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

Updated on June 26, 2016

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.

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    • always exploring profile image
      Author

      Ruby Jean Fuller 7 months ago from Southern Illinois

      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.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 7 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

      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

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 7 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Moving. Exposing no remaining anger made this very peaceful.

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 7 months ago from Nibiru

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

    • shprd74 profile image

      Hari Prasad S 7 months ago from Bangalore

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

      - hari

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 7 months ago from southern USA

      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

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 7 months ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 7 months ago from Shelton

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

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 7 months ago from Colorado Springs, CO until the end of March

      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.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 7 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      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.

    • always exploring profile image
      Author

      Ruby Jean Fuller 7 months ago from Southern Illinois

      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...

    • always exploring profile image
      Author

      Ruby Jean Fuller 7 months ago from Southern Illinois

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

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 7 months ago from london

      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!

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 7 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      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.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 7 months ago

      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

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 7 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      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.

    • always exploring profile image
      Author

      Ruby Jean Fuller 7 months ago from Southern Illinois

      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...

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 7 months ago from LOS ANGELES

      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.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

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

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 7 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      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.

    • always exploring profile image
      Author

      Ruby Jean Fuller 7 months ago from Southern Illinois

      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.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 7 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      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.

    • always exploring profile image
      Author

      Ruby Jean Fuller 7 months ago from Southern Illinois

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

    • always exploring profile image
      Author

      Ruby Jean Fuller 7 months ago from Southern Illinois

      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..

    • always exploring profile image
      Author

      Ruby Jean Fuller 7 months ago from Southern Illinois

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

    • always exploring profile image
      Author

      Ruby Jean Fuller 7 months ago from Southern Illinois

      Thank you Cam. So happy you liked my story.

    • always exploring profile image
      Author

      Ruby Jean Fuller 7 months ago from Southern Illinois

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

    • always exploring profile image
      Author

      Ruby Jean Fuller 7 months ago from Southern Illinois

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

    • always exploring profile image
      Author

      Ruby Jean Fuller 7 months ago from Southern Illinois

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

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 7 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      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.

    • always exploring profile image
      Author

      Ruby Jean Fuller 7 months ago from Southern Illinois

      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...

    • always exploring profile image
      Author

      Ruby Jean Fuller 6 months ago from Southern Illinois

      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..

    • always exploring profile image
      Author

      Ruby Jean Fuller 6 months ago from Southern Illinois

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

    • always exploring profile image
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      Ruby Jean Fuller 6 months ago from Southern Illinois

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

    • always exploring profile image
      Author

      Ruby Jean Fuller 6 months ago from Southern Illinois

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

    • always exploring profile image
      Author

      Ruby Jean Fuller 6 months ago from Southern Illinois

      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..

    • always exploring profile image
      Author

      Ruby Jean Fuller 6 months ago from Southern Illinois

      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..

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 6 months ago from California

      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

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon 6 months ago from Texas

      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.

    • always exploring profile image
      Author

      Ruby Jean Fuller 6 months ago from Southern Illinois

      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..

    • always exploring profile image
      Author

      Ruby Jean Fuller 6 months ago from Southern Illinois

      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...

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 6 months ago from sunny Florida

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

    • Surabhi Kaura profile image

      Surabhi Kaura 6 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      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!

    • always exploring profile image
      Author

      Ruby Jean Fuller 6 months ago from Southern Illinois

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

    • always exploring profile image
      Author

      Ruby Jean Fuller 6 months ago from Southern Illinois

      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...

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 6 months ago from Central Florida

      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????

    • always exploring profile image
      Author

      Ruby Jean Fuller 6 months ago from Southern Illinois

      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...

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 6 months ago from Central Florida

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

    • always exploring profile image
      Author

      Ruby Jean Fuller 6 months ago from Southern Illinois

      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.

    • EdwardLane 8 weeks ago

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

    • always exploring profile image
      Author

      Ruby Jean Fuller 8 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

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

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