As the van turned up the long driveway to the Claremont Manor memory center, Lucy really saw the hauntingly beautiful mansion for the first time.
Lucy said, as best she could with her jaw wired shut, “so your group home was once an insane asylum?”
“Yes! Does that upset you?” Abby asked.
“No, it makes it even better! I can now fantasize about being held as an inmate in an insane asylum!”
Abby smiled and said, “maybe we can arrange that sometime later.”
Lucy was a little confused, but assumed that Aunt Abby was just kidding. Unknown to Lucy, in the basement was the maximum-security ward from the old insane asylum, just waiting to be used.
Abby pulled up to the front entrance of the memory center and pushed the button to have the lift side out of the van and lowered Lucy to the ground. As Abby released the wheelchair locking mechanism she whispered into Lucy’s ear, “I want you to act very agitated and fight your restraints.”
Lucy started pulling her arms and jerking her leather wrist restraints and making agitated, unintelligible sounds. As Abby rolled Lucy into the main doors she called over to the receptionist to have the nurse on duty meet her in Lucy’s room and bring 2cc of Ketamine to sedate Lucy.
Lucy continued her act and as Abby rolled her into Lucy’s room the nurse on duty came running in with the hypodermic with the sedative. Abby said, “slide up her sleeve and shoot her up in the arm.” The nurse did as she was told.
Lucy wondered how long she would be able to keep fighting her restraints. The question was answered in about a minute or so. All of a sudden Lucy started feeling groggy, she could still think but she was unable to control her body. Lucy just slumped and started involuntarily drooling.
Abby said, “thank goodness, she got upset in the courtroom and it kept escalating.”
Nurse said, “wow! I have never seen her like this before!”
“Me either! Let’s get her out of the jumpsuit and back in her hospital gown, strap her down.”
Abby and the nurse removed Lucy’s jumpsuit, changed her diaper, connected her catheter back to the night bag hanging off the end of the bed, and put her in a fresh hospital gown. Next they moved Lucy on to her veiled cage bed then started strapping her down. The whole time Lucy knew what was going on but she could not move. Her body was like a wet noodle.
Abby told the nurse to go get a head restraints kit. In a minute the nurse came back with a bag. Abby opened it and took out the restraint and started applying it.
Abby started explaining as she was putting it on Lucy, like she was talking to a child.
“Okay Lucy, I’m going to slide this nice wide strap under your head. Now I am going to take this soft strap over your head and attach it to the wide strap so you can’t raise your head and hurt yourself. Last thing, let's add this chin strap and tighten it up tight so you can’t wiggle your head. Now doesn’t that feel nice!” Abby said with a wicked smile.
Lucy was amazed and very happy! She was totally restrained and could not move anything!
Abby told the nurse to put the canvas mitts back on, “so Lucy won’t hurt us or herself.” Abby smiled then turned and walked out.
The nurse finished locking the mitts on, then attached a bag of liquid food to Lucy’s feeding port and told her she would check back on her in a few minutes. The nurse zipped up and locked the Veil bed and then left the room and locked the door behind her.
Lucy lay there, thinking how amazing this was. She was a patient in a memory care facility, strapped down and locked in a veil cage bed! It was too good to be true! With that she fell into a deep sleep.
Later Abby walked in and locked the door behind her. She walked over to Lucy’s veil cage bed and smiled. Lucy was asleep and all strapped down in her veil bed. Abby took out her phone and took a few photos of Lucy.
Lucy woke up as Abby was checking the Catheter bag and replacing the food bag with a water bag.
Abby smiled and said, “Hello, sleepy head.”
Lucy smiled, and as best she could said, “Hello aunt Abby, what time is it?”
“Late afternoon,” Abby said, as she finished checking over Lucy. “So Lucy, you were a bad girl, what’s why we had to strapped your head down now. How do you like your new medical restraints?”
Lucy smiled and said, “I love it, it's so restrictive!”
“Well that’s good because I'm going to be leaving you like this for a day or two, to make sure that you’re over that little outburst today.”
“Great, it was fun today, going to court, being committed, going to the park and my outburst. It was fun and amazing! Thank you Aunt Abby.”
“Well I am the one that needs to thank you, for saving my business. Oh and by the way I am getting two new patients next week! So after that you’re free to leave when you want to!”
“But Aunt Abby, I would still like to stay till the end of summer, if you would like to keep me as your patient?” Lucy said sincerely.
“I would be happy to have you stay with me as my patient. But it’s two months till the end of summer, so if you get tired or bored with our game, just let me know. It will take a day or two to arrange your transfer to another facility, at least make it look like we are sending you somewhere out of state. But till then you’re my brain trauma Injury patient,” Abby said with a big smile.
“Thank you Aunt Abby! That makes me so happy!” Lucy said, almost in tears.
“Okay, well I'm going to let you get some rest and I will see you tomorrow!” Abby said, and then walked out of the door and locked it behind her.
The next few days passed quickly, and the head straps were removed. Lucy continued her acting, by pretending she was trying to communicate with the nurses, but really she was grunting and jabbering and not saying anything at all. Once a nurse said to another nurse about Lucy, in Lucy’s earshot, the lights are all on, and nobody's home. Lucy took this as a high complement to her acting skills.
The days and weeks passed Lucy was extremely happy, spending her time as a patient strapped in her veil cage bed. As promised Abby had taken her out for trips to see the parks, museums and the zoo! Lucy in her locking jumpsuit with her harness, with Medalert markings that informed people about her condition, and being pushed around in her wheelchair. Lucy was in heaven, she enjoyed all the attention that people paid to her, some trying to shy away and other people watching but trying not to look like they were looking. Lucy took it all in.
On a trip to the zoo, a little child asked her mother what was wrong with the lady in the wheelchair. The mother was embarrassed, but Abby walked over to the little girl and told her mother it was okay and that children were very curious. Abby explained to the little girl that Lucy was in a bicycle accident and got hurt. She tilted Lucy’s head to the side and showed the little girl the scar on Lucy’s head.
The little girl asked if it hurt, but Abby told her it didn’t, any more. The little girl asked if Lucy was going to get better? Abby said, “we certainly hope so.” The mother thanked Abby for explaining about Lucy's injury and helping her daughter to understand, then they both walked away.
Abby rubbed Lucy’s head and told her that she was a good ambassador for people with traumatic brain injuries. Lucy just grunted and rolled her head.
As the summer was coming to an end, Abby and Dr Mark were filling out transfer paperwork, to transfer Lucy to a non-existent memory care facility out of state, so she could go back to college and her normal life. That afternoon, Abby went to Lucy’s room, walked in and locked the door behind her.
Lucy lifted her head, smiled and said, “Hi Aunt Abby!”
Abby walked over to the veil cage bed, unlocked it and unzipped the opening and said, “Hi sweetie, it’s the end of summer, and Dr Mark and have been making some arrangements to transition you back to normal life.”
“Sorry sweetie, but it’s time you go back to your normal life. I have loved our time together, you as my patient. But you need to go back to college,” Abby said.
“I know Aunt Abby, this has been so much fun! I have loved every minute of my time here as your patient.” Lucy said with a sad voice.
“Well how about you come back next summer and you can be a patient again for the whole summer? Mark and I have been talking, that if you’re willing to be a patient again, he has access to a device that would make it easier for you to stay in character without having your mouth wired shut.” Abby said with a smile.
Lucy looked up and smiled and said “that would be amazing, yes I want to spend next summer with you here! So what kind of device and what does it do?”
“It’s a neuro-stimulator. It has to be implanted under the skin and wires to key nerves areas in the brain. It can block brain signals, say like for pain, or block signals from the brain to say to the tongue. Keeping someone from speaking, and other fun things. Mark’s best friend is a neurosurgeon and he has been wanting to do some off-the-record testing. So Mark spoke to him and he would be willing to implant the device in you free of charge, if you let him do a few tests.”
“Wow! That is amazing, is it safe?” Sounds like a scary surgery! Lucy asked.
“Yes, the device is FDA approved! The neuro-stimulator is an amazing device. It’s in wide use and Mark’s friend is an expert in installing the device. It can be adjusted to slow down thought processes in the brain. So we could adjust it so not only would you have all the appearances and of someone with severe traumatic brain injury, we could set it so you could actually have the symptoms, like amnesia, ataxia (loss of coordination of the muscles, especially of the extremities), confusion, double vision, drowsiness, Dysarthria (a speech disorder), Nystagmus (rapid, involuntary eye movements), and tremors. Obviously you wouldn’t wanna do that for long, but I believe it would be interesting for you to actually feel how they feel.”
“Wow, scary but very cool. I think I could do that!” Lucy said with a smile.
“Great! So now you have something to look forward to next summer!” Abby said with a big smile.
“Thank you Aunt Abby, you're the best!” Lucy said.
“Ok well I am going to personally deliver you to your next institution next week. But first we have to remove your feeding tube and remove the wires from your jaw. I will take you to Dr Mark’s clinic tomorrow and he will remove them.”
“So am I going home after that tomorrow?”
“No sweetie, I will bring you back here. Dr Mark wants to make sure the feeding tube incision heels up before we send you home.”
“Okay,” Lucy said, feeling sad that it was coming to an end.
Abby smiled and said, “See you later, sweetie,” and kissed Lucy on the forehead. She walked out of the door and locked it behind herself.
The next day, bright and early, Lucy’s nurse came in and checked her, changing her diaper and bag. She hooked up a bag of food, and told Lucy that she was going to see her doctor today. Lucy rolled her head and made unintelligible noises. After Lucy was fed, the nurse walked back pushing a wheelchair. She announced that it was bath-time. Lucy looked at the back with her well practiced look of confusion and rolled her head.
The nurse transferred Lucy to the waiting wheelchair and strapped her in! She proceeded to push Lucy out of her room and down the hall towards the shower room. As they entered Lucy marveled, each time she was here, at how big the room was; it had beautiful white tiled floors and walls with green tiles as accents. The floor sloped down to the center of the room where a drain was located. Lucy wondered if it was a leftover from the insane asylum days. The nurse pushed Lucy and her wheelchair to the table in the middle of the room. The whole time the nurse talked to Lucy as one would talk to a child, but Lucy understood because that is how her injury would make her seem, if it were real. Lucy still didn’t fully understand why being treated this way is so comforting to her, but it is and Lucy enjoyed it.
The nurse moved Lucy over to the plastic and metal patient shower table and quickly strapped Lucy's arms and legs down with waterproof straps, after removing Lucy’s hospital gown and diaper. The nurse quickly turned on the handheld shower head and gently sprayed down Lucy’s body. Next the nurse gently lathered Lucy in soap and rinsed her off, before washing Lucy’s face and hair. Lucy really liked getting her hair washed; she liked getting her bi-weekly shower as well, but the hair wash was the best part! Just as the nurse finished rinsing Lucy’s hair, Abby walked in. Abby told the nurse she would finish up and take Lucy back to her room. The nurse smiled and left the room.
“Hi Lucy! Don’t we look all clean?” Abby said with a smile! Lucy smiled back. “Well let’s get you dried off.” Abby took a towel and dried Lucy off and covered her in nice smelling body moisturizer. Lucy felt so pampered; she was in heaven.
“Before you put me back in my hospital gown would you take a picture of me so I can see what I look like?”
Abby smiled and said, “Sure, sweetie.” She pulled out her phone and took a full picture and then turned the setting to video and moved the camera from head to toe like a scanner. Then she held it so Lucy could see both.
Wow! I look like I lost some weight, and the tubes hanging out of me, it’s amazing! Lucy said!
“Well you have lost some weight, about 15 pounds, not that you needed to, but that’s from your liquid diet.”
“I like it! This makes me look like I am someone who is bedridden,” Lucy said with a smile.
“Well you have been for the last two months,” Abby said and laughed.
“Very true! “Lucy said with a smile!
“You have some atrophy in your arms and legs, that’s why they are so thin. You will need to do some exercise after you get back home to build your muscles back.”
“Wow! Okay but I kind of like the way I am.”
“Well, that’s up to you, but I would recommend doing yoga at least. Okay, let's get you ready to go to your doctor's appointment!”
Abby put a diaper on Lucy and released her arms and pulled Lucy’s hospital gown over her head. Abby then released Lucy’s leg straps and moved to the wheelchair and strapped her in. Next Abby took a blow dryer and dried Lucy’s hair. Then pulled it back and did a French braid making sure Lucy’s hair was pulled back to show her scar.
“Okay sweetie you look lovely!” Abby said. She pushed Lucy back to her room and called the nurse to come help her dress Lucy to go to her doctor appointment. The nurse came into the room and they made short work of it, within a minute Lucy was once again in her locking jumpsuit with her medical alert harness. They placed the canvas mitts on Lucy’s and sat her down in her wheelchair and strapped her in. Abby released the nurse to go about her duties and after she walked out, Abby locked the door.
“Well Lucy, today the doctor will remove your feeding tube and suture up the opening and remove the wires holding your jaw shut. He put in a NG tube through your nose to your stomach to feed you. I will remove it when I get you back to your home. Also we are going to keep you heavily sedated for a day or two, so you won’t feel any pain.”
“Okay Aunt Abby, I just hate to sleep through everything!”
“Don’t worry sweetie, we have a fun trip set up for your trip home and you will be wide awake for that,” Abby said with a smile.
“How are you going to get me back home?”
“It’s a surprise and I know you’re going to love it, I promise!” Abby said, with an evil grin.
“Okay Aunt Abby!”
“Okay, let's go to your doctor appointment!”
With that Abby pushed Lucy in her wheelchair out the door and down to the front door in the lobby to the waiting van. Abby rolled Lucy up on the lift and locked the wheelchair down and pushed the button and the lift started moving Lucy up and then sideways into the van. Abby closed the van door and walked around to the driver's door and jumped in.
“Okay Lucy, let's get going!” The van headed out of the long driveway and towards the town.
Abby pulled up and parked the van in a handicap parking spot in front of the medical building.
“Don’t you have to sneak me in the back door?” Lucy asked.
Abby said with a laugh, “no sweetie you’re the doctor’s patient and the medical records to prove it!”
Lucy smiled to herself and thought happily, till I go home, I am a real patient!
Abby got out and pushed the button to unload Lucy from the van. She pushed Lucy towards the main entrance of the medical building; the automatic doors opened and Abby pushed Lucy in her wheelchair right to the receptionist desk.
“Hello I have Lucy Rockford here, for her appointment with Dr. Rider.”
The receptionist looked at her computer and said, “Yes, please take a seat, the doctor is running a little behind.”
Abby thanked her and pushed Lucy over to a chair and sat down next to Lucy. Lucy decided to have some fun acting. There were just a few people in the waiting room. Lucy started rolling her head and making unintelligible sounds, and pulling her arms that were tethered to her harness. People started staring at Lucy. Abby tried to calm her down, but Lucy just kept getting more agitated. About that time the doctor’s nurse walked out to get Abby and said “Oh my, is she always this way?”
Abby said, “not all the time, but she does have her moments!”
Abby and the nurse quickly rolled her to the back office and into a room. The nurse told Abby she would let the doctor know that Lucy was here! The nurse left the room. Abby started laughing and Lucy stopped and smiled the best she could with her jaws wired shut.
Abby said, “Sweetie, your acting is getting very good!”
“Thank you, I try!” Lucy said.
The door started to open and Lucy lowered her head to her shoulder and slowly rocked back and forth. Dr Mark walked in and kissed Abby then looked over at Lucy. “I understand our patient Lucy has been acting up?”
“Yes she has! Because of her condition do you think you should give her that frontal lobotomy that we talked about?”
Lucy looked shocked and tried to start talking, but it all came out as incoherent gibberish. The doctor and Abby started laughing.
Lucy said, “That’s not funny!”
“But you should have seen your face, it was priceless!” Abby said.
The doctor said, “well, ready to get your feeding tube and the wire removed from your jaw?”
Lucy said, “yes but I'm going to miss being here!”
Dr Mike said, “well don’t be sad, we have a great adventure planned for next summer! But right now yes we need to get you into surgery to remove your feeding tube.”
With that, they unstrapped Lucy from her wheelchair, moved her on to a gurney and strapped her down. They rolled Lucy out of the room and into the operating room, where there were two other nurses and an anesthesiologist. Dr Mike told Abby she could wait in his office, and she left the room.
“Okay, this is our patient Lucy, she had a bad bicycle accident and we are going to remove her feeding tube and unwire her jaw.”
After the nurse hooked up the IV, the anesthesiologist told Lucy good night and pushed 4cc of Demerol, rendering her instantly unconscious. After an hour or so Dr Mike finished removing the opening from the feeding tube, removing the wire from Lucy’s jaw and suturing the opening up. They moved Lucy to a recovery room, where Abby stayed with her and then a nonemergency medical transport van was called. Lucy was brought back to the Claremont Manor memory care center. She was placed back in her room and strapped down in her veil cage bed.
A few days later, Lucy finally woke up. She opened her eyes and smiled as she realized that she was back in her special bed.
Abby walked in and said, “Hi, sweetie.”
As Abby unlocked and unzipped the door in Lucy’s veil cage bed.
Lucy smiled and said, “Hi Aunt Abby.”
Lucy was shocked, it was the first time in almost three months that she was able to speak normally.
“Wow! I can talk again! It seems kind of weird to be able to talk so easily,” Lucy said.
“Well, remember not to talk around anyone but Dr Mark and I.”
“Ok, Aunt Abby, I will be careful!”
“Lucy, I am not sure if you can feel it, but you now have a nasogastric tube in your nose down to your stomach, so we can feed you. After I get you home, then I will remove it.”
“Oh okay, I thought something was in my nose, but I was not sure!” Lucy said with a smile.
“Well, today is your last full day with us, tomorrow morning I will take you to your home.”
Lucy said, with a very sad look on her face, “I really enjoy it here with you at the Claremont Manor memory care center.”
“I know sweetie, but you need to get back to college and your normal life. Besides, me and Dr Mike have some big plans for you next summer!” Abby said while rubbing Lucy’s shoulder.
“Okay Aunt Abby.”
“Ok sweetie, I have to go and check on my other patients, I will check on you later today.”
Abby kissed Lucy on the forehead, then walked out of her room and locked the door behind her. Later that day, Abby came into Lucy's room and brought a bag of liquid food to connect it to Lucy’s nasogastric feeding tube. Next she pulled out a hypodermic needle and gave Lucy a shot in the arm.
After withdrawing the needle from Lucy’s arm, she said, “Sweetie, Dr Mike wanted to make sure that you got a good night's rest, so he asked me to give you 2cc of Demirel. Tomorrow is going to be a long day!”
“Are you taking me home tomorrow?” Lucy said.
“Yes sweetie,” Abby said with a big smile.
“How are you going to get me back home?” Lucy asked.
Abby said, “that’s a surprise sweetie, but I am sure you will enjoy it!”
Lucy looked like she was going to ask another question, but then her eyes closed and she was dead asleep.
Lucy woke up to the lights coming on. A nurse walked in and told her good morning with a very cheerful voice! She checked Lucy’s catheter bag and changed her diaper, all while telling Lucy she was going to be missed, and the new memory care facility that Lucy was going to would be able to start her rehabilitation therapy. Lucy just looked at the nurse and rolled her head and made unintelligent noises.
Abby walked in and said hello to the nurse. They walked up to the side of Lucy’s veil cage bed and Abby asked, “How are we doing today, Lucy?”
Lucy just rolled her head and made a howling type noise. Abby told the nurse that they had to get Lucy cleaned up and dressed to go to her new nursing home. The nurse went out and came back with a wheelchair. Next they unstrapped Lucy and transferred her to the wheelchair. Then they rolled her down to the shower room. Lucy’s clothes were removed and she was strapped down and then showered and hair shampooed. Lucy thought to herself that she was going to miss all this pampering. Abby dried her hair and again pulled it back and French braided Lucy’s hair to make sure to show her surgery scar.
Next they moved Lucy back to her room and put a fresh diaper and new catheter bag on Lucy. Once again Lucy was dressed in her favorite anti-strip jumpsuit and Med-alert harness. The nurse placed Lucy’s hands in the padded mitts, locking them and attaching straps from the mitts to the D-rings on the harness. Lucy pulled her hands and made unintelligible noises. After Lucy was fully dressed they moved her to her wheelchair and strapped her in. Abby dismissed the nurse to go about her usual duties. After the nurse left Abby went over and locked the door.
Abby turned towards Lucy, and said, “how are you really doing today sweetie?”
Lucy smiled and said, “great, just a little sad that I have to leave. I have loved my time here in your memory care center. I am going to miss all the attention and pampering you and the nurses have given me. I am going to miss the field trips and all the people looking at me with pity and the others turning away trying not to look at me. All time I laugh to myself that if they only knew I’m perfectly healthy and just playing the part of a patient with a traumatic brain injury. I know it’s sick but I enjoy the attention.”
Abby smiled and said, “it’s okay sweetie you’re a natural born actress! I am glad you have had a great time here with us, and you saved my business. I will always be grateful for that!”
“You’re very welcome!”
“Well one one more thing we need to add to your outfit before we go. I'm going to place this dental appliance in your mouth till I get you where I can get you changed into your street clothes. It’s going to lock your jaws together so you can’t talk. It’s held in with Denture adhesive, the strong type. But don’t worry we can remove it. It’s like a mouth guard and it has a small hole in it, so if your nasal passages plug up you can still breathe. Are you okay with doing this?”
Lucy smiled and said, “Yes.”
Abby smiled back. “You’re so much fun to work with. Okay I don’t think you will be able to speak at all with this dental appliance, so any last words, my dear?”
Lucy smiled and said, “No, why would I? I’m just a traumatic brain injury patient, right?”
Abby laughed. “Yes, for a little bit longer. Okay here we go.”
Abby squeezed the dental adhesive into the dental appliance. Then she told Lucy to open her mouth. Abby slid the dental appliance into Lucy’s mouth then told her to bite down hard. After about two minutes Abby told Lucy to open her mouth. Lucy tried but couldn’t.
Abby said “okay, that’s good, don’t try anymore. Now try to say something.”
Lucy tried but nothing came out that was remotely intelligible.
“Okay, that’s good. So now yes and no questions. Are you okay?” Lucy nodded her head yes.
“Are you in any discomfort?” Lucy shook her head no.
“I need to take care of a few things and then we will be on our way. I will be right back for you in a minute. Enjoy yourself.”
Lucy was in her private little heaven, strapped to her wheelchair. She loved this new piece of medical bondage in her mouth. She did not mind not being able to talk, it made her feel deeper into her role as the patient. She loved this feeling of helplessness and having nothing in her control. Lucy started to daydream.
A short time later a nurse came into Lucy’s room and told Lucy it was time to go. The nurse unlocked the wheelchair wheels and started pushing her out of her room and down the hall. Lucy mumbled unintelligibly as they passed the front desk. The two nurses there waved bye bye to Lucy. Then to the front door into the waiting van. The nurse rolled the wheelchair on the platform and locked the wheelchair to it. Abby walked up and thanked the nurse and said she would take it from here. Abby was dressed in a white polo shirt, tan khakis, and tennis shoes.
“Okay sweetie, it’s time to go!” Abby said. She pushed the button and the lift rose up with Lucy and her wheelchair and went into the van. Abby closed the van door and jumped into the driver's seat. Abby started the engine and put the van in drive and sped away.
Lucy thought that Abby was going to take her to the next town over and get a hotel room so she could change back to her normal clothes then the next day catch a plane home. Lucy started wondering what was going on as they drove through town and turned into the airport parking lot. Abby parked the van in a handicap parking spot and shut off the van, then turned towards Lucy.
“So sweetie, you’re going to fly home in style as a traumatic brain injury patient! Won’t that be fun?”
Lucy sat in her wheelchair in disbelief, nodding her head yes. In Lucy’s mind she was jumping for joy! This was going to be an amazing end to her summer adventure.
Abby smiled and said, “Great, let’s get you unloaded and head for the airport terminal.”
Abby got out of the van and walked to the other side and opened the van door and lowered Lucy and her wheelchair. Then Abby unlocked the wheelchair from the lift and rolled Lucy off the lift. As the lift was retracting back into the van, Abby pulled something out of her bag.
“Okay, here is your patient I.D.”
She held it up so Lucy could see it. The photograph had Lucy sitting in her wheelchair, hair pulled back to show her scar, an I.D. Number, her name, and date of birth. The picture was taken when Lucy was dressed to go to the court for her commitment hearing. Abby took the card and attached lanyard, placing it over Lucy’s head and around her neck.
“So now you can get past security and fly home!”
Lucy was thrilled to have a real patient I.D. card. Abby grabbed their carry-on bags, hooking them on the back of Lucy’s wheelchair. She started pushing the wheelchair to the main terminal. As they moved through the main doors of the airport terminal a skycap offered to push Lucy. Abby thanked the skycap and let him push Lucy, following Abby to the airline counter. Abby thanked him again and gave a tip.
The lady at the counter smiled, ‘Hello, how can I help you?”
Abby smiled back, ”We have reservations.”
The airline counter person took Abby’s information and asked for their I.D. Abby handed over hers and took Lucy’s from around her neck, handing it to the clerk with the necessary medical paperwork needed to transport Lucy in her condition on the airplane.
“Everything seems to be in order, Ms. Collins. I will alert the boarding gate, so they will have an aisle wheelchair ready for you and Lucy.”
Abby smiled and said, “Thank you!”
The whole time they were checking in, Lucy was rolling her head and making unintelligible noises. As Abby rolled her down towards the boarding gate, she told Lucy she was getting very good at acting like a brain-damaged patient, that she had to remind herself that Lucy was just acting.
Lucy gurgled with joy! Abby stroked her head and continued pushing the wheelchair. As they got to the boarding gate the gate attendant walked over to them.
“Hello, you must be Abby and Lucy, we are so glad you will be flying with us today!”
“Thank you,” Abby replied, and handed over their tickets.
The boarding gate attendant said, “Okay, we have upgraded your tickets to first class because of Lucy’s medical issue. This will give you a little more room to take care of Lucy.”
“Thank you, that's great!”
“You’re very welcome! Have a seat, I will come get you when it’s time for you two to board the plane.”
Abby pushed Lucy over next to a chair and locked the wheelchair’s wheels. She sat down next to Lucy and smiled. “This is nice, we get to fly in first class.”
Lucy smiled, and made gurgling sounds. She looked around the waiting room area and watched people waiting for their flights. Some were reading, others just watching. Lucy caught a few people staring at her, which she loved! She would look back at them and then roll her head and make unintelligible sounds! The person looking at her would immediately turn away! A little later the airplane arrived at the gate. The passengers disembarked and walked down towards the luggage claim area.
After a few minutes, one of the boarding gate attendants walked over and told Abby to follow her, so they could get Lucy in and seated. Abby unlocked the wheels on the wheelchair and pushed Lucy down the boarding gate towards the airplane. Lucy was so excited! Just before the door to the airplane, there was a very narrow wheelchair. Really it looked like a regular chair, with small wheels on the legs. The boarding gate attendant told Abby that they needed to move Lucy over to the aisle wheelchair.
Abby unstrapped Lucy and guided her over to the waiting chair. The boarding gate attendant buckled the seat belt around Lucy, telling Abby that Lucy’s wheelchair would be loaded into the cargo compartment. She then pushed the wheelchair with Lucy onto the airplane. Inside, the boarding-gate attendant handed over Lucy to the flight attendant. The airplane had two aisles, and the flight attendant pushed the wheelchair to the one furthest from the door. The first class seats were wide, and they were seated in the first two seats on the plane, so they had about three to four feet of open space in front before the cabin wall. The flight attendant asked if those seats were okay.
“Yes, they are perfect,” Abby said. Then she unbelted Lucy, guided her down into her seat, then buckled her in with the airplane seat-belt.
“We require you to keep Lucy seat-belted at all times, till we disembark.”
The flight attendant said with a smile, “if there is anything else I can do to make your flight more comfortable, please let me know!”
“I will, thank you!”
The attendant left to attend to her other duties. Abby sat down next to Lucy checking her over, to make sure she was comfortable and secured in her seat.
She stroked Lucy’s head and told her “everything is alright.” Lucy laid her head to the side and made soft unintelligible sounds.
The rest of the first class passengers filed in and sat down in their seats. Most of them looked at Lucy, then quickly looked the other way. This amused Lucy to no end. Did they think that if they look at me they would catch my disease? These thoughts made Lucy smile and gurgle with delight! When the rest of the passengers filled by to go to their seats it was the same, people looking but trying not to look, or at least not get caught looking! Lucy thought how much fun it was to be out in public!
The flight attendants gave their pre-flight speech, then the airplane slowly backed away from the gates. The airplane rolled down the runway and lifted off.
“It’s okay sweetie,” Abby said, “we will have you to your new home in no time!”
After a while the flight attendant walked up to Abby and asked if she would like a drink or something else? Abby asked for a Coke. The attendant asked if Lucy needed anything, but Abby said no. The flight attendant handed Abby her Coke and continued down the aisle.
Later lunch was served. Abby had a wonderful meal. After Abby ate she grabbed the insulated carry-on bag, opened it and connected a hose to a bag of liquid food. The tube she connected to a small pump, then the other end to Lucy’s nasogastric feeding tube.
“Okay sweetie, you’re going to be full in a minute.”
Lucy just rolled her head and made unintelligible sounds. After the food bag was empty, Abby disconnected the tube from Lucy, zipped up the insulated carry-on bag and put it away. After being fed Lucy started getting sleepy and dozed off.
Lucy woke to severe turbulence, then the airplane nosed over and started failing to the earth. Voices screaming and people yelling it and pandemonium. Lucy thought, oh my god, we’re crashing!
Next thing Lucy knew she was waking up in a hospital room. The room was unfamiliar with lots of medical equipment all around.
Lucy looked around trying to figure out what was happening. She was in a hospital gown and strapped down. She tried to open her mouth, it was still sealed shut. Just then a nurse and a doctor walked in.
“Oh doctor, she's awake,” said the nurse.
The doctor looked at the medical file he had in front of him.
The doctor said, “I have her medical records that the nurse was carrying with her. It’s so sad; so many people died in the crash, including the nurse.”
Lucy was in shock, Aunt Abby was dead. Her brain kept saying, oh my god, oh my god.
“Well the strangest thing is that that paperwork says that she is going to a post-acute care nursing home. But we can’t find this nursing home. It doesn’t exist. So social services is sending her to the state mental hospital,” the doctor said.
Lucy started trying to speak, but nothing intelligible came out. She pulled at the straps that held her. To the staff, she looked like a mad woman.
The doctor told the nurse to give her a strong sedative. The nurse pushed a long hypodermic needle in Lucy’s arm. Lucy slowly slipped into unconsciousness.
Lucy woke up, trying to scream as much as she could with the dental appliance sealed in her mouth. Lucy opened her eyes and saw she was still in the airplane, Abby holding her and trying to calm her down.
“It’s okay sweetie you’re having a bad dream. It’s okay you’re with me.”
Lucy started to calm down knowing she was safe with Abby. The flight attendant came over and asked if everything was okay; Abby smiled and said. “Yes, I think Lucy just had a nightmare. Some studies have shown that even patients with traumatic brain injuries can still experience nightmares.”
“Oh, I never knew that! If there is anything I can do to help, please let me know!”
“Thank you, I will!”
Abby continued to comfort Lucy, rubbing her hair and telling her everything was alright. Lucy felt much better, it had been a horrible dream, but she was okay now.
A little later the signs lit up to fasten seatbelts, and a voice came over the PA system to prepare for landing. The big airplane started its descent. After a few minutes the airplane was on the ground and headed for the gates. After the airplane reached the gates, the doors opened and the passengers started leaving the airplane. Abby had been asked to wait until everyone was off the plane and they would get the aisle wheelchair to move Lucy out of the airplane.
After all the other passengers had left the airplane, the attendant rolled up the aisle wheelchair. Abby and the flight attendant transferred Lucy over to it, before rolling Lucy out of the airplane door, to her own wheelchair which was waiting outside. Once again Lucy was transferred. After Abby strapped Lucy in the chair, she thanked the flight attendant and pushed Lucy down the gate to the airport terminal. Once in the airport terminal Abby called a handicap Uber van to take them to their hotel. As they rolled through the terminal Lucy was enjoying all the people looking at her. Lucy rolled her head around and made unintelligible sounds. Lucy was loving it!
The Uber van picked them up and drove them to the hotel. Lucy was starting to get worried this is her hometown, what if someone recognized her. But reminded herself that no one sees anything more than a mentally handicapped person, and very few people look at her face. So Lucy calmed down and started enjoying herself again. The van pulled up front at the hotel. The Uber driver helped get Lucy out of the van. Abby gave him a nice tip and Abby pushed Lucy into the hotel lobby to the front desk.
“Hello, reservations for Abby Collins.”
The front desk clerk replied “Yes, Ms Collins, we have your handicapped suite ready for you!”
After signing in and getting the key to the room, Abby started pushing Lucy towards the elevator, which she summoned with the call button. The sounds of the elevator were audible as it moved towards the ground floor. The door opened and Abby rolled Lucy in and turned her towards the door. Abby pushed the floor button, but before the doors closed, two middle-aged women walked in; upon seeing Lucy they looked a little taken back, but recovered and said, “Hi.”
Abby smiled, “My name is Abby, and this is Lucy.”
The women looked down at Lucy and said hello to her as well. Lucy just stared, with her mouth closed, making grunting noises. Abby wiped the drool from Lucy’s mouth.
One of the women said to Lucy, “how are you dear?” Lucy of course just stared.
Abby smiled and said “Lucy doesn’t talk, because of her injury she is non-verbal.”
“What is her injury?”
“Well she has a traumatic brain injury; she was hurt in a bicycle accident.”
“How long has she been this way?” the other lady asked.
“Sadly, she has been this way for about three months.”
“Oh, that's so sad, is she aware of what’s going on around her?”
“Well, we really are not sure.” At this point Abby bent down and looked at Lucy, rubbing her face, then smiled at her. “We hope she understands what’s happening to her, but we just don’t know. But we hope to find out in the next few months with the comprehensive testing that will be performed at the new memory care center that I’m taking her to.”
Lucy was laughing in her mind. Abby really is loving playing this up. Lucy also thought that seeing the looks on their face was pretty fun.
The door opened on the 4th floor; Abby smiled, “this is our floor.” She rolled Lucy out of the elevator and down the hall to their suite, opening the door and pushing Lucy inside.
“Okay, here we are your last stop as a traumatic brain injury patient” Lucy made unintelligible noises.
I know you don’t want to come back to the real world but it’s time! Next summer you will be back in my facility, as my patient and we have many fun things to do to you! Okay?”
Lucy nodded yes.
“Okay, then let’s remove your dental guard first.”
Abby lifted up Lucy’s lips and grabbed the guard, pulling down hard. There was a pop sound and the dental guard was loose. She pulled again and the dental guard came out.
“See that wasn’t so bad!” Abby said with a laugh.
Lucy wiggled her jaw and moved her mouth.
“Let me get you a glass of water to rinse your mouth out.”
Abby went and got a glass of water and gave Lucy a drink.
Lucy said, “thank you!”
“Okay, let’s get you out of your wheelchair and your locking jumpsuit.”
“I guess I do have to come back to the real world after I spent all summer down the rabbit hole playing Alice in wonderland,” Lucy said!
They both laughed! Abby reached over and unbuckled Lucy’s seat belt and leg straps, then grabbed Lucy’s arm and helped lift her into a standing position. She moved Lucy over to the bed and had Lucy sit down. Abby walked over to her bag and pulled out a magnetic key for the magnetic locks on Lucy’s jumpsuit. She walked back and started removing the locks off the safety harness and the jumpsuit. Pulling off the safety harness, she unzipped the jumpsuit and let it down to the floor, for Lucy to step out of.
“Okay sweetie, please lay down so I can remove your catheter.” Lucy laid down on the bed. Abby first disconnected the leg bag and capped off the tube. Then she took a syringe and deflated the balloon which was holding the catheter inside of Lucy. After the balloon was fully deflated, Abby pulled the catheter tube out of Lucy.
“Wow that felt weird,” Lucy said, “but not painful.”
“Remember if you feel like you need to go pee. You have to go to the restroom now!”
They both laughed! Abby took the diaper out from under Lucy and handed her panties. Lucy sat up and pulled them on! Abby then handed Lucy a hospital gown to wear.
“Sorry sweetie, I didn’t think about a nightgown till just before we left this morning. But I didn’t think you would mind wearing a hospital gown for one more night!”
“Not at all. Can I keep it?”
“Of course,” Abby said with a smile!
“Great, I will wear it every night to bed!”
“Okay, let me remove that feeding tube from your nose!” She removed the tape holding the feeding tube to Lucy’s face, then started gently pulling the feeding tube out. After a minute the end came out of Lucy’s nose. “Okay, all done we have removed all of your medical equipment!”
Abby told Lucy that she was going out to rent a minivan, so she could take the wheelchair to the Fedex store tomorrow to ship it back to Claremont Manor.
“It’s been a wonderful summer. Thank you so much for making this adventure possible for me, Aunt Abby!”
Abby smiled and hugged her. “Sweetie you’re the one that saved my business! I am just glad you enjoyed your experience and time with us!”
Lucy went to bed that night in her hospital gown, dreamed about her adventures for next summer, then drifted off Into a deep sleep.