The Story So Far (Episode Five)

Happy Sunday you readers out there! A return to our long awaited program of The Story So Far! Tonight we have a very short piece written dealing with sensory issues, the loss of one in particular. We hope you enjoy!

Missing

“Alexander, good news! You’re going home today. The hospital is releasing you from their care. Your family has been contacted and should be here shortly.” The nurse, Rochelle, smiled cheerily at him. “Now, let’s get you up and ready!”

Her enthusiasm was catching, and all that Alexander wanted was to have his family in his arms again. Rochelle reached for his arms and shoulders to help him up out of the bed. He’d grown accustomed to the pattern of movement needed in order to achieve this feat, but still he could not feel the nurse’s arms pushing and pulling to help him up. The improvised explosive devise, or I.E.D., used by the hostile forces had taken its heavy price on his neurological system, but he was thankful to have made it home from Afghanistan. His bare feet made it to a tile floor that should have felt chilly. Instead it felt like a void. If he didn’t watch where and how he was moving his feet he’d offset his balance and he’d fall again. It took more concentration than he’d ever imagined. Getting dressed was slow and cumbersome. He tangled his arms within his sleeves, buttoning up his shirt was a monumental task, and Rochelle helped him to tie his shoes so they wouldn’t be too tight or loose.

By the time Alexander had accomplished dressing, his family was arriving. Rochelle stepped out to grab the final paperwork for his release.

“Daddy!” His daughter Olivia bounced through the door, all curls and smiles. She had grown so much since before he had been deployed overseas. She was immediately attached to his leg, pressing her face against the fabric of his pants. “I’m so glad you’re back! You’re never going to leave again, right?”

“No, sweet pea, I’m going to be home for a long time now.” Alexander reached down to touch her dark hair and cheeks. He could see her cheeks flushed in excitement, knew they should feel warm. He could see how gently her hair fell in curls to her shoulders but could not feel its soft texture. Her head stood above his knee now, where before she seemed barely knee high to a grasshopper. How fast they grow. “I think I’m going to have to start calling you sunflower instead! Who said you could grow so much?”

Olivia’s face broke into a wild grin. “That’s what mom always says!”

At that moment her footsteps sounded in the room and Alexander looked up to greet his wife.

“Elaine.” Her name escaped Alexander as his face lit up in a smile.

Her pale blue eyes shone with the tears resting heavily within them before she broke her restrained composure and rushed to her husband. Arms thrown around his neck, a kiss pressed against his lips. The imaginary impression of the pressure he should feel taunted at the edge of his lack of physical sensation. It made the sight of his wife and child even more fulfilling to his thirst to feel their arms wrapped around him, the smell of his wife’s skin and autumn hair that much sweeter.

“You can’t feel me, can you?” Elaine’s eyebrows knitted together, her voice strained.

“No.” Alexander released a breath in a heavy sigh. “I’m afraid not. If only I could.”

His wife’s face grew tight as the glimmer of tears resurfaced in her eyes. Olivia looked up, eyes wide and quiet, absorbing.

Alexander slowly moved an arm up to his wife’s face, watching to see when his hand connected to her skin. He focused on trying not to push against her too hard while still connecting with her, a difficult balance to find. His other hand moved to hold his daughter’s hand.

“But I’m standing here with you two now, that’s all that matters. I’m home.”

Rochelle returned to the room, a clipboard and pen in hand. The papers to send him home once and for all.

“Alright, we’ll just need your signature on this paperwork and you’ll be good to go!” She set the clipboard and pen down on the bedside table.

“Ow! Daddy! You’re squeezing me!” Olivia cried and pulled away from him.

Alexander released Olivia’s hand and pulled both of his hands back against his chest, afraid to touch, afraid to hurt.

“Come here, sweetie.” Elaine beckoned Olivia towards her before taking a step back. “Help me get Daddy’s bags for him real quick.” They moved to pick up his belongings from the chair in the room.

“Thank you,” Alexander said to Rochelle as he attempted to pick up the pen for the first time. It slipped about on the table, evading his clumsy grasp. Too much pressure. Not enough pressure. Finally he had it. He moved the pen waveringly towards the signature line on the release paper and signed his name. The ink barely showed up at the start of his name, too light on the paper, and nearly tore at the end from pressing too hard. But it was signed. He was going home.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Until next time, that’s The Story So Far!

– Instructor’s Comments “This is powerful.  You must know about this first hand.  I want the ending, however…his wife has to have some anger and fear here..great story!  Thank you…I just want you to keep going with this:)  So many come home with issues just like this.”

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