One morning Julia Fox Garrison kissed her husband, sent her child off to school and began a busy day at work; then she got a sudden excruciating headache. After waking up in a hospital bed, Garrison learned that she'd had a massive hemorrhagic stroke, possibly caused by an over-the-counter allergy medication. Rendered incapacitated at the age of 37, Garrison quickly learns that memories can become a heavy burden, a reminder of how different the present is. The short vignette-shaped chapters in Don't Leave Me This Way: Or When I Get Back on My Feet You'll Be Sorry take readers on her gradual climb up to the relative paradise of semi-mobility, with a black humor that puts her temporary tragedy into perspective and deflates pompous doctors and nurses, strangers' nosiness, her own self-pity, and those who presume to tell her how she will or won't recover. Stories about trying to drag her paralyzed left side up the ladder of a swimming pool, persuading an instructor to renew her driver's license, and shameless visits to a priest and a comatose young girl reputed to have healing powers prove that attitude aids recovery and what doesn't kill makes one funnier. It's easy to figure out that the post-trauma Garrison is exceptional because of her response to her experiences, not in spite of them.

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