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Another fracture, at 85

The agony and discomfiture from multiple tumbles.

Predictable unpredictability is the enigma of life. In the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, Roger Federer was almost losing the match against the redoubtable Marin Cilic. In the marathon five-setter, Federer finally survived, bringing relief to his numerous fans. In the semifinals, he underestimated the Canadian, Milos Raonic, whose service was deadly fast. Everyone watched with disbelief Rogers falling flat on the ground, unable to retrieve the left placement by Raonic at the left end of the baseline. After a quick massage of his thighs by the physiotherapist, Federer was back on the court. But Raonic played a spectacular game to win and reach the finals. If only he had displayed the same grit and searing service game against Andy Murray in the finals, he would have stretched the game to a five-setter at least. Predictably, Andy Murray proved his invincibility as World No. 2. Quite unpredictably, Raonic committed too many blunders both in service and return strokes.

Witnessing Murray's climatic winning shot, I was excited to the point of losing my equilibrium! I fell flat on the floor in the drawing-room, with shoulder and hip taking the impact. I lost consciousness for a moment, only to be lifted by my son and placed on the chair. It was the agony of an aged father who had the dubious distinction of hitting the hat-trick of the third fracture in his life!

Two of them

Predictably, the X-ray report revealed a hairline fracture both on the shoulder and the hip. Surgery was ruled out for the octogenarian. Bed rest and plenty of pills and a walker for minimal movement immobilised me. It is a miracle that I am using the same damaged right arm to pen this!

Lying on the bed chanting “Ram-Ram”, I reminisced kaleidoscopically the journey of my life from infancy and the romance of injuries from time to time. I was a hyperactive lad, prone to making bruises on my knees at play. Each time the doctor applied tincture of iodine, I would scream in agony.

One day I stumbled upon my cousin sleeping in the drawing room, while running to the kitchen. No bruise, no blood, but a simple fracture on my left arm! At Nagapattinam in 1940, there was no orthopedic surgeon available.

With tear-soaked eyes I was lying on the lap of my mother in the train bound for Madras Egmore. My uncle was working in a bank, living in Mambalam. I used to accompany him on the electric train to the Beach station. Hiring a rickshaw, I would go to Thambu Chetty Street, where the renowned orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Narasimha Iyer, had his clinic in his house. He looked divinely gracious and compassionate. He would bandage my left arm with wet Plaster of Paris meticulously and attach a sling to hang from my neck.

I must have consumed gallons of cod-liver oil and tonnes of calcium pills for a couple of years. I would enjoy the weekly trip to the doctor to get an injection. At home I used to watch through the window boys of my age playing cricket merrily. I must have cried silently over my plight as a 10-year-old. With no shirt to wear and no school to go to, I practised writing on a slate.

After a year-long treatment, I was admitted to First Form in Ramakrishna Mission High School near Panagal Park, as a shirt-less boy! There, one day I slipped into a sump and was rescued by my classmates. I was advised to quit and stay at home. The Second World War had broken out and Madras city faced evacuation. I landed in Kumbakonam to resume my schooling.

Much later, in Mysore, as a retired Professor I lived a quiet life with my wife, while our sons and daughters were settled in different places. Here, Christmas Day of 2002 was a red-letter day for all wrong reasons to me. I completed the readings of Sundara Kandam on that day where the valiant role played by Hanuman to retrieve Sita and reunite her to Lord Rama figured. I was near the coconut trees in the compound. I noticed a monkey on a tree branch grimacing at me. I felt ecstatic, imagining that Hanuman had appeared to bless me. All of a sudden, Hanuman was about to land on me to embrace me. In panic, I somersaulted and fell on the ground.

Things moved fast. An ambulance was summoned and I was shifted to a nearby hospital, X-rayed and an emergency surgery was done to replace a broken hip bone.

By the time I was shifted from the operation theatre, I found my son near me. I was in a semi-conscious state. I remained immobilised for six months with a life-time ban on riding a scooter or car.

Let me close with a prayer, that I should be on my feet on New Year 2017. No more can I withstand another romance with a fracture!

dr.sdandapani@yahoo.in

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Printable version | Apr 9, 2020 1:35:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/Another-fracture-at-85/article14545970.ece

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