Five Years Later

Five years ago this evening, I was being given the Last Rites and airlifted to Rochester with a brain hemorrhage. My chances for survival, much less living a normal life afterward, were not good. Scrolling through my family’s updates on my GoFundMe page reminds me of how serious the situation actually was.

And now here I am, five years later. Those five years have been among the best of my life. I got married to the best wife I could ever ask for. I got to teach again and even got to begin doing it full time at a Catholic high school. I’ve made new friends. I’ve gotten to be a part of numerous family gatherings and have been around to welcome an additional five nieces and nephews into the Kaminsky family.

I would like to take this opportunity to once again thank everyone who was there for me and my family during those cold, dark, and extremely trying 36 days beginning on Christmas Eve, 2015. The outpouring of support, including the prayers, donations, and hospital visits, still amazes me. Truly, I have been blessed with kind and generous people in my life, and I am reminded today of how grateful I am for all of them.

Three Years Later

Today marks three years since my Christmas Eve brain hemorrhage and rather unexpected hospitalization in Rochester. Or as my brothers like to say, three years since “Nick ruined Christmas for everyone.”

It’s hard to believe that much time has passed. And while I was not an unhappy person before Christmas Eve 2015, I can honestly say that the last three years of my life have been the best I’ve ever had. A near-death experience makes you appreciate everything a lot more, and I’ve come to realize just how blessed I really am. While I’ve still had slight frustrations and disappointments along the way, as we all must, I’ve also come to recognize that I have the best family and friends anyone could ever ask for.

I’m pleased to report that I’m still in good health and am planning on being around for quite a long time yet. My doctors at Mayo told me they don’t think I’m in any real danger of having a repeat of this incident. But even if they turned out to be wrong, I could hardly complain, because the last few years of my life have been so incredibly good.

Merry Christmas!

Hospital Chapel (1)

Following in the Footsteps of St. Paul

The air was a bit humid and the sky bright and blue as I gazed over the city of Athens from the place I was standing on Mar’s Hill. Two thousand years before my arrival there, a much more significant individual than myself had stood upon that same hill, preaching the Gospel to the pagan philosophers of his day, enkindling the fire of the Faith that would spread across the western world over the following centuries.

In May of this year, I had the incredible opportunity of traveling to Greece with a group from the college at which I teach. The purpose of the trip was to follow the route of St. Paul’s second missionary journey. Continue reading

Some thoughts on St. Joseph

Today, March 19 is the feast of St. Joseph, the man chosen by God to be the foster father of His Divine Son.

As St. Joseph is my favorite saint, as well as the saint whose name I chose at my confirmation, I thought it would be appropriate to offer a few, brief reflections on his life. They are not my original thoughts but rather a compilation of ideas I’ve come across over the years. I will lay them out here as they come to my mind, in the form of a brief meditation.

St. Joseph is known for his many virtues, but two that stand out the most to me are his gentle strength and genuine humility. Continue reading

God’s Got This

This Christmas Eve will mark the two-year anniversary of my massive brain hemorrhage and 36-day hospitalization.

While I am now 100% recovered, it’s a severe understatement to say that things didn’t look good for me in the hours and days that followed my “incident.” My dad, who is himself a medical professional, took one look at my brain scans on his arrival at the hospital and shook his head saying, “he’s not going to make it.”

This dour appraisal seemed to be a common assessment. Most people thought that if I did somehow manage to pull through, I’d be at least partially disabled for the rest of my life. I am told, however, that there was a voice of hope in that rather melancholic hospital room. Over the next few weeks Continue reading

Our Luxurious Lives

A few months back I wrote a post called “Our Land of Plenty” in which I reflected on the superabundance of food available to us in the United States. I pointed out that we today have access to a greater amount and greater variety of food than the people of any other civilization in the entire history of the world.

In this post, I’d like to continue on that theme by calling attention to how luxurious modern western life really is.

While there are always going to be some discomforts, our lives in the United States today are more comfortable than almost any other people’s from Continue reading

It’s Already Been a Year

Well, it’s official. This post marks the one-year anniversary of my blog.

This project started out as a way for me, in the wake of my medical issues in early 2016, to keep people informed about how my recovery was going and to share my thoughts about the process so that I wouldn’t go crazy.

I had also hoped that having a blog would help me to be a more disciplined writer, which I think it has done, as I have been successfully Continue reading

The Last Hurrah of Summer

Where has my summer gone? It seems every single one flies by faster than the one before it.

I began preparing my fall semester classes the same week spring semester ended, and I’ve been focused on that planning for all of May, June, and July. Then, about ten days ago, I realized that school was again upon us, and that instead of feeling refreshed after a nice, long summer break, I felt totally burned out. I realized that if I wanted to survive until Christmas—not always and easy feat for me—I would need to at least take a few days off to recharge my “batteries” before the start of the new school year.

I had a lot of options as to how to spend my “vacation” time, because I have a to-do list that I know will still be twelve miles long by the time I die, but since I was trying to relax a bit, I wanted to do something slightly less productive. Thus, I chose to Continue reading

The Lesson of Diapers and Toys

On two separate evenings this past week, I found myself roped into moving a massive pile of boxes across town. Moving in and of itself wasn’t at all a new experience for me, but moving what was in those boxes was.

The cardboard crates in question contained hundreds of pounds of diapers and blankets and car seats and toys. I and the other volunteers—most of whom I’d never met before—loaded the tender cargo into the backs of trailers, pickup trucks, and mini-vans, and then Continue reading

A Higher Call

“It’s probably the best book I’ve ever read,” my dad told me.

“It’s really, really good,” my brother Phil confirmed.

Though I’d purchased the World War II aviation story for both my dad and brother after being drawn to its intriguing dust jacket at Barnes and Noble, I’d not yet found the chance to read it for myself. However, once I opened its pages, I understood exactly Continue reading