from Some People Have Too Many Legs
© Jackie Hagan, 2015

In 2013 I got sick and brought down the national average number of legs, then I did a show about it.

So, without giving away too much (seeing as you are about to read the story), this is what happened: two years ago I got a commission to write a show, and then a month later I went into hospital over the road from the theatre, while I was in there I wrote about what was going on, I lost my flat when I came out because I was in a wheelchair and my flat was very high up in the sky without a lift, so while I was making and touring the show I was off my head on morphine and trauma. It won a couple of awards (I’m totally showing off now, we’ve gone from X-factor sob story to ‘aren’t I great’ with only a full stop to give us order) and I went round selling my story to those sort of magazines your mum reads on the toilet, and now it’s now. So it’s been a mental two years. Somehow during all that I sort of forgot to mention in the show that I’m bisexual and bipolar; I used to make a lot of work about that, and getting people to be accepting about that stuff is dead important to me. I thought about muddying up the narrative by sticking that stuff in, but instead I’ve stuck on a couple of poems at the start. Job’s a good ’un.

The most common question people ask me is Why did you have your leg off? I don’t answer this fully in the show because I don’t know the answer and neither do the doctors. I have something called Systemic Sclerosis, but that doesn’t make you lose your leg. I also have something called Raynaud’s Syndrome, but to lose your leg from that is pretty rare. I also have Fuch’s Syndrome, but that has nothing to do with legs (but is more fun to tell people you have). What we know is that I had a sudden, very large cluster of blood clots in the main artery in my leg. The moment this happened is the moment of mystery; there was a spasm, that is it, a mystery spasm. Scary, isn’t it. So I have embraced uncertainty, eat more veg, and appreciate what I have, because you never know what’s round the corner (it could be an old lady who looks like a threadbare tennis ball).

Jackie Hagan