A Body, Undone: Living On After Great Pain by Christina Crosby

By Christina Crosby

Within the early night on October 1, 2003, Christina Crosby used to be 3 miles right into a seventeen mile bicycle experience, rationale on attaining her objective of 1,000 miles for the driving season. She was once a revered senior professor of English who had celebrated her 50th birthday a month prior to. As she crested a hill, she stuck a department within the spokes of her bicycle, which immediately pitched her to the pavement. Her chin took the whole strength of the blow, and her head snapped again. In that rapid, she was once paralyzed.

In A physique, Undone, Crosby places into phrases a damaged physique that turns out past the succeed in of language and figuring out. She writes a few physique shot via with neurological discomfort, disoriented in time and house, incapacitated by means of paralysis and deadened sensation. to deal with this international physique, she calls upon the readerly pleasures of narrative, severe feminist and queer pondering, and the focused language of lyric poetry. operating with those assets, she remembers her Nineteen Fifties tomboy methods in small-town, rural Pennsylvania, and documents transforming into into the Nineteen Seventies via radical feminism and the affirmations of homosexual liberation.

Deeply unsentimental, Crosby communicates in unflinching prose the adventure of "diving into the destroy" of her physique to recognize grief, and loss, but additionally to acknowledge the sweetness, fragility, and dependencies of all human our bodies. A memoir that could be a meditation on incapacity, metaphor, gender, intercourse, and love, A physique, Undone is a compelling account of residing on, as Crosby rebuilds her physique and models a lifestyles via writing, reminiscence, and hope.

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I learned to rank my pain quite high and to request all the meds that I could get, side effects be damned. In the years just before I broke my neck, I was deeply happy. I was joyfully engaged with my lover, delighting in her body and my Falling into Hell | 33 own. One afternoon together, we discovered an anatomy book in a downtown Tucson store with a miscellaneous stock—toys for kids, funky sunglasses, witty postcards, and suchlike. Among the stuff was an illustrated book anatomizing the human body, with lovely simplified drawings of the viscera, the skin, the spinal cord, the fiber of nerves coated with myelin, ball and socket joints, the skeleton, blue veins and red arteries, the heart with its four chambers, sexual organs with the hydraulic apparatuses clearly detailed.

It called to mind another hospital. I was seven years old and having a tonsillectomy. On my back in the operating room, I looked up at the gowned and gloved adults who were looking down at me. “Count backwards from one hundred,” I was instructed, as a mask hissing ether was put over my nose and mouth. Then in the seconds it took for me to lose consciousness I felt myself falling free, nauseated and gassed, through black space dotted all over with points of colored light. I clearly saw myself, outlined as if by a gingerbread cookie cutter, plummeting down, down.

One time, and one time only, OxyContin was put into my body pulverized along with all my other drugs, which were given to me nightly through the gastrointestinal tube. As always during that time, I was in pain, cold, and desperate for some relief. Lying there, I felt a soothing warmth coursing through my body, warm honey in my veins, which spread and spread, engulfing me. So sweet. —a thought I held onto for maybe fifteen minutes, floating along before sleep took me. If only I could take my OxyContin that way always!

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