I always let me heart/gut dictate when I write and what I write about, not my brain. If I let my brain dictate my life I’d just be a vegetable lying in a bed.
Nearly four years ago; I remember when I came back home after being in hospital, not really realising how much trouble was ahead.
Only a select few people visited me in hospital due to the fact I was in post traumatic amnesia, which meant I pretty much had dementia for a whole month. I thought I was in hospital because I had bumped my head on a dolphin.
When I came out of PTA, my family were not close by and I don’t have any family in Bournemouth. But one thing that will remain important to me is the time and energy my mother in law put in towards looking after me.
I always looked forward to her face appearing at my cell door (it felt like I was in a prison. You should have seen the state of the place. Maybe invest some money in a lick of paint Osborne you dime bar).
She was one of those women that always smelled nice too. So when I got up from my bed to give her a hug I would always inhale deeply; momentarily replacing the noxious smell of plastic and bleach that lived in my cell (every morning the cleaner would come in my room in her buffoonery manner; say the same thing to me ‘Oh hello! You are still here? Soon, Malcolm soon!’, then proceed to sprinkle bleach EVERYWHERE like it was fucking fairy dust).
On the day of my discharge I was told Julie broke down in front of a cashier at the checkout in Tesco, saying to them that she was emotional because I was coming out of hospital that day.
When I was discharged from hospital I could barely walk. Any hospital appointments I had Julie was on hand to ensure I got to them and she would always offer to go for coffee or to the park with Ludo on days that I felt up to leaving the house.
I could barely talk for a long while after I was discharged. So Julie found me a private SALT that I could visit, to try and help improve my talking and swallowing. She insisted on paying until I was back on my feet financially. Maybe she did this because she was sick of me spitting on her and sounding like Bubba with a brain injury in public, but I like to think she did it for entirely different reasons!
Dani used to joke that Julie and I had more in common than me and Dani, this was not untrue!
On one occasion Dani and I had the carpet fitters come round to smash our floorboards to bits in order to lay some carpet. We thought I would be OK if I stayed out of the way upstairs, but this was far from the case. The noise downstairs made my head thump with pain and I experienced my first real serious fatigue attack.
After phoning Julie she insisted that I came over to her house and have a rest. She had bought me a film not long before that she wanted me to watch too, so I did.
Sitting there in the peace and quiet instantly brought my head back down to earth. I was like magic.
I realised then that to combat fatigue you do not necessarily always need sleep, just real rest, to the point that if you were any more relaxed you would be asleep.
I also realised that the company you keep during this time period plays a pivotal role in whether you can beat an attack or not. That day it felt like my brain was being massaged, or being given a warm bath! Each minute that went by was like someone giving me another sip of a brain injury antidote.
Other than Julie falling asleep and snoring only 5 minutes into the film, I realised that I hadn’t been able to relax this much since before my honeymoon.
I am sad about how hour relationship ended.
Each day that goes by; when I am fighting constant exhaustion and fatigue attacks, dizziness, sickness etc In pursuit of my dream I always reflect on the important things and people in my life to help me survive it.
When my life is full or extreme anxiety; worry and stress, to the point I think I would rather die than carry on living, I think of Maino. If I’m weighed down with tiredness when I’m looking after kids at work I think of Reese. When I struggle with assignments and realise I need to produce work to a ridiculously high standard I think of my nan. When the floor moves and sways from the dizziness I get I think of all the people with brain injuries that are in bound to a wheelchair for the rest of their lives.
When I’m worried and stressed beyond belief I think of my friends Johnny Walker and Ron Bacardi.
These are just vague examples (apart from the Walker and Bacardi bit, they are in fact alcoholic beverages).
It’s not set in stone, sometimes they are swapped about a bit. But when I use the law of attraction and daydream about the day that I finally graduate, everytime without fail I imagine that Julie will be sat in the front row.
I am quite a dark person, behind all the nonsense. I attract trouble and I have an ugly side (yes. ‘everyone does’ I can hear you mumble). I don’t hold much hope that I’ll ever like the new Mikey (or the ‘transitional Mikey’ as someone recently reminded me); which is fine, I’ve got my head round that now. If I’m angry I say what I feel, this can hurt. If anything positive happens in my life you can bet I will find away of messing it up.
But I will always remember what Julie did for me. It reminds me of what is important, the things that do matter. What is real.
People like her do not ever go away, they have done too much and leave too much of an impression on the life they led.
Despite all the nonsense, keep on keeping on
Every time I am searching the list of names in my head of the people that I can draw something from to help me in that moment, Julie’s name is up there with the best of them. And it probably always will be.