist, NiRa Jaxx. She was a sweet older Asian lady, In her 50s.
“Oh… uh… um.. I.. If she doesn’t mind, I do not want to make her uncomfortable. I blushed and fiddled with the zipper on my hoodie.
“I don’t mind, you were braiding my hair and singing to me when I woke, If I truly am 19, that means you really are my Zara. And it’s the same as what you did when we were younger. I’m sorry I can’t remember the last 9 years…”
“Oh, My Kelli it is not your fault, I blame whoever decided it was a good idea to invent alcohol. If you are sure..” I smiled, this was the moment I knew everything would be ok. No matter how long it took.