Brain Damage: A Novel

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From the back cover:

After years of hard work, Dr. Charly McKenna finally has it all. Prosperous career as a dermatologist? Check. Spacious apartment overlooking Central Park? Check. Handsome lawyer husband? Double check.

Then one night, a bullet rips through the right side of her skull and she loses everything.

As Charly struggles to recover from her brain injury, she begins to realize that the events of that fateful night are trapped in the damaged right side of her brain. Now she must put the jigsaw pieces together to discover the identity of the man who tried to kill her... before he finishes the job he started.

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If someone had asked me before this happened if it would hurt to be shot in the head, I almost certainly would’ve answered yes. Of course, yes.

It makes sense. A piece of metal rapidly shooting through flesh and bone… how could it not hurt? During my intern year, I spent time in the emergency room and I saw people who had been recently shot. None in the head, but one in the shoulder, one through the knee, and one unfortunate bullet ripped its way right through a man’s stomach. I didn’t need to ask any of those people if the bullet hurt. I could see it in their faces.

I wasn’t someone who had to worry about being shot though. The patients I treated in the emergency room weren’t upper-middle-class female doctors living in million dollar apartments overlooking Central Park. They all lived in a poor section of the city, where bullets whizzed through the air as commonly as raindrops.

I, on the other hand, was safe, insulated. I wasn’t the sort of person who would be shot in the street while going to buy soda at the local newsstand. When I died, it would be from a stroke or cancer, or if I was lucky, my heart would stop beating one night in my sleep when my hair was as white as my pillow and my face was crisscrossed with deep wrinkles.

Or so I thought.

Back to the initial question of whether it hurt to be shot in the head. Because there is a lot I don’t remember, but this part I remember very well.
I remember staring at the gun, not really believing that it would go off, not believing that this could happen to me. And then I remember the explosion, seconds before the bullet discharged, passed through my skull, shattering it to pieces, soaring through gray matter, white matter, neurons, ventricles, then back through my skull again, and finally lodging itself in the well-insulated wall that kept our neighbors from hearing the noise of the gunshot.

And none of that hurt. The truth is, I didn’t feel it at all.

What hurt is everything that came after.

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