Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Chair - Part 2 - Braces

The Chair 2: Braces By ParaGirl

It all started so innocently. Cindy found the aluminum

forearm crutches and AFO braces at a yard sale, of all places.

She was running a finger down the smooth aluminum when the old

woman running the sale said to her, 'Go ahead, take them.' She

left with the crutches and braces under her arm, and she

couldn't wait to get to her house and try them out.

Cindy had always been interested in crutches, ever since

she was a little girl. Sprained ankles, casts, anything like

that. She thought it was fun, a cool game, and now, at 22, she

still enjoyed wrapping an ankle up and crutching to the mall,

going to work on crutches for a week, etc... When she saw the

braces and forearm crutches, which had always been her favorite

style, she had to have them, so she took them home. She had

never been in braces before, and didn't know what to expect, so

she couldn't wait to find out.

She got her new toys home and looked at them. The crutches

were almost new, aluminum, and obviously high quality. She

looked ath the braces. They were interesting, rigid plastic

molds which came up to her knees, with wide elastic and velcro

bands at the top to hold them firmly. They looked about the

right size for her feet, and she wondered what they would feel

like while she was wearing them.

She quickly undressed, deciding that jeans and a T-shirt

was not the way to start her game, and put on nylons, a

knee-length skirt, and a white short-sleeved blouse. she sat on

her bed, leaning the crutches beside her, and put on the braces.

First, she lifted her right leg into her lap and placed the

plastic brace against it. It was like a perfect fit! She

tightly fastened the strap, which came up to just below her

knee, and then reached for her shoe. She decided to wear low

heeled shoes which laced tightly, to make sure her leg was

braced firmly. It felt very strange, not really like a cast,

which is what she half-expected. She quickly put the other

brace on, fastening her other shoe tightly, and stood up.

Her legs felt strange in the braces, awkward and even

clumsy. She tried to take a step without the crutches and

almost fell. She couldn't even wiggle her toes properly, which

she thought was very odd, because she always could in this pair

of shoes before. Her ankles were also totally immobile in the

stiff braces, which she enjoyed. She looked down and saw her

feet pointed toes-in, pigeoned toed, which looked very strange

to her. She reached and grabbed her crutches, putting her arms

through the cuffs, gripping the handgrips, and began crutching

around her apartment. It was fun, bieng on the crutches,

swinging her legs through the aluminum posts. She cooked dinner

on her crutches, cleaned the kitchen, all sorts of things, and

bieng on the crutches was very entertaining. At last, she sat

down to watch TV and took off her shoes and the braces, and was

shocked by what she saw!

Her feet were crooked, warped, she didn't know how to

explain or describe it, but she couldn't move them either. They

were both palsied, toes curled, ankles bent oddly. She tried to

stand and fell forward, her legs wouldn't support her right. She

put her braces back on and got to her feet by using the couch

and her crutches for support. As she was wondering what to do.

She was nervous and afraid, her legs didn't work anymore, her

feet were crippled, and she had no idea how or why. As she was

crutching to the kitchen again to fix herself a drink, the phone


"How are the crutches now, Cindy?" a strange voice asked.

"Who are you, what have you done to my legs??" Cindy asked


"What you wanted, you need crutches now, don't you?" the

voice asked.

"I hate you, give me my legs back!" Cindy yelled into the


"That is easily done." the voice continued, calmly. "You

will remain crippled until you go to bed. Upon waking, all you

must do is stand, forsake the braces and crutches, stand and the

spell will be broken. But be warned, there are conseqe-"

"Thats all I needed to know, lady, later" blurted Cindy,

and crashed the receiver down. She crutched back into the

living room, releived that her condition was not permanant, and

raised her legs up onto the couch. She looked at her legs in

the braces. They didn't look so bad, just different. It was an

interesting experience, to be crippled like this, but she

definitely didn't want it to be permanant. She wathced TV for a

few hours then got ready for bed.

In bed, she first took off her shoes and braces, and her

palsied, crippled feet hung there. She hated it, and hurriedly

stripped off her stockings and skirt, then her blouse, and got

uder the covers, falling right to sleep.

Cindy woke with her alarm to see her legs and feet back to

normal. She jumped out of bed and practically ran to the

bathroom. She was fine, she could almost convince herself it

was all a bad dream, except for the braces and crutches now

laying on her bedroom floor. She kicked them under the bed and

showered and dressed, ready to face the day.

Two Weeks Later

"It's a rare neuromuscular disorder, Cindy. I'm afraid

it's not reversible, although I've never seen it attack a person

so quickly." Doctor Solomon said. I can't even recommend a

course of treatment, I'm afraid. The damage will be permanent,

and may even worsen, I'm afraid."

Cindy was in tears. She had come into the hospital four

days ago, complaining about numbness and soreness in her legs,

and here she was today, after a battery of tests... She looked

at her legs, her ankles turned in, her feet palsied. Her legs

weren't working at all, partially numb, totally useless. She

sat in a wheelchair, wondering if she would be confined to it

forever. What was it the voice on the phone had said about


"Doctor" Cindy asked, "Honestly, will I ever walk again?"

"No, Cindy, you wont, at least not on your own." Dr.

Solomon replied. "I can have one of our orthopedic specialists

fit you for a set of legbraces, and you should be able to lead a

fairly normal, active life."

"As a cripple." Cindy wept. She wheeled herself back to

her hospital room and tried to get herself back into bed, but

without the use of her legs it was hopeless. With tears in her

eyes she rang the call button.

"Is everything OK Cindy" The nurse asked as she enterd the

room. Cindy was crying in her wheelchair, her legs hanging

awkwardly in her chair.

"My legs..." was all she could cry. The nurse lifted Cindy

into her bed, lifting her legs up for her and putting them under

the covers. The nurse held Cindy and rocked her, trying to

comfort this poor girl who had suddenly lost so much.

After three weeks the therapist decided it was hopeless.

Cindy's legs were bad and slowly getting worse, and even in the

full length legbraces she had it was just too difficult for her

to move around. They really hurt more than they helped,

especially with the extent of muscular damage to her lower legs

and ankles. Cindy was sitting in her new wheelchair, her legs

still encased in the braces she tried so hard to walk on, she

had wanted so badly to walk again, even on the braces, with

crutches or a walker, but now she was told it was hopeless, that

she, at 22 years old, she was a cripple, her legs useless,

confined totally to her wheelchair. She allowed herself to be

pushed back to her room, and her attendany lifted her into her

bed and began to remove her braces. She watched her legs as

they were unwrapped from their metal casings, so pale and thin

now, her feet looking so terrible, toes curled and ankles turned

in. She tried to move them, even wiggle her toes, but she

couldn't even do that anymore. Her legs just lay there,

crippled and lifeless. She looked at her wheelchair, now

realizing it was HER wheelchair, that her life now revolved

around it. She had always liked to be the girl on crutches, and

now she'd never be able to walk on crutches, or anything, ever

again. She lay down and cried herself to sleep once again.

Cindy had been in the wheelchair for several months. She

pulled into the handicapped spot in front of the mall and opened

the car door. She did her usual routine, pulling her wheelchair

from out of the back seat, setting it up, boosting herself into

it from the drivers' seat of her hand-controlled car. She

lifted one leg, then the other into the legrests of the

wheelchair. She still hadn't gotten used to her legs. The

disease had now robbed them of all muscle control, some feeling

too. As she lifted them, she watched her foot hang limp and

twisted by the disease which had put her in a wheelchair for the

rest of her life. She locked the car door and wheeled into the


Cindy was sitting in the food court when she noticed the

little girl walking by on crutches. The girl was on aluminum

forearm crutches, with AFO braces on her legs, her legs swinging

between the crutches, bringing Cindy memories of that day after

the yard sale. The little girl looked at Cindy, and for some

reason, Cindy felt some connection, but instead of smiling back

at the girl Cindy sneered, angry more at her condition than

anything else, and the girl noticed, turning away quickly and

obviously hurt. Cindy blew it off and wheeled her way into the

bookstore, picking out some reading material for later on.

It had been a year since the disease had confined Cindy to

a wheelchair when she noticed the discoloration on her foot. It

was a week later, after asking her doctor about it, that she

woke up, groggy and confused, from the anesthetic. She sat

halfway up and could see, under the sheets and bandages, where

her legs had been amputated midway between her knees and her

crotch. The disease had apparently caused a loss of circulation

in her legs, and they had to be amputated, to save her life.

Cindy pulled up into the handicapped parking space in front

of the mall and pulled her wheelchair out from the back seat,

setting it up and sliding into it, fixing her skirt around her

nylon-clad stumps. Of course, as she had suspected since they

amputated her legs, she couldn't use prosthetics because of the

muscular damage still in what was left of her legs, so she was

still wheelchair bound. Bieng legless was so strange to her,

but it was at least a little easier than dragging her legs

around with her, even though she now lost balance pretty easy.

Shoes were not a problem anymore, of course, and she always wore

skirts and knee-hi stockings, which to her were thigh-hi's so

she though she looked better now, at least a little. As she

wheeled into the mall, she noticed a little girl on crutches,

with AFO braces, who looked at her and smiled strangely. Cindy

smiled back, not sure why, and wheeled herself into the

bookstore to buy some reading material. She saw another girl in

the bookstore, also in a wheelchair, obviously paralyzed by the

look of her legs, ringing up a couple of books at the register.

The girl looked at Cindy, then glanced down at her stumps,

looking a bit sad.

"Should have listened to the phone call" She said crypticly.

No comments:

Post a Comment