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.


36 thoughts on “THE LEFT HAND PAINTING

  1. Cindy…my son had a terrible accident 12 years ago and his left leg had to be amputated (not just above the knee…the whole leg)…and am proud to say that I learn lessons from him every single day!! There is nothing he can’t do…plays golf, tennis and embrace life with so much passion…I am in awe of what he has achieved and when I read this, I know exactly what you went through!!…and true, lines to define a truly interesting life…Love my friend xx

  2. Oh she was SO lucky not to lose her hand! It is dreadful what we as mothers go through when our children get hurt – we would all take it on ourselves if we could! I have been through two terrible ordeals when my son was in hospital and he has always been he bravest person I know!

  3. When I was her age, I refused to go on escalators. I insisted on finding an elevator or taking the stairs. Now I see that my caution was warranted.

    So glad that the story has had such a satisfactory outcome for your brave little girl.

  4. Thanks for sharing Cin, it must have been horrible. I read about Stomp, is he the same one who always wanted meat with his meals? nice tribute you wrote.

  5. Well, and she has had an interesting life, a hand that has experienced a lot more than the average 3+ -year-old… Oh my goodness, what you all must have gone through! – soooo glad it worked out ok. I can see why the little hand painting still adorns the wall…

  6. That story sent chills down my spine…you were quite fortunate to have found some one with the necessary skills to do that type of complex surgery…you were blessed that’s for sure.

  7. A very interesting life… poor gal had to bear a lot!! WHY!!!!!
    But all’s well now, the hand rests happy 🙂 and so the image the print…
    Soooo happy for the 3 of you, Cindy!!!

  8. OMG, Cin!! I caught my breath and clapped a gratefully uninjured hand to my mouth reading this. What your tiny little girl must have endured! And you as her parents. Not to mention your family as well, Amanda! May you all be blessed with loads of love, strength, and exquisitely interesting lives, xx

    My sister-in-law has just returned (from the Organ Donor Foundation) to the Children’s Hospital Trust (Red Cross Children’s Hospital), in charge of their fund-raising – a big responsibility which she tackles with huge heart 🙂

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