A hell of a ride

I have to apologize to all of you for allowing so much time to pass by without posting a blog.

The last you would of heard from me would’ve been in the day before my final review meeting at work, which was months ago. It’s been an emotional/strange time since then so please forgive me! You probably wouldnt believe me even if I told you lol.

During the meeting at work, back in March, I handed in my notice as a nurse

It’s been nearly 8 years of constantly pushing my body to be something that I clearly no longer have the physical or cognitive capabilities of doing after my brain injury. I tried my best for so long to squeeze a square peg into a round hole but the suffering I’ve inflicted upon myself trying to fight through my symptoms has finally taken its toll.

But even though my body suffered incredibly, the moments I shared with children and their families will stay with me forever.

img_1754

img_2024

I was able to find the real inner light inside me and over time I was able to let it shine out !

ccf36e71-a8b5-4c1f-ae06-30adedf99a8f

I realised the joy that comes from helping to ease the suffering of others and I dedicated the last 11 years of my life satisfying my desire to do it as much as possible.

Helping others is all there is and I was determined not to let a little things like severe brain haemorrhages stop me!

faith

I feel blessed to have met such beautiful and amazing people on my journey..

sc014

D5B3DABF-34D6-46A7-BEA0-613BA706A264

 

img_0980

 

..but It had it’s downs too. From being falsey accused of sexual assault, being assaulted myself and  blackmailed into paying off my accusor of assault with my claim money..

img_5916

..interviewed in a police station, facing a fitness to practice panel at university, discrimination from most of the arenas of work I attended whilst on placements and being constantly misunderstood in a world that I simply do not feel that I fit in with anymore…

neuro

..it’s fair to say that being a nurse with a brain injury wasn’t realistic. But something has happened when writing this blog over the years. From;

Wendy, my godmother who I’ve seenn a handful of time in the past 15 years,

Sarah, my old ward sister who I worked with 8 years ago but barely spoke to at the time about anything other than work,

Nerys, a bank nurse who I worked with maybe 2-3 times 8-9 years ago,

Frans, an old friend from Holland who I’ve seen a handful of times in my lifetime, but who kindly lit a candle for me when I was in my coma,

Bear with me while I make this point lol

..These are a few random names out of hundreds of people who’ve contacted me over the years after reading a blog post which resonated with them and who decided to get in touch with me.

Regardless of what we do for a job or what our likes and dislikes are, communication with the people above and hundreds more like them made me realise that whatever we’re going through in life, we’re all in this together. 

Texting and chatting about love island or asking someone ‘how are you babe?’ through text isnt real communication

But when those of you who read my blogs felt the urge to contact me, there was a dissolution of egos on both parts and we communicated on a deep and humanistic level, if only for a few moments.

It became clear in those few moments of communication with you that we are all the same, it’s only our egos that make us think otherwise.

I like to think those egoless moments of communcation with you was true love and ‘godliness’ (for want of abetter word): because we had the freedom to be truthful about who we are and it was agreed that ‘yep, I have this problem too’, if only for a few precious moments.

Over the years you beautiful people helped me realise that we are all a oneness. We are all part of the same energy and I see myself in every single one of you.

This journey became far more important than the end result

Everything you know about ‘Mikey’, or ‘Michael’, is slowly disolving. Sorry I cant be more specific about that. The metaphysician Ananda Coomaraswamy put it this way, “No creature can attain a higher grade of nature without ceasing to exist.”

I’ve realised through years of intense solitude, meditational practice and extreme life events that our energies are all the same and constant, i.e. ‘eternal’. It’s only our ‘personalities’ that make us think we’re different.

‘I’m a Muslim’

‘I like bodybuilding’

‘I enjoy alcohol’

‘I’m vegan’

‘i’m gay’

A personality is a mask thats just become stuck to our faces – Sadhguru  

These blogs have brought me together with so many of you over the years, if only for a few fleeting moments at a time, which I always cherished and will never forget. I dont think i’ll be comntinuing with anymore blog posts, I think they served a purpose for a time and now I need to move on to the next useful tool I can use.

Your support and compassion over the years is a testament to the human spirit, something that I once lost faith in.

Love and light to you all

xxxx

The million dollar question

I sat upright in the chair facing the occupational health doctor as she asked me the million dollar question:

So what exacerbates your symptoms in the workplace?

Now there’s a question ..was my reply. I listed some obvious ones (to name a few);

Loud noise

Needing to plan tasks

Needing to read and/or write a lot

Anything that requires memory

Multitasking

Any new information that has come out of the blue and is unplanned

Prioritising jobs

.. I think I finished with ‘you get the picture. Pretty much anything that requires any brain activity or cognitive stimulation’. 

If I’m being honest with you, I didnt take to this doctor to begin with

We spoke in detail about my symptoms and how they trigger other symptoms etc. After about an hour of quizzing me, she turned quite suddenly in her swivel chair away from her computer to face me. The words she spoke resonated with me and this was one of those moments in life that you don’t ever forget. In her friendly way she said:

‘Mikey, what you’ve managed to accomplish by getting here is truly remarkable. I will do what I can for you, you deserve that much. But every single one of your symptoms is exactly what a nurse deals with on a daily basis and I know you know that’.

 Tears literally filled my eyeballs, she was saying what I already knew.

She handed me some tissues and the big, tattooed, bearded dragon covered in scars that doesn’t look like a children’s nurse (at all) had a nice big mouthful of humble pie while he tried to wipe the tears away in the most alpha-male way possible.

For 7 years I’ve been fighting for something I was told I’d never have.

In one of my blogs over the years I remember writing I know I’m struggling with a brain injury and I shouldn’t be doing this job.  When I get there I’ll have to make a hard decision, but until then I’m going after it with everything I’ve got. 

Well now I’m here, and I’ve struggled witrh my health more than I ever thought I would

Making kids laugh is my thing. To make them laugh when they’ve battled cancer for three years and they’ve not said boo to a goose in months was always enough for me.

I wanted to become a children’s nurse before my brain because I wanted to ‘make a difference’.

Now I can say that I couldn’t care less about ‘the difference’ and I’ve loved every second of this journey solely because of what it was, not for what it could’ve been because I quickly realized that the person I’d become after my accident couldn’t deal with the demands of the job.

osho-love-quote-6.jpg

Every moment I approached a child in hospital I never thought to myself ‘I’ve got to make them laugh’, it wasn’t a goal, I knew it would happen because I love what I was doing, not what I could do or what it could become. I know I loved it because it gave me freedom to be me.  

osho love.png

I have my final review meeting on Tuesday where a definite decision will be made about my future as a children’s nurse following on from my occupational health appointment

I don’t care who you are reading this, it doesn’t matter what you do for a job or what your life challenges consist of.

If you’ve been following these posts I know that many of my struggles are shared by people the world over, whether it be because we share similar mental health issues or having a long term health condition, or whatever.

I just choose to be vocal about what every other single human being deals with on a daily basis, even if it is to a lesser degree.

We are all human and none of my symptoms, in any way, albeit to a different degree in many cases, are mutually exclusive to having a brain injury.

If you take anything from all these years of ranting please take this…

…anything is possible. This is your life and you have the right to live it exactly how you want to, regardless of how your friends or society think you should be. It takes guts but the rewards are limitless. The more impossible and ridiculous your dream is the better.

I’ve done my fighting

I went after my dream, now I’m going after ‘happiness’ (I don’t like that word, I prefer ‘bliss’ or ‘contentment’) and with exactly the same determination as I went after the nursing.

relax.jpg

This isn’t goodbye just yet, just ‘adieu’. I’ll let you all know how Tuesday goes.

Thanks to all of you who have supported me over the years it really does mean the world to me.

 

 

 

Final Review

So tomorrow I have my ‘final review’ meeting with my boss and A lady from HR.

My future path is only a few joyful hours away

So anyway. Heres a Little story.

Last week I was looking after Reese at my mum’s house.

We were playing dodgeball in the garden, I was running around a lot and it was very tiring indeed!

It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to have quality time like this with my daughter.

If This had been while I was working, me and my mum both agreed that running around in the garden with my daughter like a loon wouldn’t have been doable.

I’d of had to tell Reese ‘I need to be careful’ because of my fatigue and potential/probable looming shift.

I was even able to watch her trampolining competition (which she won!!!)

Had to squeeze that in somewhere

These are good things, but It’s been a long time since I felt as scared as I do now.

But I need to do what’s right

Although I don’t know what that will be just yet.

I’ve accepted what’s happening and I hope this will help when it comes to making a decision, if I get the chance to

For the best part of 11 years I’ve given everything to being the best nurse I can be and proving to people that there is always hope and nothing is impossible..

.. despite what the ‘experts’ will say.

Perhaps now I need to focus on my own journey as a man who was given a second chance at life.

I love waking up and just feeling well in myself

This is a rarity but because I’ve been off sick for so long I’ve found that For the first time since starting work I do not have a constant headache.

Obviously there is always one nearby, but it’s a lot more manageable

My dizziness is better and the sickness is less too.

They’re all still there and not far away, but they’re a lot easier to live with

But I have an innate sadness in me.

I know I could do this job, but at what cost now?

For 11 years I’ve looked after many patients and their families.

Laughter and very difficult times have been aplenty and I’m so grateful to have been able to call myself a staff nurse.

Nurses have the ultimate gift of being able to care for people at the lowest points in their lives.

I couldn’t think of a better job and I know I did the right thing fighting for it.

I love children and I’ve been blessed with a knack for making them laugh

Whatever happens now doesn’t matter: the ultimate gift in my life has been caring for people since I was 18 years old. Anyway, enough of my reminiscing.

In my first blog (written nearly 5 years ago at the start of my training) I said that this would be one hell of a ride.

I’ve learned that this journey has been far more important than the destination.

Find something worth fighting for and do it.

Accomplish the impossible purely because (in the words of Walt Disney) ..

It’s kind of fun to do the impossible

..and whatever happens tomorrow can’t ever take that away from me, or my daughter. She doesn’t realise it yet but we accomplished this together.

Plan for a miracle

My head is going round and round. I’m in a tight spot and I have no idea what to do, so I’m resorting to writing out of sheer desperation!

I made a confession to someone in management where I work recently

I said that I wasn’t really coping with the busyness and the workload. I said that It’s such a busy unit and my head just wasn’t keeping up.

At first I ignored the head pain, but I ended up making things worse for myself

Everyone else around me is pulling their weight so I suffer secretly and hope it will go away and I’ll be alright.

This was a bad strategy

Because low and behold I’m off sick AGAIN.

As hard as it was to have this conversation It was agreed that this probably isn’t the best place for me to work as a new nurse and I accepted that for what it was as best as I could.

But the question is whether anywhere else would want or be willing to hire a newly qualified nurse who can only work two measley days a week.

Being realistic: it’s really not likely

But I guess I’ll face that challenge when it arrives.

As my tutor at uni would often ask me.. so what now?

Do I Push myself but risk potentially really doing some damage to my health?

Do I Walk away from this job and the unit I love and wanted to work in for the past 3 years?

I have no idea how this is going to end.

Maybe I need to remember how lucky I am. After all This wasn’t just a sprained ankle, I still became a qualified nurse and I enjoyed all the magic that came with it.

And yet I feel like I want to cry all the time. Part of me feels like I’m failing and should try to do better or find another solution like I’ve done before.

I think to myself that there might be other people out there dealing with similar issues but have nowhere to turn for guidance, like I feel now.

And that’s why I carry on writing this blog, as difficult as it is to write

I know I’ve given the best part of 10 years of my life to being the best nurse I could possibly be.

I’ll always be thankful for the people that helped me to get there.

And whatever it is I decide to do next, which right now I have absolutely no idea of, will ever change that.

Do what you can

I felt better When I woke up this morning so I had Reese on my own for a couple of hours for the first time in weeks this afternoon which was great and much needed.

But …

…now I can barely lift my head off the pillow. I’m feeling how I did back on day 1.

I literally cannot get out of bed.

I’ve barely seen my daughter in two weeks!All we did was stay indoors today.

I feel recently all I do on this blog is post only the seemingly ‘negative’ experiences I have

Well this just in: this isn’t actually negative. It’s just real life on a daily basis for people like me (everyone to a point).

And I’ve learned to deal with it as normally as I would when I get earwax.

It’s not particularly pleasant but it’s only temporary

Although Being on probation as a newly qualified nurse means that after 6 months, my nursing performance, along with my sick record is a deciding factor in whether I’ll be kept on.

Oh dear. I’m only on month 4!

I’ve done everything I can these past two weeks to get myself better and I still feel like poop. For a split second today I actually felt a bit excited that I was on the mend.

Acceptance

There’s no point in panicking about what I can’t do anything about.

It’s important to remember that nobody can ever know what You go through and nor should they. It’s not their problem nor their business.

This is just who I am

I also learned you have to accept life and yourself for what they are. It’ll do no good complaining or feeling sorry for yourself.

Some doctors think I might have some other things wrong with me as a result of the accident.

Shit will really hit the fan if they’re right

I’ll find out about that when it eventually surfaces.

And working as a nurse still in a probationary period?

What will happen will happen. I need to focus on getting myself better and I’ll deal with the rest of life’s challenges when they come.

In the words of Chandler from friends: ‘one ridiculous problem at a time!’

But I won’t hide who I am.

I do have problems with my head and this is probably the result of me pushing myself too far when after starting something new.

I’m not the fastest, brightest or Most socially acceptable person anymore and that’s fine with me.

So why pretend otherwise? The time for acceptance has long passed for me and I just have to focus on what I do have some control over: like resting.

In accordance with the SAS mentality:

Focus on dealing with what you can do something about and forget about what you don’t have control over.

In conclusion: It’s so important that we keep on keeping on!

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.

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.