Her head hurt, her throat hurt, her wrist hurt, her leg hurt, her whole body hurt as she tried to move. Her eyes were heavy as she tried to open them, and when her hands went up to rub the sleep out, to help them to open, she hit something. Her eyes flew open, trying to gasp, but found that she couldn’t. Her hands went to her mouth and panic hit when there was something in it.
She desperately started to try to take it out when hands took ahold of her to stop it. “Don’t do that princess. Let me get the doctor and they’ll take the tube out for you.” Owen whispered in her ear. She looked up into his blue eyes and gave a slight nod. “Good girl. I’ll be right back.”
He left her only for a minute but her heart started to speed up trying to remember why she was where she was. She lifted her arm and saw her arm in a cast. Then she raised her un-casted hand with the IV and felt a bandage around her head. Fast coming footsteps came in and then was above her. “Hello, Josephine. I’m doctor Moshard, and I’m going to take this tube out for you.” The man said as nurses scrambled around him. The doctor started to unhook the tubes. “On the count of three, I want you to hold your breath.” Doctor Moshard said. “One, two, three…” She held her breath on three, and then the tube was pulled from her throat making her want to gag.
A light then flashed in her eyes. “How are you feeling?”
“Soar, and my throat hurts.” She answered.
Owen came over with a cup and helped her take a small sip of water, then the doctor took her chart in hand, glanced at the monitors, and sighed. “Josephine, you’ve gone through a very traumatic experience.” The doctor explained, but could see there was more going on… she could read it on the man’s face. “I’m going to let you rest for a little bit before we get into everything that has happened and the surgery’s that you’ve undergone.”
That sounded wrong and she held up her hand to have the doctor not leave. “I don’t understand what’s going on. How did I get here? What happened to me?”
Owen pulled his chair closer to the bed and squeezed her hand. “You don’t remember what happened?”
Jojo stopped and thought, but her mind was blank. She couldn’t remember anything; she didn’t even know how long she had been in the hospital. “I remember coming home from our honeymoon.” She offered.
“Princess, that was two weeks ago,” Owen said, then glanced up at the doctor, then back to her. “Can you remember anything else?”
She closed her eyes and tried to think of the last thing she remembered. Her audition, her and Owen going to D.C., picking up little Buddy at Owen’s mom’s house, then them coming home. Then something hit her. “I remember going to the club and getting a call that I got into the dance studio…” She murmured, and then her mom flashed before her eyes. “And mom, I remember seeing mom. She was sick, really sick.” She stated, then stopped and her eyes widened. “Owen, is she okay?”
Owen glanced up at the doctor, and the doctor gave a small nod and left the room. He sighed taking her hand and kissed it before looking into her eyes. “She passed away last night, princess. I’m so sorry.”
She heard what was said, but couldn’t believe it. “What?”
“We were leaving The Stone when you were hit by a car. We were on our way to go see your mom… do you remember that?”
She thought back, and the memories started to flow, and then the tears flowed with them. “I remember. Dad called and said it was time to come say goodbye.” She murmured, and then her hands covered her face as the sobs took over.
Arms went over her and a body sat next to her on the bed. “I’m so sorry princess.” He whispered in her ear.
“She must have thought that I didn’t love her.” She wept.
“No princess, your dad told her that there was an accident…your mom knew you would do anything to be there for her, anything.” He assured her, only to make her cry harder and Owen held on tighter. “I’m sorry princess, so damn sorry.”
She didn’t say anything, she couldn’t. Her mom was gone and she hadn’t been there to say goodbye. Time seemed to stand still, but then ache in her body started to hurt like nothing she had felt before in her life. She glanced over at her wrist, with metal pins sticking out of it, but there was another pain, one she couldn’t explain. Her eyes started to well up even more, not sure if it was from the thoughts of her mom or the pain in her leg. “Owen, my leg hurts very badly. Is it in a cast too?”
The color drained from his face and he pulled back. “Your leg hurts?”
“Yes, I wonder if you could ask the doctor if I can have something for the pain.” She asked.
Owen didn’t move, and she was about to ask a question when he got up. “Let me go get the doctor so we can ask.” And then he kissed her forehead and rushed out.
She laid there for a minute glancing around the room trying to figure everything out and being haunted by the thought of not being able to say goodbye to her mom. She moved in the bed to get comfortable when something caught her eye. She looked down at the foot of the bed seeing the bumps and where her legs and feet should be, but only saw one full leg and foot. Then the other leg… it looked strange. Her eyes went over to where her foot was under the covers and stared at it for a minute before she moved it. She watched the foot move back and forth, and then the knee go up. Then she looked at the next leg, and moved her foot, only to see nothing. The fear that shot through her was immediate, but she swallowed it down, and tried again, and again, to finally try to move her knee, which moved, but looked odd.
She found the buttons to make the bed sit up and then looked at the place on the bed where the wrinkled blankets were. She could feel her heart beating out of her chest, could even hear it from the machines around her. Then her fingers gripped into the covers at her hip and took a deep breath. When she threw the sheets off it took her a minute to understand what she was seeing. There in front of her, she saw only her thigh with a big white bandage attached to the place where the rest of her leg once had been. She choked on a sob as she continued to stare, she knew what she was seeing, but for some reason couldn’t understand it.
“Jojo…” A voice said, and she glanced up to see Owen standing at the door.
She wanted to ask what was going on, but couldn’t find the words. All she knew was that her dancing career, the career she had worked her life and sacrificed growing up with her family and having a childhood was gone. It was all gone now. “Owen.” Was all she could say when the doctor walked up behind him. “This isn’t really happening, is it?” She whispered.
“Shit, princess.” Was all he said as he came in and took a seat next to her covering her back up. “This is doctor Moshard and he’s going to explain everything to you, okay?” To which she nodded barely able to keep her emotions in check.
“Josephine, I was told that you were in pain, is that correct? Do you need something to help ease you?” The doctor asked.
“My leg hurts…” She mumbled, not fully understanding how that was even possible.
“We call those phantom pains. Your brain doesn’t yet realize that there is no longer a leg there, but in time that should go away.”
Her fist clenched into the covers as she stared at where the rest of her leg should be, then back up at the doctor. “How?”
“Your leg was severely damaged I’m afraid. We managed to put the bone back together, but the trauma to it was too severe. When we went back in to try and salvage it, we all agreed that it was beyond our capabilities to do so without an enormous threat to your life.” The doctor explained. He stopped and his lips puckered before reaching out and touching her remaining foot. “I understand that all this is difficult to take in, but you will get better. I want you to get into rehabilitation right away. And as soon as your leg is healed, we’ll get you a prosthetic. You’ll be up and walking again in no time.”
She heard what the doctor said, understood everything, but there was one thing that he left out. “But I will never dance again.” It wasn’t a question; it was just a fact. Owen brought her hand to his face and kissed it. He didn’t say anything, because she knew he couldn’t.
Just the look on the doctor’s face told her everything she needed to know but, “Yes you will be able to dance. But to dance as you once did, no. I’m very sorry.”
Jojo nodded forcing herself to try and have some composure. She was not the sort of person who likes to cry in front of others. She had been taught since she was little to hold back pain and sorrow in the Saint Petersburg dance school. She remembered her teachers lecturing on how a dancer should behave, even if it is in pain, mentally or physically. The performance was all that mattered… that had been drilled into her head. Now, even though she had cried about her mother with Owen there, she couldn’t let the doctor see her utter devastation. “Thank you doctor Moshard.” She finally managed to get out. “But can I have something more to drink then water? I would really like a ginger ale. My stomach is a little upset.”
The doctor looked at her and glanced over at Owen. “The nausea is most likely from all the anesthesia. I’ll have a nurse bring you one…”
“No, thank you. I’ll have my husband get me it if that’s alright.”
“I don’t see any problem with that.” The doctor answered, then he let go of her foot. “A nurse will be coming in soon to give you something for the pain and get you registered for your rehabilitation.” And to that, she nodded.
Owen got up from his seat and leaned over her. “Are you sure you want me to go? I mean, I could go get a nurse to get you a soda.”
“I also want some chocolate, and I’m not sure the doctor would have said yes to that.” She answered, but Owen didn’t move. Instead, his eyes bored into hers. “I just need a minute to process all this, and I would really love a chocolate bar to help with that.”
“Okay, I’ll be right back.” He said kissing her lips and looking at her for another minute before leaving.
She was alone, the only thing she could hear was the sound of the machines, and that’s when the first tear started to fall, then another, and another, until it was a constant flow. Her mother gone, her life’s work gone, and all she could think about was what she was going to do with her life.
Her mom wasn’t there to help her through this, to give her the words of wisdom that only a mother would have. Then a thought hit her and how being a dancer is all she’d ever known; all she had wanted to do. She wiped some tears off her face roughly and laughed. “Now you know how much dancing means to you.” She hissed, then turned her head and cried into the pillow until she didn’t have any tears left in her.