Chapter Sixteen - Day Tripper
Part 16 (February 25th, 2007)
Hey, /b/. I know it's only been a couple of days, but people seemed interested in today's 'fieldtrip', so I thought I'd let you know how it went. If I'm somehow detracting from your pleasure in partaking of all the other amazingly high-quality threads, please, feel free to hide this.
Anyway, the day had finally come, that she could actually spend some time outside of a hospital, a nursing home, or a rehab facility (which is technically part of the hospital). I mean, think about it; she literally hasn't been outside of one of those three places, unless you count the time spent in a handi-bus being shuttled to and from one or the other. Which, considering being in a motor vehicle triggers her PTSD, is hardly a breath of fresh air. Kind of makes being in for a few days to have your tonsils or appendix or something else taken care of as a kid in perspective, huh?
Anyway, I showed up at the home, the designated meeting place, before noon, leaving my vehicle parked in my usual employee's spot despite not technically being there on business, and headed inside. I headed for my usual wing, and found her day nurse at the station, and we chatted a bit about this endeavour. It is, after all, a rather unusual one, but the rest of the staff does have to admit that she's in a rather unusual situation, too...it's my hope that I can kind of inspire some of the others to consider doing this as well, but I can't expect too much, of course. They do have lives of their own, after all...everybody does, which is why kids like her wind up being forgotten and abandoned in the system in the first place, really.
Anyway, I headed for her room and was met with her already sitting up in her bed, dressed in the sweater and a t-shirt my mom had gotten her for christmas, and the pair of pants she'd asked me to pick up for her friday night, which I'd delivered on saturday...she was wearing her legs, you see, despite having to use her chair. I suppose she figured that being stared at for being in a chair was bad enough...having people she doesn't know staring at her stumps would be worse.
She hadn't yet donned the pair of boots I'd picked up as well, which was understandable, and it was impressive enough that she'd managed to get her legs and the pants over said legs on by herself as it was. So I helped slip them on, which was a bit of a challenge considering the dimensions of the feet, and tightened the laces at the top, while I told her that I thought she looked very nice, and that I'd try and make sure she had a good day. Sitting on the edge of the bed, I helped her put on her jacket, then helped her into her chair...and we headed for the front doors, where the social worker was already waiting.
She'd just arrived a few minutes earlier, more or less on time for the rendevous, and carrying a briefcase, apparently intent (as it later turned out) on getting some work done while she kept an eye on me. I suppose, in hindsight, the fact that she didn't think she needed to watch me like a hawk with her full attention is a compliment, really. In any case, the family services van was waiting outside, so out we went.
The guy driving helped me load her up inside, with the assistance of a little crane-lift like they have on some buses, and I took a seat next to her in the back, while the social worker sat up front with him. And off we went! The first stop was the central library, which was about a half hour away, the hospital/home/etc being out in the residential part of town, and it being downtown. Fortunately, traffic was light, so we got there without too many complications...which was good, considering our poor girl had her eyes shut and my hand squeezed in her good one as tightly as she could, her iPod on loudly enough to block out traffic sounds, and a look of...pain, almost, on her face the entire time. As if terror when she was sleeping wasn't bad enough.
We finally arrived, the driver helping us unload out front, then heading off to find a parking lot to wait for the pickup time. She slowly began to recover as soon as the vehicle had stopped and the side door opened, and had mostly calmed down by the time I wheeled her in through the front door.
I'd called ahead to explain her situation, and ask if they had anyone working there that had experience with similar ones. As it turns out, there was indeed an older woman there that handled class trips, organizations (boy scouts, girl guides (which it turns out she'd been previously, if casually), etc), and suchlike. She met us at the information desk on the main floor, introduced herself to our girl, then asked her if there was anything in particular she liked to read. She was a bit reserved in her answer, not really giving much in the way of helpful responses; the woman seemed to take this in stride and suggested that perhaps she'd like to browse through the young adult's floor and see if there was anything she liked, to which she nodded, and off we went.
Thus followed an hour and a half of nomadic roaming through bookshelves and aisles, with occasional breaks to peruse interesting items in sunlit reading areas. She got a few stares in the course of this, which left her looking uncomfortable and unhappy at first, but she eventually just stopped trying to catch what other people were looking at (her) and focused on her own interests, which gave me a surge of pride.
I'm afraid our fanboy zealousness has frightened our dear Nurse-kun away... In any event, lets salvage the remaining thread with Azumanga Daioh porn, yes?
If you feel the need to post it, go ahead, but I'm not done just yet.
Time passed more quickly than I'd thought it would, with her social worker drifting along behind us half the time, observing, and working on reports and other paperwork in a reading area the rest. Before too long, we had a basket of books and an appetite, so we headed back downstairs, to the cafe attached to the main floor of the library. It's not half bad, with freshly made sandwiches, soups, and baked goods; for her, it seemed that it was like a gift from heaven, considering the catering quality of the places she'd been living for months on end. She ordered a bowl of vegetable soup and a turkey sandwich; while she didn't hoover them down (she has very good table manners, really), the relish with which she ate was a marked contrast to the times I've seen her eat the food at the home, when I'd worked days there.
She only finished half her sandwich, but all of her soup, so we had it wrapped up, along with some cookies from the baked goods section, and headed out to rendevous with our transportation again, to head for the city's orchestra HQ.
I'd discussed the possibility of going to watch them rehearse with her yesterday, and on friday night...because, as we'd reasoned, she might not want to watch people doing something she can't anymore. Which, yes, I know she sort of has to do quite often, but...still. We'd had a fairly lengthy (well, for her) conversation on the subject, going on for nearly a half-hour, but in the end, she told me: "I'd been around music, and people that make music, for as long as I can remember...I miss it.".
Well, that was that. Even if she also admitted that she was...sad...that she couldn't do it anymore, it seemed that it wasn't enough to deter her, at least as far as she reckoned. So, off we went, the orchestra's home only being five or six blocks away, a mercifully shorter trip for her, particularly since she's had a tendency to get sick if she's eaten and riden since the accident as well, despite not having such problems before it. She managed to hold it together (well, she didn't enjoy it any more than the first ride, but it didn't go worse, either), and we were soon at the steps of the hall. Fortunately, the building had been upgraded to be handicapped accessable when one of the conducters had suffered a stroke (so I heard when I checked it out yesterday) in the mid-90s, so we headed up the sloping ramp and inside.
The person in charge of handling the public that comes to watch met us there, and...actually recognized her. He looked somewhat shocked, and turned a bit pale when he saw her, and swiftly moved to direct us to our seats...it seems that her family had been perrenial season ticket holders. She hadn't mentioned that to me before...but it did explain a few things, once she mentioned this while we were taking our seats. Anyway, they soon started up, so we hushed ourselves, and listened. She was particularly intense, as much as I've seen her, anyway...
They played through three or four pieces before it happened; she leaned over toward me, which I noticed enough to lean in as well, then whispered, looking unhappy, that she needed to use the washroom. Her social worker heard this as well, and a perplexed frown crossed her face...since she wasn't sure how to handle this.
did you discuss your planned locations with her shrink before hand, or did she pretty much write you a blank check?
Yes, I had a talk with her about them. She gave her approval on them.
Generally, kids can use the washroom themselves, or if they need he;lp, can get it from the chaperone, since the mentor-type isn't generally 'qualified' to do so. However, in this case, she, the chaperone and social worker, wasn't qualified to he;lp her, while I, the mentor-type, not only was, but did so professionally...for this specific girl, no less. You could almost see the gears turning in her head as she mulled this over; when our girl repeating her request a bit more urgently after ten seconds or so, her worker finally sighed under her breath, almost visibly having given up on her computations, and gestured for me to go ahead. So I quickly wheeled her out of her spot beside the aisle, and out into the lobby, heading for the women's room...figuring that I'd get away with that more easily considering my professional status and situation, and figuring taking her into a men's room would invite way more trouble than the alternative.
I helped her with her problem, which was somewhat more problematic in and of itself than as usual at the home, due to her additional clothing and weight/mass from her legs; still, we achieved great success (wawaweewa), and while I was helping her clean up and get dressed again afterwards, she started crying.
I asked her what was wrong, being rather concerned, as is only right, and she couldn't answer at first, trying futily to keep up with her tears with her back of her good hand and her sleeve, while biting her lip and trying to keep from getting any 'worse'. Seeing her in this state, I could only do the first thing that sprang to mind...which was to shift my position to take a seat, and hold her (yes, in my lap) comfortingly, murmering that it was all right, asking her to tell me what was wrong, soothingly; upon which she just started sobbing, and buried her face in my shoulder, clutching at my sleeve with her good hand. ...thank god the bathroom was empty.
She kept up like this for nearly five minutes, heaving and sobbing, and getting my shirt rather damp, before she finally started calming down again, slowly. I started telling her how sorry I was, that I shouldn't have brought her here...not being a complete dunce, it seemed obvious what the problem was...but she spoke up, though still muffled and choked, sniffling, to tell me not to apologize. I offered her some kleenex, and helped her dry her face and blow her nose (which was running by now, of course), and she was quiet through it all, just looking down at the floor, refusing to meet my eye with her own.
After a couple minutes more, when I finally spoke again to ask her if she was feeling all right and that she was sure she wanted to go back out there, she nodded slowly...and I lifted her in my arms as I stood up, then helped her into her chair again, adjusted her coat and boots slightly, and wheeled her back out again, to wash our hands (we just made a threesome out of it beneath the tap), then headed back to the seats and the orchestra.
Her social worker gave me a look when I helped her settle in again at being gone so long; I leaned in toward her, and whispered 'mini-breakdown, she's feeling better now'. She seemed to consider this for a moment, looking at her, as she stared at the musicians on the stage silently, then finally nodded and leaned back in her seat again.
The orchestra wrapped up after another twenty minutes, with what I actually managed to recognize as The Magic Flute (yay grade school music class), and they started to pack up, with the fifteen or so other people in the audience beginning to file out. A few stared at her as they walked past, which just led her to look down at the floor again, so I stood up and interposed myself between her and the aisle, leaning over her to he;lp her put her jacket on again for the trip outside. While I was doing so, I whispered to her, the noise of people trodding past probably making it just between us though it wasn't really planned that way, "You're braver than any of them, and cuter, too.". I really wasn't sure what to say, but felt I had to say something to try and cheer her up, so that's what came out. And it seemed to work, too, as she looked up again...and gave me a little ghost of a smile.
Feeling a bit better (or less worse) about the whole thing, I helped wheel her out into the lobby again, the social worker calling our driver to come pick us up, and we were soon loading up for the last stop of the day.
Even feeling not as bad as I was, I was a bit unsure about the last excursion of the day. Still, we had another hour before we needed to head back to the home, so it seemed wrong to waste her first time out of there. So off we went, heading out to the edge of the downtown, to the science center/planetarium. I'd checked into it ahead of time, and found they were running a program for sundays, so it'd seemed like a good idea at the time. Still, she had to have been there before as well (on a fieldtrip if nothing else), so after the incident we'd just been through, I was feeling somewhat unsure of myself.
Holding her hand on the fifteen minute trip over, and her holding mine...somehow less tightly, but more closely, if that makes any sense, than before, I decided that I could only keep a brave face on it all rather than show any of my worries, for her, if nothing else. We arrived and were soon on our way inside...
Anyway, that descent into emoness aside, it was fun, taking us back to the pleasentness (sic) that was the first part of our outing. We browsed through the various minor exhibits of interest, including the current 'big thing', an exhibition of NASA gadgets and suchlike. She seemed quite interested by all this, and managed to answer the physics quiz for computing reentry on her first try, after only a few seconds of thought. I was certainly impressed, considering I barely got through the first stage of the math...IS HARD. We eventually headed into the planetarium section of the building for the constellation/laser/light show, and spent the next half hour being bombarded with a stoner's wet dream, and, I fucking kid you not, a certain song from the Rolling Stones at one point...to which we both laughed, then started singing along with quietly together, to a slightly puzzled look from her social worker. It was a gas, gas, gaaaaaas...
FUCKING BURN THIS ISN'T NURSE-KUN THIS ISN'T HIS WRITING STYLE
Well, you could've fooled me. Shit, am I actually some sort of wealthy playboy with a hot date tonight? Damn, what am I doing in here, then?
The pleasentness (sic) continued as we headed out of the light show and stopped by the in-house restraunt/cafeteria. I asked her if she'd like anything to spoil her dinner, and we went past an assortment of not particularly healthy kids-friendly food.
Then we got to one sort in particular, and...well, my /b/ness took control, and I couldn't resist. I asked her if she'd like a slice, since they didn't make it at the home at all, and we were already here...and she said, looking slightly distressed (which I felt bad about, but it was too late by then), and I quote: '...no. I don't like pizza.'.
Nurse-kun, when you type this stuff up before posting, do you save any of it? Wikichan is still missing your Christmas thread, it'd be great if you still had a copy of what you posted...
Er, no, I type it up on the fly, I don't save any of it. And nothing really got posted on christmas that I haven't mentioned here...my family swung by and met her, gave her some extra presents, it was nice, though she was a bit overwhelmed and flustered, and not terribly personable, which is understandable...but it was nice. She told me later that it was the first time so many people had come to see her since the accident without feeling obligated to, then leaving 'grossed out'.
I hope you laughed. I would have.
I fought hard to keep from doing so...and barely succeeded.
lol. And this is the line the entire hoax was leading up to. j/k
I swear to GOD that I'm not making this up...she wouldn't have even mentioned it if I hadn't brought it up, which I did due to my /b/ conditioning...besides, not every kid loev pizza, right? I mean, some of them have to haet it...
Barely managing to control myself, I nodded and said 'Well, that's okay. How about a hamburger, then?'. That was somewhat more agreeable to her, and we picked up a burger and fries, and got it packaged to go, then headed back to our ride, who was already waiting on us. We all climbed up and inside, and were soon on our way back to the home, my hand in its usual place clasped within her own (well, hers squeezing onto mine, it not being big enough to really clasp it within or anything). It took ten minutes longer to get back than it took get get out earlier, which wasn't fun for her, but we did get there eventually, and when the van stopped and the social worker and driver were getting out, she told me that she felt better riding with me than she usually did.
We were soon back inside the home, with me carrying a backpack filled with her books, her doggybagged half-sandwich, and her fast food, which I would smuggle past security (seeing as official policy is to frown on outside food). I thanked her social worker for making this happen, and she offered a slightly tired smile in return, telling me that she thought it went as well as could be expected, and that it was a 'good first step'. Then she bid our girl goodbye, saying that she had a nice time with her today, and waved out, getting a ride from the driver back to her office.
Whatever happened with that girl you were going to ask out? Nothing?
I asked her out, she said she already had a boyfriend, but that I was 'nice'. Didn't really strike me was worth mentioning.
I wheeled her back to her room, pausing to greet her afternoon/evening nurse on the way, then helped her inside, and out of her chair and onto her bed. I then unpacked her meal onto her bedside table, whereupon she started eating french fries and watching me while I removed her boots. I asked if she'd like to keep her legs on a while longer, or if she was ready to remove them for the evening. She seemed to think about this for a few seconds...then said she'd like to keep them on...that she'd 'liked having them for more than an hour' again.
That done, I pulled up her room's chair and had a seat while she ate some more fries quietly, unpacking her books for her, and telling her I'd put her leftover sandwich in the fridge, and make a note that they could include it in her breakfast or lunch tomorrow, perhaps. It was then that I noticed she was trying to get a grip on the burger (which was pretty big for a kid, more adult sized) with her good hand and her prosthetic, with the latter failing pretty miserably at the attempt...
Speaking as a female (yes, yes I know - no girls on interbutt, tits or gtfo etc) I think that the level of love and dedication you display by helping this girl so devotedly is a great display of character and fairly attractive. BUT if and when you do become her legal guardian and someday perhaps choose to find yourself a girlfriend/wife/whatever, is there a risk Amputee-chan will feel jealous and possessive, or worse still, betrayed?
Well, that's a risk I'll have to take, and work to try and he;lp her heal to the point where she can avoid it.
I waited a moment, not sure if I should...then finally smiled casually, and asked her if she'd like (not require) some he;lp, then jokingly said that it wouldn't do to stain her (prosthetic) hand, making it a matter of convenience, rather than need. She looked a bit embarassed for a moment, then nodded, saying "Please.". She does have good manners (when she isn't upset), after all.
Thus followed my holding the burger, and her taking small bites from it, which, well, was as cute as it sounds, in a non-creepy (I like to think) way. This continued on until she'd finished half of it (like I said, it was adult-sized, and she'd just eaten about three and a half hours earlier), and half her fries, and she leaned back on the bed, supporting herself with her arms (which she's gotten good at, using her prosthetic arm as a support beam), and announced that she was full, and could I please take her pants off.
Okay, just kidding. She actually said that she was ready to remove her legs, and could I please he;lp her? To that end, I did, in fact, remove her pants, helping her lay down first so she could lift her hips to facilitate said pants removal, then I moved on to her legs, 'unhooking' first her right from its liner and slipping it off, then the left...setting them aside, then slipping her liners off as well.
I gave her a small massage to he;lp with adjusting to the change, then helped her sit up again, and tugged her sweater up and off, leaving her in her t-shirt. I folded and put away her things in their usual places, and asked if she'd like me to refridgerate the burger for later as well (which she did), then kind of fiddled aimlessly about, not sure exactly how to 'end it' for the day, not having been in the position before. She took her turn at saving me, then, speaking up abruptly as she leaned forward and hugged me suddenly, (I was still kneeling beside her bed, in front of her), and told me she had a nice time, thanking me for doing it for her...
(And, uh, just for the record and the mods, **she was in fact wearing underwear, and I did not ask her to remove MY pants**.)
Anyway, I gave her a small, friendly hug in return, and told her that I'd had fun too, and hoped we could do it again some time soon. She let go after a moment and I released her as well, then, moving to stand up, she looked up at me, and smiled. It wasn't forced, or unusually large, or tinged with anything negative that I could discern...it was just...a smile. Still, coming from her, then, it was one of the most beautiful things I'd ever seen...for what it meant. So I smiled back, trying to give her an idea of what I was feeling as well, happiness...and reached down to pat her head gently. "Have a good night, and sweet dreams, <name here>...I'll see you tomorrow." She nodded, after a moment, and offering one last brief grin, I collected her half-sandwich and burger remains and left the room, dropping them off in the staff fridge after I spoke with her shift nurse and left her a note to give to the morning nurse when catering delivered the morning meals. Then...I went home. And here I am...hopefully not about to be v& for a completely legal day out, Zack Breyered by 4chan's own mods.
So Nurse-kun, outlook on future excursions is looking good?
Whew. That took longer than I thought it would...I need to do some Mavis Beacon or something. Maybe kill some zombies with typewriters. Ah, well.
To answer this question: Yeah, it's looking pretty good, I'd say...as the social worker herself said, she thought it went well and I did well; she...my girl...said she had fun, and demonstrated a willingness to do it again...and I have the will, I'd think is obvious. I can just keep my fingers crossed, really. Also, I suppose I can say it here, just as well as anywhere else: Questions? Ideas? Hopefully not v&ings?
Nurse-kun, I love you from the bottom of my heart. Im currently a pre-med student here in Michigan and spend a lot of my time volunteering at my local Detroit-Mercy Hospital and the Childrens Hospital. What you're doing is truely something to be emulated by the rest of society. Not going out of our way or spending every penny we earn on a cause (even though that is fine too) but rather, just doing what we can to he;lp someone else as much as we can. >You have taught me that Id rather donate my entire life to ONE cause, ONE person, or ONE reason rather than jump from one direction to another. You're truly an inspiration for me. >`<3` Nurse-kun
Wow. I...well, I'm honored that you'd think I'm worth anything, let alone being an inspiration. Seems to me that it's a good philosophy to have, in this big bad world where we can't possibly he;lp everyone, or do everything...we CAN do something, if we focus our mind and our will on doing it.
It's just a matter of the will to act, which I like to think any of us have the potential for within us. Which I hope I have within me to keep me going.
I was more referring to the sage spam than the pornography. Oddly, I accept the pornography as part of /b/ culture and expect it to crop up any time and any place.
For the record, I don't have a problem with the porn either. And not just because Yomi is erotic. (Yes, Nurse-kun thinks Yomi is erotic)
If people want to post non-horrific porn in these threads, hell, feel free. I mean, I'd rather not see a random string of pornstars filling them up, but it's not like I'm going to be 'lawdie lawdie me!'ing, either.
Hey, was the email that was posted in the last thread really one that you made, or the product of some other asshole?
I don't know anything about that.
Hey nurse-kun, were you really a boy scout? I made Eagle 5 years ago lol.
Well, yeah, I was, briefly. Well, for a few years, anyway, but I wasn't too into it past 12 or so.
My suggestion would be, sonsidering the amount of time that she has spent inside lately, that she might like to get out into like, actuall outdoors. Is there perhaps a nice nature route or even a path near a lake or something anywhere nearby that a wheelchair could possibly access? Taking her to an actual park would be a big NO, because it would probably just be a reminder of things she can no longer do (swings, slides, etc). I just think it would be a good thing for her to possibly get some fresh air?
Yes, this is certainly a consideration. I mean, I've thought about a lot of various outdoor things she might like/be able to do, and I'm still weighing various options, and looking, now that the first excurious went well, for weather forecasts suggesting a nice day on a future arranged outing.
So did the guy at the orchestra know about what happened to her family? I'd assume not, given his reaction. Did you talk to him much or at all about that? Also, do you think it'd be worth trying to go back to see the orchestra again? Probably not next time, but at some point. It seems like it stirs up a lot of unpleasant memories and emotions but would she be able to get past that at some point?
He didn't discuss it, but he certainly seemed to recognize her...I mean, I'd informed him of her physical condition (but not her name or description, just 'a child's' condition, so he knew what to expect with her, physically...and you know, she's not, like, HORRIFIC. Yes, the scarring over her eye is disfiguring but not Bikko-twisted horrible, and it isn't as though he could see her stumps, or the scar on her chest or back...something had to provoke that reaction, and as I said, as she told me later, her family were season ticket holders, and he was one of the guys that handled guests and such, so...mm.
Well, yes, I'm sure she'll be there again someday...soon, or far away, I'm not sure at this point.
I'm an educated /B/-tard, and since you mentioned that your charge is interested in Science, I've got a buttload of NASA-related stuff. Would the girl be interested in that, and if so, how could I get it to you? Likewise, I'm looking to dispose of some of my anime posters, so she's welcome to those, as well.
I'm not sure, and with people posting me on myspace, and rumors/jokes about the mods sending my IP to the feds, etc (which, while I haven't done anything illegal, but have written socially unacceptable joking things on the Breyer Board, will still fuck up my life damn good, and certainly remove me from hers, which since I don't intend to ever harm her, I think would be bad as well, but hey), I'm a bit leery of setting up some sort of contact with a stranger, you know? Besides, suddenly dumping a buttload of NASA-related stuff onto her would be weird, raise eyebrows. Sorry. Maybe in the future?
As for the posters, I'm not sure about that either, but the only thing on her walls right now is that samus picture of her, and she hasn't been interested in other decorations...
This is sort of unrelated, but earlier in the thread, someone else was talking about her possibly being able to learn how to play french horn, as it is an easy instrument to learn to play one handed, despite a really steep price. This is just a suggestion, but harmonicas are actually relatively easy to play one handed. I know it isn't as elegant as a violin or anything, but it is still music, still fun, and would give her something nice to do in her free time. Plus, harmonicas can be bought for pretty darn cheap.
Hmm, not a bad suggestion, nor was the french horn (for the future, perhaps)...I'll have to take it under consideration.