I sat upright in the chair facing the occupational health doctor as she asked me the million dollar question:
So what exacerbates your symptoms in the workplace?
Now there’s a question ..was my reply. I listed some obvious ones (to name a few);
Needing to plan tasks
Needing to read and/or write a lot
Anything that requires memory
Any new information that has come out of the blue and is unplanned
.. I think I finished with ‘you get the picture. Pretty much anything that requires any brain activity or cognitive stimulation’.
If I’m being honest with you, I didnt take to this doctor to begin with
We spoke in detail about my symptoms and how they trigger other symptoms etc. After about an hour of quizzing me, she turned quite suddenly in her swivel chair away from her computer to face me. The words she spoke resonated with me and this was one of those moments in life that you don’t ever forget. In her friendly way she said:
‘Mikey, what you’ve managed to accomplish by getting here is truly remarkable. I will do what I can for you, you deserve that much. But every single one of your symptoms is exactly what a nurse deals with on a daily basis and I know you know that’.
Tears literally filled my eyeballs, she was saying what I already knew.
She handed me some tissues and the big, tattooed, bearded dragon covered in scars that doesn’t look like a children’s nurse (at all) had a nice big mouthful of humble pie while he tried to wipe the tears away in the most alpha-male way possible.
For 7 years I’ve been fighting for something I was told I’d never have.
In one of my blogs over the years I remember writing I know I’m struggling with a brain injury and I shouldn’t be doing this job. When I get there I’ll have to make a hard decision, but until then I’m going after it with everything I’ve got.
Well now I’m here, and I’ve struggled witrh my health more than I ever thought I would
Making kids laugh is my thing. To make them laugh when they’ve battled cancer for three years and they’ve not said boo to a goose in months was always enough for me.
I wanted to become a children’s nurse before my brain because I wanted to ‘make a difference’.
Now I can say that I couldn’t care less about ‘the difference’ and I’ve loved every second of this journey solely because of what it was, not for what it could’ve been because I quickly realized that the person I’d become after my accident couldn’t deal with the demands of the job.
Every moment I approached a child in hospital I never thought to myself ‘I’ve got to make them laugh’, it wasn’t a goal, I knew it would happen because I love what I was doing, not what I could do or what it could become. I know I loved it because it gave me freedom to be me.
I have my final review meeting on Tuesday where a definite decision will be made about my future as a children’s nurse following on from my occupational health appointment
I don’t care who you are reading this, it doesn’t matter what you do for a job or what your life challenges consist of.
If you’ve been following these posts I know that many of my struggles are shared by people the world over, whether it be because we share similar mental health issues or having a long term health condition, or whatever.
I just choose to be vocal about what every other single human being deals with on a daily basis, even if it is to a lesser degree.
We are all human and none of my symptoms, in any way, albeit to a different degree in many cases, are mutually exclusive to having a brain injury.
If you take anything from all these years of ranting please take this…
…anything is possible. This is your life and you have the right to live it exactly how you want to, regardless of how your friends or society think you should be. It takes guts but the rewards are limitless. The more impossible and ridiculous your dream is the better.
I’ve done my fighting
I went after my dream, now I’m going after ‘happiness’ (I don’t like that word, I prefer ‘bliss’ or ‘contentment’) and with exactly the same determination as I went after the nursing.
This isn’t goodbye just yet, just ‘adieu’. I’ll let you all know how Tuesday goes.
Thanks to all of you who have supported me over the years it really does mean the world to me.