UNDER normal circumstances, this would have been a glorious time of the year for former BP Renegades captain Barry Yates.
But this year it is just not the same for the pan aficionado – and not just because of the cancellation of Panorama and other physical events as a result of the covid19 pandemic.
Yates, 74, had a stroke a little over a year ago, leaving him paralysed on the left side, and bedridden.
His wife Radica Dass said he also has kidney stones and a swollen prostate. She said although he is in extreme pain, surgery to remove the kidney stone is off the table for now because his doctors at the clinic at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mt Hope said it is risky.
“They said there is a 50/50 chance that he could die on the table,” because he has seizures and might have one under anaesthetic.
“They advised me to take him home for home care.”
She said last year’s major stroke was the fourth he has suffered so far, and it has left him somewhat incoherent.
“Sometimes he knows what’s going on and sometimes he doesn’t. A lot is going on with Barry and I can’t leave him to die just so.”
She is considering getting a second opinion and having the surgery done at a private institution.
Yates is a founding member of Pan Trinbago and the founder of Pan Development Unlimited, a programme that taught children to make and play tenor pans and which he ran for over 40 years.
Their eldest son, Akash, has been paralysed from the neck down since a fall some years ago, and Dass also has to take care of him. She said it has become overwhelming, financially and otherwise, and is asking for some assistance with her husband’s medical bills.
“Right now I need some help, because we are living on my husband’s pension and my son’s disability grant. Three of us live alone. A woman comes in and charges $4,000 a month to help take care of them because it’s too much for me.”
She said every time she has to take him from their home in Mt Hope to his clinic appointments at the hospital she has to hire a taxi – an additional expense.
Dass said they have three other children – Anas, Andy and Latchmi. Anas was diagnosed with lupus about ten years ago and Andy was in an accident eight years ago and has medical issues of his own. She said her daughter helps as much as she can.
She had contacted a member of Pan Trinbago asking for assistance and was told the organisation was working on a “medical package.”
“What we eventually got was a hamper with some diapers, Ensure and a few other things. He said he would speak to the president and call me back. I haven’t heard anything yet.”
When Newsday contacted Pan Trinbago president Beverley Ramsey-Moore on February 9, she said she had received the application from Yates’ family asking for assistance.
“Of course we will be assisting. We received an application and we are already working on it. We take care of our members. I will talk to the family to find out what is their immediate needs. I’m sure by next week we will be able to address the application that is inside.”
President of BP Renegades Colin Greaves said the band is committed to helping the family.
“I spoke to Radica and she is still unsure as to how much it would cost to see a specialist and have the surgery done, if it is at all possible.
"But we are committed financially to helping out. Barry played four cello with us for so many years, and the players too have indicated they will be stepping in to assist.”
He said the band is also actively working on savings and health plans for its members.
“We’re talking about an over-70-years history, during which the band has helped a lot of members. We’ve been actively trying to figure out a sustainable model through which we can assist members.
Latchmi told Newsday her father gave so much of his life to the national instrument that it is disheartening to see that he has to struggle now that he is in need.
“He was self-employed for the majority of his life, making and shipping pans. He played with Renegades for over 30 years. If you come to the house you will see, in every room there is something relating to the pan. My father is a pan pioneer.”
Latchmi said there is only one time she can recall when her father temporarily stepped away from his beloved instrument.
“It would have been around 2000, he stopped playing pan for eight years just to make sure he was there for me during my secondary school years.
"Then he went right back.”
The two women are hoping a second opinion on the surgical option will be positive. because they want at least to help ease his pain. “We are discussing it. Basically they are just giving him painkillers at the hospital and we are at a loss as to what to do. Every time we go to the clinic in Mt Hope we get a broken heart.
We are grasping at straws here. The options they gave us was do the surgery and die or go home and die at home.”
Anyone wishing to assist the family with Barry Yates’ medical expenses can call 367-0734