Nedward gasped when he saw Holly open her eyes. The nurses told him that it was just an involuntary movement and was very common in patients who were in a persistent vegetative state.
Then they noticed that she had an almost crazed look as her eyes darted back and forth, scanning the room as if trying to find an escape route. She immediately began to fight the breathing tube down her throat.
One of the nurses said “go get Dr. Boone…stat!” Seconds later, Dr. Boone came into the room and asked Holly if she could hear him. She stared at him. He said “if you can hear me, blink.” Holly blinked. Looking hopeful, he said “okay, if you can understand me, blink once for yes and twice for no.” Holly blinked once.
He told her that they were going to remove the breathing tube and for her to cough as they were taking it out. “Do you understand?” he said. Holly blinked once.
When the tube was removed, Holly choked as she desperately tried to form words. Dr. Boone told her that she was okay and to just calm down. “Your words will come. Just give it time. You have to learn to talk again.”
Dr. Boone asked “do you know who you are?” Holly blinked once. “Do you know where you are?” Holly blinked twice. Dr. Boone told her that she was at St. Joseph’s Mission Hospital.
Pointing to Nedward, he asked “do you know who this man is?” Holly blinked once. Nedward couldn’t hold back his smile after she blinked. “Do you remember what happened?” Holly turned away and closed her eyes.
Dr. Boone told the nurses that a downstairs trip was not going to be necessary. He looked at Nedward and whispered “I think she’s back.”
Nedward and Dr. Boone stepped out of the room and Nedward asked what would happen next. Dr. Boone said “I would say that if she doesn’t slip back into a coma, she is looking at intensive, long-term rehabilitation and certainly plastic surgery.”
Nedward flashed back to Holly’s face before it had been literally pulverized by what could only be described as a monster. “Plastic surgery?” asked Nedward. “Can she…be put back together?”
Dr. Boone said “one of the best plastic surgeons in the country is in residence here but even he can’t perform miracles. If he has some pictures, he will do the best he can, but look at it this way. You might have a beautiful porcelain plate that is shattered into a thousand pieces. Some of those pieces can be put back together but other tiny fragments that used to be part of the whole, can never be fixed. Therefore, it will never really look the same. Do you understand?”
“I understand,” said Nedward. “What can I do to help?”
Dr. Boone said “you need to leave things to medicine now. You have done your part by being here for her. The excruciating pain she is facing will be almost as brutal as the injuries that put her here and I don’t think you want to see that.”
“I can handle it,” said Nedward. “Besides, it would help if she could see a familiar face, don’t you think?”
Dr. Boone said “yes, you might be able to handle it, but can she? And it might help to see a familiar face but it may also humiliate her. She knows that you knew what she once was. Can you hide the expression on your face when you are watching her struggle? Can you hide the expression on your face when you look at the face that is no longer her face? I’d ask you to consider her feelings and the long, hard road she has ahead of her. I’d ask you to think on it.”
Nedward said “I will, but….” Dr. Boone said “think on it.”
To be continued___________