A Fatal Change Ch. 01
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A Fatal Change – Chapter 1: The Interview
“You no longer have your hands or your feet. What have been the biggest challenges so far?” Rachel asked with her pen ready to jot down every nuance of her interviewee’s answer.
“The biggest challenges? No longer being able to play music, which was my whole life. Every hour of every day, I’m wondering if I’m even the same person. That person, that girl who would wake up every day to just breathe and live music has been cut away from me, both literally and figuratively,” Elise answered nostalgically with repressed yet deep-seated sorrow.
“Day-to-day, how has your life changed? Would you say you’ve gotten used to this new way of life?”
“I’m essentially a twenty two year old girl trapped in a baby’s body. I can’t sit up on my own in bed. I can’t go to the bathroom on my own. I can’t change, I can’t shower, I can’t do anything. On the weekends, I’m completely dependent on my mom. And during the week, my caregiver helps me until my mom comes home.”
“I imagine your relationship with your mom must have changed in several big ways.”
“Yes, it has. She’s the most loving person in the world, and I’m so grateful for that. But not having any privacy as an adult definitely takes a toll. Sometimes I get irrationally impatient with her when she’s doing her best. But I would say we’re becoming better and stronger as a team.”
“How about your relationship with your caregiver? Has it been difficult letting someone who used to be a stranger into your life?”
“At first, it was really hard. In the beginning, I was so ashamed of my new body and lack of independence. So letting someone you’ve never known help you with things, it took some time getting used to. Like I would hold off going to the bathroom if my mom was coming home soon because I didn’t want my caregiver helping me with that. And because Rob is a guy, I initially felt very uncomfortable with him helping me. But I’ve gotten used to it.”
“It’s been five months since it all happened. Does it feel still completely new to you?”
“I would say I’ve more or less accepted not having my legs. Like they’re gone and I can live with that. But I don’t think I’ll ever accept losing my arms. I still try do something with my arms – or what remains of my arms – out of habit as if I had hands. Just yesterday, my back was itching and I tried to scratch my back for a split second.”
“Is there a reason why you don’t use prosthetics?”
“They’re pretty much useless for me. You need to have your elbows to be able to manipulate your prosthetic arms. But because my arms were amputated above the elbows, there’s really not much I can do with them. Not that I bahis firmaları can do much with my stumps. And it’s the same with my legs. I essentially have no legs left. So I would have needed hip prosthetics, which are useless for walking if you don’t have arms.”
“Now obviously, what’s happened to you isn’t a day-to-day occurrence. Could you explain what happened?”
“Yeah, sure. So what happened was I was taking medications to help with my back pain. I’d been practicing ten hours a day for a competition, and I’ve always had bad posture my whole life. And one day, I came down with an infection that should have just gone away on its own. But because my immune system was really weakened from the back medications I was taking, I started bleeding internally while my organs were shutting down. To save my life, doctors had to put me on a medication that prevented blood from going to my limbs. And that caused my arms and legs to more or less rot and they were eventually amputated.”
“Were you aware of what was happening to you? Or did you one day wake up to realize what had happened?”
“I was in a coma the whole time. So when I woke up in the hospital, my mom had to explain everything. I had trouble believing it wasn’t a dream at first. It only hit me once my boyfriend at the time visited the day after and brought me the letters all my classmates had written for me.”
“What would you say is the most dominant emotion you feel about what has happened to you? Anger, resentment, disbelief?”
“I certainly spend a lot of my days still asking why this had to happen to me. Like of all the people in the world, why me? Or why does this have to happen to anyone at all? So I definitely feel a lot of anger and frustration about that. But I also feel a lot of regret.”
“Regret? Why is that? It seems to me from what you’ve told me so far, none of it was in your control or your responsibility.”
“Just not having taken better care of my health and body. The doctor who prescribed me the back medications told me that it would weaken my immune system. So I should be careful and not overexert myself. But I didn’t really listen because there was a competition only two months away. And I don’t really have anyone to blame except myself for my bad posture. Because of my breasts, I was always going to have back problems as a pianist. But I certainly could have taken better care of my back. I actually even had one of my professors suggest getting a breast reduction my freshman year.”
“Why didn’t you? Especially if you knew your breasts were always going to cause back problems?”
“I actually planned on getting them reduced. But I kept putting it off. Not because I kaçak iddaa didn’t want smaller breasts, but because then I wouldn’t have been able to practice while I recovered. And the thought of being away from the piano for two months terrified me. I was terrified of falling behind my peers or losing my touch. My plan was to first get established as a pianist and then undergo breast reduction surgery.”
“Music was such an important part of your life. And you were certainly on your path to establishing yourself, even taking second place at the International Chopin Piano Competition the year before it all happened. How difficult has it been to let go of your dream?”
“I still don’t believe that my career as a pianist is over. Like I know I can no longer play the piano. But I just have trouble believing it’s no longer a possibility for me. There are days… pretty much every day ever since I became a quadruple amputee, I’ve been watching videos of me performing. I don’t think it’s something I can ever let go. But I know I have to.”
“Thank you so much, Elise, for sharing your story with us. You are so brave for what you’re going through. I’m sure our readers will be very touched. Do you have anything else you would like to share with us?”
“I don’t know… Just that life is so unpredictable and that you should take every little thing in your life as a blessing. You never know when it’ll be taken away from you.”
“Thank you, Elise. That’s certainly true.” Rachel gave Elise a warm smile as she reached across the table to shake Elise’s stump, which seemed to extend no longer than a pen. “Now would you mind taking a picture to go along with the article?”
“Oh sure, Rob can take the picture for us.”
“Oh, no I shouldn’t be in the picture. It’s your story and a very moving one at that. I’m just the reporter.”
Elise nodded as she fixed her hair with her stumps that barely reached up to her forehead.
Elise sat in the chair in which she had just given an interview to the city newspaper as she waited for dinner to get ready; Rob was making meatball spaghetti, which Elise’s doctor had just cleared she could digest. Up until a month ago, Elise had been surviving on intravenous feeding since her stomach was too weak. Now, her stomach was strong enough to digest noodles and minced meat.
Normally, Elise’s mom cooked dinner since she usually came back from work a little after five. But today, Elise’s mom was out of town for work and wouldn’t return until very late tomorrow night.
“Water or apple juice?” Rob asked as he placed a plate of spaghetti on the table and walked to the fridge.
“Water would do.”
“Be careful, it’s kaçak bahis really hot.”
“I know, Rob. I have eyes too. I can see the steam coming off the spaghetti. I may not be able to feed myself anymore, but I can still see,” Elise quipped.
Although Rob found Elise’s remark to be funny, he wasn’t sure if it was okay for him to laugh or even respond. So he just shrugged his shoulders and smiled as he sat down next to Elise.
“You look exhausted from the interview. Let’s get some protein in you first, yeah?”
“I’m always exhausted. But sure. Just let me make sure to blow on it before you put it in my mouth.”
As Rob placed a meatball in front of Elise’s mouth, it just registered in Rob’s mind how sexual Elise had just sounded although for all Rob knew, it was an innocent coincidence; he was her caregiver. Nothing could or should ever happen between them. But then again, Elise had become markedly friendly the past few weeks. On top of that, on the off chance that Elise did have feelings for him, Rob just couldn’t imagine Elise ever making advances when she was still distraught over her new body. Get yourself together, Rob. You are her caregiver. What are you even thinking? I mean sure, she’s got-
“Ah!” Elise shrieked. “Rob, the meatball!”
Rob snapped out of his internal dialogue only to see a scattered trail of marinara sauce down Elise’s cleavage. There was no mistake about it: the meatball had fallen down and was resting atop between Elise’s breasts.
Without lingering any longer, Rob quickly reached his hand down Elise’s shirt and snatched the meatball out.
“Oh my God, I’m so sorry! Are you okay?”
“Yeah. Don’t worry about it.”
“Still, I’m so sorry.”
“About dropping the meatball on my boobs or touching them? Was that on purpose?” Elise teased.
“No! Of course not!” Rob blushed.
“It’s okay, Rob. I know you’re a good guy. And you don’t have to blush every time you drop a meatball down a girl’s boobs and touch her boobs.”
“I’m still so sorry, Elise. I mean it would be different if you were my girlfriend. But you’re not. I’m your caregiver.”
Huh?! Elise was taken aback. Why was Rob so emphatic that she wasn’t his girlfriend and that he was her caregiver? It was almost as if Rob had given some thought to the idea of her being his girlfriend. Why else would he mention that she wasn’t his girlfriend when that was obviously the case?
Elise couldn’t really blame Rob for having wondered what she would be like as his boyfriend, however. After all, she sometimes found herself sizing up what Rob would be like as a boyfriend too. Not her boyfriend necessarily. But as just some girl’s boyfriend. And Elise had been noticing how Rob always made her feel safe, more than anyone else for that matter. But truth be told, Elise wasn’t sure if her musings meant Rob was a great caregiver or that she had feelings for him.
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