The Woman Who Died Twice


Emilie Fitzgerald, Staff Writer

When tragedy strikes she keeps on moving, living by the mantra, “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement, and nothing can be done without hope and confidence” written by Helen Keller.

Nicole Fitzgerald of New Boston, NH, lives every day with no worries for the future, only for the present. She keeps her days going with the simple joys in life such as listening to music, coloring, and reading her favorite book To Kill a Mockingbird. Simple things in life keep Ms. Fitzgerald pretty happy, including her kids and their cat, Bam. Simple things such as strawberries and her favorite dessert  – which she says “used to be carrot cake but I’m more of a strawberry shortcake kind of girl now” – keep her pretty happy.

Ms. Fitzgerald has a degree in management and accounting, but is also a certified phlebotomist. She says that “I have enjoyed being a phlebotomist and working in a laboratory since before my oldest daughter was born” but not does not draw blood anymore and works in the office instead.

She had a pretty rough childhood, moving roughly every two to three years and going to different schools – which is a total of 6 schools for her brother and herself.  Her father left home one night and did not come back. After that, they found Mr. Ken Callison – who is one of Nicole’s biggest supporters as her step-dad. Nicole thinks that he is one of the main influences in her children’s lives.

You would think Nicole is just a normal mother of two, but what she has been through in the past year has made her stand out from all the rest. In August of 2017 Nicole got very sick and was hospitalized for almost a month at Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Lebanon because of pancreatitis. After that, she believed it was over, but in January of 2018, Nicole was once again rushed up to Dartmouth for a colon perforation. She died in the hospital, but was brought back to life by her group of doctors. Since her colon had been perforated, they decided to make the choice for an ostomy bag while a hole in her stomach could heal. During the same hospital admission, she had an aneurysm in her spleen and once again died, and was brought right back to life by her doctors. As of last week, she had her last surgery to reverse her ostomy bag and is home and well.

During this time, Nicole was unable to take care of her children during her stay in the hospital and was not equipped to take care of them fully directly after. This is when her parents stepped in. Nicole’s son said “by them allowing us into their house, it allowed for us to adapt to less change” which also allowed the children to be spoiled by their grandparents while dealing with a massive change in their life. The grandparents also have taken a lot out of this experience with their daughter. They say they have had to sacrifice quite a few things, but it is all worth it to them to be able to raise and see their grandkids more.

Ms. Fitzgerald does not look at this experience as a tragedy, but as a learning experience for her children. During this experience she also learned lessons such as appreciating her life and the people that are in her life who stood by her side during these battles. She also says that “everyday is truly a gift, and that I know my grandmother who passed away is definitely looking out for me.” Nicole Fitzgerald tries to stay positive and strong no matter what happens in her life and just carry on.