I remember writing in one of the blogs I last wrote, ‘let’s see what happens when I say nothing’.. and I have seen what’s happened.
The results are in. And if I’m honest, I’m struggling to come to terms with them.
This has been the first placement where I’ve kept quiet about my condition. Shortly after I started this placement, someone found out about my condition. I cursed myself and made her swear to keep it a secret, which she has done and I am very grateful for. However, the same person who knew about my condition was also the only person to say this :
You are a truly brilliant nurse. You have the whole package and the ward you end up on will be so lucky to have you. But I know you struggle with your memory, maybe keep a notebook in your pocket?
This has confirmed what I have believed to be true for the last 2/3 years. I appreciate people looking out for me so much and hope they see where I’m coming from when I say this:
Whilst I appreciate her kind words to me and countless others that have come before, which were only said to comfort and reassure me, I have learned an incredible but soul destroying lesson upon hearing them.
If I hadn’t of told her or other people before her about my condition, she/they would never have made comments about my memory/symptoms. She would have stopped at ‘you’re a brilliant nurse with the whole package’.
For years, in my fight to become a qualified nurse, all I’ve heard from people is how my condition affects me.
Every placement, every year, all my comments contain friendly and constructive criticism, which all focuses around my injury and consequent symptoms. I’ve gone from being an ‘amazing nurse’ (full stop) to an ‘amazing nurse, but… symptoms 1, symptom 2, symptom 3 and so on..’
People have know idea how much I’ve sacrificed to get where I am today in the pursuit of my dream job. It’s taken me nearly ten years to get here, 5 of which were hell. And the torment I put my body, mind, family and daughter through has pushed me beyond the limits of human endurance and sanity.
Maybe I hide it too well..
..but it takes its toll. I am exhausted 24/7. I have few friends and any woman that would be crazy enough to be interested in the real me and accept me for who I truly am (I have not met a single person who fits this criteria) I’d have to exhaust myself communicating with.
As things are now, looking at all the evidence, I truly believe there will not be a single person who will accept me for who I really am. After all, it was even enough for my wife to admit that even she did not have the capacity or inclination for it.
It’s just a simple fact of my life, and I am happy to live and deal with it because I have so much to be thankful for.
I’m one week away from completing my 5th placement, then there’s just one more to go. If I can achieve this goal, it is proof that people who suffer from the injuries that I have really can achieve anything, no matter how unbelievable or unrealistic it might sound. Nothing is impossible.
I know people are only trying to be nice to me, but it’s not the point. The point is this:
- Severe Subarachnoid haemorrhage
- Severe petechial haemorrhages
- Cerebral odema
- Several fractures to the skull and neck
- Diffuse axonal injury
- Frontal and parietal contusions
- Frontal haematomas
… should have all killed me. Miraculously, they didn’t. But they have unleashed hell on me for the rest of my life, but i’m cool with it.
This picture was taken the same year as the following one. My wife found out about her pregnancy when I was in my coma, so I didn’t even know I was going to be a dad in the picture above. Mind you I didn’t know about much, I was a pound short of a happy meal there.
90% says I should be in a vegetative state.
80% says I will never return to employment.
80% of marriages fail after TBI.
But 100% of me says .. I am a Whitehead. My daughter is a Whitehead. We both had sepsis and were ventilated in the same 9 month period. Good luck to anyone or anything that stands in our way.
And if that wasn’t enough, here’s my favourite picture of me: