Monday, October 12, 2009


This is a picture of Mary when I saw her the day before school started. Yes, this is the same Mary that I already wrote about. I saw her again last week.

She doesn’t remember getting hit, or going over the handlebars. Her first memory is coming-to in a hospital, vomiting. Her next recollection is lying flat on her back. A nurse was putting a mask over her face. “Breathe deeply,” she told Mary, as the anesthetic took hold.

The procedure is called a craniotomy. The doctors at Bellevue cut a chunk out of Mary’s skull and drained the epidural hematoma. Blood was putting pressure on her brain, and without the operation she would have died. After the hematoma was successfully drained, the doctors fastened the chunk of skull back in place with titanium plates. It took 37 staples to close the wound.

I saw Mary just a week and a half after the accident, right after she had the staples taken out. I was shocked when she told me that her entire hospital stay was only three days. She didn’t have to be there any longer. When I saw her, she told me that she wasn’t having any ill-effects. No headaches, seizures, blackouts, or any of the other myriad things that can manifest after a major headwound. I was shocked at how quickly she was back out and about. “I can’t afford to take a long time to heal,” she said.

We had fun taking the pictures. “You’re going to make headwounds sexy again!” I shouted as I shot her alternately with the Salyut and the Yashmat while people walked by not quite knowing what to make of us. I was touched that she let me shoot her. The night before some total stranger asked to take her photo and she refused — but we’re not strangers. We’ve known each other over three years already. So she indulged me patiently as I used my various cameras, trying not only to get a decent picture of her, but maybe somehow bettering myself at this craft. It’s not too many people (even friends) that are willing to sit around while you fumble around with light meters, shutter speeds, flash fills, and all that crap that is second-nature to a professional.

I knew Mary was better when she started talking about her hair. She wasn’t so much worried about the scar, but was more concerned that almost half the hair on her head would be much shorter than the rest of her thick, flowing, brown tresses.

I kept telling her to just give it time, but she was still worried. Her vanity made me smile. She's going to be just fine.

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