05 May, 2021

Crash: How I Became A Reluctant Caregiver by Rachel Michelberg Book Tour and Giveaway!

Crash: Reluctant Caregiver by Rachel Michelberg

Crash: How I Became a Reluctant Caregiver by Rachel Michelberg 
 Publisher:  She Writes Press, (April 27, 2021) 
Category: Memoir, Divorce, Parenting, Moral Conflict, Caring for Disabled, Caregiver 
Tour dates: April-May, 2021 
ISBN: 978-1647420321 
Available in Print and ebook, 224 pages
  Crash

Description Crash: Reluctant Caregiver by Rachel Michelberg

Rachel likes to think of herself as a nice Jewish girl, dedicated to doing what’s honorable, just as her parents raised her to do. But when her husband, David, survives a plane crash and is left with severe brain damage, she faces a choice: will she dedicate her life to caring for a man she no longer loves, or walk away?

 Their marriage had been rocky at the time of the accident, and though she wants to do the right thing, Rachel doesn’t know how she is supposed to care for two kids in addition to a now irrational, incontinent, and seizure-prone grown man. And how will she manage to see her lover? 

But then again, what kind of selfish monster would refuse to care for her disabled husband, no matter how unhappy her marriage had been? Rachel wants to believe that she can dedicate her life to David’s needs, but knows in her heart it is impossible. Crash tackles a pervasive dilemma in our culture: the moral conflicts individuals face when caregiving for a disabled or cognitively impaired family member. 

  Excerpt Crash: Reluctant Caregiver by Rachel Michelberg 

 I grow to love the nurses who patiently answer my barrage of questions. How long will David be here? Where will he go after this? Will he remember us? Will he be able to dress and feed himself? The all-consuming question: If he doesn’t return to normal, what will he be like? The answer is always the same. We just don’t know.

 “Did you ever see Regarding Henry? With Harrison Ford?” one of my favorite nurses asks, re-hanging multiple IV drug bags, simultaneously checking and adjusting monitors. I’m sitting on a chair at the foot of the bed, reading email.

 “No, but I heard about it.” She wipes some drool from David’s chin. 
“Came out about ten years ago? So Harrison Ford is a real jerk, a lawyer I think. Super selfish and arrogant. Having an affair.” 

 I look down at the screen. Ouch. “Then he’s involved in this robbery and gets shot in the head. He becomes a different person—compassionate and loving. All of his relationships get better.”

 Who is Harrison Ford kidding? Hollywood, please. I’m not that naïve. I study David’s face and sigh. The swelling has gone down a little, the contours of his nose and cheeks emerge as if he’s fighting to dig himself out of a hole, to clear away the muck that’s buried him. Suddenly I feel a rush of tenderness. I remember how David’s pale grey-blue eyes grew moist as he looked down at me nursing Hannah for the first time. 

Running alongside Joshie’s wobbly attempt at riding without training wheels. Making love after a day of skiing in Sun Valley, then giggling as we ran across the snow in our bare feet to sink into the steamy outdoor hot tub, grinning at each other as if we had a secret. 

Who are you now, David? Who will you be? Will we ever share that secret grin again? Will I be able to love you again? Whoosh whoosh, beep beep. ****** When the cranial swelling goes down there will be a final surgery to close David’s skull before they take him off of the respirator, possibly early next week. David’s brother and sister urge me to go home for a night or two to see the children. I miss them. Some clean underwear and fresh clothes would be nice, too. 

My sister Lisa brings the kids home to meet me when I arrive late that Saturday afternoon. Hugging their little bodies close, I think about how drastically their young lives will be altered. Essentially fatherless. Or worse: a shell as a father. Joshie runs off to his room—video games await (I have no bandwidth to care about excessive screen time)—but Hannah fixes her wide brown eyes on me. 

“Is Daddy OK?” Lisa and I had agreed that she would tell the kids that it was David who had been in an accident, not “a friend.” But she was not to tell them just how serious it really is. That discussion will happen the next afternoon at Lisa’s house. Rabbi Dana has offered to facilitate.

The kids have a good relationship with him—Passover at his house, running around the sanctuary with Dana’s son Raya during services. But tomorrow is light years away. I pull Hannah onto my lap and bury my face in her sweet- smelling hair, inhale deeply.

“Oh honey, he’s very sick. But the doctors are taking really good care of him.” I’m not exactly lying. Practicing the first of many gentle deceptions. 

 “Can you take me to see him?” 

She frowns, as if knowing the answer already. 

 “I’m afraid not. Children aren’t allowed in that special area of the hospital.”
 “That’s not fair!” 

She hops off my lap and glares at me accusingly. 

“Why not?” 

“Because the people in that place are very, very sick. They need to stay quiet.”

 She wasn’t convinced. I searched for another reason. 

“Also, kids have germs they might give to the sick people and make them worse.” 

 “Adults have germs, too.”

 “I know.” 

I sighed. 

“It’s not fair. I’ll tell Daddy you said hi and that you hope he feels better soon.” I push away the memory of feeling ridiculous trying to talk to David in a coma. I don’t really believe he hears anything. But if it helps Hannah to think David is getting the message— no brainer. Hmmm. No brainer. Time to reconsider that phrase. 

“OK. Tell him he has to get better so he can come see my gymnastics show.”

 My God, I love this little girl. Her daddy won’t make it to her show. 

 Copyright © 2021, Rachel Michelberg

  Guest Review Crash: Reluctant Caregiver by Rachel Michelberg 

Guest Review by Laura Lee 

'Crash: How I Became a Reluctant Caregiver,' by Rachel Michelberg is a tale about endurance, grief and acceptance. Rachel Michelberg was on the verge of asking her husband, David for a divorce when he was involved in a plane crash that left him with both brain and spinal damage. Now in need of 24-hour care, David had mentally regressed back to the state of a seven-year-old child. Michelberg was faced with the decision to either take on the care of her husband herself, or divorce him so that his care would be transferred to his family. Even if she had not been considering divorcing her husband, his at home care would have been a huge undertaking that created a mountain of emotional and physical stress. The couple also had two young children to consider and Rachel would still need to work. But, of course, this is the type of question that countless people are faced with everyday. Part of what makes this book so impactful is the light that it sheds on one of America's most under represented groups: at home caregivers. Reading this memoir, where Michelberg details the stress and routines for taking care of her husband after his accident really makes you understand just how taxing such a task would be. Michelberg explains what she and her family went through during this time in such heartbreaking detail and while holding absolutely nothing back. This book changed the way that I think about caregiving and the way that I think about illness in general. Of course, we all hope never to have a family member go through an accident like this, but Michelberg handled every awful decision that was handed to her in the best way that she could. I enjoyed both her candidness and her writing ability. I'd recommend this book to caregivers everywhere, as well as anyone who wants to know what it is like to be in a similar situation. This is definitely a powerful read and one that is worth picking up! 

  About Rachel Michelberg 

]Crash: Reluctant Caregiver by Rachel Michelberg 
Rachel Michelberg grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and still enjoys living there with her husband, Richard, and their two dogs, Nala and Beenie. She earned her Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance from San Jose State University and has performed leading roles in musicals and opera from Carmen to My Fair Lady as well as the part of the Mother Abbess (three times!) in The Sound of Music. When Rachel isn’t working with one of her twenty voice and piano students, she loves gardening, hiking, and making her own bone broth. 
CRASH: How I Became a Reluctant Caregiver is her first book. 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachelmichelbergauthor/

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Givaway Crash: Reluctant Caregiver by Rachel Michelberg

This giveaway is open to the U.S. only for the choice of print or eBook for each winner. It ends on May 18, 2021,midnight pacific time. Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.


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  Crash: How I Became a Reluctant Caregiver by Rachel Michelberg

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the thought provoking post on 'Crash'!

    ReplyDelete

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