“You know,’ Ross, my neuro-psychotherapist started ‘people can go two ways after a severe brain injury. They either go down the road of letting it win, which includes a life of misery and what you see as failure day in and day out, being prisoner to your symptoms and not allowing yourself to be happy. Or if you’re strong enough, it could make you a better person’.
Alright dickhead. I remember thinking to myself. Granted; this was when I was struggling with life a bit, at the time I remember thinking yeah alright. Let me avoid a criminal record and find somewhere to live first and then maybe we can talk about this sort of nonsense.
Today was my first day of my 4th nursing placement at Southampton General. Today was another day I believe to have been witness to something quite miraculous.
Today I have felt like me for the first time in four years. I mean the ‘real’ me, not the ‘old’ me. I felt no anxiety today. I felt so confident in what I was doing, like I used to before Mexico. any worry of symptoms I pushed away, my daily meditation means I am becoming quite adept at this. I felt like I was just as good as I was back then, perhaps maybe even a little bit better. My outrageous remarks seem to get a good reaction from kids, something I would never have seen prior to my injury.
Today has taught me that if I can hold on for dear life over the past four years and finally reach a point like where I am at now, then anyone can do it.
Today was a victory. For the first time I’m happy with what I see in the mirror and what I’ve experienced over the past four years has only ended up enabling this.
However, what happened at the end of my shift really was food for thought.
I had finished my shift and after I visited another child of a friend who had just had heart surgery; I popped into the lift, had a casual conversation with an old dear and her granddaughter about how lovely the weather is, and how much David Cameron is a nob, and then made my way to the entrance.
As I was passing Costa I saw a group of people quickly stand up and start shouting. There were about 5 or 6 of this family, with a young boy and another little girl who was about 10. The boy was very young; maybe 10/11, but what happened next meant that I wasn’t really able to stop and ask.
He appeared to be choking on something and was unable to breathe. As his father tried frantically to get whatever it was lodged in his throat out the boy started gagging and gasping, trying to get his breath, unsuccessfully.
Call it intuition, but my 18 months medical training and 8 years of HCA experience got my spidey sense tingling. Something’s up here, I thought.
So I put my bag down and rushed over to the boy.
“Don’t worry mum a doctor is here!’ The little girl shouted.
‘I’m not a doctor, but I’ll have a go. And make it a double espresso to go please’ I shouted over to the costa staff, who were standing there like right lemons with their jaws mopping the floor.
Ok, so I was joking about the last bit. But I did say I wasn’t a doctor. And the costa staff were just gawping like they’d just seen George Osbourne pay for something.
I pulled out one of the chairs and picked up the lucky lad and put him over my lap. I knew what the right procedure was, I always make sure I know the latest resuscitation and choking guidelines for such an occasion as this.
After I nearly broke his back and all the blood rushed to his face from being half upside down, out popped a great big whole worther’s original sweet.
“Lovely stuff mate! Is that for me?’ I joked.
He didn’t appreciate the joke. He was probably still sore at me for nearly braking his back the poor sod, I didn’t hold back with my strength. I reckon most adults would be moody if a 16 stone bloke had thrust them over their lap and whacked them 5 times.
It’s spelled werther, I’m not going back and changing the spelling though so live with it.
Another problem with having a brain injury is that when things happen; in the moment that it’s happening, my brain doesn’t make much sense of it. It’s very black and white, e.g. This boy is choking to death. Save him. That’s it. No other thoughts of what if he dies? Am I qualified for this? What if I forget because of my BI? What’s the right thing to do? My pulse rate didn’t even go up, not a single beat. It was like I was making a cup of tea, or lifting weights at the gym. It was normal and I knew, maybe Ross was on to something with his comment at the start of this blog.
Anyway, that isn’t the miraculous bit. After I left the ‘worther’s original sweets are only for old people you daft twats’ scene, Dani told me something over the phone that had my spine tingling for hours.
It hadn’t even occurred to me, I hadn’t even realised.
For the first time ever I have returned to nursing as the real Mikey and achieved something I’ve fought tirelessly for 4 painstaking years.
Today is the 5th of April. Four years ago today I had my accident in Mexico and should have died, and nearly did.
Then again, maybe I wasn’t meant to die. Because everything that has happened; good and bad since my brain injury, has led me to be right her right now. I’m exactly where I am supposed to be.
I dont shave my armpits.