Two months later, Dave was recovered enough to bring him out of his coma. He slowly awoke. “Where am I?” he asked hoarsely.
“Dave, I’m Doctor Foster. You’re in County General Hospital in the intensive care unit. You’ve been in a coma for two months. There was an explosion at the LGBT Center. You suffered a number of internal injuries.” He hesitated to tell him about the loss of his right leg just above the knee. “How are your eyes? Can you see me okay?”
Dave nodded then swallowed hard. “Greg…”
“He’s right here next to you.”
Dave turned his head slowly and saw Greg lying unconscious next to him. He reached over and caressed his cheek. “Baby, wake up. It’s me.” Getting no response he turned his head to look at Doctor Foster with fear in his eyes. “His face is so cold. Is he dead?”
“No, but his injuries are far more severe than yours were. He’s in a coma, like you were, but we’re not sure when he’ll come out of it. Yours was medically induced because of the extent of your injuries. His, we believe, is due to bleeding in the brain. We’ve been able to stop the bleeding and relieve the pressure, but we won’t know if there was any permanent damage done to his brain until he comes out of it.” Again Doctor Foster refused to say if he comes out of it, a frightening possibility made more and more real with each passing day. Dave tried to reach over and give him a kiss, but was too weak. He did, however, manage to take hold of his hand. He started to cry. “We were going to get married next summer.”
Jay climbed onto the bed and gently gathered Dave in his arms. “There’s a good possibility that the two of you still can get married, and you damned well better invite Kyle and me.”
“He’s right, Dave. His brain scans were all normal and his vital signs are stable. It’s not uncommon in cases like this for the brain to shut down so it can concentrate on healing the body. Once the body is healed enough, I’m sure he’ll come out of it.”
“But what if he doesn’t?”
“The question is not if he comes out of it, but when. I’m not going to lie to you. It could be days, weeks, months, or in extreme cases, years. I, however refuse to think in those terms. His condition is improving daily and we’re optimistic that he’ll come out of it soon.
“But if he doesn’t?” Dave insisted.
“Does he have a DNR order?” Jay asked.
“I’ll find out.” Doctor Foster went out and came back in a couple of minutes later. “Yes he does. He has you listed as his next of kin, Dave. Since all of his autonomic functions are working properly, and he’s not on life support, there’s nothing that can be done except wait. If he were on complete life support then that would be a totally different story. You’d have to decide whether or not to terminate the life support. But that’s not the case here. He’s breathing on his own and routine blood and urine tests are normal for his current medical state. I’m afraid all we can do is wait. I know it’s hard, but you have to hang in there and trust that we know what we’re doing.”
“No more buts. Now we have another decision to make. You have improved to the point where you no longer need to be in ICU. You are ready to be transferred to a private room. However, before that happens, we have to discuss your condition. Have you noticed anything different about yourself?”
“No, but it doesn’t matter. All that matters to me right now is Greg.”
“I realize that you feel that way, but we have to discuss your condition. I’m surprised you haven’t noticed yet that something was missing.”
“What do you mean?”
“There’s no easy way to tell you this, so I’m just going to have to say it outright. In the explosion you lost your right leg just above the knee. Someone managed to put a tourniquet on you to keep you from bleeding to death. I have a feeling I know who it was.” He glanced at Greg.
Dave closed his eyes as he digested that information. Tears leaked from his eyes as he released Greg’s hand and turned away from him. “So much for us getting married.” Dave whispered.
Doctor Foster’s trained ears caught what he said. “I thought you wanted to get married.”
“I do, but Greg’s not going to want to marry someone that’s going to spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.”
“Dave, you still have your other leg. You’re going to be fitted with a prosthetic leg. With some minor modifications to your car, you’ll still be able to drive. There’s nothing you won’t be able to do.”
“Except make love to the man I love more than anyone or anything in this world.”
“And you say this because….” Doctor Foster prompted.
“Because I’m no longer a whole man, Greg’s not going to want anything more to do with me.” Dave answered, dejectedly.
“Do you believe he’s really that shallow?”
“I don’t know, but how would you react if you suddenly woke up and found your boyfriend no longer whole?”
“I know what I would do if it were Kyle that had lost a limb. I’d do whatever I had to do to convince him that as far as I was concerned, nothing has changed between us, that I still loved him more than anyone or anything in this world or the next and that I still wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. I would also do whatever I could to help him in the recovery process. There’s no way in hell I ever would abandon him.” Jay responded to Dave’s question.
“Did you know that when he was with the Boston PD he was shot seventeen times? He spent a long time in the hospital and it took him over a year to be able to walk again? Do you realize what kind of memories this is going to bring back? I can’t subject him to that. It’s best that I leave now.”
“Best for who, him or you?” Jay countered with a little bit of heat.
“Him.” Dave replied.
“Don’t you think he should have some say in this? The two of you are supposed to be a couple. Yet you seem to be making decisions that affect the both of you without consulting with your partner. Or is Greg nothing more than a booty call for you?”
“How dare you say that about Greg? He was not just a booty call! He’s the most important thing in my life.”
“Then how dare you make decisions that affect the both of you without consulting with him first, especially one that affects your future together.”
“There is no future for us.”
“You don’t know that.”
“Can you guys hold it down a little? I have the mother of all headaches from hell.”
Doctor Foster rushed to Greg’s side. “Greg, I’m Doctor Foster. How are you feeling other than the headache?
“I’m very tired and I can’t see. Where am I? Why can’t I see?”
“You’re in Country General in the intensive care unit. You were caught up in an explosion at the LGBT Center. You’ve been in a coma for over two months.”
“Dave? What happened to Dave? Is he all right? Where is he?” Greg asked frantically.
“I’m right here, Greg.” Dave reached over and took his hand.
“Oh, thank God. I was so scared that I lost you. Are you okay? I can’t see you. Hold me, please.”
“I can’t, Greg.”
“Why not? Is there something wrong with me that repulses you?”
“No, you’re perfect. I’m the repulsive one now, and you’re not going to want anything more to do with me.”
“Why do you say that, baby?”
Dave sighed deeply. “Because I’m no longer a whole man.”
“What do you mean?”
“I lost my right leg just above the knee, and given your past, I’m sure you won’t want to go through that again.”
“Oh, baby, I’m so sorry, but if I can learn to walk all over again, so can you, and I’ll be by your side every step of the way.”
“But nothing. Don’t you want my help?”
“I can’t make you go through all that again. It will bring back painful memories from your past that I’m sure you don’t want to relive.”
“If you won’t come to me, I’ll come to you.” Wincing from the sudden stabbing pain in his chest, he started to climb out of the bed but was stopped by Doctor Foster. “Easy, Greg. You’re not strong enough to get out of bed yet.”
“I don’t care. I need to be held by Dave and I need to hold him. He needs to know that I love him and I’m not going to abandon him, not now, not ever.”
Hearing this, Dave started to cry. “You say that now, but what’s going to happen when you finally see my deformity?”
“I’m sure as hell not going to feel sorry for you. You’re doing a much better job feeling sorry for yourself than I ever could.”
“Look me in the eyes and deny it. You’re scared. I know. I’ve been there, but I made it though, and so can you.”
“No I can’t.”
“Can’t or won’t?” Greg countered.
“Can’t. When you went through your ordeal, at least your body was whole. Mine isn’t.”
“So we get you fitted with a prosthetic leg. I’m going to help you learn to walk on it.”
“So what happens when we want to have sex? You’re going to take one look at my stump and you’ll be so disgusted you won’t want to touch me.”
“Dave, I love you. I wouldn’t care if you lost both of your legs and both of your arms. I’ll still love you. Nothing will ever change that.” Greg reached out and discovered that their beds had been pushed together and that the inside rails were down. He reached under the covers and felt Dave’s left leg, then what was left of his right leg. “You’ve got more than enough left for the prosthesis.”
Dave closed his eyes and moaned at Greg’s touch, tears flowing freely down his cheeks. “That feels so good. I never thought you’d ever want to touch me again.”
“Baby, the sight of a stump doesn’t bother me in the least. I saw plenty of amputated limbs when I was in rehab. I would rather have you with stumps for limbs than not have you at all.”
“You mean that?”
“I do, and I meant what I said about being there every step of the way during your rehab. The thought of losing you is more than I can bear. Won’t you please hold me?”
Dave glanced at Doctor Foster who shook his head.
“I can’t, baby.” He said, using his favorite term of endearment for Greg for the first time since he awoke from his coma.
Greg started to cry. “So because I’m responsible for your being here, you won’t even touch me.”
“First of all, you didn’t set off that bomb, so you’re not responsible for me being here. Secondly, the reason why I can’t hold you is that Doctor Foster won’t let me.”
“Doctor Foster?” He queried.
“Greg, several of your bones were broken in the explosion, as well as a number of ribs. You’re in a full body cast. And before you ask, you won’t have any problems walking once you’re out of the cast. The breaks were not as severe as you experienced in the past. I’m more concerned with your eyesight.”
“Why can’t I see?”
“We don’t know yet. Do you know what a subdural hematoma is?”
“Yes. My grandfather fell down the stairs and had one. He died from it.” His voice broke. “A-a-a-am I going to die?”
Previous chapter | Chapter index | Next chapter