“I think we should just start calling you Lucky,” officer Wolcott had said. The nurse and other assistants all nodded like it was a great idea. Everyone except Lucky thought it was so clever. No one has ever been so lucky to have been attached to a hospital bed with handcuffs and a catheter.
The doctors and nurses, the policemen, all the other nameless faces blurred together in the antiseptic white of his hospital room, everybody kept telling him how lucky he was. He was lucky he had been thrown clear from whichever vehicle he had been in. He was lucky he hadn’t injured his spine or suffered any noticeable cerebral trauma. He was lucky that the impact that had severed his leg had been so forceful and efficient, and lucky that they had found his leg miraculously sitting in a patch of snow fifty feet away, having flown across a vast distance and landing as if placed there carefully by an angel. He was lucky the best orthopedic surgeon in the Tri-Peaks area was on call when he had arrived at the hospital, and luckier still that the surgeon had performed similar limb reattachments in the past. He had been the only survivor in a horrific accident. How lucky was that? Everybody described to him how horrific the accident had been, since he couldn’t remember it himself. The story involved icy mountain roads, a police chase, some sort of glacier, and a goat stampede. All the cars and drivers in the story perished, presumably driving themselves off frozen cliffs of bottomless proportions. All except for him.
Since he couldn’t remember his actual name nobody knew what to call him. Honey, Champ, Dude, John Doe, Hey You. Everyone seemed to come up with their own unique moniker. But when officer Wolcott came up with the idea to call him Lucky it stuck like overcooked pasta on the wall. The handcuffs were temporarily removed when they did a catheter change. With a catheter in his bladder the handcuffs felt redundant, like more of a mental reminder of the bad juju involved, in case a catheter wasn’t reminder enough. There must have been some sort of bad juju involved, but nobody would tell him why the handcuffs were even necessary in the first place.
Every conversation started with an acknowledgment of how lucky he was just to be alive. He was luckiest person in the ICU. The more people said it to him, the decidedly less lucky he felt.
Feeling lucky, it seemed, depended on your frame of reference.