62: My Olathe Angel

62: My Olathe Angel

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels and Miracles

My Olathe Angel

Alone is impossible in a world inhabited by angels.

~Author Unknown

I was alone in my hospital room. All the other victims from the van accident had been taken to a different hospital and my mom and sister weren’t flying in until the next morning.

How did I get here? One minute I was laughing with my friends, eating a Subway sandwich in the front bench seat of the van and reveling in our speech and debate tournament successes. The next minute there was rolling and screaming and flying and now, here I was, crying and alone in Olathe, Kansas — wherever that was.

I cried some more. Why was I in a different hospital than everyone else? Was I better? Worse? Was everyone still alive? Why wouldn’t anyone tell me anything?

I remembered seeing my friend Dena flying through the air. “Jeez, she shouldn’t be doing that. It looks dangerous. I hope she’s okay,” I thought to myself, not aware yet that I was doing the same thing. It’s funny what the mind does to protect itself.

And then . . . thud. I hit the ground . . . hard. I blacked out, I guess, because the next thing I knew an older woman with a charming Southern accent was kneeling over me and the sky was above me.

“It’s going to be all right, sweetheart. You’re going to be just fine.” But I had a sense she doubted her own words. She kept looking around for help. I felt what must have been blood dripping down my face.

“Shh. Shh. Just sit real still, you’re going to be fine.” Again, her face didn’t look as confident as her words.

My left arm felt weird. I kept trying to lift it to my eyes to get a better look at it. It was excruciatingly painful and entirely numb. Don’t ask me to explain that.

“Oh, don’t do that, sweet dear. Leave your hand be.” But my arm wasn’t right. The angles were all wrong. I couldn’t figure it out. More blood dripped down by my eye. It must have looked like I was crying blood.

Now I was in the hospital bed and I couldn’t roll over. There were too many contraptions all around me. I wanted my mom . . . or someone.

I must have fallen asleep again, because when I woke up there was a middle-aged woman sitting in the chair next to my bed. Was it a nurse? I didn’t think it was my mom, but I couldn’t tell. I was on a lot of painkillers and it was the middle of the night.

“Sorry! Did I wake you?” the woman asked. I shook my head no. “My husband said we shouldn’t come, that it was ridiculous. But when I heard on the radio about your accident and that they sent you here to Olathe all alone, I told my husband, “Bob, turn around. We have to go see that girl. I bet she is lonely and scared. It’s a three-hour drive, but I didn’t care.”

I didn’t think it was the same woman from the crash site. Was it? I felt so confused.

“I’m so sorry this happened to you. What a tragedy. The news said some of you are really bad off. I’m so sorry. You’re family will be here soon I think, right?”

How did she get in? It had to be 3 a.m. But somehow it felt okay I felt okay.

“I wanted to bring you something, but I couldn’t find the right thing. So I just brought you this cup. It’s silly.”

There were cartoon characters on the outside and candy inside.

“It’s more for a child. I guess I thought you were younger. Do you like it?”

I smiled and nodded, and then I must have dozed off again. I slept fitfully, but every time I opened my eyes, the woman was still in the chair next to me smiling, holding the cup. I felt somehow comforted.

“You’re not alone,” I heard her say before I finally fell deeply asleep.

When I awoke in the morning, a nurse was in my room doing nurse-like things.

“Feeling a little better this morning?” she asked. I nodded. “Your mom called again. She and your sister will be here by noon.”

I swallowed hard, looking around the room, remembering my late night visitor. Was that woman real or just a drug-induced hallucination?

“Was there . . . did someone come in my room last night?” I asked.

“Nope, just me. I was on duty all night.”

“There wasn’t a woman who drove up from Kansas City in my room?”

The nurse laughed. “Don’t think so, sweetie. You were out pretty good. I checked on you several times. Plus visiting hours were closed. No one could have gotten in. You rest now. That’s the best thing for you.”

The nurse left. I was alone, but felt somehow better. Who came to see me in the middle of the night?

Then I smiled. Across the room on the window ledge was a cartoony coffee cup filled with candy. The sun poured onto my face.

~Kim Schultz

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