Both men looked at Doctor Madison, expectantly. “The first thing I think we should do is get you hooked up with a mental health worker. What you’ve been through and what you will be going through during your physical rehab will take a toll on you physically, mentally and emotionally. I’m sure Greg is more than capable of taking care of your emotional needs and will be invaluable in helping you with your mental needs since he’s been through a similar experience, but there may be things he might not be able to help you with as much as he would want to.
“There’s absolutely nothing wrong with needing a little professional help on occasion. It’s not a sign of weakness or mental problems. Sometimes you just need to talk to a therapist.”
“That’s so true,” Greg said, “I had a therapist while I was going through my rehab there was a number of times I got really depressed and the therapist helped me out a great deal. I don’t know if I could have made it through without her.”
“But I have Greg to talk to,” Dave said, shooting a loving smile at Greg.
“That’s true. However, a situation may arise that, no matter how much Greg wants to help, he won’t know how to deal with it. I’m not saying it’s going to happen. I hope it doesn’t, but if it does, we’ll be ready to deal with it and help you along.”
Dave shrugged. I guess you’re right. I don’t have to talk with a therapist if I don’t want to, right?” He queried.
“Yes and no,” Doctor Madison answered, “The therapist will want to talk with you initially in order to get to know you.”
“When is that going to happen?” Dave asked nervously.
“That depends. First we need your written consent then you will fill out a short questionnaire. From there we find a therapist that’s the best fit for you.”
“Let me see if I have this straight.
“Dave, you’re gay. You can’t do anything straight.” Greg garnered a look from Dave and a laugh from the Doctor. “Okay, I sign the consent form, fill out the questionnaire, then I have to talk to a shrink.”
“Almost; you will not be talking to a psychiatrist or a psychologist. You will be talking to a psychotherapist who is specially trained to help people in physical rehabilitation. After the initial interview, you will not be required to talk to the therapist unless you want to or need to.”
“I noticed you avoided mentioning a specific gender,” Dave observed.
“That’s because we have both male and female therapists on staff. It’s been my experience that people feel more comfortable and can open up more to a therapist of the opposite sex. This is not always the case. It all depends on how you answer the questions. That’s the first step. The next step will be to fit you with a cup.”
“Uh…” Dave began hesitatingly. “What do my genitals have to do with my prosthesis?”
Doctor Madison giggled. “Not that type of cup. The cup will fit over your leg and will be connected to the rest of the prosthesis. I’m not going to lie to you. It will not be a pleasant experience. It won’t be painful, but it will be uncomfortable.”
“Okaaay, so what type of prosthesis will I be getting?”
“I’m not sure yet. It depends on what your insurance will cover. I want you to have a full-leg prosthesis like mine, rather than a cup connected to a bar connected to a wooden foot.”
“I’d rather have my whole leg back, but I guess this is the next best thing.” Dave scrawled his signature on the consent form then glanced at the four-page survey. “You call this short?” earning him a snicker from Greg, who was watching and listening intently.
“You think that’s bad, you should see the one for a hip replacement. It’s fifteen pages long.”
Dave shot her a rueful glance, “I’m glad I’m not getting my hip replaced. I hate filling out these things.”
“I hear ‘ya. I’ll just take the consent form and put it in your chart,” she said, taking the form. “I’ll be back this afternoon to pick up the questionnaire.”
“If it’s a male therapist I hope to hell he’s not gay,” Greg muttered under his breath.
“What was that?”
“Nothing, just thinking out loud.”
“You’re being evasive, Greg.”
Sighing, Greg decided to open up and tell Dave about his fears. “I’m afraid if you get a hot gay therapist you’ll leave me.”
Dave closed his eyes and contemplated what Greg said before responding. “Baby, you’re my entire world. Nobody and nothing will ever make me leave you. I love you too much to ever let you go.”
Greg let out a breath of relief. With a tear in his eyes, he said softly, “I love you more than you could possibly imagine.” Dave grabbed Greg’s hand and they drifted off to sleep until the lunch trays were served.
Shortly after lunch, Dave started to fill out the questionnaire. “Damn!” he exclaimed.
“What’s wrong, baby?”
“Nothing; it’s just all the information they want.”
“Such as?” Greg prompted.
“Height, weight, daily activities, that sort of thing.”
“They need that information to know how much stress will be placed on the prosthesis,” Greg explained. “You don’t want to have one that will fall apart walking around the block. Once you’re fitted with the cup, they’ll measure you to see how long it has to be so that your leg and the prosthesis will be the same length.”
“Exactly right,” Doctor Madison replied, entering the room with an older lady in tow. “Gentlemen, this is Louise. She’s a psychotherapist. Louise, this is Dave and Greg. Dave is the one who is going to be fitted with prosthetics.”
“I’m very pleased to meet both of you. I just wish it was under better circumstances.”
“We’re pleased to meet you as well,” Greg replied, “It’s better to meet you under these circumstances than not at all.”
“I appreciate that.” She turned to the doctor and asked, “is there somewhere on the floor I could get a wheelchair to take Dave somewhere more private for our discussion? I mean no offense to you, Greg; privacy laws and all that.”
“There’s no need, Louise. He signed a release form so anything and everything can be discussed in front of Greg.”
Having noticed the two men in the same bed she immediately knew their relationship, especially after seeing the looks they exchanged when the doctor told her about the release form. “Good. It’s always easier on the patient when they have a loved one by their side.”
“Well, if everyone will excuse me, I’ll start getting everything together so we can do the fitting tomorrow afternoon. Then the fun begins,” Doctor Madison said with a smirk and left.
“Okay, ready to get started?” Dave looked at Greg then nodded. For the next couple of hours the three went over every question on the questionnaire pausing when Dave or Greg asked a question. When the dinner trays arrived, the therapist left, leaving Dave and Greg to talk over what they had learned. Although Dave was nervous, taking with the therapist helped a great deal.
As the night wore on, Greg found him wishing more and more that he could go back in time and prevent the explosion from happening. The therapist had noticed in Greg the signs of survivor’s guilt. Having checked Greg’s chart she found a release form allowing Dave to be present during any discussions that he normally wouldn’t be privy to.
When the therapist mentioned that she would like to talk with him while Dave was in physical therapy he readily agreed, at least until he was out of the body cast and could go with him. His greatest wish however was that his sight would come back. He was starting to see flashes of light, which gave his ophthalmologist encouragement.
The next morning Dave was so nervous he couldn’t eat his breakfast. Greg, knowing a little of what Dave was about to go through, tried to calm him down. He succeeded, but not completely. Doctor Madison walked into the room closely followed by an orderly with a gurney. “It’s that time, Dave.” Dave kind of shrunk into himself. He so didn’t want to go.
“You have to baby. The longer you wait, the harder it will be on you. I’d be with you if I could, but know that I’m with you spiritually, until I can be there with you physically.”
Dave leaned over and kissed him gently. “I know baby. I’m just a little frightened.”
“Well, you’re doing better than me. I was a total basket case when I started my physical therapy.”
“That’s because I have you to help me.” As he rolled onto the gurney he looked at the doctor, “Doc, how long is this going to take?”
“You’ll be back here before you know it. Shall we?” The transfer to the gurney was accomplished effortlessly and off they went to get Dave’s new leg and thus beginning what Dave came to call later, the therapy from hell.