So here I am, at the end of my second week at university and boy am I pleased to be able to say that! It’s funny to think that this surreal journey/nightmare all started two and a half years ago, when I boarded a plane to go on my honeymoon. No nightmare should start with “So I went on my honeymoon feeling happy, but I was lucky to return home at all…”
April 5th 2012
Right, I’m not sure where I am here, but things aren’t looking good. I can’t breath. These four men in white coats standing over me need to help me. “Excuse me. Excuse me! I can’t breath, help me. Please help me! Hello, why aren’t you listening?!?” Why the hell aren’t they listening. Jesus Christ I think I’m dying, I need help here! Oh god, I’ve got my Nicorette inhalator stuck in my throat and I’m suffocating, Dani kept on at me that I needed to quit, now I’m paying the price for not listening, shit shit shit!
My head is so painful, it hurts when I gasp. I’m gasping and gasping but no air is coming in. I need to fight to stay alive but how can I fight to stay alive when I have no oxygen for energy? Try to focus, try to focus. Oh shit, it’s getting darker. It’s going dark but I’m not closing my eyes. Is it problems with the lighting in here? How are these guys gonna help me in the dark. I need to show them that I can’t breathe, god I want their help so much but I can’t talk. Maybe if I make myself go red in the face they’ll understand, ah my head, it feels like it will explode if I don’t get any oxygen in here! Please help me god. Please make them understand they need to help me. I need to sleep, I’m so exhausted.
“Rapido rapido” I could vaguely hear one of the men in white coats talking hurriedly to his mate.
Then, he seemed to remove the white pipe that was stuck in my windpipe and just as quickly as the suffocating started, it stopped. I can breathe. “Look. A nicorette inhalator, he must be trying to quit. That’s the 10th time today we’ve seen this happen” The man in the white coat said. I was so grateful. I can feel the life being restored to my whole body. Thank you god.
“So, are you feeling stressed yet Mikey?” asked the speech and language therapist. She had just finished explaining to me that I had lots of work to complete at home, including an online anatomy and physiology exam I had to work through, which would result in a certificate on completion, gold framed or not I couldn’t be sure. Now there’s an incentive to learn about the human body if ever I’ve heard one.
“How do you mean?” I asked, puzzled.
“That’s a lot of work I’ve set for you. You need to prioritise and set time aside otherwise you might not get it finished on time. And you need to take into consideration things like fatigue etc” She replied.
This of course was very true. Even as you are reading these words now, I can tell you that they were typed through a blurry haze and with a dizzy, damaged brain. Every day must be planned, simple routines such as popping to the shop, reading mail, arranging a time slot for reading emails are all tasks that take up precious brain cell space. Neurons that are fired during these tasks take precious glycogen from my already depleted energy bank.
“In all honesty his isn’t stress to me.” and I meant it. How could it be. It was to help me in my plan to return to my nursing studies. I now understand that stress doesn’t exist, it’s an illusion. Hell on the other hand, I firmly believe I’ve been there. Once you’ve dropped by and said hello to the devil I genuinely believe you can’t feel stressed about things like homework anymore.
April 5th 2012
I’m choking. Fuck. This woman who keeps putting that sucking catheter in my mouth needs to do it again. She’s waiting too long in between putting it in my mouth and talking to her friend.
“Hey! Put the fucking thing back in my mouth! Stop chit chatting to your friend!”
She was suctioning something out of my mouth. I guess that was what was choking me. For god sake she needs to do it more often. Oh god I can’t breathe. Please. Please. I need it now.
Ah that’s better. Precious oxygen. So exhausted. It’s going dark again.
So, not as light hearted as the blog before eh. Well, this just in – my honeymoon wasn’t great. I was thinking about leaving a quick review on trip advisor, but thought better of it. In comparison, self catering to Afghanistan would have been more of a success than that turned out to be.
The first dialogue you read was what it felt like to be resuscitated. The doctor’s were intubating me, a process whereby I wasn’t breathing oxygen for myself so I needed a machine to do it for me. It wasn’t a nicorette inhalator stuck in my mouth. And it wasn’t the case of the doctor taking it out. He was inserting a tube into my lung which was connected to a machine next to my bed which breathed oxygen into my lungs. This was so I could be induced into a coma safely.
The second joyful dialogue was of a doctor suctioning secretions out of my airways. Something that happens when your body shuts down is the lungs and air passages secrete thick mucous, mucous that inevitably prevents you from breathing. Bit of a design fault if you ask me!
In conclusion, despite the aforementioned atrocities, these were not the most difficult part of my experience of having a brain injury. It has been “stressful” to live with the the incessant misunderstanding of everyone around you. The isolation. The daily pain of dizziness, fatigue, sickness etc etc. But even that isn’t the worse part. The worse part is that there are people living with these symptoms and 100 times worse all around the world, but it does’t exist because you can’t see them. How sad is that. there are people suffering in silence and being misunderstood because their illness cannot be seen and it is not socially acceptable. I look forward to sharing with you, through this blog, the daily trials and tribulations of someone who suffers with something that doesn’t exist. Especially in the world of nursing, which I’m going back into!
The world works on the definition of an illness thus:
If you cannot see it, it doesn’t exist.
That’s certainly the best mantra for saving money, hands down! Although I hope one day I might be able to make a small difference towards changing people’s understanding of brain injury. I’ll finish this blog with a friendly pub quiz fact for you to mull over. Thanks for reading!
It is thought that over 75% of prisoners living in the United Kingdom have a brain injury.