Iron Heart: The True Story of How I Came Back From the Dead

Iron Heart: The True Story of How I Came Back From the Dead by Brian Boyle, Bill Katovsky Read Free Book Online

Book: Iron Heart: The True Story of How I Came Back From the Dead by Brian Boyle, Bill Katovsky Read Free Book Online
Authors: Brian Boyle, Bill Katovsky
Tags: nonfiction, Biography & Autobiography, Retail, Personal Memoir
yesterday. They even said that you could blink. Is this true?”
    Without thinking, I shut my eyes, because I want to go back to sleep. But I then hurry to reopen my eyes. Why can’t I just keep them shut? At least the chest tapping has stopped.
    “That’s wonderful—that blink. I’m here because I want you to perform some very minimal tasks. We’re going to start your physical therapy, and this is an evaluation to see what you’re capable of.”
    One of my nurses comes in the room and walks near my bed as Dr. Kulkarni continues talking. The nurse takes a tubelike device and starts fiddling around with my breathing tube, which causes me to cough up the fluid blockage collected in my fragile lungs.
    Dr. Kulkarni watches patiently as the nurse finishes cleaning out the gooey lung buildup. The nurse then inserts a new IV into my arm, and gives me “breakfast” through the drip feed tube that travels down my nose into my stomach.
    “Can you smile for me?” Dr. Kulkarni asks in a curious tone. I try but am too weak to manage anything substantial. But she at least notices a hint of something. “Good job,” she says after the muscles in my face go slack again.
    She walks over to my right side, holding a clipboard in her hand. She places her left hand under my right hand and raises it about an inch off the bed.
    “Can you squeeze my hand?” she asks. I struggle to move my fingertips and wrap them around her hand. “Very good,” she says as she walks over to the left-hand side of my bed. She picks up my left hand and gives the same request. There’s no sensation in my left hand; it’s completely numb. “That’s okay, don’t worry. We were thinking this would happen, since your left shoulder suffered a lot of nerve damage from your accident, but you’ll be able to move it in a few years, and there’s a really good chance that you’ll have full recovery, too.”
    A few years? What? She can’t be right, can she?
    She’s busy writing stuff down on her clipboard, and then walks to the end of my bed. “Can you wiggle your toes?”
    I try to focus my attention where my toes are attached, and once the mind-body connection is made, my toes move slightly.
    “Now how about your feet? I’m going to put pressure on the front of your feet and I want you to push them forward. Okay?”
    I stop wiggling my toes and try to push my feet forward. My ankles make a slight crackling noise and then a pop, and they move forward about half an inch. I try again and my feet move forward about an inch. “That’s great,” she says.
    She then walks over to the left side of the room. I’m not sure what she is doing, though I hear her fiddling with some type of medical instruments. I try to move my head so I can see better, but my head can only rotate about an inch to the left, which is still an accomplishment, because yesterday I couldn’t move my head at all.
    She walks back to my bed, pushing a little trolley with a machine that has a system of wires. A handheld remote-control gizmo lies next to it. “This is the last thing I’m going to do today,” she explains in a sympathetic voice. “This test is called an electromyogram and it will let me and your physical therapists know how your nerves and muscles are functioning and responding.” She pauses, and then picks up the remote-control device from the cart. “So what I’m going to do is send an electrical impulse to certain areas of your body to see if we can get a response. You may feel a slight amount of pressure that will be uncomfortable, but it will be over soon.” I like everything she just said, except the part about it being uncomfortable.
    She applies a jellylike substance to various areas of my arms, legs, and shoulders. She brings the handheld device closer to my right arm. She presses a button and my arm jerks from the electrical shock. Whoa, please don’t do that again , I silently beg. She zaps my right leg and it automatically lifts off the bed several

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