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Jan 5

Goddessing in its highest order

So. I believe I was telling you a story before I got distracted.

Once upon a time, not so long ago I was blessed with experience, an entirely different experience which is difficult to write about as most life-changing experiences tend to be. It was an adventure of the Goddessing sort of order.

I’m not a sort of Goddessy sort of person though, let’s just sort that out right now. If I had an altar, it would consist of several old birthday cards, a dead fly, a box of matches and an empty vodka bottle. My chalice would have coffee stains in it and my coven would be ignoring my texts. Nope, I’m not that sort that embraces Wiccan technology. I do love it though, when others bare their souls to me. I call it Goddessing here, because these souls just happened to be female, as a lot of souls tend to be whether they like it or not.

It happened during the Costa Rican adventure, which was an adventure within an adventure which is what happens when one is caught on-the-hop and one hopes that nobody is filming anything for fear that one would be caught in the act of being a gobshite: A fight-or-flight situation, if you will. They were quad-biking, these people. There were Minors. There were Majors there too but these Majors were highly trained in the ability to predict, prevent and warn against accidents so there was that element of false security because accidents always happen.

So, there was an accident.

The road was beyond bumpy, I had known this from my adventures the evening before and in my infinite wisdom I had thought ‘Ah sure they’ll be grand!’ in my Irish way. It was as though somebody had made a perfectly good path, then chewed it up, gotten drunk and spewed it back up and then poured acid all over the remains. Large pointed rocks stuck out at weird angles, scree and sandy pebbles made wheels spin, pot-holes the size of posh televisions threatened to pick up  the bikes and knock them into the ditch along side us. Total concentration was needed which was difficult given the view of the idyllic deserted beach to the left and a steep embankment of spooky wood with enormous Jurassic-leaved plants hiding alien forms with scuttly feet and eerie cries on the right. Distraction was everywhere, as was heat-exhaustion. If that doesn’t teach teenagers what rough is, I don’t know what will. I hadn’t accounted for the bravery of photographers though. Their angles escaped me, and it wasn’t the perilous road that was her peril. It was the slippery leaves, the things that were least likely to cause injury. It’s the innocent things that get you, in the end.

quad

The posse stopped all of a sudden and voices of alarm could be heard above the throbbing engines of the strange unpredictable excitement.  I turned my head as the paramedic ran past, and in slow motion it dawned on me that an accident had occurred, and that I might be needed.

I baulked.

I don’t have much experience with medical emergencies bar those that have happened to my family. I didn’t want to get in the way, didn’t want to be useless, didn’t want to waste my training, didn’t want to make mistakes and have people scorn me. Nothing seemed quantifiable.

The confusion cleared as I saw what had happened.

Arawa was our mother, our earth. I and Curly were employed as mothers to the children on this trip, but Arawa was our guardian to keep us mothers grounded. We went to her if we wanted somebody we could trust, she was our person we could call Home. She is the all-understanding type, a worrier, a warrior, our sense of humour when we were out of our depth, she also had a love of photography so she was always there taking sneaky shots of weakness and heartfelt emotions and we were all secretly thankful for that, she had a way of hiding our flab. She was hurt.

She had slipped from the rising embankment while trying to climb above our sweaty heads for a panoramic view of bike and beach. She lay on her side clawing desperately with one arm at her leg, her face was ghastly as she wore an expression of horror. Our mother was in need of help and I didn’t know how to act.

I ran to the side of the experts and offered my help from a distance.

Paramedics  threw me a Sam-splint.

“Have you worked one of these before?” they asked.

“Sure!” I lied. But. I have the ability to speed-read and thankfully this shit comes with instructions.

A Sam-splint is a pliable structure with a foam exterior and a metal innard, it comes in a 36″ roll which can be formed into a rough support for a damaged limb. I folded it in half, moulded it and loved it to its fullest extent because I loved its recipient. I made a heel, and studied her calf like a sculptor and did the best that I could.

“Good Job!” they said. Afterwards they offered me a Cheers in a verbal sort of way, the sort was like the American High Five and not as cheesy maybe but still feels very, very nice.

We suffered a gruelling ride in a big 4×4, all expenses seemed a piss-take when it came to CostaRican back roads because she felt every miniscule. Rugged maybe could describe it, but to say that it was a hole that had a road in it, would say it best. She screamed with every bump and I held her and asked her to focus, like I had focussed at childbirth. At least childbirth gives you something at the end… this woman had nothing. We both blessed her with all the Goddessing we could manage and she felt our being but she was at a loss. Pain. PAIN. Indescribable. Focus. BREATHE. I was amazed that she didn’t pass out. Bravery in Goddessability.

She was planted in a foreign room. They demanded an extortionate amount of money (tens of thousands!) for her to be treated but of course she had not got that money straight to hand. She was a film executive but even film executives would not ordinarily have that many digits at her disposal. I was fairly disgusted. Helicopters are expensive I suppose. Thank goodness for fortunate friends at the end of embarrassing phone conversations. I say embarrassing, but I have a feeling that the person on the other end of that bank balance would be only to glad to help because Arawa is that sort of person.  If it had been me, I would have probably lost that limb. Such is extortionism.

Broken Tibia and Fibula in a foreign country.  Imagine that you fell in a way that BOTH bones in your lower leg were fractured. How much pain would you feel? Imagine that the muscles in that leg contracted in response to this trauma, pulling the limb into a strange contortion so that every motion brought you into a fucked-upededness pain that you had never thought imaginable before? This is pain at its worst, and you are all alone, no insurance, no help. You pay thousands or you remain alone, you lose a limb. Forseeable thwartapossability and thousands of dollars for release. I didn’t know Costa Rica (America?) was Third World. “Gimme Money or you’re fucked”. I was suddenly glad of Irish Health Insurance and so was Arawa but she had no access to it because it was out of hours. Nobody seemed to care. She was so apologetic, disgustingly apologetic. Such is the irony.

You’d want help in the way of immediate medication, pain relief, if you can’t breathe and your leg was all fucked up?

What if you didn’t have medication? What if you couldn’t afford it? How long could you scream?

What if you only had two women. Me, and a scantily clad yoga instructor to help you?

Breathe” How useless did we feel?

“FUCK OFF AND FIND ME MEDICATION! I love you” That was what she felt. Dichotomy. Can you imagine?

We were all she had. And she is overly thankful to us in hindsight as we are to her but she can’t see this because SHE WAS IN EXTREME PAIN AND MEDICATION IS EXPENSIVE. Birth is nice because you get a baby out of it, but could you deal with PAIN OF AN EXTREME NATURE BECAUSE YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO PAY FOR TREATMENT AND YOU GET NOTHING BUT ABNORMALITY AT THE END? She felt embarrassed, but it was the healthcare system that should be embarrassed, not her. America is pretty, but it seems backward to me.

These things happen to teach us. We all learned from this. And we all became better people because of it. And there is no shame in that. Some things are not our fault.

There is no shame in pain. We all feel pain. Every one of us. Nobody needs to feel sorry, apart from the crappy system.

We all learned something, through our nakedness, because we had to beg in out darkest hour such is the nature of life, each and every one of us. Truthfulness speaks: In a strange country it is bad that in strange places you need money to pay for accident. Arawa deserved more than what she got.

When we are naked, may there always be one who will always spread her arms and shield us and make light and tell the world to mind its own fucking business. That will be our friend and wherever we all have friends may we have the strength to find them and not be afraid to ask.

Stick with it.

We’re all broken in some way or another.

Every system will someday be healed.

 

 

 

Bring on the comments

  1. Celine O' Connor says:

    If this were the first chapter of a book, an online taster, I would buy the book with my last 20 Euro. Write the book missus, I order it.

  2. Brianf says:

    K8, you are a phenominal writer. You should do it more often.

  3. Jo says:

    Jesus. Terifying situation. I’m a bit astounded there wasn’t better insurance and emergency procedure in place – what if one of the kids had been in a similar situation? Horrors!

    For me, while I was lucky enough to have relatively easy labours, chidbirth pain cannot be compared to broken legs or dental work etc. For me, it’s pain with a purpose, manageable, nothing terrible is happening – our bodies are made to deliver babies after all, to open and stretch and push. Like you say, the contractions bring us our babies.

    I can’t equate any of that to the horror of broken bones. Brave woman. And you – that must have been enormously hard. You weren’t wrong about the breathing, though, I know of people who used their yoga training to get through immense, prolonged agony (read one story about a woman who got crushed between a bus and a wall or something and did fine that way, even refusing the medication when it finally came!) So what else was there to do? You will be such a great paramedic, Kate, it’s wonderful you’re doing what you’re doing.

  4. K8 says:

    Celine; Thanks! I’m cringeing at the repetitiveness at the end. Must. Pay. More. Attention. To. Editing.

    BrianF; Definitely making a more conscious effort to do that this year.

    Jo; Arawa was glad too, that it wasn’t one of the kids. She’d had a nightmare a week before that a horrific accident had killed one of the students so in a very strange way, it was a relief that the accident had happened to her instead.

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