To the surprise of many people, accidents still happen. Real accidents that are by chance, that you can do nothing about and make you realize how fortunate you really are in life, especially for the little things.
Peter, my husband, had such an accident, while we were assisting with lighting the set for the upcoming production of Angel Street (Gaslight) a couple of weeks ago. Co-director Vicky Coward was preparing and handing framed coloured gels up to Stephanie (Stage Manager) in the cherry picker, to place in front of the Fresnel and leko lights which help to set the mood and tone of the show. Melanie (lighting designer) was operating the lighting board up in the booth and I was writing an article in my laptop with my legs up on another chair, feet sticking out the sides under the arm rests.
As Peter went striding across the stage, pointing and looking up, to let the Stephanie see the light they were talking about, he forgot that I had designed a six-inch-high riser on the set, the corner of which jumped out at him when he was not looking. I take full responsibility as I did indeed design it, although I never taught it how to jump!
When he ran into the corner or the riser, he started to dive towards the flats making the stage left alcove wall. It was a spectacular moment in time! Four of us watched in ultra-slow motion as he flew horizontally, just like Bobby Orr when he scored that famous goal. To stop his head from smacking the wall he threw his left arm out to break his fall. I hate designing straight walls and so the wall his hand hit was a different angle off the his left and his whole arm followed. He did protect his head which only received a wee bump but is arm popped right out of his shoulder; then he wacked down and just laid there.
While we waited for him to get up we released what a great job the guys had done building that wall! It didn’t even waver.
But, Peter didn’t get up so fast. Vicky was closest and got on the stage first. Stephanie, up the cherry picker, managed to get all the way down and up on the stage before I could even get my legs untangled from a chair and get my computer off my lap! Melanie rushed down from the lighting booth.
We knew this was serious. The girls got him sitting up on the accused riser to catch his breath and it was quickly apparent he had dislocated or broken his shoulder. Vicky and Stephanie were proficient in the situation and he quite enjoyed being assisted by a couple of beautiful ladies, so I got to act on stage like the freaked-out wife. Melanie ran to the first aid kit to get a sling. Alas, it didn’t fit someone Peter’s size, so I was thrilled when my long, knitted, skunk scarf was perfect for the job!
Melanie and I got him to Emerge and miracle of miracle he was the only one in triage! Knowing the excruciating pain he was in, the staff dosed him up with morphine and a little Gravol to get x-rays. Good news it was ‘only’ dislocated! Then they dosed him up again with more morphine and muscle relaxant and tried to pop that arm back in the socket. It wouldn’t go as he was still in too much pain to relax his muscles, so he got his third dose of morphine, and with three holding him down and me to assist and cheer them on, all the kings men and ladies put Peter back together again. He was awake during all of this, (although doesn’t remember after shot number three), but through it all he only utter one ‘holy...’ choosing to use the word ‘ouch’ to when the pain was too severe. I am afraid to admit my language would have been worse.
The nurses compared a dislocated shoulder to the pain of passing large kidney stones or having twins! Really big ouches! It took Peter an hour or so to sleep off enough of the pain killers so that I could get him out of the car and into the house.
Personally, I had a wonderful time. I used to be in nursing decades ago and loved it. I was happy to help whenever and watch the procedures. The nurses, technicians and doctors were great. Thank you!
Peter has had a sling on keeping his arm strapped to his body and it is not easy going one handed. I was thrilled it was his left arm as he was able to do his own personal hygiene!
I think the greatest moment for him was two days later, with pain subsided, when the concerned, talented and beautiful Becky, co-producer in the show, and a physio therapist came to the house and fussed over him to make sure he knew how to do the exercises that would keep his shoulder from freezing up. Now there was a happy patient!
Being that Peter has always done so much for me, it has been wonderful for me to be able to help him for a change. I must also extend our sincere thanks to the theatre and other friends who have helped us with the things that I could not take over, like shovelling snow and taking out the garbage. It is wonderful to know we are not alone!
Bless you all!