And so this week’s moment of happiness despite the news.

Well, my world shrunk this week to the size of a hospital room. Last week, my husband Michael was hit by a car. He has multiple skull fractures, a possible vertebrae fracture, and a traumatic brain injury. It’s been one week and one day now since he was hit. He is out of the ICU and in a “step down” room – one step down from ICU, but not in a regular room yet. He will likely be heading to rehab.

Hard to find a moment of happiness? Well, yeah. I feel like I’m being challenged to the max. I thought it was hard when I was dealing with breast cancer. That now feels like a walk in the park. There are so many fears. So much sadness. And the paperwork is relentless. I wish there was a business out there that simply stood by you during times of crisis and guided you through what you should be doing and what everything means. I am having to learn new languages and learn them fast.

But the moment of happiness. When I sat down to try to consider this, I found that there were several moments that made me smile or laugh, and many moments that brought me to tears.

*the moment he finally opened his eyes, clearly looked at me, widened his eyes in recognition, and opened both arms for a hug.

*the next day, he opened his eyes and said, “Hi, hon.”

*yesterday, he called me by name. By name. I hadn’t heard my name in a week. And there it was.

*support from my students has been incredible. I’ve had an absolute rainstorm of Starbucks cards, which, believe me, are more than welcome. Some days, knowing my iced grande cinnamon dolce latte with just 2 pumps of cinnamon dolce is what gets me through. Students have been dropping off lunches and dinners so I don’t have to put my mind to cooking – which is going to be a challenge anyway, since I don’t cook.

*readers, fans, writers, students, clients from around the world have been posting on my Facebook page. I can’t answer all of these, but I do read them, and they lift me. Please continue being there. You can find me on Facebook under my name.

*my kids are wonderful. Olivia has been at the hospital with me every single day. When I start to cry, she’s there with open arms. When she starts to cry, I return the favor. My son Andy has been stopping by the condo after work to let out Ursula the dog and to feed everyone, Ursula and the two cats, Edgar and Muse. They are so confused. They know Michael is missing and I’m sure they’ve picked up on my stress.

*Michael’s boss and the people at MATC (Milwaukee Area Technical College), where Michael is an accountant. Michael’s boss has been calling me almost every day. She’s delivered messages from the school president. They’re doing everything they can to help. I’m learning that when they refer to the MATC family, they mean it.

I won’t say that this isn’t hard. It is. I’ve certainly had my moments of breakdown. Last night, I couldn’t stop staring at the counterspace in the kitchen designated as Michael’s, which held the orange bag he always carried to and from work. I just couldn’t stand looking at it anymore, knowing that he wasn’t going to be picking it up in the morning and taking it with him. So at two in the morning, I cleaned off his counter. I put things away. It’s clean and clear. Tonight, I plan on folding the laundry he left in his basket and putting it away. I’m an organizer, and I know this is my way of trying to gain control of this uncontrollable situation.

But my moment. The one Moment Of Happiness Despite The News. Boy, “despite the news” took on a whole new meaning this week.

Without a doubt, it was when he said my name. As much as I felt the connection when he opened his eyes and then his arms, and when he said, “Hi, hon,” it was immediately followed by doubt. Did he recognize me? Was I the person he saw?

But when he said, “Kathie.” And his voice came out as his voice, not the strangled and pained voice I’ve been hearing, and not the silence I heard before that.

He saw me. He recognized me. He knows I’m here, and at some level, I hope he knows I’m doing everything I can to care for him, and make sure those around him are caring for him.

My name never meant so much.

And yes, that helps. Despite. Anyway.

The three of us, on the day Olivia voted for the first time.
The three of us writing. Photo by Ron Wimmer of Wimmer Photography.
Michael and Ursula.
Michael and me.

11 Replies to “1/25/24”

  1. So glad to hear he is being responsive. I’m sure yall have a lot ahead but that’s still good news. God bless and I’m praying for you both. Love ya!

  2. So glad to hear he is out of ICU. Continued healing and strength to you both, during this scary time. You are in our hearts.

  3. Glad to hear you have some “good news”. Neurological healing takes time and the outcome is reached step by step. Hoping for steady progress in healing and plenty of time to reach

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