Learning By Accidentby Rosemary Rawlins
On a sunny spring day, in an ordinary kitchen, Rosemary answers an unexpected phone call. A car has hit her husband, Hugh. Rosemary arrives at the hospital just in time to see him before he's rushed into surgery. Thinking of their twin daughters, Rosemary pleads with her unconscious husband as he lies on a gurney. "Don't you leave me Hugh Rawlins. Anna and Mary need you. I love you."
Overwhelmed, but determined to bring Hugh back home, Rosemary leans on family and friends as Hugh endures two emergency brain surgeries, a coma, and a confused awakening. When he finally opens his eyes, his vacant stare, the absence of his soul, hits her like a jab in the chest. She moves alongside his bed as he travels from the ICU to the medical surgical floor, and then to the acute brain rehab center, shepherding her two girls while trying to suppress the implosion of her own heart.
Everything Rosemary learns about brain injury shocks her system anew. A large chunk of Hugh's skull has been removed and put on ice in the hospital freezer. Hugh, once an athletic business executive, needs to relearn the most basic activities like brushing his teeth and putting on his clothes in the right order. He has no short-term memory, and a myriad of symptoms she has never heard before: pocketing, left neglect, and loss of executive function. With his strong character, management salary, and athletic resilience, Hugh once supported the family in nearly every way. Rosemary's task of holding their lives together while helping him heal feels daunting enough, but she cannot counsel or lean on the one person she needs most-her husband.
Through a series of episodes, from heart-rending to ridiculous, Rosemary and her teenage daughters play out their lives in a cyclone of uncertainty. Hugh is a different man, yet oddly the same stubborn husband she remembers. Rosemary tells a friend she's having an affair without cheating on her husband.
Slowly, Hugh's athletic tenacity resurfaces as he achieves a remarkable recovery, but Rosemary unravels from constant stress, somehow sure that disaster lurks around every corner. Hugh is getting better. Why is Rosemary falling apart?
Learning by Accident is a heartwarming story of family love and commitment, and the secondary trauma that remains with caregivers after all the hard work is done. Touching and triumphant, Learning by Accident celebrates how shedding fear and starting over can lead to peace, and in that place of peace, possibilities appear, and lives flourish.
- Outskirts Press, Inc.
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.67(d)
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Rosemary Rawlins' memoir, Learning by Accident, is an emotional roller coaster ride, that you will be glad you got on. I cried, laughed, felt hope and despair and hope again, all within the first few chapters of this deeply personal narrative. Her writing style is fast paced, leaves you on the edge of your seat and packed full of gritty, raw emotional scenes dealing with a life changing injury to her husband, its impact on their daily life and the long range implications of what caring for someone you love can do to your marriage and family. Hugh is the "HUPRMAN", but Rosemary is the true Hero of this inspirational story. A must read that will leave you wanting to know more about this amazing family!
Beautifully written. Filled with so much emotion, but love wins. Oprah should add this to her book club list. A must read!
What an inspiring book! It renews my faith in family, friends, and the inner strengths that get us through the most intense times of our lives. Loved every page.
On a beautiful spring day a phone rings and is answered. "This is MCV Hospital. Do you know a cyclist?" In one heart stopping moment Rosemary Rawlins learns that her husband Hugh has been in an accident. A car hit him and he is in serious condition. When Rosemary arrives at the hospital, she learns that her husband has multiple injuries, the most serious of which is a head injury and he is on his way to surgery. Her life and that of Hugh and their twin daughters Anna and Mary change as they learn to deal with traumatic brain injury. Read this book and learn what Rosmary learns by accident. Like this reader you will want to thank Rosemary, Hugh, Anna and Mary for sharing this story told with love, hurmor and hope. Marjorie Scott
Absolutely AMAZING. By Chapter 12, I had lost count of how many times I teared up or got goosebumps reading about this family's heart-wrenching journey, but I also laughed many times and felt their joy reading about the progress made and the kindness shown. I loved the notes and emails and journal excerpts at the beginning of each chapter. So much that I loved about this book - such an amazing example of love, friendship, resilience, and hope. Really beautifully written. Inspiring story. Truly inspiring.
I just finished reading Ms. Rawlins' memoir; I could hardly put it down! It is written so well, and the author put it all in the perspective where every reader should find something to relate with: One's pathos, angst, love, perseverance. I must admit my eyes welled with tears several times. I was inspired by Rosemary's family & friends, and I made a huge emotional investment in the story as my life's own experiences came into focus. With a 37-plus year career in nursing, I related to the accurately described points-of-care brought out in the book. The author has made me proud of my profession. Thank you for not resorting to the " Nurse Ratchett" sterotypes or choosing that dramatic license for cheap laughs. You gave dignity to both Hugh and his caretakers. Ms.Rawlins skillfully introduced and defined the medical terminology used. I'm glad the overall experience with nurses and health-care professionals was as satisfactory as I read.
I finished reading Learning by Accident in two days. It's a story that is both heartwarming and heartbreaking all at the same time. This compelling read drew me in instantly in and took me on one family's journey through an almost unimaginable injury and recovery. Rawlins' narrative brings the reader right into the center of what it's like to see a loved one teetering on the edge between life and death. That said, there is a lifeline of humor, strength of character and good will that runs throughout the book. One can only imagine that the Rawlins' courage in the face of incredible hardship will provide hope and support to the many people who deal with not only traumatic brain injury but any of the life-changing "acciidents" that we all experience.