2 weeks after the accident
Two weeks was a long time to take care of someone else every waking second and it was beginning to take a toll on Judy. Not that she'd let onto that. She was still recovering from the accident herself and was very fortunate and thankful to only be bruised and feeling like, well, she'd been hit by a truck. Jen, on the other hand, her beautiful Jen, had suffered more severe injuries. The doctors had told them both that she was lucky to be alive.
Jen's leg was broken at the ankle and the femur, four ribs were cracked and punctured her lung. Her spleen had to come out, it was crushed to a pulp and her already fragile back was fucked up worse than before. Which meant limited motion and constant pain after the surgery. Judy was so happy to get Jen out of that hospital, as were the beleaguered nurses and staff. Jen was quite grumpy and gruff when she was in pain, but always quick to apologize. At least to Judy, maybe not to the nursing assistant who unfortunately brought her sprite instead of diet coke.
The kids had visited in the hospital, but once Jen was home Lorna insisted that she spirit them away in order for Jen to rest and heal, which was fine, but Judy could have used some help getting Jen inside when she was drugged up and out of it and trying to hobble on crutches. Going upstairs was out of the question so Judy made her a nesting spot on the living room couch. After a few days of that arrangement Jen expressed her desperate need for a bath and a desire for her bed.
Judy wondered how quickly she could get one of those automated stair elevator chairs installed that were advertised on late night TV, but Jen was impatient. Knowing what a struggle it was to get her into the bathroom to pee the stairs seemed daunting. Though, together they managed it. Once Jen was upstairs she was pretty content to stay there it seemed.
Bathing was an altogether different challenge, but as luck would have it Judy had some great co-workers who dropped off some borrowed safety items from the assisted living facility that helped make things easier. When Judy suggested that maybe Charlie, Christopher or even Lorna could help be an extra set of hands to get her to the shower Jen balked at the idea, and set her jaw. Only Judy was allowed to see her so vulnerable.
Struggling with a very limited range of motion and unable to get her left leg wet as it was in a cast, Judy had to treat the bathing situation very delicately. Her dear stubborn proud Jen didn't want to take off her clothes for starters. After wrapping her cast in saran wrap and doubling it up in a garbage bag, Judy gently got Jen to relent with the shirt and shorts after a read aloud from a webMD article about the possible infections that could arise from being not washing properly for an extended period of time. Judy made sure to highlight the word "yeast" several times as she read user comments.
Jen used the "old lady" shower chair on loan from the home and scrubbed where she could, while Judy stood naked behind her and washed her hair and her back and sprayed Jen down, grimacing with empathy at the still ripe bruises peppering her torso. Jen stared ahead, her eyes blank. That became the daily routine. It was all very clinical to Judy because she had to compartmentalize it for Jen's sake.
Sadly, it also became a daily routine, rather nightly routine, for Jen to sob uncontrollably and Judy to gingerly comfort her. Each night she had something new she felt angry, guilty, stressed or worried about: the boys, Jen being a burden to Judy, almost losing both their lives, the asshole who hit them and drove off. The most recent tirade was about carbs.
"Judy, I love you, but I've been laying in bed for two weeks eating nothing but grilled cheese sandwiches and cherry pie—delicious by the way, but I'm probably never going to be able to run or dance again and I'm going to get so fat...no man will ever want me again... and <insert sob here>"
Judy squeezed her eyes shut and kissed Jen's forehand as she took the empty pie plate from her hands and sat it on the tray table next to the bed. "Hey, first off, you're beautiful at any size and you said you're done with men and all that any way, so I say get as fat as you want. Some man will love you for you."
"Thanks," Jen sniffed and awkwardly rolled toward Judy to hug her, wet face pressed against her chest. "I feel like a lard ball though."
"You're healing," Judy reasoned. "Hey, I'm going to go check on the boys and see if they have their homework done, and I'll be back and we can talk or watch a movie, okay?"
"Yeah, and Jude, would you send the boys in here to say hi? It's good practice for when I'm bedbound and on 600lb life," Jen joked as she wiped her eyes.
Judy smiled and squeezed her non-injured thigh as she swung off the bed, pleased to see that Jen's mood was evening out enough for her to joke. "You know you have that follow up appointment tomorrow so we're going to have to get you out of bed, down the stairs, into the car and over to the Doctor's."
"Yeah, that's going to be a fucking adventure," Jen huffed and picked a book off the nightstand. "I'll pick out a cute outfit."
"Really?" Judy chirped.
Jen rolled her eyes and Judy huffed and left the room to check on the boys.
All that tender loving care Judy was showing toward Jen was paying off because the doctor was very pleased with her near X-man level of rapid healing. It had been a chore to get Jen to the office, but all worth it to hear that Jen was getting back her health. The appointment took most of the day due to X-rays and scans, and then interpretations by a whole team of doctors, but Jen was in a good mood once she learned that her body hadn't completely betrayed her.
Judy was feeling exhausted sitting in the plastic guest chair. She hated doctor's offices, she'd had her greatest hopes of pregnancy in rooms just like this as well as her greatest pains and losses—the atmosphere added to her general anxiety. The past few weeks of her own soreness and healing coupled with waking up every few hours to help Jen use the bathroom or give her pain pills or just generally worry about what would have happened if she had lost her and how easily things could have been horribly different was taking it's toll.
By the time the women hobbled out of their the sun was setting and Jen was dialing for pizza to be delivered for dinner. Judy figured Jen must have sensed that she didn't look fit to cook for the family.
"Thanks for staying with me all day. I could tell you were uncomfortable... and thanks for taking care of me well, all of the days, and sleeping with me, I would never be able to get up on my own, remember my pills and you know..." Jen trailed off and faced out the window. "It's good to be out of the house, though being in the car is a little scary, right?" She fake laughed.
"You know what?" Judy asked confused.
"Hmm?" Jen was playing dumb, Judy could tell.
"The other thing that you were thanking me for that I should know, cause you know, um... I don't."
Jen took a breath, and Judy could tell she was about to say something that was difficult for her.
"Cause you're too fucking good to us, Judy. You know being there for the boys and making sure they eat, get educated, get emotionally nurtured and the you know was being there for me and like letting me slobber all over you when I cry about shit. It's pathetic, but thank you for not being a judger about that so... yeah."
"Well, I love you and I thought that I had lost you and I was like heart, heartbroken and I like when you cuddle me and cry," Judy furrowed her brow, that sounded twisted.
"Okay...well, I like being there for you too so always feel free to cuddle me and cry if you need to. I'll listen and I'm sorry I didn't mean to scare you. It was fucking scary though right. Like one minute we're just fine and then bam! Motherfucker!"
Judy felt so fucking thankful that she was turning down their street and the pizza guy was just backing out of their driveway. She just wanted to eat with her family and maybe take a bath alone and then get some sleep. Feeling guilty for not wanting to talk about the accident, she changed the subject to Henry's latest Holy Harmonie's rehearsal and the next task of helping Jen inside the house.