Ouch: An injury memoi



At three I was adorable, alone, smashing glass milk bottles on the front steps of our rather posh London digs. Lots of literary friends, the Amises, the Gales, poets like Larkin, etc. Tons of booze except I was three and according to family legend the drunk Scottish doctor stitched my knee up, one eye open. 

At six in Sandycove, my birthday, across from the 40-foot where that guy cooked his kidneys and Joyce had his tower. I was given my first petticoat and felt obligated to hang upside down to share. Fell and gashed my chin open, several stitches and then back to the party.

In America, 1968 rough year with wild oldest sister and constant catastrophes, fall off the roof, break my arm, appendicitis, lemon pudding/napalm burns all the skin off my leg. I am yelled at for inconveniencing everyone.

Long pause. I am a barista in NYC before coffee shops and I am doored while biking, undiagnosed broken hand. Have baby-72 hours of labor, constant carpal tunnel but I am healthy. Then, bikes-bag caught in wheel, broken elbow, hit speed bump, broken shoulder, fall in Maui, wrist, elbow and finger.

And now this-fall down my mother’s stairs at dawn to return to Chicago-“I think I’m really hurt. We have to leave. Don’t wake up my mother.”
Pilon fracture. Surgery.
I will be off leg for 2-3 months. Son is vaguely sympathetic, tortures me, husband is bewildered and sorry and yells a lot. Cats freaked.
2016 was a heart breaker.

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