Domestic Violence with Fatal Consequences
In the previous episode about domestic violence A Violent Marriage, Allard had returned home furiously drunk. He had slammed his fist through the glass kitchen door to attack his wife Anna, thereby cutting a wrist artery. Anna took him to A. E. leaving their child, Tommy asleep at home. Here is what happened next.
At the Hospital
Allard was immediately wheeled in for emergency treatment. Anna sat down in the waiting room until her patience failed her. Now she began to pace up and down in the corridors. A nurse was walking past. Anna grabbed her arm and asked, "How is my husband? Is he going to be all right?" But the nurse was busy filling in a form and did not know what Anna was talking about. She brushed her off: "Please return to the waiting room and the doctor will be with you shortly."
What do They Care?
Anna tried to understand the nurse’s lack of interest.Yes, she thought, these people live with life and death on a daily basis. To them, one more patient is nothing unusual, nothing out of their ordinary daily routine. Anna was beginning to get so impatient that she got up and peeped in every cubicle to see if she could find Allard but to no avail. Another nurse saw her pulling the curtain open of one of the cubicles and briskly said, ‘Can I help you?’
"Oh, please, can you tell me what is going on with my husband, his name is Allard Kirkpatrick and he was brought in about an hour ago with a slashed wrist artery, can you please tell me what is happening?" The nurse pointed towards the front part of the hospital where the waiting room was. "Madam, you are not supposed to walk around the corridors looking into cubicles, please go back to the waiting room. As soon as we are ready, a doctor will come and see you."
‘All right, thank you.’ Anna replied and walked in the direction the nurse had indicated.
Too Much Alcohol
There were only a few people in the waiting room. An old man was slouching on a chair with his flies open and one shoe off. Two parents were holding a baby who would not stop crying. Several young lads sat around their injured friend who was obviously the victim of a fight with a huge black eye, his shirt torn, and grazes all down his arm. They were talking loudly, agitated and nervous. One of them was sharing a piece of dry baguette with his friends. The wounded boy did not want any bread. He was holding his forehead, looking at the ground. Anna got sick of watching all this misery, most of it self-inflicted through drinking too much alcohol. How could she have landed in this situation?
Allard the Drunk
She recalled how Allard, not long ago, had woken up after one of his long weekend binges with a heavy hangover. In one of such apologetic sober moments, he had pointed out exactly what was wrong with him.
"I used to be Allard, the talented artist, courageous leader and war hero, but now I have not painted in months. I can’t keep a job, and I have become just a drunk, like any other drunk anywhere in any country or planet or solar system or galaxy." What could she have said?
Guilt and Worry
Anna had left him there in his despair that morning before taking Tommy to school and rushing to work. Maybe if she had been able to give Allard more time, it would not have come to this. Feeling guilty, she got up again and walked up and down the hospital corridor. Hopefully, she wouldn't have to wait too long. It was very late now. Tommy was alone at home, and she had some early appointments the next day to deliver photos, which she still had to glaze and touch up before morning.
Hope for the Future
She sat down again, picked up a magazine dated six months back and looked at the irony of the beautiful models on the advertisements promising beauty, health, and happiness. One article caught her attention, it featured paintings and talked about a successful Hungarian artist called Vazarelli. When she looked at his photograph, Anna remembered knowing this artist, years ago at art school in Budapest. So it was possible to become rich and recognized as a foreign painter in Paris. Maybe they could go and look up this Vazarelli guy and maybe he could help Allard find his feet on the Paris art scene. She moved the magazine under her bag and tore out the two relevant pages to show Allard later. She looked at the clock: half past three am. Where was her husband?
The Final Blow
More than an hour and a half had passed. A senior doctor walked up to her, Mrs. Kirkpatrick?
‘Yes, how is my husband, is he coming out soon, can I see him?’ Speechless, the doctor slowly, compassionately put a hand on Anna's arm and took her into a private room. From these actions, or rather lack of action, and from the solemn expression on the doctor’s face, Anna could already guess: Allard was dead.
"I am very sorry; we could not save your husband. We tried a transfusion, but he had lost too much blood before he arrived."
Allard Died Long Ago
Until now Anna had firmly repressed the possibility of Allard not making it. The thought of her returning home alone had not occurred for one moment.
'Can I see him?'
‘Yes, in a moment. I shall send a nurse to fetch you in a few minutes. I am very sorry.
The doctor walked out of the room. During the next few minutes, reality began to sink in. My Allard died months ago when he lost his pride when drink turned him into a miserable, insane, violent, irrational monster. He died when he believed that alcohol could drown out poverty. Unable to take it all in, she resolved to keep her dignity for now.
When the nurse came to fetch her, Anna followed silently. The walk through what seemed to be miles of corridors was endless. Finally, the nurse gently put a hand on Anna's shoulder and opened a door. Allard was all cleaned up. Wearing nothing but a white gown, the expression on his face was peaceful. He looked almost serene, relaxed at last. Well, he couldn't be much more relaxed than this, Anna thought in a macabre way.
‘Oh, Allard’, she cried, kneeling down by the bed, she put her face on his crossed hands. ‘What am I going to tell Tommy?’ She didn't want to make a scene. She got up, dried her tears.
‘We will phone you tomorrow to sort out the formalities,’ said the nurse. ‘Can I get you a taxi?’
‘No thank you, I’ll walk,’ Anna replied, ‘I need some air.’
Don't Let Him Get Away With it
Where To Get Help
Thank You All
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