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

By Christina Crosby

Within the early night on October 1, 2003, Christina Crosby was once 3 miles right into a seventeen mile bicycle experience, motive on achieving her objective of 1,000 miles for the driving season. She used to be a revered senior professor of English who had celebrated her 50th birthday a month ahead of. 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 speedy, she used to be paralyzed.

In A physique, Undone, Crosby places into phrases a damaged physique that turns out past the succeed in of language and realizing. She writes a few physique shot via with neurological soreness, disoriented in time and house, incapacitated through paralysis and deadened sensation. to deal with this overseas 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 files growing to be into the Nineteen Seventies via radical feminism and the affirmations of homosexual liberation.

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

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If only I could take my OxyContin that way always! My mind was relieved from the fear that I would always be in pain, and when I’m buzzing, cold, or burning, I sometimes remember the sensation of being warmed through and suspended in no-pain, weightless. Then I long to be taken out of myself and the pain that plagues me, as I was that one time. If I were to crush and Falling into Hell | 31 swallow my OxyContin tablets, pain would give way to a surplus of pleasure, sweetly running all through my body toward oblivion.

Yet sometimes I can’t ignore the pain, when my skin feels thick, electrified, and vibrating. You can imagine a wet suit, the kind you’d use when windsurfing. I had one—it was made of neoprene that hugged my body tightly, and when wet held next to my skin a thin layer of water warmed by my body heat. My skin feels like that neoprene, thick and pliable, with an electric current carried through the underside Falling into Hell | 29 wetness of blood and lymph. At this very moment of writing, I feel that current making a bold outline of my body.

Because Janet was by my side every day, I had the security of her love, which mitigated my fears for the future. I didn’t really understand much of what I was being told. I recall as a kind of dream seeing the stunningly white brightness of an operating room one time as I was being wheeled in. I know that dear friends came to visit me. I know that one day my bowels let loose and I fouled the sheets with liquid waste. I know that I went from the ICU, to the operating room, to the ICU, and then to a “step down” unit, only to return to the operating room and repeat the sequence.

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