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Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner

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Member Since: Dec, 2001

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Victimes de la tyrannie des instincts
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Tandis que les gens de bonne volonté et les amants de la vérité et de la connaissance font reculer les bonnes de l’inconnu et versent du baume aux cœurs, beaucoup de méch..  
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A medical doctor on a humanitarian mission is haunted by events out of his control.


11 January, 2005; 02:32 AM.

I cannot sleep.  I do not think I shall ever have a restful moment ever again.

Those eyes.  The deep, soul-wrenching cries of grief.  All of the stories I have heard, the devastation I have seen!  But those eyes!  Unless you are here and witness with your own eyes, hear with your own ears and smell the odors with your own nose, you cannot even begin to imagine the horrors I have observed.  But those eyes are what stand out.

I am Venkatesh Arjuwal.  I am a medical doctor, an orthopaedic surgeon attached to a humanitarian aid team from Nashville, Tennesee.

Currently, I am in a nameless community on the southern coast of Sri Lanka that was decimated by a tsunami on 26 December, 2004.  I have been here for three days; after a nearly 30 hour flight and immediately getting to work, I have barely stopped since my arrival.  I am bordering on collapse, yet there is so much to do.  My co-workers, as well are exhausted.  No one has slept more than four hours at a stretch.  We are still at it.  These people need us.  So many need us--

But, those eyes!  They were the first thing I noticed in that woman's face.  Large, liquid pools of obsidian threatening to overflow.  Her eyes were so large, they seemed to comprise most of the space above her small nose.  Filled with unimaginable pain, I wondered what they had witnessed.

NOTE TO SELF:  I must call Deepa when I get a free moment and let her know she is in my heart.  I did not get a chance to do that with my other three children, Sita, Rani or Arjun, and now they are dead, killed by the same sinister waves.  I cannot help them now.  All I can do is help these people and let Deepa know that I desperately love and miss her...

The woman with the haunting, haunted eyes was lying on a filthy, battered mattress on the floor of the building that is being used as a temporary medical facility.  A wisp of a blanket covered her tiny form.  She looked almost to be a child, she was so small.  She was breathing rapidly, raggedly; an oxygen mask covered her nose and mouth.  An nasogastric tube snaked out from underneath the mask; her bony wrists were bound to the mattress with untidy strips of cloth.  An IV tube pierced the back of one bruised hand, and both of them clawed uselessly at the pinions holding her down.  Her head rolled back and forth and a keening moan issued from her mouth.  Tears slid down her cheeks and into her already sweat soaked hair.

"What is wrong with her?," I queried of an Indian nurse in attendance.  I was informed that she had pneumonia and an infection in her right leg; she was on antibiotics, but they didn't seem to be working.  I was also told that this woman, named Adhita Roy, was with her two young sons at the beach, celebrating holiday, when the tsunami rolled in and knocked them off of their feet.  In the ensuing chaos, they were separated.  The eldest boy was still missing; the younger had died despite resuscitative efforts.  The woman saw her young boy die and had temporarily gone mad with grief; she'd ripped out her tubes and had thrown herself on the body when it was being taken away for burial.  Adhita was returned posthaste to bed, secured with straps, the tubes grudingly replaced, and a sedative administered.

It seemed to have little effect; she was still awake.  In whisper-thin Hindi, she asked of me, " Why did they beat him? Where have they taken my little boy?"

"What--what was his name?," I gently asked.

"Sanjay.  Named for his daddy."

"How old is...was...he?"

She held up five trembling fingers.  "He is five years old."  Five years old...too young.

It was many minutes before I could reply.  I sat down and took one of her hands in mine.  "I am sorry, Mother.  They took him to be buried.  Apparently, when they brought him here, his heart...had quit beating.  A sudden, sharp blow...that is why you thought they were beating...a quick blow to the chest when the heart is stopped can sometimes restore...I am sure they did everything they could to save his life.  It was not meant to be.  I am truly sorry.  Adhita?  May I call you that?," I asked.

"Go away."  With that, she turned her face to the wall, but not before giving me a scathing, accusatory glare.  "Go away.  I do not wish to talk to you.  Leave me alone." 

I felt horrible.  "I know--I know of the pain of which you--," I began, remembering my own loss.  I reached out my hand and placed it gently on her shoulder.  She jerked as if she had been electrocuted.

"YOU KNOW NOTHING!," she cried out, suddenly.  "Nothing!  You medical people killed my son!  He was just a little boy!"  Broken sobs shook her small frame.  "Go awaaaay..."

The air went out of my body with a whoosh.  I sat there, tears coursing down my face.  I remembered my own loss, but had not seen my own children die before my eyes.

Doctors are trained to save lives.  They are idols to be worshipped, gods, even. always in control.

And I am rapidly losing control.

I must go now, to call Deepa, to see if she can restore tranquility to my mind.

Those eyes--I see them, yet--

(C) Copy written, 14 January, 2005, by Karla Dorman.


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Reviewed by Katherine Harms 1/9/2008
This piece is gripping. I couldn't stop reading. In 2006 I heard a man speak about his own experience with that tsunami. He and his wife were walking on the beach when it rolled in. They were caught in the wave and held down so long that the man prepared to die. His description of the devastation was like yours. The people who survived that experience will be forever changed by it. You captured that truth beautifully.
Reviewed by Jean Strickland 9/18/2007
Wow... emotional and awesome piece! I'm speechless - Jean
Reviewed by Vivian DeSoto 9/8/2007
Beautifully written. You took us on a journey, showing us only brief moments of one horrific event. We know there were so many, so many. Pray none of us ever have to witness what either of these two souls had seen. Painful in its detail. You are a master of the story.
Reviewed by Phyllis Jean Green 8/10/2007
Moving beyond words. . .wish I thought there were some that are good enough to describe the mixture of sadness, helplessness, anger, and
awe. . .the awe being inspired both by admiration for humanitarians such as the one whose story you so ably tell and y o u. Your talent, discipline, broadness of perspective, and dedication {among other sterling qualities}.

Read this shortly after watching poor children with AIDS being paraded for TV. . .some of them with tears streaming down their faces.

Can't talk about it any more.

Thank you for writing and posting this. All your wonderful contributions!!

With the deepest respect, admiration, and affection.

(((((((Pea)))))))
Reviewed by Mary Grace Patterson 2/13/2007
Some things stay with one, haunting ,engulfing ones soul. The pain lingers..M
Reviewed by Richard Orey 1/31/2007
O, Karla, I can hardly breathe from the reading of this soul-stirring
account. The magic of your words is witchcraft. My throat is dry, choking with emotion, feeling the tragedy, the pain, the unbearable anguish of this dear mother.

Now I understand why so many splendid den writers look to you for leadership. An extraordinary piece!
Reviewed by Rhonda Galizia 5/22/2006
Karla, thank you for this stirring glimpse...into the windows of that poor soul. You perfectly provoke a burning compassion into the reader's own heart and mind. Magnifique, mon amie! love ~ rhonda
Reviewed by Mary Lynn Plaisance 4/20/2006
This is gut wrenching and SO beautifully written~!!!!!!!! The descriptions of the place is donw so well. I feel her pain, and I feel her in the room!

I LOVE this write!!!!!! Very Well Done ((Karla)))

Love ya,
Mary Lynn~
Reviewed by Janet Bellinger 3/14/2006
Powerful and moving. You are very versatile, Karla.

Janet Bellinger
Reviewed by White Dove left 9/26/2005
Wonderful talent you have Karla...
Lynn Richardson
Reviewed by m j hollingshead 1/18/2005
poignant read
Reviewed by Sherry Heim 1/16/2005
I cannot begin to imagine how things must be there. To be a physician and have so many needing your care and knowing that you need to be there on a psychological level as well..there just is no time...the immediacy of the physical needs must come first, though a body cannot heal if the mind dwells in sickness. This is a profound and powerful story, Karla. It is as though their story is being channeled through your pen.
Take care,
Sherry
Reviewed by A Serviceable Villain 1/15/2005
Karla,

Great artwork compliments this definitively imaged literary write - a very powerful, heartfelt piece my friend ... thanks for this on!!

Blessings,

Robert
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 1/15/2005
(((Karla)))

So glad to see you doing stories again! :)

WOW, a powerful, gutwrenching, eye-opening read; such imagery! Extremely well done; BRAVA!!

(((HUGS))) and much love, your twin, Karen Lynn. :D
Reviewed by Tinka Boukes 1/15/2005
Very powerful piece Karla!!

Love Tinka
Reviewed by Carole Mathys 1/14/2005
a powerful, haunting piece...beautifully written
Reviewed by Michelle Kidwell Power In The Pen 1/14/2005
Karla
Wow, this was one of your post powerful pieces yet
GOd Bless
Michelle!
Reviewed by Judy Lloyd 1/14/2005
Sometimes no matter how hard they try it does not happen. The stress of this is overwhelming.

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