Day 7

Saw the doctor today. He’s signed me off work for a week and told me to come back if I need longer.

My head is In agony

I’ve had a constant headache for 7 days. I have been dizzy during all that time and felt even sicker.

I have an upset stomach and I constantly feel like I’m going to throw up

I’ve been prescribed prochlorperazine, by request, to help ease the dizziness and sickness.

Let’s hope it helps

The dizziness is like having major motion sickness but 24/7. I don’t know what on earth is going on.

Waking up every morning feels like someone has given my head the good news with a sledgehammer

There has to be something more going on but I don’t know what.

Years of rehabilitation

Where the duck have I gone wrong

Usually I’m on top of things with my head But I’m so confused now. What major mistake did I make?

Usually it takes a lot for me to waver and be the patient.

But right now my head is completely ducked.

My body is wrecked. That was never in the brain injury booklet.

Forget work, I can barely walk 600 yards without feeling as though I’ll pass out at the moment

I feel exactly the same as I did on day 1. Let’s see what day 8 will bring.

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Day 6

In the last week I’ve barely seen my daughter and I’ll be honest it’s starting to get to me

I felt better yesterday so went to see her at my mum’s house for the day. We stayed indoors and played games.

It was so good to spend the day with her and I really loved every second of doing that

We’d arranged to go bowling today which I’ve been rather excited about.

You appreciate the small things when you don’t see your kids as much as you’d like, so bowling was a great idea which I couldn’t wait for.

But In true head injury fashion today I’ve woken up and I can barely lift my head off the pillow.

My speech is so slurred I sound like I’ve had 10 bottles of desperados

It’s been 6 days of feeling like this now. I’ve lived in bed all week!

But neuro-fatigue is a tricky one

It leads you to believe you’re better but then has it’s way with you when you try to do things again. Hence why I saw Reese yesterday, I didn’t think I’d be this bad.

But I’m not complaining

I just miss spending time with her

I’ve never had her on my own overnight

Because of the nightmares. When she’s older hopefully we can explain them to her.

To be honest she’s pretty cool with my head issues. She seems to understand why I can’t do much with her and she never complains

She’s one of the few people who get me and accept me for who I am

Anyway. I’ve told her I can’t go bowling today but I’ve told her to she has to beat nanny B and have a good time.

I’m shit at bowling anyway

So now it’s back to the drawing board.

6 days in bed obviously wasn’t enough.

Maybe this is why I don’t take life too seriously. I also have a major dislike in seeing other people suffer, with whatever it might be. Life is too short for suffering.

Each challenge or hurdle in your life holds a gift, the trick is to find it,

That’s why I strongly believe that we should be grateful for the difficult times: they’re simply an opportunity to grow as a person.

Whilst I live for the moment, sometimes (albeit for a fleeting moment) I can’t help but long for the day Reese is old enough to understand why I seem to miss out on so much of her life.

One heck of a ride

Granted, subarachnoid haemorrhages, frontal and parietal lobe haematomas, sepsis, 6-7 fractures to the skull and neck, diffuse axonal injury and petechial haemorrhages aren’t things many people survive, let alone get the chance to write about surviving.

Every moment for me feels like a gift

Despite being told I couldn’t do it, I started again with my nurse training and got there after 7 years of constant setbacks.

Well I’m currently experiencing another setback

I’ve been off sick for a week. I’m in my probationary period still at work.

Nursing means so much to me

I love kids. Brain injured Mikey and kids seem to work.

You don’t need to like someone to feel compassion towards them

Never mind everything else I Tend to downplay to people on a daily basis, neuro-fatigue is something that, if you constantly push yourself through on a daily basis, will catch up to you eventually.

I’m no longer fussed about being misunderstood

That came from years of experience, suffering and a profound sense of continual loss.

I also learned that despite writing about my life honestly, I was still being misunderstood.

No matter if you’re honest about your life or not, other people aren’t here to understand you

So I learned how to not care what people think and that was what gave me real freedom.

I learned that Nonsense spreads a lot faster than the truth.

Consequently I learned not to care what’s being said about me either way.

This blog has usually been popping up on your feed quite regularly. Since I resumed my training actually.

But now I feel myself less keen to write.

It’s hard reducing life to words

There are 5 years of blogs to read on this site. Lots of pain and certainly lots of drama.

But what about when you get to the point where you can no longer put your life into words?

Like my other setbacks, this one will eventually reach its climax.

In the meantime I’ll hope for the best with my job and continue to rest every day and try and get better as much as I can. Stay posted.

I’m a qualified nurse with a brain injury (yeah it has happened)

This is going to be one heck of a ride.

The real hell

When you’re driving along the motorway on the way to work in the dark at 70mph at 6:30 in the morning and you suddenly feel razor blades start to slice the inside of your cranium and a 20 stone sumo wrestler is positioning himself on top your head, you know you’re probably in a spot of bother.

Frontal and parietal lobe bleeds and Subarachnoid haemorrhages are a daisy.

That was three days ago. Since then, I am not embellishing when I say I’ve spent 95% of my time in bed.

Fair enough, Diffuse Axonal Injury involves the tearing and destruction of the nerve cells in your brain, which does sound rather serious

The fact they’re the only cells in the body that do not regenerate after severe damage is just typical!

What I’m experiencing right now is neuro-exhaustion as a result of these wonderful experiences which pretty much comes from simply too much output not enough input. I cant help but see this as the perfect excuse to order a dominoes.

Winter survival deal. Boom.

It feels like you don’t even have enough energy to stand up. Your limbs feel like jelly, you have a headache 24/7 and it feels like someone has put glue around the back of your eyeballs!

The sickness is the worst. Thats from the dizziness, which is pretty constant throughout the day but gets worse after about 5pm

The energy it takes just to talk or try to hold a conversation is tantamount to exhaustion in itself. And yet, nobody knows what it feels like, especially if you look outwardly well.

Ive had to take more time off work. This really wont bode well as I’m still in my probationary period

And yet I cant stop thinking to myself how lucky I am.

Because all this would be a lot harder in a wheelchair

I have a job I love (for now at least) I have a family. People at work offer me help and try to support me the best they can. I can walk, talk and wash myself.

During my coma which lasted 2 weeks, I was totally conscious

So I know what it feels like to be in a vegetative state where you cant do anything other than feel acute pain, and listen to conversations going on around you being spoken by people who think their words are being spoken in private.

No matter what happened to me yesterday, everyday I wake up I feel like Ive been given another chance at life.

All I want to do is grab it with both hands. Even if I’m stuck in bed feeling exhausted and helpless, ill focus my energy totally to doing even the simplest of things; eating, drinking, resting. This is how I’ve learned to love spending time on my own.

No matter what is going on in your life, if you’re still able to put your feelings of despair, sadness, worry, anxiety or anger aside and focus on everyday things like this with complete dedication and gratitude your life will start to become magical. You will start to flourish and you’ll find happiness when realising that you always had it.

This is the reason I had to do the nursing

Because I love it. I love helping families through hard times. I like that when I am being myself completely this can help other people. I’m happy to be the clumsy clown because it makes people laugh and I don’t care about much else.

But Rome wasn’t built in a day. I learned to fully merge myself in the daily tasks of eating, sleeping, resting, cooking etc. It was only after I learned to do this that the magic started to happen and the impossible became the improbable.

I remember thinking…

as I was tied down to the stretcher inside the leer jet that made its 17 hour journey up from Mexico to Canada, to Greenland and then to the UK…

If I can survived this I’m making myself a promise to never forget

The smell of the ventilator tubes, the noise of it breathing for me..I’ll never forget that

Even the moment I experienced death before being sucked back into existence through being resuscitated and finally intubated

Every day I am thankful I’m not in those circumstances.

Now I want to laugh like there’s no tomorrow and I don’t take much in life seriously….

Because at any moment you could find yourself in the fiery pits of hell, yet I cant help but think the real hell would be not to appreciate the little things you have in life everyday.

Catastrophising

Catastrophising feels like you’re living in your worst nightmare that you can’t really explain with words.

You could use the word ‘anxiety’ to describe it

But I’ve felt anxiety Before and this feels much worse. My consultant first told me about ‘catatrophising’ 7 years ago after the accident.

It’s like having a panic attack

It’s horrible. Your heart races and you feel an impending sense of doom, or ‘catastrophe’ and it loomes larger until the wave of panic eventually subsides.

I don’t know what to do

I thought once I became a qualified nurse it might get better, but I’ve had some challenging days at work lately and it seems to be happening more.

This blog is about transparency

It’s fair to say that for the most part I feel I am a calm person, not much gets me excited and I take life with a pinch of salt. But sometimes it appears my new brain doesn’t seem to like me being so ‘cool’.

This isn’t ‘me’, it’s my head which has taken a bit of a battering over the years

Sometimes it doesn’t matter what you’re physically capable of. Maybe you can pull off the miracle of achieving something numerous professionals told you you couldn’t ever achieve.

Then again Maybe they said it for a reason

Perhaps you can fool yourself into believing you can achieve things but you can’t undamage your brain. No amount of willpower can achieve that.

I don’t know the answer,

I’m just trying to work through this the only way I know how: through honesty and meditation. No one has the manual to life let alone brain injury life.

The worse part is that no one can ever really understand what you’re talking about. I don’t understand it at the best of times what chance do other people have?

Whether it’s anxiety; depression, social anxiety, epilepsy, crohns, autism, heart issues, kidney issues, brain issues, liver issues or whatever issues: we are all human and our health can throw up all sorts of issues that we all share similarly.

We label some of these shared issues as ‘depression’ or ‘anxiety’, to name a few

That’s not to say we don’t feel lonely when we experience them. But maybe talking about it is the first step?

Or perhaps I’m just trying to justify why I’m rambling right now. One thing I do know is that I’m not alone in feeling like this. I’ve learned through people reaching out to me after reading my blogs that In some way shape or form, there are people out there who may have experienced something similar to me, if not the same.

But I believe writing and being open about what life is like after a brain injury is important, not just for me but for everyone else too, whether they have had a brain injury or not.

Have I pissed you off this week? No? Give it time I have a knack

Do you ever have one of those days/weeks/months where no matter what you do things don’t seem to go in your favour?

My week seems to be getting peachier by the hour

No matter what I do at the moment, things seem to just be going wrong! Then they go from bad to worse Uber quickly.

Trying to articulate yourself to people who have the wrong end of the stick is tough at the best of times.

Throw in word finding difficulties and a million other invisible neuro-Daisy’s and you have quite the recipe For disaster.

This blog is about nothing specific.

It’s about me just feeling a bit lost in the world, something which is very common for me and many others out there.

Everyone loves an honest person until they tell the truth

So here’s the truth:

Through experience and many challenges over the years, I know I am able to be a good nurse. The question I’m asking myself now is do I want to be a nurse?

Like many things after my accident, the nursing feels a bit like a jigsaw piece that doesn’t quite fit anymore.

Time will tell.

I went for a coffee with my sister today. We were chatting about the responsibility of having a job, how it’s tiring and difficult at times. Just the usual coffee catch up nonsense.

Suddenly the man who was sat next to us who had been listening into the conversation Passionately proclaimed:

‘You should be grateful you have a job! I have autism and I am always discriminated against because I have a hidden condition’.

Only an hour before I told my sister that I have a unique talent for pissing people off at the moment without even trying

Halfway through his speech I looked at my sister and winked. ‘Told you” and smiled in good humour.

My sister asked if I was tempted to mention the brain injury to the man

I said no, because my life isn’t anymore important than anyone else’s. The man had obviously felt passionate about what he heard so I listened to him and showed him the respect he deserved.

I related to everything he said. It wasn’t important that he knew that. I’m not looking for brownie points

Just because he didn’t know my own circumstances, that doesn’t mean what he was saying was not important to him.

I’d said that It must be frustrating looking fine on the outside and struggling on the inside

I had a nice chat with him and afterwards I shook his hand, telling him I had respect towards him for speaking his mind and to keep hold of that quality.

The point is that it is true, you never know what the person sitting next to you is going through.

Would I change my conversation with my sister because of the man with autism? Of course not. It was a councious (never been able to spell this damn word) discussion with context.

There was no way he could’ve known what I was talking about and that I had suffered a severe brain injury which had left me with a deluge of invisible and misunderstood symptoms, some similar to his

But If a lady who was paraplegic was sat next to us, she would have likely chastised the man with autism, telling him that he should be grateful he can walk.

If there was a blind man, he would’ve told all of us to be grateful for being able to see!

If there was a deaf man he probably wouldn’t have said much because he couldn’t hear us, but you get the point.

At the end of the day, everyone has their own shit to deal with.

How can I have anger towards anyone for their decisions when taking this into account? life can be a bitch to all of us, you never know what someone is going through.

Anyway. You’re not here to make other people understand your challenges.

I’ve lived totally enough to know that life is too short to show nothing less than the utmost respect, compassion and understanding to everyone I meet, regardless of how they might make me feel.

And making them laugh along the way is a bonus. Especially if they can laugh after you pissed them off without meaning to!

Giving a ****

So I was inspired to jot down some some nonsense tonight because a distant friend of mine got in touch recently to tell me that a family member had suffered a bleed to the brain.

This took me back

My journey as a TBI survivor taught me a lot of things about people. It gave me the (seemingly at first) curse of seeing people for what they really are and I felt sad for a long time.

Suffering a brain injury is like nothing you can imagine

But it also taught me about the real reason I get out of bed every day.

Which is not Not for the nursing

.. that would be obsessive

Not for Reese

Although she does play a big part in why I do certain things in my life.

We are all humans

And my time in hospital and recovery at home in the years to come showed me that having a poor memory; shifting mood, poor concentration and often feeling tired over ‘small’ activities are not important in the grand scheme of things.

But it takes time to arrive to this conclusion

Things do get better. Everyone is different but we are all human beings for a reason, we have it in our genetic makeup to adapt and overcome. Millions of years of evolution can attest to that.

The only thing that is constant in life is change

Nothing stays the same. Whatever you’re going through in life you need to remember that things WILL get better. They WILL change. That goes for the good and the bad .

So that’s why I get out of bed. It’s because I know that whatever I’m going through will change soon. And l’ve learned not to fear the inevitable change now.

I live totally

I’m a clown. I embrace my clumsy and quite frankly ‘numpty’ demeanour which in all honesty makes me wonder how and why anyone would ever want to ale me seriously. I’m mad and I don’t care what people think about that or me.

Next time you’re feeling anxious, depressed, worried, sad, or fearing a type of change in your life try telling this joke to the person nearest to you:

Why don’t owls date when it’s raining?

Because it’s Toowet Towoo!

No one likes this joke except me. The fact people often don’t laugh makes me laugh.

Living through the harsh realities of life taught me what’s worth caring about and what’s not. Life is a lot simpler when you don’t give a **** .