Mauled by a Chimpanzee

I don’t watch television so I didn’t see the Oprah show that so many people saw–the one featuring a woman mauled by a chimpanzee. I heard the story from a fellow ENS sufferer who had watched the show. The revelation came at the end of a long conversation late at night. A woman had been mauled by a chimpanzee last February. The chimp had ripped off her face and hands. She had shown her “face” on the Oprah show.

“Oh my God,” I said. I was traumatized just by the hearing. More than that—I was changed. The woman had no eyes. She had no nose, no lips. No hands. I watched my own hands flutter before my eyes. How beautiful they appeared. Like Michelango drawings, animated by life force. Bone and blood and joints tracing feelings in the air. How, I wondered, does a person live with such a loss? I had so many questions: “How is she?” “Does she want to live?” “How old is she?” “Was she attractive?” The last question is pretty dumb. Of course she was, compared to now.

“Look it up on the Internet,” my friend said.

“No. No,” I said. “I don’t want to see.”

When I got off the phone, I sat staring into space. How could anyone live through that? How could anyone live without a face? Without hands?

I looked it up on the Internet, afraid of what I might find. Her name is Charla. Here is a photo of Charla’s face. She says she’s still the same person she was before this happened to her. She just looks different. She’s looking forward to getting “better and stronger.”

I believe that a lot of people who arrive at my site are suffering from Empty Nose Syndrome. I thought maybe Charla’s story would inspire you, as it does me.  I am humbled.

I am not going to stop writing about Empty Nose Syndrome because it is a form of needless suffering, and thus, something can be done about it.

But I am going to remember Charla.


~ by ens3 on November 17, 2009.

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