I think it would be fair to say that I’ve wanted to be able to write this blog for about 5 or 6 years. Well, the time has finally arrived and once again, let us rejoice with gin and tonic 🙂
Yesterday was a hugely pivotal day in my rehab and overall jolly surreal life. It was the day I was due to start my volunteering at Julia’s House hospice, something I’ve wanted to do since I first stepped into that magical place 5 years ago. I knew straight away I wanted to work there when I took a tour round the house on an open day, but I knew it would probably be in high demand and I ought to start building a good reputation for myself early on as an unpaid carer/volunteer working for them. I had planned to start as soon as I returned from Mexico..
Then some plonker forget to check his tyre!
So here I am –
Nursing is the one thing I’m good at (or at least was good at) and I know the only way you land big time jobs such as these is by building a solid reputation in whatever specialised field it may be, making the right impression and also knowing the right people. So yesterday was the day I was to find out if I could still do it; fatigue, word finding, dizziness, nausea, poor concentration and awful memory permitting!
…….Well that was a mouthful!
But I wanted to chuck all that aside and go for it anyway, C’est La Vie.
I shouldn’t be back at uni. Statistics say I shouldn’t even be alive.
90% of people who sustain my injury never return to employment.
Even if I am lucky enough to be alive, the chances are favoured toward me living the rest of my life from a wheelchair, or remaining in a persistent vegetative state. The last two years I have watched everything I ever built (nursing reputation etc) fall to the ground and smash into pieces which has been so soul destroying I almost flew off the rails. VERY NEARLY.
So when I woke up yesterday morning, I knew that in a few hours I was going to find out whether nursing terminally ill children (or any form of nursing really) and achieving what I want in life would really be possible after sustaining a severe knock to the noggin’. I don’t get nervous anymore, but it’s fair to say that when I got up out of bed even I can admit that I was feeling slightly trepidatious!
It might sound silly, but I am putting my heart on the line by trying this. I’m revealing it openly and placing myself in a vulnerable position whereby the devil/bearded god/elephant god/ evil forces/or whatever has free access and can smash it to pieces all over again.
So after losing my way to the hospice a few times, stopping and needing to ask FOUR different locals for directions to the hospice (this was after a call to a friend asking for directions, thanks Jade *thumbs up*). I was also deceived by the devil himself cleverly disguised as an elderly woman being taken for a walk by her dog instructing me to drive a mile up the wrong road. I finally arrived and with half an hour to spare anyway (take that lucifer!)
I sat in handover (In the morning all the staff in a care setting sit down and discuss the patient’s so everyone is aware of what the time is) and I listened to the children that I would be helping to look after for the next 5 hours.
My heart quickened each time the nurse read out a patient’s illness, medication and symptoms. This was the quickening pulse that I always got prior to my accident while preparing to go and nurse a group of patients, it was the thrilling feeling of knowing that whatever illnesses have been bestowed upon the people I’m just about to meet, despite the sickness, whatever might happen to them for the time I am there it doesn’t matter because they are in MY care while I’m about. No matter how sad they might be, how much pain and discomfort they’re in, I will be able to make them smile and take their mind off of whatever it is, even if it’s just for a few seconds.
Those few seconds are what people hold on to during their darkest times. It’s those moments that give people the energy to keep going, I really believe that!
So I sat in the handover session and tried to remember as much as I could to test my memory and also because I like to be on the ball. I knew that for the time I was volunteering there, brain injury or no bloody brain injury I was gonna make some kids laugh and have fun. I wasn’t nervous, scared, anxious.. any form of uneasy feelings were absent. This is my world and I know what I’m doing, I’m comfortable. In a weird way it definitely feels like it’s where I belong, it’s what I fight for really.
Between the time of 9am – 1:30 I was in my absolute element, and I loved and savoured every nano second of it! For the first time in three years I had completely forgot that I had a BI and I just got on with it.
Ah “normality”, how I have missed you kind sir.
The boy I was looking after would have a “drop”/seizure every hour or so. Each time but one I was able to be on the ball and noticed when the symptoms would develop right before he would have one. And each time I felt 150% confident (just like I used to) that he was with he right person (or people, I wasn’t on my own of course!) that knows what they’re doing and is comfortable with the situations that arise.
Sure, I started to get dizzy at certain points, the fatigue lingered, I misplaced my coat 4 times and nearly left without my wallet – but I just stuck to the good old SAS mantra of shutting up and cracking on with the job. Mind you it still hurt each time I returned to a cup of tea that had gone stone cold because I’d forgotten about it.
That sweet moment just before the first sip of a cup of really good looking tea, the longing for the serenity that only a cup of cha brings, the peaceful pleasant feeling that is momentarily about to befall your lips and being… SMASHED INTO PIECES BECAUSE IT’S GONE STONE BLOODY COLD
Over the years I have learned to push my feelings and discomforts aside and this enables me to achieve more. But while I was at Julia’s House helping to look after those kids none of that really mattered, it was worth it.
It doesn’t matter how this sounds to whoever is reading this; but this is what I’ve been put here to do. I’m never as comfortable or as happy as when I’m doing this job. That’s why even if I had my arms and legs amputated I would still find a way. And that ain’t a joke.
The best part of this jolly experience is that I received an email this morning from the lady who is head of volunteering and works at JH office saying this:
Feedback from the hospice is that you just got stuck in and they all loved you!
I could lose it all tomorrow but it would all be worth it just to read those few words! The relief is hard to describe. Three years of being ostracised, berated, learning to be a misfit who get’s everything wrong and is now an expert at hurting people, forgetting to change his own daughter’s nappy, leaving there gas ring on the stove on 10 times a week…..
….THE BLACK SHEEP…..
….All of that… to hearing that you’re still as good at what you love more than anything as you were before is just an unmatched feeling for me. I know I’m not as sharp as I used to be and what not, the brain injury has humbled me and I realise I make a lot more mistakes than the average bear, I need to make this into consideration for everything I do. But to know that I can still do what I’m best at and enjoy the most is the best feeling I could wish for!
Big things are back on the horizon, I’ve seen to that…and it only starts here.
Watch this space…… it’s finally worth watching again!
I’ll finish with this last paragraph:
I have no interest in most things in life and I had a few jobs after uni where I crashed and burned spectacularly. I can be a sod at times and I have a temper. I didn’t forgive too often before my injury so I’m doomed now, I can’t help that. I’m inappropriate and can be rude without realising it. If I don’t like you you’re sure as hecklfie to know within seconds of meeting me.
But one thing I was always good at and still am, is making kids laugh under rubbish circumstances. I can make people forget for a few minutes/seconds/moments, that’s the decent thing I am good at. I want to help and I have believed in treating the patient over their bed number all my working life (much to many matron’s and ward sister’s dislike) and I will go to the end of the earth for that cause, because I believe in it. I’m just glad I’m still good at it!