FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

After the Fall

by FIDEL CASTRO

Translated by Joe Bryak

On finishing my speech in the Santa Clara event, I was hurt in an accidental fall. Some news agencies and other media that transmit news divulged various versions of the causes of the accident. As the protagonist and affected witness, I can explain with total precision the causes for what happened.

I had finished my speech to the graduating art instruction students around 10 at night. Several companeros from the Party and government climbed to the reviewing stand to greet us. Among them was Elian, as is customary in some ceremonies. We were there several minutes and as soon as we climbed down to meet again, using the same little wooden stairway that we used to climb to the stand, rapidly due to the red gravel pavement, and intending to sit down in the same chair that was assigned to me before my turn on the stand had arrived, and I walked on the gravel, at the same time waving from time to time to the enthusiastic instructors and the more than 25,000 neighbors from the province of Villa Clara invited to the ceremony.

When I got to the concrete area, some 15 or 20 meters from the first row of chairs, I didn’t notice there was a relatively high sidewalk between the pavement and the crowd. My left foot stepped on a gap, due to the difference in height with relation to the area where the participants were in their respective chairs. The motion and the law of gravity, discovered some time ago by Newton, were such that when I made that false step I lunged forward until falling, in a fraction of a second, on the pavement. Through pure instinct, my arms went forward to cushion the blow; otherwise my face and head would have strongly crashed against the ground.

It wasn’t anybody’s fault. The responsibility was totally mine. It seems that the emotion of that day full of creations and symbolisms explains my carelessness.

What happened in the following minutes is well known. My greatest pain in that moment was the idea of the suffering of that throng of young graduates and of the Villa Clarans invited to that so beautiful and emotional ceremony.

I could scarcely move. After many obstacles, in the midst of that consternation, I could be taken to the rear of the automobile in which I traveled and not to the jeep which I asked for. None came there. We headed for the house which had been assigned to me to make a quick check of the damage caused by the fall; it turned out that there was little that could be done there.

An ambulance came; we decided to use it to take me to the capital. It was obvious that the pain and symptoms indicated a deep analysis was necessary and possible immediate surgical intervention. They took me in a stretcher in the ambulance to the capital.

I am not going to omit that, together with several very competent doctors and several companeros, like Carlitos and others, squeezed in that ambulance, in spite of some potholes, it was comfortable and pleasant. Some painkillers had been administered, and after a fashion they eased the strong pains for the patient.

We went to work on the road. We called our office and different companeros to get them to gather information on international reaction, and to communicate exactly what had happened. Instructions were given, technical means and medical specialists were mobilized to deal with the necessary procedures that could be employed according to the various possible types of damage.

Even President Hugo Chavez called as soon as he received the news. He conversed with Felipe and asked to talk with me, which was possible thanks to the wireless communications [cell phone] and in spite of the difficulties of this type (of equipment): they are difficult and frequently break off due to technical reasons.

I could converse the same way with the instructor companeros meeting in Santa Clara. I strongly urged them to not suspend the fiesta that was organized to take place after the ceremony. Using a cellphone placed against the microphone where the meeting took place, I spoke directly to them and transmitted the message.

We left Santa Clara around eleven at night. We arrived at the Palace of the Revolution. Taken in a stretcher and on several companeros’ shoulders, I was immediately taken to the small hospital installation there, with a minimum of equipment necessary to attend to emergency cases. Right away, clinical exams, X-rays, blood tests and other tests. It could be seen that the most important complications were in the left knee and in the upper right arm, where the humerus showed a fissure [hairline fracture]. The kneecap was fragmented into 8 pieces. I could observe each one of the images and the exams. By common agreement, between the specialists and the patient, we decided to proceed immediately to the knee operation, and to immobilize the right arm with a simple sling.

The procedure around the operation lasted three hours, fifteen minutes. The orthopedic surgeons set to reuniting and setting each one of the fragments in their proper places and, like weavers, to proceed to solidly unite them, sewing them with fine stainless steel thread. A work for jewelers.

The patient asked the doctors to not apply any sedative, and they used rachidean [spinal] anesthesia. Spinal anesthesia totally deadens the lower part of the the body and leaves the rest of the body intact. I explained to them that given the circumstances it was necessary to avoid general anesthesia to be in condition to attend to numerous important affairs. Therefore, during the time mentioned that the procedure lasted I maintained contact with my secretary, also in the vicinity of the operating room and dressed in surgeon’s smock. Thus, all along, I continued receiving information and giving instructions on managing the situation created by the unforeseen accident.

Once the surgical part was finished, the left leg was put in a cast, and at that same time the right arm was immobilized.

Really, compatriotas, this has been an unforgettable experience. The specialists and the patient analyzed and perfectly coordinated what needed to be done in the concrete circumstances in which the country is living, and without losing a single minute.

From the very instant of the fall I have not stopped attending to the most important tasks that are my responsibility, in coordination with all the other companeros.

I wanted to give you this news tonight. I am healing well and I will not stop communicating with you. I give you my deepest thanks for the expressions of affection and solidarity which I have received from you at this time.

Each Cuban revolutionary knows what is to be done at all times. Let’s do it!

I beg your forgiveness for such a long message.

FIDEL CASTRO October 21 2004, 7:35 pm

 

Fidel Castro’s column appears in Granma.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

April 27, 2017
Darlene Dubuisson – Mark Schuller
“You Live Under Fear”: 50,000 Haitian People at Risk of Deportation
Karl Grossman
The Crash of Cassini and the Nuclearization of Space
Robert Hunziker
Venezuela Ablaze
John W. Whitehead
Trump’s America is a Constitution-Free Zone
Ron Jacobs
One Hundred Years That Shook the World
Judith Deutsch
Convenient Untruths About “Human Nature:” Can People Deal with Climate Change and Nuclear Weapons?
Don Fitz
Is Pope Francis the World’s Most Powerful Advocate for Climate Stability?
Thomas Mountain
Africa’s War Lord Queen: The Bloodstained Career of Liberia’s Eleanor Sirleaf Johnson
Binoy Kampmark
Short Choices: the French Presidential Elections
Paul C. Bermanzohn
Monetizing My Mouth
Michael Barker
Of Union Dreams and Nightmares: Cesar Chavez and Why Funding Matters
Elier Ramirez Cañedo
“Let Venezuela give me a way of serving her, she has in me a son.”
Paul Mobbs
Cellphones, WIFI and Cancer: Will Trump’s Budget Cuts Kill ‘Electrosmog’ Research?
Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee
The Closing of Rikers: a Survival Strategy of the Carceral State
April 26, 2017
Richard Moser
Empire Abroad, Empire At Home
Stan Cox
For Climate Justice, It’s the 33 Percent Who’ll Have to Pick Up the Tab
Paul Craig Roberts
The Looting Machine Called Capitalism
Lawrence Davidson
The Dilemma for Intelligence Agencies
Christy Rodgers
Remaining Animal
Joseph Natoli
Facts, Opinions, Tweets, Words
Mel Gurtov
No Exit? The NY Times and North Korea
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Women on the Move: Can Three Women and a Truck Quell the Tide of Sexual Violence and Domestic Abuse?
Michael J. Sainato
Trump’s Wikileaks Flip-Flop
Manuel E. Yepe
North Korea’s Antidote to the US
Kim C. Domenico
‘Courting Failure:’ the Key to Resistance is Ending Animacide
Barbara Nimri Aziz
The Legacy of Lynne Stewart, the People’s Lawyer
Andrew Stewart
The People vs. Bernie Sanders
Daniel Warner
“Vive La France, Vive La République” vs. “God Bless America”
April 25, 2017
Russell Mokhiber
It’s Impossible to Support Single-Payer and Defend Obamacare
Nozomi Hayase
Prosecution of Assange is Persecution of Free Speech
Robert Fisk
The Madder Trump Gets, the More Seriously the World Takes Him
Giles Longley-Cook
Trump the Gardener
Bill Quigley
Major Challenges of New Orleans Charter Schools Exposed at NAACP Hearing
Jack Random
Little Fingers and Big Egos
Stanley L. Cohen
Dissent on the Lower East Side: the Post-Political Condition
Stephen Cooper
Conscientious Justice-Loving Alabamians, Speak Up!
Michael J. Sainato
Did the NRA Play a Role in the Forcing the Resignation of Surgeon General?
David Swanson
The F-35 and the Incinerating Ski Slope
Binoy Kampmark
Mike Pence in Oz
Peter Paul Catterall
Green Nationalism? How the Far Right Could Learn to Love the Environment
George Wuerthner
Range Riders: Making Tom Sawyer Proud
Clancy Sigal
It’s the Pits: the Miner’s Blues
Robert K. Tan
Abe is Taking Japan Back to the Bad Old Fascism
April 24, 2017
Mike Whitney
Is Mad Dog Planning to Invade East Syria?    
John Steppling
Puritan Jackals
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail