Horizon at Sandy Point

Friday, March 9, 2012

A bad break

The tumbling crash from the bathroom was more ominous because of the silence. No "gaaad" or "shiiit" not even a scream. I rushed to see the husband naked on the floor outside the shower. He was supported with his head against the counter, his left arm incapable to holding him up. "I think it's dislocated," he said. I cupped my hand around the shoulder - he screaming - running it down the arm to feel how I might slip back a dislocation. There was nothing to push back into place. The looseness of the bone under the unbroken skin puzzled me for a minute. And then it clicked - broken.

"Can you get up? Can you walk?"
"Let me just lie dong in the bed. I'll be ok," was his response.

"Oh no, we are going to the hospital, right now!" The decision made as the words flew off my tongue. I  repeated it - and louder - as the conviction grew. He became more adamant. "Can't go anywhere tonight, just let me lie dong. Go tomorrow." In hindsight, the pain in his shoulder and arm must have been unbearable

A light beach wrap became a makeshift sling. Getting the jeans on, and a big denim shirt over the shoulder were not easier. And so to the car.

On the way to the hospital, we passed the site of a crash with bodies on the roadside. My passenger only moaned.

Bumps and potholes caused screams and groans. At the foreshore hospital, he was taken from the car by wheelchair directly to the emergency ward. By the time x-rays were done and he was hooked up to an IV drip and installed in a bed, three hours had passed.

Two days later, after three hours in the operating theatre, the surgeon said, "Your husband fought me in there." He could not use the "pin and screws" which he had planned to apply to the humerus bone broken in two or three places. Instead, he had to improvise a plate, screws and wires to hold all the fragments together.Your healing, he said to the husband, would depend entirely on your part. No smoking because nicotine is very bad for bones, making bones brittle in old age and inhibiting re-growth. Alcohol almost as bad.

Three days in the hospital, three days of shuttling between home and bedside go in a daze. I pass the light pole - still standing - on the Saddle Road that cleaved through the speeding car taking three lives. I see the counter in the bathroom unscratched. I hear other news of wanton behaviour - molotov cocktails and a shootout on the Beetham, armed robbery on a street in Diego Martin where we used to live, destruction of forest habitat in the Arima valley. I feel to be already in mourning. I am grieving for the loss of wholeness, feeling the pain in his arm - now in a cast and padded up like an American footballer's - like a personal injury.

The arm will heal, I am sure, with time and care. But it will not be the same - overhand bowling very unlikely. Perhaps this numbness over me will pass. But I feel shattered like that bone, like those forest trees upturned and broken like sticks. I am losing the ground of my being like the birds and animals racing ahead of the bulldozer. And in this instant, I know again the cold breath of mortality.

Two "pictures" of the break
The surgeon's work


  1. Oh lorse Pat, that looks awful! Give him my love.

  2. AWESOME!!!! I could feel the pain just looking at the xrays. He'll have to have patience. Hope that Ranji will be well soon.