Prompt-Fill: 016. hand 2A

Prompt-Fill: 016. hand 2A

It was gone. Only a stump remained at the end of his wrist. They’d amputated his hand.

Tears gathered in his eyes. He’d trusted them when they said they wouldn’t do anything without his permission, yet they’d drugged him and cut off his hand. The betrayal stung even in the face of his loss.

The door began opening. He hurriedly wiped his eyes dry on the pillowcase and the shoulder of the hospital gown he wore.

By the time the nurse came in, he had a stoic expression on his face. She didn’t mention the redness of his eyes, simply gave him a smile and asked him how he was feeling.

“I’m feeling like they chopped off my hand,” he snarled, then bit his lip, instantly contrite. “I’m sorry. It’s not your fault.”

She gave him a sympathetic look. “From what I understand, it’s not your fault either. A decision had to be made or you would have died.”

“I know.” He avoided looking at the bandaged stump. He looked toward the window instead. “It’s sunny out there. All those days of rain, and now it’s sunny.”

The nurse—PAM, said her nametag—moved around the room. She opened things and shut things, checked readings on the machines and changed the IV so quickly and expertly he wouldn’t have noticed if he wasn’t watching.

“It’s a beautiful day,” she said. She crumpled up a blue paper cloth and tossed it in the garbage can. “I think I’m going to recommend that you get some time outside today.”

“What?” He gestured with his hand at his stump. “They cut off my hand yesterday.”

“That was yesterday,” she said. “This is today. And while the stump is still tender and I wouldn’t jostle it around, it should be okay while you sit in a wheelchair in the garden. It’s a lovely sunny day and we don’t know when the sun will next decide to visit us. You should get the chance to enjoy it a little.”

He wanted to object—”I don’t want to leave my room. My hand. They cut off my hand“—but the thought of being outside with the sun on his face was too appealing.

“Okay,” he said instead, tone grudging.

“Good.” She smiled brightly. “I can tell already that you’re a fighter. You’re going to be okay. I’m sure of it.”

“If you’re sure,” he said doubtfully.

“I’m sure,” she said. She glanced at her watch. “And I’m due on another floor in five minutes. So I’m going to run out of here. If you need anything, the call button is right there. Lunch is in forty minutes. And I will see you tomorrow. Bye!”

“Bye,” he echoed, but she was already gone. The clicking shut of the door was the only sign that she’d ever existed.

“How weird,” he whispered. But he felt better.

Sure, they’d amputated his hand, but he was still alive. And maybe he could 3D print himself a cool prosthesis. It was terrible. But it was going to be all right.

“I’m alive,” he said.

And when his family came to visit he managed a tremulous smile that gradually became real. Because they loved him. They were here. They’d made the decision he couldn’t manage to make.

He was alive.