Monday, August 18, 2008

Family Term for Severe Injury

My sister called a couple days ago. I love hearing from her, but from her first words, I knew I wasn't going to like what she had to say.

"Well, I pulled a Kathleen," she announced, and my stomach turned.

I knew she'd managed to hurt herself. The family always likes to point out that I'm the one with a three-page medical history. Single spaced. Eight point type face. I fall down frequently. I usually manage to inflict some kind of damage either on my way down or landing.

She had spent a good portion of the night in the emergency room. Thirteen staples in your head is impressive, Ellen. I can almost feel the pain. You could actually get good at this with a little effort. It's a promising start. You've been pretty accident free most of your life, so you'll have to practice. I've got a big head start. You'll need to go a long way to beat the eight broken ribs I got when I was blown down the cement stairs in a typhoon, but it was severe for an evening at home. I'm impressed.

It has often occurred to me that no one understands that pain is only part of the aftermath. I always end up feeling like there must have been something I could have done to prevent the accident, the injury, the drama. Well, Ellen, don't you believe it. I've spent a lifetime coming to the realization that these things just happen. No matter how careful you are, there will be times when you, well—pull a Kathleen.

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