A mine toppled an arm gypsum decorations artist

A tragedy narrated by an expatriate who fell with his comrades a prey to three mines
Fawzi Al-Montaser
March 10, 2022

A mine toppled an arm gypsum decorations artist

A tragedy narrated by an expatriate who fell with his comrades a prey to three mines
Fawzi Al-Montaser
March 10, 2022

Mussad (30 years old) could not imagine that one day he would live without the most important functional organ in his body, which is his right hand, but that is what happened to him.

He says (and Mussad is a pseudonym at his request) that after a strenuous and arduous work abroad, in the south of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which lasted for nearly two years, which he spent away from his family. He decided to return to Yemen, on a family visit, for a period not exceeding a month, according to his estimation, which is the period that was specified on his residence card upon his exit from one of the Saudi ports.

He is the one who set a month's leave, in the hope that he will then return to resume his work. How could he know at that time that the parties to the conflict in his homeland are lurking civilians passing by, and planting mines in the roads! Three mines not only ruined Mussad's plan to go on vacation and return to work in exile, but also caused him a permanent disability by losing his right arm on which he relies mainly for his work. He was injured by the third mine explosion while he was rescuing the driver of the car in which he was on board.

Mussad tells "Khuyut" the story of his injury and some of his comrades returning from Saudi Arabia; They were in three cars: two Fortuners and the third is Hilux. When they reached Harib district in Ma'rib governorate, on their way to Sana'a, the first mine exploded under the Hilux in which they were traveling. He says: Praise be to God, none of us sustained serious injuries except the driver, as he sustained six fractures in his leg, and the injuries of the rest of the passengers were tiny.

Mussad continues: "The driver of one of the two "Fortuners" cars tried to approach us in order to rescue our injured driver, but another mine exploded in it, and then I tried to tell the driver of the third car not to come closer to us any more, to avoid stepping on another mine, because that car is the last hope so that we can help the injured. Unfortunately, the driver of the third car ignored the warning and approached the two cars, and soon a third mine exploded. In that explosion, Musaad was hit by shrapnel in his right hand, and after a short time, some travelers flocked and one of them took Musaad in his car to the rural hospital in the Harib district, while others transported his injured comrades to Sana’a and the city of Ma’rib.

The worst of the injury that caused his disability, when he found himself unable to secure the needs of his family members, as he believes that absence from them is better than seeing his wife and children suffer while he is useless at the corner of the house 

Unbearable shocks

During his injury and transfer to the rural hospital, Saeed did not think that his injury might result in complications that could lead to amputation of his arm, because, as he said, he expected that it would be possible to deal with the injury medically and he would recover. He added, "I woke up from the anesthesia of the operation in the rural hospital, when I heard the news of my transfer to the military hospital in Sana'a. It was a psychological shock greater than the shock of the explosion." He then tried “as much as possible”, not to look at his hand, but he could not, and when he looked at it, he saw it “almost flat.” “It was completely dissected, from the elbow to the wrist, and that was the most painful shock, the effects of which are still in my soul and will not go away.” Mussad says, recalling the moment when he broke down in tears, because he realized at the time that he would lose his arm forever, and in fact it was amputated in the military hospital in Sana’a, and that was his last shock.

Mussad expresses great regret and repentance by going to the rural hospital, as he believes that if he had gone to a hospital with better medical facilities, experience and equipment, he would not have lost his arm. He says he agreed to have it amputated as a last resort to avoid the worst of complications. He believes that he paid the price of the doctors' failure at the rural hospital, where they said to him that the amputation was necessary as they had to contain an internal bleeding that resulted in poisoning, which was feared to pass through the blood to the heart, forcing them to transfer him to Sana'a. 

The need to rehabilitate for a new life

Mussad says that the worst thing about the injury that caused his disability is when he finds himself unable to meet the needs of his family members, and he believes that being away from them is better than seeing the need of his wife and children for others while he is useless at the corner of the house - “like a body without a soul,” as he described his condition. His feeling of self-powerlessness is an additional psychological shock that reinforces his weakness every time such thoughts control him.

He considers that his disability is in itself a disability for his family with all its members. He also thinks a lot about the imbalance in his role as the head of a family who sees himself losing his ability and efficiency in providing support, assistance and guidance; This must result in many family imbalances, and family, physical and emotional needs, including psychological disturbances that he will reflect on his family members, but despite that, he is open to responding to rehabilitation if provided in a way that restores him to his role in caring for his family.

Nonetheless, for the time being, he says, he cannot pretend to be optimistic no matter how hard he tries; "Because I am really psychologically traumatized and I see myself as self-helpless, especially when I see our reality in light of the war, which we do not know when it will end. Consequently, our life has been impacted by its complications, such as high prices, lack of salaries and lack of opportunities, which constitutes for the normal healthy person a lot of difficulties." This painful reality leads Mussad often to feel disappointed in a way that exacerbates his living and psychological condition.

Massad believes that restoring his ability to work and rehabilitating him along with others with disabilities, even if only to a very small extent, is a major factor of their recovery; because they consider unemployment a denial of themselves and their deprivation of their right to family participation and decision-making

Fears of the future

Mussad's self-assessment and skillful functional ability made him realize how difficult it is to adapt and self-adapt with life variables, which exacerbated his feeling of dread and fear about facing the unknown future. The future becomes a daily nightmare for him, along with his constant anxiety, his precarious life and his sense of turmoil: “Now I have really lost my ability to practice my previous profession as a plasterer in which I took years to develop my skills; without the right hand, it's all over, it's hard to return to this hard profession. He adds, while wondering: "You can imagine that I did not find a job that I could do while I had this handicap, so what would our situation be like, no matter how some or relatives try to offer you a hand and help, it will not last forever!!."

What troubles Mussad after his disability, and indeed exhausts him, is that he is unable to achieve his simplest dreams, which is to build a small, independent house in his village, which he hoped to start saving through his work in exile in order to achieve in the coming years, especially after he managed, during his exile in the past two years, to pay off all the debts he had borrowed for his marriage and when buying a visa, to work and reside in Saudi Arabia.

He says, "I was waiting for the time when I could pay off my debts, so that I could start saving and collecting enough to build my own house, and this time, days before my disability, I had completed paying all the debts, but the opportunity to build a house is now impossible." It is only impossible if Mussad is unable to adapt to his disability. He is forced - as he says - to disappear constantly and not to go out or attend any social events that he is accustomed to, and he always feels that his appearance after the amputation causes him embarrassment in front of people, which makes him refuse to go to public places. Mussad added, "I feel that people look at me with pity, and that my appearance after the amputation has led to an increase in people's attention to me, and this makes me prefer not to go out except very rarely, because I have become more interested in watching their looks and signs of their presence than their conversation." He realizes that this apprehension of others exacerbates his psychological state and the thoughts and feelings that trouble him.

Nevertheless, he hopes to be able to install a prosthetic limb for his amputated hand, in order to compensate him the missing proportions in his body, perhaps, as he believes, will grant him some confidence in his physical looking, which is causing him embarrassment at the present time. Additionally, he is also aware of the difficulty for the prosthetic limb to help him restore the functional ability of his arm as it was before, which is dominated by heavy lifting, and the practice of very fine motor and skillful work. He adds: "But at least I can compensate for my semi-natural appearance, which in turn will give me the confidence to get out of the house and accept myself, perhaps helping me to adapt to society, and to search hard for any new job through which I can provide for my family's needs, and only then will I fill my free time and loneliness, and that alone will improve my psychological state.”

At the conclusion of his speech, Mussad speculates that restoring and rehabilitating him, or others with disabilities, to work, even to a very small extent, is a critical element of their recovery. Because they consider unemployment a denial of themselves and abandon of their right to family participation and decision-making, especially if they are heads of families who need to do many tasks to take care of them.

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