Alyssa takes a deep breath as they reach their destination.
She thought she was prepared for this. She believed she had come to grips with everything.
So why was she so nervous about today?
“Sweetheart, are you okay?” Marie asks, noticing the look on Alyssa’s face, which caught everyone’s attention immediately.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” Alyssa answers as she climbs out of the Tahoe, taking another deep breath. Besides, what was the worse that they could tell her? She already knew what the news was set to be. It was just scheduling and sorting out details now. There was no reason to be scared.
“You know, you can tell us anything you’re feeling…” Alyssa keeps her eyes focused forward, not wanting to say a word on the topic.
“I can admit that I am nervous about what they’re going to say,” Dale adds, taking Marie’s lead in trying to encourage discussion. “It’s one thing to know you can’t feel it, but it’s another to realize it could be gone. There’s certainly nerves about how they go about that, healing time, worries into what could happen if it goes wrong. Any procedure is scary, right?” Alyssa slowly nods her head, but still didn’t want to say a word as there was no really point to doing that.
“We’re not going to learn anything standing in the middle of the parking lot, are we?” She questions back in return, leading the way to the building.
The group easily followed her through the front doors, followed by the elevator, and up to the fourth floor where her specialist was located. They walked the long hallway, quiet in their words as everybody tried to read Alyssa’s feelings, before reaching the office.
Without a drop of hesitation, knowing that’d just bring more thoughts, she entered the office and walked up to the reception desk.
“Alyssa Earnhardt,” she states her name, dropping a piece of identification on the desk for the security. “I have an appointment with Dr. Kunsafe.” She watches the secretary’s hands scurry across the keyboard, various screens popping up, followed by a quick glance at the ID.
“Of course,” the secretary states. “You do realize that we respect patient confidentiality and will never share the details of your file with someone without your authorization first, right?” Alyssa nods her head, having grown used to various doctors repeating that speech upon first meetings. It was supposed to be their assurance of celebrity security. “We also respect wanting to have support here, so there’s no issue in how many people you bring you as our offices are spacious enough. You may enter and head down to Door 3 for your appointment.” Alyssa smiles. It was almost like it was meant to be with the number, as she glances over at Dale. Maybe there was something to Chase’s theory of trying.
“Thank you.” She then heads down the hallway, followed by her group of people, who enter the door as requested. She immediately hops up on the bed, knowing that was where she’d be wanted, as everybody picks a spot to sit or stand in the room.
It didn’t take long before the doctor entered the room – which she recognized immediately following a quick appointment before her hospital release. It was actually insane to think that she’d gone three months since then without a single visit.
“Any feeling?” Dr. Kunsafe asks, immediately taking her arm into his hands without a single greeting. She knew that he was strict on keeping to business only from their previous encounters.
“Nope,” she answers, wishing that she had another answer to offer the doctor. “I’ve pinched myself, whacked it off something, slapped it – nothing.” The doctor chuckles, having grown used to patients doing crazy things to try and create something, not believing the reality they were dealt.
“We’re going to run some x-rays, as well as other scans, to see where the bones and skins stand. Then we can discuss your future.” She nods her head, accepting. That was why she was there, right? “Come with me, please.” She follows him out of the room as the group looks on, followed by glancing towards each other as the door closes behind them.
“She’s trying to act all confident and sure about this, but I damn well know that’s not the case,” Marie sounds off immediately. “You all saw it as we arrived, right? I mean, she looked freaked out.”
“It’s a scary subject to discuss,” Dale comments as he rubs Marie’s shoulders. “Just imagine if you were in her shoes. Could you imagine someone walking up to you and saying that you can no longer have your arm?” Marie shakes her head, knowing that she could never have faced that reality like Alyssa had so far.
“But she’s dealt with everything so good so far….”
“This is reality settling in for sure now, though. Before, it was okay I can’t do this but I still feel complete. Now it’s I need to do this – what if I am different? What if I am incomplete? What if I lose part of myself in the process? It can cause some skeptical thoughts.” Chase glances down, knowing that some of the thoughts didn’t relate to what Dale was saying, but rather his own words with Alyssa.
“It doesn’t have to be that way,” Chase speaks up, catching both parent’s attention.
“Chase, you were there in the hospital when they told her that they would nee-” Dale starts.
“You don’t need to remind me, Dale.” Chase pauses, taking a deep breath, focusing on solely that moment alone. “There’s some experimental research going on elsewhere in the country. Using electric stimulation, they can bring that feeling back, or at least partially, or perhaps with a fake arm attached. What if we can try that and be successful?” He takes another deep breath, their late night discussions flashing through his mind. “We both have talked abou-”
“Without us?” Dale and Marie both question together as Chase lets out a sigh.
“Can I please explain?!?” They both relax, knowing he at least deserved that. Besides, Dale wasn’t willing to push Chase beyond boundaries, knowing what was going on. “We talked about focusing on the future, one step at a time, taking chances at times. My deal is I am supposed to take chances by entering that area of unknown, doing things that scare me, and try to figure some way to get rid of this anxiety in the process. It could be something small, but do something. In turn, if I agreed, she was going to consider the options that were out there.”
“Are you sure you’re not creating false hope?” Dale questions, knowing that he couldn’t face his daughter being broken down again over this.
“We both agreed to keep our expectations low,” Chase answers. “We’d ask and explore, but not think that we were just going to get some miracle. We agreed to handle whatever thrown at us head-on, even if it wasn’t fair.” Dale nods his head, accepting.
“That takes a lot…..” Regan sounds off from his perspective in the corner. He was actually proud to hear those words spoken as he eyed Dale, noting it as a sign of progress. Being able to rationalize that way, discuss things, and set goals were certainly better than a lack of hope that they were seeing before.
“It’s all we can do. I’m going to get through this. She’s going to find her way through her demons. We’re both going to do this together because we both want that future together. I want my happily ever after.” Dale smiles, remembering how that was already stated in the past by them all through the chaos. How could they be royalty and not get to live the fairy tale ending?
“It’s coming….” Dale offers, returning the quiet nod back to Regan as Alyssa returns back to the room.
She climbs back up on the bed, glancing around the room, as she notices all eyes on her immediately. It was like an awkward silence had fallen over the room. She wondered if they had been secretly plotting something, or if it’d been just like this the whole time she was gone.
“Did they say anything?” Regan questions, breaking the silence and Alyssa shakes her head.
“He’s going to be back shortly,” she offers, remembering his exact words. Dr. Kunsafe had told her that he wanted some time to look over everything before openly discussing it with her and her family.
“Are you sure you’re ready for this?” Chase questions, catching her eyes immediately. He felt safe asking her now that everybody else in the room knew what was set to happen amongst the discussion.
“Can I be honest? I am absolutely terrified at the thought. I am absolutely terrified to go through surgery. I am absolutely terrified to ponder options towards the future. I am terrified that I am going to find something, get my hopes set on that, and be crushed. I am absolutely freaked about this whole deal. I could never have done this alone.” She then stops, glancing down, remembering their discussion. She was scared, yes, but she had to be an example for Chase here. “But I am ready for what’s to come. I’m ready to face what he has to say, face what will happen next, and face the discussion that I want to open doors to. I have to do this for myself. I can’t run from this anymore…”