Becky’s boyfriend

I know when I’m pushing the limits of my brain too far when, as I’m sat on the computer writing this essay, the lines of the words written in front of me start to blur into one. My stomach starts rumbling, and a wave of nausea hits me as hard as a nurse hits their neighbour for waking them up during the day if they’re working night shifts.

When I stood up to increase the caffeine intake,  I was unsteady on my feet as I walked to the fridge to get the milk.

Then came the marvellous pangs of lightening on either side of my temples.

Time to eat I reckon’ my Holmes-like intuition told me.  My swallowing gets tricky when I get like this, so I just made one of my protein shakes instead of bothering with actual food.

I decided to call it a day. I lied in the dark, ate some food and headed off to pound some iron at the gym. When I went into boots afterwards, it hit me once again. I swayed as I stood in the cue, lightening was either side of my head. I spoke to the cashier and sounded like Chris Eubank on one of those dodgy Nescafe adverts he used to do.

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The lisp and the swallowing is to do with cranial nerve damage, not the actual brain

It’s no drama. If I let these feelings scare me (like I used to) I wouldn’t be able to have a life, just like I didn’t for about 3 years when I was too scared to even leave the house, let alone study to be a children’s nurse. I like it now. I see it as a challenge. I can’t lose then because a challenge is what floats my boat.

My way of dealing with it, as with anxiety, is basically by turning around and saying (in my mind) ‘give me your worst. Will it kill me? No. even if it did, I’m knackered so an eternal sleep wouldn’t be the worst thing on the agenda. I’m not bothered. I’m bored’. I also laugh at absolutely everything and take nothing seriously.

My mentality does not hold fear. I’ve had to be this way since the injury, and now It has just taken over who I am. Thats why I don’t get embarrassed.

This really is an everyday thing for me, I just felt like writing it today. This is nothing different to the millions of TBI sufferers out there and what they have to live with everyday. I’m so lucky to be in my position; I can walk wash, clean myself, live in the present.. what else is there?

osho-poverty

 

 

 

On the way back, driving through Westbourne, I decided to pull into the bus lane and give some money to a homeless guy I saw in the street. It was freezing and today was ‘payday’.

I was with Reese the other day, and I’ve got her into the habit of taking money and giving it to homeless people herself. I’ve explained why we should do this, and sometimes she even asks to do it, which makes me very happy to be alive.

I always talk to these guys, I always get into really good conversations with them. They’re the same as me, my family, my friends, I don’t understand why people wouldn’t want to talk to them. Especially seeing them lying in the street with only a duvet to keep them warm.

Oh, wait, sorry, no you’re right. They’re on drugs and alcohol.

Sidenote:

That answer is the reason there will always be terrorists in the world.

Meditate over that one.

I trotted over and sat next to him. These people must see me coming and think

Shit, it’s HIM. He’s worse than bloody Jehova’s. 

I asked him what lead him to sleep rough. He told me about his girlfriend who also sleeps rough.

‘Her name isn’t Becky is it?’ I asked

‘Yes, how did you know that?’ he said.

You might remember two blogs ago when I spoke about a similar experience with a young girl I met in a similar scenario. Well it turns out, that was his bird.

After I left, I realised that my damaged brain had totally forgotten something.

I carried on driving until I got home, collected a kick-ass hoody that I no longer wear, drove back to the street, pulled back into the bus lane and approached my new mate, Chris, who was still sat in the same place I’d left him.

‘Fancy this hoody?’ I said.

‘Yes definitely!’ he was really pleased. It was only when I put it on him did I realise that I needed to have a picture with him.

‘Mate. That hoody looks shit-hot on you. I’m gonna need a selfie’ I said, enviously. And probably through gritted teeth. It did look better on him than it did me. 

And the rest is history. If you go to Westbourne and see homeless people sat around looking fly AF wearing  ‘university of Southampton’ hoodies, a couple of smart cardigans and this bad-boy hoody below, you’ll know why. I’ve got about 8/9 bloody hoodies anyway, he’s doing me a favour.

 

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P.s I felt rough AF here, that’s why I look so wrinkle-eyed.

Don’t hate the numpty hate the game. 

You may have noticed I’ve been quiet on the blog front lately. I’ve been snowed under with our final year project (7000 words) and I, like many others, am struggling with it! At least I’m not the only one though. Everyone is finding it tough.

Having said that, everyone has similar problems. Except I can’t talk to anyone about MY problems, they’re completely different. Not worse, just different.

I wrote the same fact three times in my essay yesterday. I forgot I’d already written it, and went through the trouble of finding a new reference each time. Three times. What a numpty.

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It’s business now, nothing more

I’ve worked hard to change many of my approaches to the challenges in my life. For example: recently I was able to sit down with my soon to be ex wife and sit on all the information I know (that she doesn’t know that I know) and remain smiling and being professional for the sake of my daughter.

What do you know?

I’m too tired for anything. It is lonely and unfulfilling, but I can barely keep up with this course let alone have friends or anything. Plus I’m super paranoid. Here’s one for you, you’ll like this. I’m smiling as I write it!

So yeah yeah blah blah you’re a bit isolated, get over yourself 

Fair one

Mind you, if I do ever let a lady friend get close enough to me that I can feel like she can stay the night, I’ll need to make sure the blue pills are in stock. Let me tell you, that got me down for a long time! You see, when you have a severe head injury, sometimes you’re too tired even for things you really don’t want to be too tired for. Like rocking the casbah.

That’s not very Christian Grey

And women take that shit so personally. I mean really, how do you think us brain injureds feel? I was destroyed as it happened more and more, but if it happens now I tend not to waste much time on it. Decent people will try to understand anyway. Yet to meet any yet though, stay posted.

It’s a bit taboo and people with head injuries don’t really tend to talk about it much. Granted, it’s not the best thing to have to worry about for a 27 year old, but at least I didn’t lose it in the accident. But don’t worry, even I know I’d be stupid to advertise this floppy fact to the world.

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Forget the blue pills, It takes a certain type of idiot to refuse a girl to stay overnight at their flat because they’re so wary and paranoid of people. Another TBI daisy.

I started my nursing journey 6 years ago. But for the second time I am reading excited status updates like ‘I just landed my dream job in A+E so excited!’.. they’re everywhere!

It’s a bit soul destroying

But I feel genuine happiness for my friends. In fact I really am over the moon and It’s amazing to have watched their journey over the last few years. They’re truly lovely people and they deserve it. It’s just hard to take, especially for the second time round. But I’ll get over that.

Oops

If i’m lucky I will graduate in July 2018, 7 months after my peers. Over a year away. Again, I’m not moaning.  I am blessed and so fortunate to be in my position and I count myself to be a very lucky and grateful person.

I can deal with all that. I just need to write sometimes.

There were so many times that I really doubted if I could do it, times where I found myself needing to leave work to come home 2-3 times a week. But just like back then, I made a plan. I switched things up. So thats what I’ll do now. And I’ll do it knowing what I’ve known all along.

I’m happy to be the clown, the numpty, the tired one who has weird issues that you laugh or about or feel too embarrassed to talk about.

I’m content with any opinion of me, I quite like when people dislike me or my ‘methods’. But yes, I am a clown that squeaks when I walk. I purposely fall over in public to make people laugh, I enjoy it that.

I also have a curse. I have issues in my life that will never be understood. Not by anyone. no one so far has even come remotely close (apart from at first when it’s all like ‘OMG you’re an inspiration babe!’) But it’s all great. The truth can only be known, not spoken. If you start to speak it, it automatically becomes a lie (Osho 1980).

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Becky 

So I’m leaving my parent’s house to come home this evening. This is easily the coldest night of the year.
I’m driving back home and through Westbourne high street. I’m skint, and only recently my dad was helping me out with budgeting. We agreed I spend too much money on homeless people!

He is right. A tennner each time is too much for someone who can’t even work full time.

As I am driving through the high street I notice a homeless girl in the street.

She must be freezing her tits off

Long story short, I drove home and found as many hoodies as I could that I don’t really wear and headed back out to wrap up the homeless girl. I stopped for a chat. Her name is Becky.

She told me how it’s easy for people to judge her and often not hand over even a measly £1 for fear of her spending it on drugs.

Then I got onto my high horse. 

I said:

People don’t hand in £50 every month from their salary because that’s how much they spend on alcohol. It’s obvious you’re not on an substance but it’s not the point Becky mate. It’s none of their business, once they part with any money it’s not theirs anymore! TBH the only time you’d Catch me sleeping on the streets would be if I’m pissed or on drugs because I’d need it to survive on a night like this. 

I finished off by telling her that these people who turn their noses up wouldn’t last 5 minutes in your shoes. People are cruel to what they fear or don’t understand


Are you one of those who are quick to clutch your bag and walk on when you see someone like Becky?

Could you survive countless nights on the street sober?

I gave her the rest of money that she needed for a bed indoors and got on my way. So now I’m a bit more skint. But guess what? I’m warm. Sorry dad .. I’m weak. But warm.

Crack on

I’m writing this blog knowing that my chicken tikka vindaloo will be here any moment so i I probably won’t finish or post it, but I still fancy a bit of therapy all the same.

Hedgehogs 

I fascinate myself. I am peculiar, I have strange habits and a weird outlook on everything in life.

People

People, for example. I hate them for the most part. Socialising with them I mean. Like right now for example, it’s just do peopley outside so I hibernate. I’m like a hedgehog (they hibernate don’t they?).

Contradiction

But I’m the most sociable person when I’m out with friends or whatever. Take last summer for example, I hardly spent any time in my flat, I was always down the beach or in a bar with someone.

Friends

Thats another thing. As I’ve probably mentioned before, I don’t have many. But in the summer I seem to make loads of them and I’m always feeling sociable and wanting to LIVE like there’s no tomorrow.

My brain

I have no idea what’s going on up there to be honest. Am I lonely, or am I glad that there is currently no one in my life to disappoint?

Nursing

Is all I want to do. I don’t care about having girlfriend’s or money or socialising every weekend, I’m obsessed with nursing. It is the only thing that has never hurt me, I feel alive when I’m doing it. I hate being at uni and not working, I just want to be working as a nurse.

Reese

Well you know what’s coming. I’m just sad all the time to be honest. I miss her. She had her second belated birthday party the other day, of course I couldn’t go. I wasn’t invited, but even if I was it would have been too weird with my ex wife’s new fella there with his kids. I want so much to have Reese overnight on my own, 4 years and it’s yet to happen.. big sigh!

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The lost

I keep thinking about this guy.

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I’m sad I didn’t get the chance to talk to him one more time. I was sad if a day went by on holiday that I didn’t go to his house to visit him (there must have only been one or two days)!!

Grandad (Jack)

grandad

He died when I was 10, so I hardly knew him. Funnily enough I feel like I do though. Jack, my mum and my dad are the reason the name Whitehead means what it is. It’s a type of strength and respect that can’t be put into words.

Crack on

As always.

I’m scared about this 7000 word project though. Can I do this? I’m not on the home straight or whatever people might think, 3 years all comes down to this.

Conclusion

Writing this short blog has helped a bit. For my last big uni project I need to do what I’ve been doing for the past three years to get me through arduous tasks. Focus on and absorb the pain like the ones mentioned above and use it to get through the next few months.

Loneliness – focus

The lost – determination and energy

Reese – The will to do whatever it takes

My curry – has arrived, so I’m signing off. Ciao.

It all comes down to this

“Could you pass me that urine bottle so I can have a wee young man?’ the elderly patient had asked me.

“Of course I can, there you go mate” I had replied. 

This was back in 2008 at Crawley hospital, in West sussex. The scene above happened on my second day working on the Stroke rehab unit and I hadn’t even learned how to take a manual blood pressure yet. But I knew one thing was for certain after hearing these words which formulated probably the most profound question that I had ever been asked.

The moment that older guy had asked me to pass the bottle, and the very fact that I was able to help in such a simple way that was enough to generate a smile from him, I knew I wanted to be a qualified nurse.

Present day

After what happened to me 5 years ago, some people might decide that justice can only ever be partially achieved if I win my court case. But they’d be wrong.

I have already won

Here’s why I’ve won. And yes, you can read this out in court.

I started my first university placement a bit earlier than other people, it took me a bit longer. Whereas most student nurses started nearly three years ago back in 2014,  It had (officially) started in 2012 for me.

Everything that’s happened has led me to where I am today. I knew the odds were stacked against me, I have put my family through a lot. But they have stood behind and supported me every step of the way. Through all the loss, tears, pain, suffering and struggle that I have put myself and consequently them through, they never stopped believing in me.

 

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It has been a rollercoaster of emotions and a seemingly never-ending struggle that often left my soul feeling utterly destroyed time and time again. I also doubted my ability for such a long time, but I promised myself to keep trying and never give up believing.  

Every memory lapse, every fatigue attack, every extreme dizzy spell that left me barely able to walk in a straight line, the torture of my nightmares, every person I thought of as a friend but chose to betray me instead and the loss of time which I could have spent with my daughter.. the list was growing by the days, months and years.

Today, my mum and I agreed that had I of just kicked in the nursing when I was advised to, we would all have settled down a long time ago.

But I am completely myself when I am nursing. Although there are shit loads of really crappy symptoms, I still feel that the passion and love I have for children is being put to use every moment that I’m proudly wearing my uniform.

I said I‘d die trying to be able to call myself a nurse, so fate heard me and tried to arrange it back in 2012. After I survived that I then I said I’d go through hell again to be a nurse. So fate arranged that for me too.

Heck I’d even give Donald Trump a kiss and tell him he’s doing a great job if it meant I could get to be a nurse. Let’s just hope fate doesn’t arrange that one for me though.

 

 

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Whether it be nursing, working as a doctor, playing football, working as a plumber, rocket scientist, vet or even picking up rubbish for a living.. if Reese enjoys doing it, I’ll tell her you need to know in your heart that you’d do anything and stop at nothing to get it.

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What about the pain, loss, betrayal and struggle you experience along the way?

 

Use it to turn yourself into a torpedo heading for it’s target. Keep believing and when things get tough just remember why you started.

 

My last placement is on a children’s neurosurgery ward. Fate is a wonderful thing.

 

Some of you guys have been supporting my blogs from the start, and I’m truly thankful for your support, it’s appreciated more than you know. You know how much this means to me and how I’ve held on by the skin of my teeth during some pretty rocky moments over the past five years. But when all is said and done, it all comes down to this.. just one more.

 

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To the lost – Part 2

2007:

As I stepped onto the bus in Purley, South London, I knew I was in the shit. I’d visited my boss at work, who was in charge of the CCTV equipment company I was working for. I was 17 and intensely uninterested. He had summoned me in because I hadn’t bothered to process over 25 big orders before I’d gone away on holiday. Processing those orders was pointless and menial.

I couldn’t care less

I was so bored of well paid but unfulfilling jobs. So, after I had rang my mum to tell her of my demise in my pursuit of the CCTV dream, she had told me to stop off at the careers advice lady on the way home.

What is it you want to do then?

 

..the career’s lady had said.

Something meaningful. I want to help other people.

 

She smiled and said –

Have you thought about nursing?

 

My journey begun

Around the same time as this meeting, I had watched the film ‘Patch adams’, which is based on a real doctor who helps children by making them laugh and happy by being outrageously childish himself, with no regard for other’s opinions of his methods.

That’s what I want to do.

.. it became my dream and my obsession. So after I completed my access course in college, I was accepted into university where I began studying to be a children’s nurse.

patch-laugh

A slight hitch

.. obviously my accident happened. I was lucky to be alive but was told by some that a career in nursing was probably not going to be possible. I was heartbroken.

What do I do now?

I tried to resume my studies, but I just  couldn’t manage it.

Stubbornness

A year later and after lots of intense rehab and hard work I was able to restart my journey and obsession with becoming a children’s nurse.

Ongoing uni problems

  • Divorce
  • Death of family members
  • Fitness to practice panel
  • Being failed at the mid point of one of my placements
  • False accusations of assault resulting from poor decisions made by my now compromised brain and subsequent different personality
  • Loneliness and despair. The fact I’m desperate to go out with my friends at uni but can’t because I’m not too great with nightclubs (especially in different towns).
  • Missing my daughter every single day

Nearly 10 years after my meeting with the careers lady –

I am now a final year student nurse!

Today I read the most most profound words that made me realise something quite amazing. They were comments made by my mentor who had to assess me for the placement I’ve just finished.

After I read these nice comments, a chill ran down my spine. Her words were exactly what I’ve dreamt about being for nearly 10 years. The words that I’ve gone through hell and sacrificed everything for.

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Say what you like for my reasoning for sharing this with you. If you think it’s showing off or arrogance then that is absolutely fine by me, because I understand the true importance of sharing it.

Some people who read this blog have been through hell.

And just because I am where I am does not mean I will forget I did too. I’m humble and grateful, but what good would come from learning how to live and be happy again if you didn’t share it with those who desperately need this help, like I once did?

Like me, they’ve lost everything and now need to start all over again, but with a severely limited capacity for life and an unknowing that a whole new definition of the word hell is coming their way.

On my hand I have a tattoo that is a tribute and shows respect to all and everything that I’ve lost in my life.

But for the first time I want to explain to you what else it means.

The reason it says ‘to the lost’ and it is on my hand, is because whenever I am making a toast I am also making a toast to the ‘old Mikey‘, he’d have been lost, along with my filters, for 5 years this April. If I had his address I’d send him a card.

But anyway ….. HERE’S TO THE OLD MIKEY

Because let’s face it, even I am isolated, forgetful, exhausted 24/7, anxious, forget and can’t find my words, lisp like Chris Eubank when tired, get horrible dizziness every bloody day, have the smooth demeanour of a cheap clown that you hire for children’s birthday parties, have 0 filters, have headaches all the time and constantly struggle to keep up with everything and everyone around me, I probably wouldn’t have made it this far with him. So here’s to you.

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And yes, that’s just water.

Totality

Before you read this blog, I wonder if you’re married. Do you have a girlfriend/boyfriend whom you love more than anything? If it’s a yes then go to the next paragraph in bold. If no, then skip the paragraph in bold and go to the regular font.

So, congratulations if you’re reading this paragraph … you’re in love! I know how great that feels. So, you and your partner have decided to get married. You jet off on your honeymoon for the time of your life. However, you have a bad accident in your first week that leaves you with a drastic change to your personality. But you still have you beloved, so it’s ok. Go to the next bold paragraph to see what’s next for you.

Do I have your attention yet? 😉

So, you haven’t found ‘the one’ as yet. But it’s cool , you can meet your soulmate at any point in your life, so you can never run out of time. Instead, you focus on your career as a nurse (which you are actually in love with) and just see what happens. Go to the next regular font.

The partner you love starts to really notice your newfound ‘flaws’ or changes in personality, as I prefer to call them. You decide to have a trial separation, with the aim of continuing your relationship after a short break. You can deal with that, so you rent a room in a house filled with a loving family. It’s only temporary after all. Go to the next bold paragraph. 

You excel in your job. Your patients love you and you have lots of friends. Life couldn’t be better. You even find your lifelong partner and get married (Congrats by the way)! You go on your honeymoon and have the time of your life. You have your first child and couldn’t be happier! Go to the next regular font paragraph.

Disaster strikes. Your wife tells you that she would like to buy you out of the house you bought together. The family you’re living with turn out to be a bunch of nutters, one of which an alcoholic and drug user. You are viciously attacked by one of them one night, and they even try to have you arrested and kicked off your university course by telling lies. You don’t have your partner anymore remember, so who do you turn to?  Your parents live a hundred miles away. You know your partner has started a relationship with someone else now, and with someone you knew too. Ouch. Go to the regular font paragraph. 

 

Conclusion

I wasn’t trying to be a clever dick by writing today’s blog like this, it just helps me make a point, which is this:

I live my life hiding my true feelings. I hide behind my tattoos, smiling and the gym. It does hurt, every single day I am reminded of something I’ve lost that’s been a result of my accident. The regular font is the ‘ideal’ life many people probably think of.

But in all honesty, although I’m not even barely scratching the surface with these little paragraphs, I wouldn’t change my life for the world.

I’m full of passion and fire. I’m fearless and I love everyday with complete totality. I am sad sometimes (quite often), but when I’m sad I’m sad totally. When I’m happy, it’s with complete and utter totality.  When I’m lonely, tired, laughing, crying, exercising, eating.. it’s all with totality. Regardless of my number of friends/girlfriends, I’m living my life to the full.

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Nothing can stop me in my goal to become a nurse because I have approached it with complete and utter totality and intensity from day one. There are things that have happened to me that I can’t speak about or even tell anyone about through this blog or in person. But guess what.. it’s made me who I am.

I recently had a benefit (that was keeping me above water) taken away. I can’t work as well as study and I can’t work full time for the rest of my life. Owing to the expensive lifestyle of being brain injured (which isn’t luxury. It’s what you need to simply live) and the collapse 0f my court case which could happen.. then I’m fucked. A part time wage won’t cut it I”m afraid.

But guess what? I’ll accept that with complete totality. I’ll be sad, but totally. I’ll be skint, totally. I’ll miss out, totally. Although I do not believe it to be reciprocated (obviously), I loved my wife totally. And I wouldn’t change that for the world, even if it did cause me so much pain in the end.  Because It’s me. 

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