Sarah Kishpaugh

Remembering Who You Are

In grade school, I used to fake-trip to make people laugh. When I wasn’t clowning, I was blabbing, often sent to my bedroom for what my parents called, “arguing with the rocks.” Overreacting was a trait I carried into my relationships, so when I met Miles, and he found my hyperbolic style amusing, I knew he was the one.

In 2007, Miles, on the job as a tree crew lead, was struck in the forehead by an 80-pound branch, after a tree toppled in a way it wasn’t supposed to. There was nothing funny about that phone call, or the months afterward, when we all suffered the unknown. My funny bone shattered as I zapped into high-alert mode to take care of our children, finances, and Miles’s well being.

After surgery and rehabilitation, the message from his medical team was that it was my job to keep him safe. Miles was not to drive. Under no circumstance should he consume alcohol. He must stay off ladders, and not use heavy equipment. A young intern and I discussed what would happen, as she removed the stints from his nose.

“Do you have a set of full body armor at home?” she asked me.

I’d seen so much weird stuff in the hospital that it was hard for me to tell if she was kidding.

“Why?” I asked.

 “For his protection,” she said. “He can’t afford a second blunt trauma.”
 
“What do you mean?”

She was finished with her mini-surgery, and Miles lay with his head on the pillow, groaning. She explained how after a first head injury, people — because they often lack judgment — are at a higher risk of having another. Repetitive concussions increase chances for severe sleep, anger, and seizure disorders. From what I was hearing, there were potentially devastating issues at stake, preventable so long as I was a good nurse.

Selected Works

Essay
Chicken Soup for the Soul
Nonfiction
Bitch Magazine
Guest Blogs
Feminist Wednesday
The Writer in the World

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