The average bear

I wanted to write this blog because Sometimes it’s important for my brain to work through things.

Two years ago, on my final nursing placement, I was asked

Have you ever been to see a therapist about your obsession with nursing? It’s not normal!

I was told numerous times I should just ‘babysit’ patients for a few hours, whilst the other nurses ‘did the work’.

When I arrived in the morning I was often told that today ‘wasn’t going to be a learning day, we’re just too busy with patients sorry’

Once, in a desperate attempt to improve in my weak area (fluid charts) I asked:

‘I need to work on my fluid charts. Can I just do one for a patient to keep for myself even if they don’t need it? I’ll keep it in my pocket just as practice’

To which I was told ‘no. They don’t need one so don’t waste paper’

I was feeling increasingly desperate and disheartened

I always asked the staff if I was doing enough to become qualified by the end of the placement.

Mikey you’re doing great, the kids love you!

Call it gut instinct, but I knew this wasn’t really the case.

After 4 more weeks of feeling increasingly uncomfortable, with comments about my head injury mounting, some of the nurses who told me I was doing great when I asked how I could improve went to my mentor and told her they had concerns about me.

I was never given specifics regarding these ‘concerns’.

I decided I had to leave. I just didn’t feel I was getting a fair chance. I didn’t want to leave and this meant watching my friends qualify ahead of me and extending my programme even more.

This experience affected me and my family at such a crucial time in my journey, that it even led my family to say that I should walk away from the programme.

A year and a half on and although I may have mentioned this through my blog before, I’ve been non-specific in accordance with maintaining confidentiality as stated in the NMC code of conduct (2015)

A recent conversation I had with a colleague on my new ward

‘Mikey, I’d heard of you before I had even met you. My friend who works on your old unit asked if you really were as rubbish as she’d heard’

On my previous placement, my last day

‘Mikey I can tell you this now, but everyone here knew about you and your brain injury before you had been arrived’

So much for confidentiality.

It makes my life difficult sometimes I won’t lie, but there are people with head injuries all over the world who are misunderstood and ostracised like this and worse every single day.

I’m only human. I’m not a bad person

I’m just someone who loves working with kids. Yes, sometimes I’m not the sharpest tool in the box, especially when I’m tired, but I have been assessed and passed my nursing degree.

The ward I work on now seem to support me with this mantra and I only hope this continues.

Give me the time I need to settle in and you’ll get the best nurse I can possibly be out of me. I just need a little bit of understanding and patience.

The moral I took away from this soul destroying and demeaning experience is that you should never judge a book by its cover because you never know what people are going through in their lives.

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Poem

This blog will not be shared on Facebook or anywhere else.

But I guess if you guys really are watching me you’ll see this too, right?

The only thing that stops me from taking myself out of this life is the promise that one day this life could be better for others.

People are so ugly towards each other. I’m 28 years young, but I’m tired.

There is no winner

I’m tired of ugliness. I’m tired of hatred. I’m tired of people doing bad things. I feel no fear anymore, just sadness.

’22 year old overdose has been admitted to A+E. She survived but will need care for months’

People today will say ‘she didn’t try hard enough’. This makes me want to leave.

We are all different. I am different. ‘Difference’ is fear for society. Society is terrified of difference.

I’ll never stop being myself, no matter how much people ridicule me. And I’ll never stop standing up for people like me. People who are misunderstood!

After my jolly knock to the head I don’t feel fear like you do. I live through my heart and with compassion to all beings, humans or animals, and this world is full of thinkers, not people who live through the heart or with compassion.

When I see others suffer, I suffer greatly. Maybe that’s my insecurity.

Doesn’t mean I’ll change though. Not for one second 🙂

Keep on keeping on. Because it’s the right thing to do.

A blog to say thank you!

11am, Poole hospital, 2012

A knock at my hospital door woke me up, I couldn’t go more than 3 hours without a sleep at this point.

Damn brain haemorrhages

An older nurse walked in.

‘Hi, my name is Jackie. You’re the student nurse right?’

She seemed to bark that phrase more than speak it. I could barely raise my head.

I wasn’t tied to the bed like I was in Mexico, so that was a plus

I told her that I was ‘the’ student nurse in question.

‘When can I go back to uni?’ I asked timidly.

‘That’s what I wanted to talk to you about’ she’d said.

This ought to be good

‘As amazing as we think you are about your passion for nursing, I’m here today to tell you that it will no longer be possible for you to study nursing’

The words hit me like a ton of bricks

‘Your determination is admirable. There are so many more jobs you would be great at! Just not the nursing anymore’

I was never angry at this

I learned to Never let your inner being be affected by by your circumstances.

As the years passed by I didn’t seem to be getting anywhere with my dream.

Most people doubted me. Very few encouraged me.

Taoism teaches that you should be watchful of your ‘dreams’, as they can become detrimental to your being.

I’ve watered this dream since I was 18. I’m now 28. But finally my dream seems to have blossomed.

For years I was dissuaded. For years I pushed my body, my symptoms exacerbated. Once or twice I thought Jacky might’ve had a point.

Nah

A severe head injury and 7 years later, it happened. Thank you to everyone who’s read this blog and kept in touch, thank you to those in other countries who lit a candle for me in a coma. Thank you for your prayers and well wishes. We all did it together.

Thank you to all of you for supporting me!

But I couldn’t have done it without the support. So thank you so much to those who deserve it (and also to those who don’t, no hate here) 🙂

I’ve so many more challenges ahead of me. I’ll have to stay so disciplined and focus on so much, it won’t be easy but as always, I’ll give it my best!

Baby steps

I’ve finished my first week as a nurse!

It feels amazing

But I won’t lie, I’m worried about how tired I’m feeling right now.

I don’t have neuro fatigue, it’s exhaustion. They are two very different symptoms. So no headache or vertigo is a plus

I can’t tell you how great it is to be part of something again, I just love being around good nurses and being able to help people out where I can.

And yet I feel worried!

Ridiculous I know, but I really do enjoy it so much, the idea of not being able to do it because of my symptoms is not a nice idea.

Everything I do outside of my job is finely tuned to such a point which enables me to be able to do my job

Regardless of how I feel, every night I’m in bed at half 7. My doctor has agreed that I take a zopiclone before my first shift, melatonin for my second (to prevent the zopiclone from becoming less effective) and a zopiclone for my third. With Amitryptaline every night. Valium 3x weekly.

My diet, my lifestyle and even the time I allow myself to see my daughter is thought out and finely tuned

So now I need to plan my second week and tweak the regiment A tad to stop myself feeling so tired.

So yes, the fear of failing because of my symptoms has always been there, and maybe it always will

But it motivates me to keep to the plan and stay as disciplined as possible.

Even if it means it’s practically impossible to have relationships outside my family

But it’s the choice I’ve made and it’s what I’ve fought for for so many years. Nursing with a head injury for me is Just like the SAS: it’s hard to get in, but it’s even harder to stay in.

First week of work in 7 years done! Baby steps..!

I have been unemployed for 7 years now. But In two days I will start my first job after sustaining my brain injury, which was back in 2012. It’s been one hell of a journey, and as I’ve said before, I’ve found a lot of irony in saying that this journey, as unbelievable as it may sounded to others, was far more important than the destination.

Waking up from a coma in the UK when your last memory was being on your honeymoon  was certainly a good place to start

I started again from the very beginning. I learned to do everything again; from walking to eating food without choking on it to even remembering something that your mum told you only 5 minutes before.

I tried to come back to nursing too early. A year after a head injury is nothing! And boy I learned that the hard way.

My daughter was finally born. It was a traumatic birth and very touch and go. 9 months after my accident, the birth pushed me over the edge and the delights of severe PTSD started to plague my life. Poor management of PTSD was the main reason I had to leave my course after returning to it only a year after my accident.

 

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But when I did finally return to my nursing studies, things started to go very wrong indeed.

First, we lost my mother in law (excuse the picture quality)

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Shortly after we lost Julie under very tragic circumstances, my marriage fell apart. Whether it was meant to be or not, when you truly loved someone it is a tough old nut to crack. But sometimes in life you just have to do things for the best whether you like them or not.

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Around the time I was living out a suitcase, staying in hotels all round Bournemouth and whilst barely managing to keep my head afloat during my second nursing placement, we watched my grandma pass away.

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We also lost my ex wife’s grandad, AKA Pop.

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So after the split up I moved into accommodation which belonged a couple and rented a room off of them whilst I finished my nursing placement. This turned out to be a mistake.

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She turned out to be a frequent drug user and alcoholic. After she decided to attack me one night, she thought it’d be a good idea to call the police and make up false allegations. Her and her partner were fortunately overruled by their niece, who saw the whole thing and told the police the truth, despite coercion form her family. I waited all through christmas to be interviewed under caution at the local popo station.

If she’d have lied to the police as she was asked to do by her aunt, I would never have been allowed to work with kids again

But alas, there is nothing worse than a scorned woman seeking revenge. After she tried and failed to get me locked up she told my uni that I was aggressive around children, which of course they took seriously. After 3 months of fighting I finally proved my innocence and moved on with my training.

We’re only at placement three now

I’ve seen lots of people die over the years.

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I’ve felt the pain of being separated from my daughter

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(This one hurt quite a bit).

But I’m starting to feel too drowsy now from the meds, so I’ll leave the story there. I’d be here all night if I intended to include everything that has been going on. And for legal reasons I can’t disclose certain parts of it anyway.

I guess the reason I wanted to sum these last few years up in a blog is because I think it’s important not to give up on your dreams. During your darkest moments when you can’t even remember why you’re still even fighting, you need to remember who you are and why you started.

All the things you’re going through is just life preparing you for what you asked for

Use the pain and use the hurt you go through everyday to give you that edge. I was told I could never be a nurse and with all the other challenges that kept presenting themselves over so many years, I was starting to believe it…

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…but the trick is to never let that be the final answer.

Remember, this is your life…

 

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…and you have to live it the way you want to live it, not how others say you should live it. I would go through it all time and time gain just to get a chance to do what Robin Williams is doing in the picture below. And ridiculously enough, they want to pay me to do it!

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The cinema Part 2

The feedback from you all after having read my previous blog which ended with a question from me to you, I must say, didn’t really surprise me and I was intrigued with some of your comments and answers.

The style I wrote the blog left you with no choice. Only an idiot would stop going to the cinema. Right?

In order for me to have any hope of striking a chord with anyone who reads what I have to say, blogs like my last one are essential. You cannot explain the unexplainable in one swift and easy-to-read blog of 700 words.

You have to be part of the journey to understand where I’m coming from

And believe it or not you all are. The purpose of my last blog wasn’t because I wanted confirmation that I had made the right decision. It was a ‘I am living. F*** everything else’.

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The reason I have 0 interest in what anyone thinks of me is something that no number of blogs can help me to explain! 

Nothingness

After all, the western world has taught us that we are all individuals with a ‘personality’.

In ancient Greece, when the local amateur dramatics people got together and acted out different plays they often wore masks to disguise who they really were. These masks were called ‘personas’. That’s where the word ‘personality’ comes from.

All we think about ourselves is borrowed knowledge. If you make a joke, you’re labeled ‘funny’. If you’re quiet you’re labeled as ‘shy’. The fact is we are all just part of the same empty consciousness.

Yet our ‘persona’s’ often characterise ‘who we are’

In all of us, behind all the nonsense we have been taught growing up, there is nothingness. We are all nothingness. Therefore, terms like ‘evil’, ‘greed’, ‘suffering’ and ‘horrible’ aren’t really real, its just out perceptions of what we think is real based on how people act.

tao tao

I dont believe there is such a thing as an ‘evil person’.

..but I know that people can perform evil acts to others. I have experienced evil acts first hand many times in recent years, as I’m sure you have too.

I hope some of these blogs are comprehensible and not just seen as the ravings of a fucking nutcase.

Don’t worry what other people think of you. It’ s none of your business. It’s also nonsense, its your persona they have an issue with, not you. Try and remember that when people are being rude or nasty to you or your friends.

If I listened to all those who said I couldn’t become a nurse, or those who stood in my way, I wouldn’t be writing this to you now. Embrace the haters, they’re essential to your journey.

If you want to catch a glimpse of whats real, it goes far beyond ‘being shy’, ‘being awkward’ or in my case ‘having an awful memory and shit filter’ etc . Just be you.

In my eyes, you should go to your cinema and fuck everything else. After your feedback I know that’s what you all feel is right too.

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A question for you

Humour me for a moment. If you’re reading, try to put yourself in this position. Try your best to imagine this is you in your life. Your friends, co workers and family. This will only really work if you do this.  So:

If you’re a female:

This might sound weird but just humour me:

It’s summer. You’ve just had your birthday celebrations and then you come on your period. Instead of it lasting the usual week or so, it’s not going. You’ve been suffering for 3 months straight with bad period pains every day and night during this time. You haven’t eaten or slept properly during this entire time.

Or if you’re a male:

Let’s keep it simple. Someone has booted you in the bollocks. That feeling of pain and sickness which usually last for minutes has not left you for a month. Again, you’ve had no sleep and have felt constantly sick for 30 days and nights.

So, female or male, this next bit is for everyone:

Both your pains are different. They are both unique but neither can be understood by the other if you were to try to explain. The doctors are baffled by both your ailments and  you’ve been told that there are only a few things that will help to alleviate the pain: lying down in a dark room or laughing.

Times goes by. It is the worst pain you have ever felt

Your friends are starting to lose patience with you. Work has given you as much time off as you’re entitled to and considering no doctors can help you or even see your ailment as a recognised medical problem, your boss is not legally entitled to give you anymore time off.

‘OMG, I’m sick of hearing about this pain of theirs. Every time I invite him/her out they say they can’t because they’re ‘lying down’ or ‘going to the cinema’. What sort of people do this?

Your friends and co workers talk behind your back and you slowly become alienated. Nobody believes what you’re experiencing is real. But people aren’t telling you this outright, it is becoming more obvious as time goes on. Your mental health is suffering, you start taking antidepressants.

Your life is falling apart. You wish people could only understand what your pain felt like every day then everything would be ok!

You lose your job. You need to move into rented accommodation and you cannot claim benefits because your condition does not really exist.

But then..

..one day, you find that when you laugh, the pain feels less intense. So, you start to visit the cinema to watch your favourite comedies that are guaranteed to make you laugh.

It works!

When you’re laughing, your severe period pains or painful bollocks sensation dissipates, it fades away! You feel such intense relief that there is some form of let up from the pain you have felt for so long that you know you can never stop laughing. In fact, you start to feel intense love and happiness again for the first time since your pain began.

Just as you are starting to rebuild your life and find your new ‘normal’, this happens….

…your partner decides to leave you. Your partner takes your children with them, leaving you this note on your fridge:

I’m sick of how everything is about YOU now. How can you complain about your ‘pain’ and then spend all your time at the cinema? 

Damn. You loved this person. You trusted that even they, when nobody else would, would stick by you no matter what and believe in you.

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Conclusion to my little story:

The cinema helped you. Laughing helped. But when you laughed, people would raise their eyebrows. When you visited the cinema, despite your intense happiness of being there, people would make comments and question the validity of your claim that you’re  in ‘pain’. Your partner even left you and all your friends turned their backs on you because of the cinema.

Now, a question from me. I genuinely would like to hear what people would do in this situation.

Would you stop going to the cinema or laughing because the people lost faith in you when they saw you doing this? Remember, there is no way for anyone else to know the validity of your pain. 

 

This doesn’t even scratch the surface, but I’m trying. Let’s end this blog with a picture of me visiting my cinema.

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