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A Love Not Strong Enough To Survive Paralysis...Short Story

My name is Ruby. I live in Southern Illinois. I love to write poetry, short stories and flash fiction. I am a retired R.N.

a-love-not-strong-enough-to-survive-paralysisshort-story

They seemed to fit together like a hand and glove

Alexa and Lee were a perfect couple. Her beauty was natural with auburn red hair and cute freckles. Lee was blond and very handsome. They seemed to fit together like a hand and glove.

They'd been in love since grade school and beyond. They graduated college together and both knew exactly what they wanted to do with their life.

Both families were thrilled when Lee proposed. They had a small wedding in Alexa's family patio garden.

The Iraq war was in full swing and Lee felt it was his duty to join the service and do his part.

They had two weeks together before he was to be shipped out.

Alexa wanted to be a nurse and she'd already applied to the R N program in their small town college in Allendale, Kentucky.

Today was a beautiful summer day and they were on their way to the Ky. Derby in Louisville.

Lee was driving his Ford 150 pickup and listening to music on the radio. A semi truck signaled to pass and struck the front of the truck.

The seat belt broke throwing Alexa in the back seat. She felt a sharp pain in her back that ran down both legs. By the time they stopped, she felt nothing. The semi driver called for an ambulance. She was transported to the nearest hospital. It only took a few tests to diagnose a severed spine.

She remained in the hospital for a week before she was transferred to a nearby rehab hospital. She received hydrotherapy to strengthen her upper torso and arms. With all the extensive exercise, she remained paralyzed from the waist down.

She was informed that she would never walk again. Both families were devastated.

Alexa worried night and day about her and Lee's sex life. They had made each other complete in that department. She wondered, " How can I not ever experience the feeling of sexual pleasure again? " She knew that Lee placed that part of their marriage as top priority.

She talked with the nurse about her concerns and was given some pamphlets to read on how to please your partner. When Lee came to visit she attempted to talk with him about the situation and showed him the material given to her by the nurse. He took one quick look and tossed it into a chair and stomped out of the room.

The rehab hospital had what they called ' a step down room ' This was a room where a couple could spend the night together before being discharged the next day. The room had a TV, a breakfast nook and a large king size bed. They were placed in the room in the evening. She was given a call light to call for help if needed, otherwise, they were left alone. The night nurse didn't invade their privacy all night, confident they would call if anything was needed.

The next morning the nurse knocked on the door. No one answered. She knocked again and listened outside the door. She heard a soft muffled cry. She opened the door to find Alexa alone in bed. The call light had been moved to a nearby table out of reach. She was weeping. When questioned she told what had happened during the night. Lee had become extremely upset when she was unable to have sex in the normal manor. He jumped out of bed, got dressed, moved the call light and walked out of the building. Of course, her family was notified immediately. She was discharged in their care. Lee sent a letter requesting a divorce, which was granted.

It took some time for Alexa to come to grips, but life goes on.

She continued to receive strengthening exercise three time a week. One day her rehab Doctor told her about a new treatment that appeared hopeful for paralyzed patients. It involved a series of injections over time that reconnected tissue around the spinal cord in some patients. She was thrilled at the prospect of getting out of the wheelchair and fulfilling her dream of being a nurse. She received three injections weekly for a year and a half before any signs of recovery visualized. One day she was home sitting at the piano when her big toe twitched. She stopped playing and watched her toe move repeatedly. She continued on with the weekly injections, plus was started on bionic legs to learn to walk again. This took a year of hard work and unwavering determination, but she prevailed and walked a few feet farther each day.

After five years she walked on stage to receive her RN degree.

She went into obstetrical nursing. One evening she looked up to see Lee and his pregnant wife June who was in labor. Alexa assisted the Doctor in a normal delivery of a healthy baby boy who looked a lot like Lee. When she took the baby into their room, Lee paled and looked away. Alexa felt nothing when she looked at him.

She did feel proud that she'd helped deliver a beautiful baby boy into the world.

a-love-not-strong-enough-to-survive-paralysisshort-story

Comments

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on April 02, 2020:

Hi Peggy. It is a true story except her walking again and becoming a nurse is fiction. The accident happened and she was paralyzed. I was her nurse and we became close. When she was discharged, I never saw her again. He really did leave her without the call light. She deserved so much more, she was a beautiful redhead with cute freckles. Thanks again for visiting my page.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 01, 2020:

Lee did not take his marriage vows seriously to abandon his wife in her time of illness. What a sad story! I am glad knowing that this was a real story, that Alexa was once again able to walk, become an RN, and get on with her life. She deserves a better partner in life.

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on February 06, 2020:

Hello Lora. I am glad this story touched your heart. It tells me you are a kind and loving person. Thank you so much.

Lora Hollings on February 05, 2020:

A beautiful story, Ruby. It really touched my heart and I hope that in real life all of her dreams came true. It is too bad that her husband couldn't have reacted differently. It's a real shame that he couldn't appreciate her just as a person. Wonderful writing. Thanks for sharing!

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on February 05, 2020:

Hello Joanna, Thank you for reviving this old story. I was the nurse who gave her the material about sex. It is a true story except the part about her walking. I really never saw her again. You are correct about courage, it does keep us going. Cheers..

Joanna Chandler from On Planet Earth on February 05, 2020:

Ah that was really rotten of Lee, Courage is what keeps us going and faith heals us, sickness brings out the determination we thought we never had.

Atleast Alexa was able to do her job as a professional not letting what Lee did get in the way.

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on April 02, 2018:

Hello Shyron, good to see you. Happy you liked my story. Some people put sex at the forefront of marriage, Its a good part but not the only part.My sister Virgie was married to her childhood sweetheart Harold, he fell out of a tree trimming the limbs, he was paralyzed for years, yet they had a happy marriage. It all comes down to priority!!!! Thank you..Hugs...

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on April 02, 2018:

Hello Shyron, good to see you. Happy you liked my story. Some people put sex at the forefront of marriage, Its a good part but not the only part.My sister Virgie was married to her childhood sweetheart Harold, he fell out of a tree trimming the limbs, he was paralyzed for years, yet they had a happy marriage. It all comes down to priority!!!! Thank you..Hugs...

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on April 02, 2018:

Hello Shyron, good to see you. Happy you liked my story. Some people put sex at the forefront of marriage, Its a good part but not the only part.My sister Virgie was married to her childhood sweetheart Harold, he fell out of a tree trimming the limbs, he was paralyzed for years, yet they had a happy marriage. It all comes down to priority!!!! Thank you..Hugs...

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on April 01, 2018:

How sad, but glad Alexa moved on with her life and became a nurse, so sad for Lee that he left his wife, but can understand a man who is not strong in his sexuality which is too bad.

Blessings my dear friend.

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on November 28, 2016:

Hello EdwardLane. Nice to meet you and happy that you loved my story...Thank you.

EdwardLane on November 28, 2016:

Loved your article. Makes it more interesting that you know the people.

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on July 19, 2016:

Yes it really happened, the auto accident and the paralysis, and the step down room where he moved the call light out of reach. Her becoming an RN and helping to deliver his baby is pure fiction. I wanted her to have a good life without him. I never heard from her after she was discharged with her parents. She was very beautiful with long red hair and a few cute freckles. I hope she found someone to love her for herself...Thanks again.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on July 19, 2016:

Wow, Ruby. I had no idea these are actually people you know!

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on July 19, 2016:

Hello Shauna. I gave her the pamphlets explaining the different ways to have sex, and he refused to read them. He was someone that I would never have as a friend. He hurt her deeply. We became close and she shared a lot with me. I hope she's found true love. Thank you for adding your opinion to this story. I appreciate you. Hugs...

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on July 19, 2016:

It's inconceivable to me that Lee put so much emphasis on sex. They'd been together since they were children, so they had a whole lot more in common than sex! Besides, many paralyzed people are fully capable of having sex. There are more positions than one. He should have loved her enough to experiment. Good riddance to him. His true colors certainly came out. He can defend our country but not the love he and Alexa shared????

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on July 09, 2016:

Hello Surabhi, It's so good to see you! I love your elder's comment. It is very true. Beauty fades and so does the physical aspect of a relationship. True love lasts a lifetime. I'm so glad you enjoyed my story. Thank you...

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on July 09, 2016:

Hello Patricia. I agree, she was the winner. I feel for the poor woman he married. Thank you for the angels...

Surabhi Kaura on July 09, 2016:

Ah! I seem to have missed a lot of your work, Ruby. So you have turned to Flash? :) Cool. By the way, I loved this heart-piercing story. It reminded me of someone... similar situation. It's a fatal mistake to see the physical side of love alone. Then it's not love but lust. One of my elders used to say, "Don't have pride on this moon-face, it will soon fade away." In this case, sadly, it was not love. You have captured this so emotionally well. I could see the mages while reading your story. Bravo!

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on July 01, 2016:

How awesome that she overcameand conquered!! She was the winner!!!Angels in the way to you ps

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on June 29, 2016:

Hello Shan. He moved the call light so the staff wouldn't know he'd left the building. To move it out of reach was the lowest of lows. He was an uncaring jerk who will have a visit from Karma. ( I hope. ) I'm so glad you like my stories. Thank you...

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on June 29, 2016:

Hello Audrey. As we all know, sex is a major part of a relationship, but when it is above all else, it loses it's importance. Don't worry Audrey. I have a friend whose sex drive has heightened. Her Dr. told her that is not uncommon for that to happen to some women when they age. Go figure? lol..

Shannon Henry from Texas on June 28, 2016:

Some people are such jackasses! If it isn't bad enough that he walked out on her, it was completely callous to move the call button so that she couldn't get relief if she needed it. Serves him right to be ashamed of himself when she delivered his baby. But good for her for overcoming it!

The way you write about people's inner strength and perseverance is what I like most about your stories. I think I'd be surprised if you didn't have at least a semi-happy ending to your stories. Semi-happy is realistic much of the time.

Audrey Howitt from California on June 28, 2016:

This is a riveting story Ruby--such truth here really--I think often about aging and continued intimacy--it is a reality for a lot of us--so thank you for writing this

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on June 28, 2016:

Hi Genna. I remember her well. She was very beautiful with very long, red hair, and she was so sweet. I thought the song fit her perfectly. She had a little sister who was around twelve. I'm sure it made an impact on her. They were so close. I do have a lot of stories to tell from my year's of nursing, some happy, some sad. Thank you for kindness toward my writing..Hugs..

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on June 28, 2016:

Hello Mike. The story is all true except the part of her regaining the use of her legs. I had to give her a good life after the hurt he put her through. Thank you..

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on June 28, 2016:

Hello Paula. I love happy endings too. And, I love it when you visit my stories. Thank you...

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on June 28, 2016:

Hi Bill. It's difficult to believe that anyone could be that heartless, but he was. Thank you...

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on June 28, 2016:

Hello Dana. I am happy that you enjoyed my story. I'm looking forward to reading your story. Thank you. I value your input.

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on June 27, 2016:

Hello DDE. I could tell from his actions that her paralysis was affecting him too much. I think her family felt that he was going to bolt too. Thank you..

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on June 27, 2016:

Hello Shyron. My sister Eva was paralyzed from the waist down and had the most wonderful husband. He took good care of her. He loved her. Lee was not there mentally. He only lived for the day. Thank you...

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on June 27, 2016:

After everything she went through, Alexa was still able to fulfill her dream. I doubt this would have been possible had she stayed with Lee; that relationship was not based on real love. Such strength and courage she had. "Ain't no mountain high enough..." No, there isn't if your heart is in the right place. I know that yours certainly is, dear friend. Your experiences as a rehab nurse must have taken you through so many heart-rending experiences with patients. Bless you for being there for them. Wonderful flash fiction Ruby. Hugs.

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on June 27, 2016:

Hello Peg. Nice to see you. Some people should never consider marriage, it's not always smooth sailing. Thank you.

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on June 27, 2016:

Hello Manatita. We are a family of writers who support each other, and that's great. Thank you....

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on June 27, 2016:

Hello Ven I agree. Lee didn't deserve her love. Thank you.

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on June 27, 2016:

Thank you Cam. So happy you liked my story.

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on June 27, 2016:

Hello Frank. How you do go on!! I HAD A GOOD TEACHER. Thank you.

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on June 26, 2016:

Hello John. Yes I was her nurse in rehab. We became close. She confided her fears to me. I think now, looking back that she knew he would not stay in the marriage. Thank you..

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on June 26, 2016:

Hello Theresa, I agree. Thank goodness there are more good ones than bad. Thank you for stopping by to read my true/fiction story...

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on June 26, 2016:

Hello Ruby. This story grabbed me from the beginning. I wondered where you were taking me. It turns out you took me through sadness and out again. Nicely done.

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on June 26, 2016:

Hello hari, I hope she did move on. She lived in Ky. and I never saw her again. I want to believe that she found happiness without her husband who lacked compassion.. Thank you for seeing a bright side to this sad story.

Suzie from Carson City on June 26, 2016:

Oh Ruby, Now I have to breathe deep and calm down. I'm so sad for the outcome of Alexa's relationship with an obviously shallow, selfish man!

But at the end of the day, through courage and determination Alexa came out on top! Very moving story, Ruby. I love happy endings.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 26, 2016:

That sucks! I have such a hard time hearing things like this, knowing there are people out there like that. Sigh!

Dana Tate from LOS ANGELES on June 25, 2016:

Ruby, this was truly a beautiful and tragic story. I can imagine the pain of the young woman who realized that sometimes better or for worse only means " as long as it isn't too bad" Some people do not have the strength to deal with certain tragedies that are apart of this life and that's a true and sad fact. Divorce is the result of people who for one reason or another cannot be inconvenienced by other people weaknesses. Loved the story it reminds me of a short-story I'm working on I hope you read it when I publish it. Take care.

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on June 25, 2016:

Hello Clive. So many times people get married thinking everything will always be wonderful, then life happens and they fold. Thank you for a wise comment...

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on June 25, 2016:

It is sad and facing such circumstances is hurtful You never know who will remain with in these moments or for the rest of your life.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on June 25, 2016:

Ruby, this is very sad at the beginning but turned out to be what is best for Alexa, it probably did not seem like it at the time.

Sex means a lot, but it is not everything.

Blessings and Hugs dear friend

Peg Cole from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on June 25, 2016:

What an intriguing story, Ruby. This sort of tale really reveals the true nature of some people. Alexa was blessed not to have that sort of man in her life. Someone so cruel and without any compassion did not deserve such a sweet woman. Great ending.

manatita44 from london on June 25, 2016:

Everyone is getting better and better at these short stories. This was an amazing piece, and it really shows what a family we are. One never knows who he/she will need tomorrow. Brilliant stuff!

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on June 25, 2016:

Hello Eric. I wanted to give her a good life after being treated so badly. I hope she is happy today. Thank you...

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on June 25, 2016:

Hi Mar, she was so sweet, and she was beautiful with very long red hair. She seemed to worry about the sexual aspect of her marriage more than anything. She talked to me about her fears and I gave her the pamphlets and he did refuse to read them. This happened in 2004, before the bionic legs. So happy you liked my story. I am going to take my sis. mary shopping at the mall in Evansville today, so I'll be gone until evening. Thank you. Hugs...

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on June 25, 2016:

Beautiful but a very sad story. True love means sharing all pains along with happiness. Lee does not deserve that. It is a good message to all lovers.

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on June 25, 2016:

Ruby, you took us on an emotional ride in this story and you gave us a very satisfying ending. Good story and well written. Thank you.

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on June 25, 2016:

your writing is getting so much better.. that Frank Atanacio guy has nothing on you... he just better watch out LOL

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on June 25, 2016:

Ruby, I could tell that you wrote this story from your experiences as a rehab nurse. It was so real. It is hard to say what feelings it evokes, though.. sadness, disappointment, or relief that Alea's accident allowed her to find out what Lee was really like. Well written.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on June 24, 2016:

Aw, such a sad reality, but in the long run, she is better off for not marrying a man like Lee. Men of good character are hard to find nowadays, but they are out there.

Blessings

Hari Prasad S from Bangalore on June 24, 2016:

The story is sad yet positive. Teaching us to move on.

- hari

Clive Williams from Jamaica on June 24, 2016:

Now that's one wicked husband. For better or worst, till death do us part are very important words, many don't understand.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on June 24, 2016:

Moving. Exposing no remaining anger made this very peaceful.

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on June 24, 2016:

Ah Ruby,

I'm not sure everyone understands the part of the wedding vows that says 'for better or WORSE'...

What a realistic and sad story... 'Alexa' is better off on every level without Lee.

Your muse was a nurse in her former life...and I love that. Hugs, mar

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on June 24, 2016:

This story is fiction but true about the accident and paralysis. I was her nurse in the rehab hosp. Her husband did leave her in the step down room and they did get a divorce. She is still paralyzed today.