‘English Professors Aren’t Good for Much’

In February, after routine back surgery, my mother developed a hematoma in her lower spine. Having suffered a cauda equina injury, to what her doctor described as the horse’s tail of nerves at the base of her spine, she is now effectively a paraplegic. The injury, which sounds almost lovely, like the gentle switching of a horse’s tail, entails the new reality of wheelchairs, suppositories, and bedpans.

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