Tuesday, 2 August 2011


It's a fact of life that children, especially boys, have accidents. They skin knees, burn their fingers, get scratched, and suffer a thousand other injuries. Distressing though it may be to a mother, these things happen.

In Deliverance from Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School), I wrote about how completely unprepared my mom was when I had an accident in the neighbour's yard.


Another good example of Mom's inability to handle medical misfortunes happened in the first week of August. Diane and I were with the MacLeans in their front yard early one evening.

"Let's play piggyback," I suggested and everyone enthusiastically agreed. I climbed on Diane's back, riding her around the yard. Then we switched places.

I was doing my best to "giddy up" when I stumbled. Reflexively, I put out my left arm to shield myself from the fall. Unfortunately, that broke one of the bones between my elbow and wrist. I howled in pain as everybody stared. Diane helped me up and we both walked as briskly as possible to the house. I held my broken arm out to keep it from bumping against my side.

"Just rub it and it'll get better," Diane said as she gave it a vigorous massage. New waves of pain shot up my arm, causing me to howl even more as we walked through the side door of our house.

I walked carefully downstairs and laid on my bed, hoping my arm was only sprained. Knowing how hysterical Mom became when confronted with injuries, I thought I would leave it alone and wait for the swelling to go down.

"You get up here right now!" Mom bellowed from the upstairs landing.

"I'll be alright, Mom. I just need to lie down for a while." As Mom continued to holler at me, I reluctantly climbed the stairs.

She became frantic, as I feared, when she saw my arm, which obviously appeared broken. After she called the hospital, she raced to the living room door and yelled loud enough for the entire neighbourhood to hear, "You damn stupid kids broke Brucey's arm!" Fortunately, Dad was home at the time of my accident. He drove Mom and I to the emergency door of the hospital.

"Remove your trousers," a nurse said as I sat on the examining table. When I did so and handed them to her, a shower of rocks tumbled out of my pockets. I had gathered some interesting specimens before going to my neighbour's yard to play.

"I'm so sorry for the mess," Mom said. "My boy likes to collect rocks and things. You know how boys are." She had that tone in her voice which hinted that I was in big trouble later for humiliating her.

"Don't worry," the nurse soothed, "This sort of thing happens here all the time."

The anesthetist administered a general anesthetic and I went under immediately. I awoke in a dark room with my arm inside a hard and heavy object. "So this is a cast," I thought as I examined it with the fingers of my free hand. Then I drifted off to sleep.

The next morning, a nurse woke me. "How did you sleep and how's your arm feeling?" she asked after she brought in my breakfast.

"My arm doesn't hurt too much but it feels funny having this cast on," I admitted.

The hospital discharged me that afternoon. Linda danced excitedly around the living room when she saw me, obviously happy to have her big brother home. Diane, However, felt so guilty that she raced downstairs and hid in our bedroom.


Deliverance from Jericho contains many more vignettes of what life was like in that government-run institution. These range from poignant experiences of homesickness to hilarious incidents of mischief. Click here to read more about this compelling story. You may also e-mail me directly if the comment form doesn't work.

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