Bioethics Blogs

The Wrong Side of the Bed

Gillian Clark reflects on her emotional needs after experiencing trauma.


I was a very accident-prone child and became famous for the expression “I’m okay!”

I crashed a snowmobile into a boulder, flew six feet and hopped up to say “I’m okay!”  I said it in part to console my brother who was running towards me at an impossibly slow rate due to his one piece snowsuit and oversized hand-me-down Sorrels, but also because I felt pressure to stick to my catch phrase.

I lost both of my skis in a race, tumbled into a snow fence and spat out the snow in my mouth to say, “I’m okay!” I attempted to finish the race without skis.

I lost all feeling in my extremities during a soccer match one summer, for in true Canadian fashion it was sleeting, snowing, and hailing in July; probably all at once. And the game was uphill, both ways. And we had to stop half way through because a beaver gnawed down one of our goal posts.  I tripped over my numb legs, landed face first in a semi-frozen mud puddle and said “I’m-m- ok-k-kay.”

There are three similarities with all events:

  1.     I was wearing long johns.
  2.     Tears were frozen to my smiling face.
  3.     I was not okay.

On December 3rd, 2010 I was walking down Spring Garden Road in Halifax.  I was on the sidewalk.  I was suddenly hit by an out of control SUV and the top half of my body went through a store window, while my bottom half was pinned between a brick wall and the SUV.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.