Just when I thought I’d read every memoir there was to read about brain injury, another one dropped into my consciousness. This one, from 2012, is from a fellow Midwest author Louise Krug. Like me, she was featured in the #Midwessay series on Essay Daily. She explains so well what it is like to be Midwestern in her essay by describing all the things she does not say. Her book, Louise: Amended describes what happens after a cavernous angioma appears at the base of her brain and has surgery to remove it.
Louise was 22, embarking on a fabulous career in glossy journalism in Los Angeles with her boyfriend when one side of her body goes numb at a movie premier. We follow her as she figures out the cause of her one-sided paralysis and double vision as parents and family step in and her boyfriend fades away.
The book is structured in alternating chapters told from her viewpoint and those in her life. She obviously does not know exactly what these other people – her mother, father, brother, and boyfriend – are thinking and feeling, so these chapters are considered fiction. But even in these chapters, she does what a good memoir does, and treats herself as a character, showing even the ugly parts of herself and what these people are experiencing with her as she spirals through more negative moods.
Louise does not paint a rosy picture of recovery, as even after she undergoes surgery to remove the damage, she still experiences many symptoms, such as a limp and a face that is half-paralyzed. She shows the emotional side of dealing with a new disability in a real way and is able to portray herself truly and humanly. She is not always perfect or likeable, but none of would be in such a situation.