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The Freak Accident (standard:drama, 1194 words)
Author: akAdded: Jul 29 2003Views/Reads: 3660/2502Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Marty falls from a ladder and is paralyzed. How can she make others understand how she feels about life?

The Freak Accident By Kira Pirofski 

Dr. Kaye, Marty's neurologist, called it a "freak" accident because the
chance of it happening to a 10 year old girl was almost nil. "The fact 
is," Dr. Kaye,droned “spinal cord injuries occur most often among men 
ages 18-24.  Paraplegia is generally the result of motor vehicle 
accidents.  Medical science is still in search of a cure," she had 
noted with authority. 

Marty had heard those words five years ago.  At the time Dr. Kaye had
given her the bad news, about not walking again, Marty was not 
listening.  She was thinking about the freak accident. 

It all happened on Thanksgiving Day, when she was just 8 years old. 
Marty and her older sister, Eleanor, had gone to their back yard to 
pick apples for Dr. Epstein, their mom. 

When Marty reached the top of the ladder, the rotten wood gave way.  She
tumbled noiselessly to the ground.  There hadn't been pain. 

But then, she noticed her legs didn't move. 

The last words Marty remembered saying were "Eleanor, get mom, something
is wrong,” The next thing she remembered was lying in bed in the 
Children's Hospital in Palo Alto, where she lived.  The rehab ward was 
active and fun.  Respiratory therapists came every day to Marty's 
bedside.  They taught her to blow the harmonica so that she could 
strengthen her lungs. 

Occupational therapists taught her to make bird houses, and belts, and
sand candles.  Her favorite therapist, Laura, was a physical therapist. 
 She taught Marty to use a wheelchair, to pop wheelies, and to wheel 
down steps. 

After just 3 months, Marty had gone home.  Dr. Epstein had the house
refitted, and a ramp had replaced the front steps.  A van was parked in 
the driveway with a bumper sticker that said, "I brake for 
wheelchairs," and another that said, "Walking is just one way to get 

Marty went to movies, swam, went to school, and even rode horses.  She
was the same girl she always was, it was the people who had changed. 

They said things like, "why not get an electric wheelchair dear?" to
which Marty always wanted to say, "What's wrong with wheeling my own 
chair?" And they always tried to push her chair, even when she didn't 
need help.  Couldn't they see she managed just fine? 

Then there were the other questions like:” what happened to your legs,"
to which Marty usually answered, "I thought I still had them, aren't 
they still there." Then adults would ask her, "how do you go to the 
bathroom?" and Marty would reply, “I wheel there." The one question 
Marty relished was, "how do you sleep?"  Without missing a beat, Marty 
would shoot back, "like a baby, just fine thanks." 

At first she would answer seriously, "I have a spinal cord injury" and
“I use a catheter that is how I pass urine, I have a colostomy that is 
how I have bowel movements."  She would patiently explain, "I use a 
sliding board to get into bed, then I lie down." But after 5 years, she 
was tired of the questions.  So she just made up answers.  Whatever 
came to mind?  It didn't matter. 

"People are just curious, Marty" her mother would explain. "It wouldn't
hurt to be nice and give a real explanation.” 

“Mom, I don't pry ask a lot of questions to people who walk, why do they
all ask me questions?” 

“Just try to be nice Marty, after all you are a role model for others in
wheelchairs,” was her mom's usual reply. 

“I just want to roll my wheelchair in peace, I don't want to be a role
model” Marty would shoot back. 

Even though she resented the questions, Marty did want people to

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