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Paramin gardener glad to be home

By JULIEN NEAVES Sunday, September 22 2013

PARAMIN gardener Johnathan Constantine, who was shot in the left arm by a trapgun last June while searching for missing hiker Geeta Bissoondaye Seenath, says he is glad to be home after being hospitalised for almost three months. He has no plans, however, to return to the forest in search of another missing person.

“I not going back again,” he stressed.

Constantine returned home from the hospital on September 9.

In an interview with Sunday Newsday on Friday at his Jan Road, Paramin, he said he hopes Government would remove hidden trap guns so other people would not be injured as he was. He said his mind was more at ease and he was finally able to relax now that he has left the hospital.

“So long I was missing home. I feeling good to be home,” he said. Constantine, 23, has two daughters, one year-old daughter Ameilyah and five year-old Anjali. Wife Peina Raj is pregnant with a third child. Raj told Sunday Newsday she was happy to have her husband home and was relieved to no longer have to do “all the hectic running up and down” to the Sangre Grande District Hospital where Constantine was hospitalised since June 13. On that fateful day, he and his cousin Subinus went into the Matura forest to search for Seenath, who had been missing for six days following a hiking trip at the Rio Seco waterfall. The cousins were familiar with the area from previous hunting trips. During their search for Seenath, Constantine accidentally set off a hidden trap gun which shattered the bone and ligaments in his left arm.

He said that several times, while lying in his hospital bed, he would be startled from his sleep by the loud sound of the trap gun in his memory, and was at times afraid to close his eyes. He said these nightmares have become more and more infrequent. Seenath was discovered a week after she went missing, hospitalised at Sangre Grande District Hospital, treated for exhaustion and bruises to her right leg, and released two weeks later on July 29. Constantine still has a long way to go before making a full recovery. He said he does not have much movement in the left arm and healing has not reached “50 per cent yet” according to his own estimates. He said he must take painkillers although the pain level had significantly reduced. when rain falls, and when he bends elbow it hurts.

Three weeks ago he successfully underwent skin grafting plastic surgery at the San Fernando General Hospital and he said the arm was healing well. He still has another appointment at Sangre Grande to remove a piece of steel rod that was inserted into his arm to help it heal properly. He is thankful to the doctors at Sangre Grande and San Fernando hospitals for the care he received at those institutions. For now, the most frustrating aspect of the injury is that it hinders him from doing his work around the house.

“I can’t really do anything,” he lamented. He said doctors have told him that he will not have use of his arm for the next 18 months, a severe loss for a man who uses his hands for a living and is the sole breadwinner for his expanding family. He said people who heard about his story, which had been carried in a number of Newsday reports, have helped the family with donations. Constantine was hopeful that he could get some assistance from the Government. His sister Veronica said she was glad her brother was home and that he was feeling much better.

“The hand coming along,” she added. Anyone interested in assisting Constantine and his family can contact him at 364-1372.

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