A short story about being disabled.
This short story is the end of a series I wrote last year about being disabled; if anyone is interested I can dig out the other stories.
The character Alec is based on my life as a disabled person.
Alec Waldron woke from his sleep aching; his tired eyes looked around at his surroundings.
The only thing he recognized was his friend, Dave Merrick. He asked his friend,"Where am I, Dave?"
Dave smiled and replied, "You're in St. Clement's Hospital, Dave. You've been unconscious for a day."
"Yesterday, I phoned you on your home phone and got no answer, so thinking you had gone for a walk I called your cell phone; when I got no reply on that either I got worried and visited you. It's a good thing I did, when I let myself in with the key you gave me for emergencies, I found you on the floor with a head wound. I phoned for the ambulance, and they brought you here. Do you have an idea what happened?"
Alec tried to think back to the day, but all he had was a vague memory of getting out of his chair for some reason. "No, all I recall is getting up from my seat, probably to make a cup of tea; the next thing I remember was waking a few minutes ago. Thank you for calling to see if I was okay, Dave. I gave you the key hoping this would not happen, but thinking it would occur someday."
"I know. I was hoping never to use it, but like you, I knew the situation with your disability was getting worse, and one day I would need to use the key. The doctor said the injury isn't severe and you should be out in a day or two. Their primary concern is your eyes appear to lose focus now and again at random times. But, they tell me that is to be expected for a few more days as your mind regains control of your eyes."
As Alec tried to think what had happened and what was to come, a nurse said, "Visiting hours are over, for now, Mr. Merrick, you can return later."
Dave smiled at the nurse, and commented, "Thank you." Dave turned back to speak to Alec and said,"See you then."
Alec tried to raise himself in the bed but he was aching too much, so he replied weakly, "Thanks for everything, Dave."
Dave smiled and shook Alec's hand as he replied, "Glad to be there for you, what are friends for?"
Alec watched as Dave walked out of the ward and down the corridor, then he asked the nurse, "How bad am I? In the last few weeks, I noticed my health is getting worse. So I have prepared myself for bad news."
The nurse smiled then commented, "You'll be fine Mr. Waldron, all you had is a bad fall, but you can't go back to your flat to live on your own again. We need to know if this happens again that there will be someone there for an emergency."
Alec wiped his forehead, then commented, "On my laptop, I made a list of sheltered housing projects in the area that I like. If I could have the computer the time has come to turn a realization into a reality."
"If you are checking them out, I assume you realized that you wouldn't be allowed to wander off as you used to do. From what Mr. Merrick was saying, you used to go for long walks to get some air."
"Yes, I had come to that conclusion. But, this year, I haven't had the opportunity to get out as often as I'd like. If I get out once a month, I was doing well; so not going out is not an issue for me to contend with as those days are long gone now. If I can have my books, DVDs, and my laptop, I'll be fine. I don't need a lot to stay happy at my age. Besides, I have my memories of last year to keep my mind relatively active."
The nurse bent over to smooth the bed and replied, "Most people would break down if they would have limited mobility, but you are so calm, what is your secret?"
Alec smiled, then continued; "I have no secret. I've been fighting this day for twenty years, knowing one day it would come. Some people think of me as an inspiration and a fighter. I think of myself as a guy who is like a punch-drunk boxer who didn't know when to take the count until it's too late. I was never going to going to capitulate to my disability until I had no choice. That's why I didn't class myself as disabled until a few months ago when I could no longer walk without severe pain. I wasn't macho not calling myself disabled; I just thought that if I could walk, even slowly, then I am not disabled."
"Well, I'm sure in your new residence you'll make friends soon. You are a gentle person from what your friend told us."
"I try to be, but there are times when I'm my own worst enemy. At those times, it is best to let me be."
"Believe me, we all get days like that, Mr. Waldron. Your friend told us you used to be a writer in the past."
"Yes, the operative words there are used to be. Since my wrist problem has worsened, I find typing is becoming harder, and more painful. Plus, my enthusiasm waned as the readers left. After all, what is an entertainer if he has no audience? I find it hard to imagine that I once wrote an award-winning book or a highly sought-after series of science fiction stories these days, but it's true; I was once a bestselling writer, all that is history. Recently, I have moved to writing Christian fiction romances because I got tired of seeing book covers with half-naked couples on to sell feebly written plots that revolve around sex. I was thinking of venturing into fantasy stories as I acquired some gorgeous images of fighting women from a friend that could kick a new series off for me."
The nurse smiled and replied, "If your science fiction success is a guide, I look forward to reading your fantasy stories."