“I can’t feel my legs,” the young man shouted as he lay on the football field.
The coach and team manager ran out onto the field as the refs gathered around him. The linebacker that had landed on him was crying and constantly saying “I’m sorry” on the sidelines. His coach hugged him before he trudged into the locker room.
The ambulance drove onto the track that surrounded the playing field and two paramedics pulled the gurney out of the back and took it to the field. They lowered it and carefully lifted the young quarterback onto the gurney. After he was loaded into the ambulance, it took off for the hospital. It was ten minutes away but seemed like ten hours to the broken athlete.
The paramedics took his blood pressure which was higher than normal due to his anxiety. He slapped his useless legs trying to feel something. But he was frustrated and wanted to cry. But he wanted to show the men he was tough.
“How far down your body can you feel anything?” asked one of the paramedics.
“I can still feel my junk. But that’s all further down I can feel anything. I’ll be able to walk again, won’t I?” he asked desperately.
The men looked at each other and slowly shook their heads.
“Lie to me, guys. Tell me I’m going to be back on the field for at least the last game of the year.”
“Sure, kid. You’ll be up and chasing cheerleaders by Thanksgiving.”
The other man said, “I don’t like to give people false hope. I haven’t checked your spine closely. But I suspect the doctors will tell you to live with your condition because the only football field you’re going to see from now on is on TV. I’m sorry.”
“What if it’s just a spinal bone that is pinching the nerve and can be removed. Don’t they do that in the hospital?”
“I really don’t know,” said the first paramedic. “If they can do it and you’ll be alright, they’ll do it. I’m not a doctor. But today they do things a generation ago was thought to be impossible.”
The optimistic paramedic said, “I read a book one time that mentioned something called a nerve bypass. It happened in 2037. Maybe someday it will become a reality.”
“But I’ll be too old to be a quarterback for the Bears by then.”
The other paramedic said, “The Bears will take anyone. So you might get your chance if you recover miraculously.”
The ambulance pulled up to the emergency room entrance and the young man was wheeled in to be examined. One of the nurses used a pin on his legs and thighs to see if he felt anything while another nurse had him look at her so he wouldn’t lie about feeling any sensation. He finally felt a prick on his side above his hip.
“That I felt. So there is hope for me?”
The nurses looked at each other but didn’t say anything. A doctor that was attending spoke with him.
“We’ll take some tests to see how extensive your injury is.”
“I can’t feel my legs. I think my injury is extensive. Can they do anything to help me in this hospital?”
“We won’t know until we do the tests.”
“One of the paramedics told me about a nerve bypass. Does it exist?”
The doctor looked at the nurses and said, “I don’t know what it is.”
“If it can help me walk, put one in me.”
“We’ll see,” said the doctor.
The young man was taken into one of the rooms down the hall from the emergency room. The TV wasn’t on, so he reached for the remote and turned it on. Maybe watching some TV would take his mind off of his condition.
A few minutes later he felt the urge to pee. He tried to get out of bed, but his legs were dead. He reached for the nurses buzzer and seconds later a nurse that looked to be as old as his mom stepped into the room.
“May I help you?” she asked.
“I need to pee. Is there a wheelchair I can use to wheel myself into the toilet?”
The woman grabbed the bedpan that was on the night stand beside the bed.
“This will have to do.”
“But it’s so embarrassing.”
“It’s either that or you’re going to pee in your bed. And I don’t want to clean up the mess. So what’ll it be?”
The young man was handed the bedpan and he somehow managed to slide it under his butt. The nurses had removed his shorts, so he didn’t need to remove them. Even then he just managed to place the metal pan under his butt before the first trickle of urine came out. He couldn’t feel how cold the bedpan was. But that was the only relief he felt until he was done.
For the next few days, the young man was examined by specialists who discovered that his spinal cord had been severed. The prognosis wasn’t good. If he was lucky he might gain some feeling in his legs. But walking was out of the question.
For a week, the young man was examined by doctors and surgeons but not given any hope that he would be able to walk again. That was the case until late on Friday afternoon when a bald headed man with a beard entered the room while the young man’s mom was out of the room trying to get something from a vending machine.
“I won’t ask how you’re doing because I know how you feel, young man,” said the man.
“Are you going to tell me what all the other doctors have told me i’m not going to walk again?”
“No I won’t. I’ve worked on my nerve bypass longer than you’ve been alive.”
“You mean it does exist?”
“Sure it does. I’ve used it on rats, dogs, and pigs and it works.”
“So I’ll be able to walk again?”
“PETA hasn’t sued me for crippling the animals I have experimented on. So yeah, you’ll be able to walk again.”
The young man’s mom stepped into the room with a soda and asked, “Who are you?”
“Mom, he said he can make me walk again,” the kid said excitedly.
“Is this true?”
“Yes it is, Mrs. Taylor. Your son Frank will be able to walk again once I place a nerve bypass in his spine.”
“Have you placed one in anyone else?”
“I’ve only used it on animals and it works. There are no bad side effects.”
“How much will it cost me?” the woman asked.
“Nothing. If your son is able to walk again, this hospital will hire me on the spot and I’ll be able to charge what I want as long as it’s within reason.”
“You’re not a doctor here?” she asked.
“Not yet. I heard about your son’s condition and wanted to help him. I had a friend who was a swimmer and would have gone to the Olympics. But he was doing a dive and hit his neck on the platform he was jumping from. He was alive but he was paralyzd from the neck down. He couldn’t stand being paralyzed and lost the will to live. I don’t want that to happen to your son.”
Seconds later, a doctor entered the room. He scowled at the other doctor.
“I hope you don’t believe this mad scientist,” warned the second doctor.
“He told us he can make my son walk again. I want to believe him.”
“I want to believe in unicorns but that won’t make them real. I would steer clear of this guy.”
“But he told us he made a rat, a dog, and a pig walk again. I think he’s for real,” said the hopeful young man.
“I can bring the dog or pig in to show you my nerve bypass works.”
“Unless I see you do it for real on a test animal I’m not going to let you touch this young man.”
“What if we sue the hospital for malpractice?” asked the young man.
“That’s why I’m not going to let him touch you,” said the skeptical doctor. “If anything goes wrong, the hospital could be shut down by the AMA. The doctor that does the surgery could lose his license.”
“I’ll do the surgery,” said the researcher.
“And will you keep the AMA off our back?” asked the doctor, concerned for the hospital.
“I won’t fail. If there is any paperwork I need to sign first, I’ll do it.”
“You better believe there is paperwork. The hospital will throw the book at you.”
“I’ll bring in Madge the Dog and Daisy the Pig tomorrow, if I need to.”
“President Trump signed the Right To Try Act which will allow the operation to happen,” the young man said.
The skeptical doctor left the room and headed for the administrator’s office. The researcher accompanied him to argue his case before the administrator. Nearly half an hour passed before the doctors came back to the room.
Will they have good news or will the young man be destined to spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair? Maybe you can produce a happy ending.