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"A massive brain trauma robbed fashionable young Louise of the shallow currency she'd banked on all her life, and the resulting struggle is a page-turner in which a person's very soul deepens before your eyes. Louise: Amended rewards a reader's time—a must read."—Mary Karr
A beautiful young woman from Kansas is about to embark on the life of her dreams—California! Glossy journalism! French boyfriend!—only to suffer a brain bleed that collapses the right side of her body, leaving her with double vision, facial paralysis, and a dragging foot. An unflinching, wise, and darkly funny portrait of sudden disability and painstaking recovery, the memoir presents not only Louise's perspective, but also the reaction of her loved ones—we see, in fictional interludes, what it must have been like for Louise's boyfriend to bathe her, or for her mother to apply lipstick to her nearly immobile mouth. Challenging the notion that one person's tragedy is a single person's story, Louise: Amended depicts a dismantling—and rebirth—of an entire family.
At age twenty-two, Louise Krug suffered a brain bleed and underwent an emergency craniotomy that disrupted her ability to walk, see, and move half her face. Now, six years later, Louise has astounded doctors and loved ones by recovering not only much of her vision and mobility, but a ferocious spirit and enviable grace. She currently lives with her husband Nick and daughter Olive in Lawrence, Kansas, where she's a PhD candidate and teacher.
“What’s up with the paintbrushes? Why don’t you go to military school and toughen up?” Warner would never run a finger across the top of Louise’s dresser to see if she had dusted. He would never make her pull weeds in the hot sun while he sat on the porch drinking scotch. He wants Louise to know he is a comforting, sensitive dad. He wants her to know he is sorry for the car ride, for her pain, for not knowing any better than he does. “This isn’t a contest to see who is the bravest,” he says.
“cavernous angioma.” What comes up scares me. On message boards, mothers write sad posts about children who have died from what I have, or who have severe brain damage from the craniotomy it takes to remove it. The Angioma Alliance puts on conferences all over the country. I imagine my family attending one, seeing hundreds of people who look just as dreary and wadded up as we do. At my mother’s I watch a lot of TV. The O.C. and Laguna Beach. Anything about wealthy teenagers in California with
say Louise’s eye could straighten out at any time—she could wake up one day and discover both her eyes gazing at the same thing. There is no way of knowing if this will happen for sure. All she can do is wait. Because of damage from the surgeries, she also has nystagmus, or involuntary eye movement. Her left eye moves up and down very quickly, while her right eye moves with grace. The result is that everything appears bouncy. It worsens in darkness, and with alcohol consumption. The covered eye
railing. She sees a blind woman coming up with a guide dog. They are taking the steps quickly. Louise tries to move over, shuffling sideways across the concrete until she can get a hand on the railing on the other side, but before she can make it the dog leaps up like a wolf and knocks her down. Then the dog steps on her as it goes on up the stairs. The dog does not bark, its tags just clink. The woman goes around. Louise’s lasagna has spilled on her shirt. She feels like she should say
little more lighthearted. My mother buys patches in pink, blue, and beige, but I never wear them. I wonder where she got these, in the costume aisle at some specialty drugstore? The eye patch helps me not see double. Without the eye patch, I cannot tell which of the two doorknobs is real. I hold a glass under the faucet, but it will not fill up. It’s like being very drunk, or like a baby, trying to walk. CHAPTER EIGHT Janet knows she has done something wrong. She should have worried about