Sometimes you have to go through hell to get to heaven.

It’s amazing to think I’ll soon be finishing my fourth nursing placement. I can’t say I’m too happy about it, it really has been one of the best 8 weeks I’ve had.

To most that will definitely sound like an OTT comment. However, those people who think that either

A) Don’t know about me


B) Have the sensitivity and intelligence of a teabag.



When I woke up from my coma four years ago I began a journey. It’s been a torrid journey, as many of you know, I took the scenic route through hell and back, but the scariest part of it all for me was not knowing whether or not I could fulfil my ‘dream’/’ambition’ to become a qualified nurse.

After 8 short weeks I now have the answer to this problem that has plagued me and kept me up more nights than I care to count. Or remember. I have a shit memory.

It is so hard doing this job when you have a broken brain. I won’t lie or sugar coat it, it certainly hasn’t been a walk in the metaphorical park. This is because I

A) Refuse to pretend that being a nurse with a severe brain injury is easy, or that I finished my shift disappearing into the sunset.


B) I do not take walks in the park. I have a beach at the end of my road.

But I can tell you this. There has not been one shift where I actually wanted to go home. The intense rush I get just through being amidst a busy nursing ward; being part of a team, doing jobs that statistically I shouldn’t be able to do and experiencing what it’s like to really make a difference to children that really need help, is monumental.

I am so happy being a nurse, or learning to be a nurse. I love it so much, I could not do anything else. This is why I’ve held on to it for so many despairing years.

If I died tomorrow, I know that I’ve already achieved what I really wanted to.

After all these years of pain and misery I have proven to myself that I can stand by what I believe in and continue to chase my dream as fiercely as a fatty chases a hamburger tied to a string.

90% of people who suffer a severe brain injury remain in a persistent vegetative state. 

80% do not return to employment 

I remember lying in bed when I was back in England on the brain injury ward at Poole hospital. There was a knock at my door and a ‘nurse’ came in.

I know your nursing means a lot to you, I admire you for that. You’ve already beaten the odds by surviving your horrific accident, but maybe you should consider another profession now.

I was working on shift yesterday on a different ward as they were short staffed, when I experienced my first big flashback. It had been 5 weeks without one so I am pretty happy with these odds.

I was helping a young lad take his arm out of a cast while he was in bed. I opened the cast and a very noxious and intense fragrance attacked my olfactory centre, a mixture of antiseptic and plastic. I was instantly drawn back here –




Put the fucking suction catheter back in you stupid woman, I can’t breathe.  

Secretions were obstructing my airway at this point.

She rammed it so far in I gagged. My SATS were in the 80s and I was starting to drift off. The pain was fucking outrageous. Then I stopped breathing.


Another awful smelling man in a white coat, who obviously has misplaced his soap at home, was trying to ram something down my throat. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t talk. I was paralysed.


I was going to die. Oh well at least my last few weeks I enjoyed some decent grub and booze at the hotel. I prepared myself. I actually remember preparing myself to die, it was pretty depressing. I couldn’t move or talk, my brain was haemorrhaging all over and I had a GCS of 6, but I was conscious in my head. This is what hell feels like.


He’d put the tube down my throat. I could breathe. I would later read from my medical notes provided for my legal case that I had been resuscitated and intubated at this point.

‘You okay Mikey?’ 

I looked up. My mentor was standing next to the bed.

“All good. I’ve got this cast off so when his TTOS come up from pharmacy this chap can go home! Then I’ll complete some OBS in our bay.  I tested the urine sample – it was negative except some blood was present. Patient D’s vital signs were fine, will take another set in an hour before we go back.Then time for tea and a donut’.

Sometimes you have to journey through hell to get to heaven. For me I’m at my happiest doing this job.

And so the journey continues…



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