When she was three years old, my Bunn went to a birthday party. The clever hostess had bought a tiny canvas for each child and had them put their right hands in paint and make a print to give to their mothers. Bunn’s right hand was in plaster and this is why, today, a little left hand print adorns my dining room wall:
Just before her third birthday, Old Spouse took the Bunn for an ice cream in Fish Hoek. As they neared the escalator leading up to the restaurant, he bent to pick her up, but she stubbornly insisted that she wanted to go up by herself. She tripped and fell forward, her right hand jamming down the side of the scissoring steps.
There are serious arteries that lead into the hand, the Radial and Ulnar; and these branch into the fingers. There are also serious tendons.
Needless to say, the little hand was a mess of severed arteries and tendons. She was rushed to the Red Cross Children’s Hospital, where she had a four-hour operation to ‘debride’ the hand; to clean it of the dirt and grease of the escalator. When we heard the word ‘amputation’, we rallied friends to do some research and found out that a world-renowned hand surgeon was just down the road in Constantia and, in fact; ran a hand clinic at the Government Hospital.
We transferred Original Bunn to Constantiaberg Clinic and so began a series of operations over months, initially to reconstruct the hand and later to ‘make it pretty again’.
The upshot of this wonderful doctor’s miraculous work is that – were she ever to visit a palm reader – OB’s hand simply has more lines than others, an indication of a very interesting life.