Every time I drive into the parking garage at Mercy Hospital I think of the very first time I had to drive there myself after my accident and passing the state evaluation to drive again. A few days before I had to have a friend drive me so I could envision a path to getting there. Then the day I had to do it myself, I got in the car, started it up and started crying because I was so scared. Mercy was out of my driving comfort zone. I never drove there regularly pre-accident so therefor it was new and scary to me! Crying and driving while already having driving anxiety is not a good mix. And then when I got in the garage I was freaking out even more. Would I remember where I parked??? Would I hit cars trying to drive through the garage???? And now I work there, I cry when I drive there now because it is too early in the a.m. J
The first week of working was rough. Especially the first day. Getting lost in hospital, trying to figure out exactly what my job is. Where the hell do I punch in?!? After that day of work, I was a zombie!!! Brain fatigue to the extreme!! To the point where I was afraid to drive home. I was so tired and having a hard time focusing! Sure, it is still tiring, there are some days/nights where I am so tired I still am apprehensive about driving, but I am not sleeping over at the hospital unless I get my own bed back on the Brain Injury Rehab Unit. Lol
The first day I was placed on the brain injury unit, I could not stop smiling. It was sort of surreal being there as a worker, but it felt damn good and it feels weird to see the brain injury world from the working side not the patient side. Sure, my brain injury did not go away I will always have it, but at least I am not a patient this time. Some of the doctors, nurses, case managers, Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists, Neuropsychologist, Rehab aides, recognized me. I know they were not just playing the polite game, they remembered things about me so they really did remember me. CRAZY! And once they figure out who I am, the look on their faces is priceless. The first couple times I was on the unit they called me Motorcycle or Helmet. I was in a motorcycle accident and I had to wear a helmet on the unit because part of my skull was removed. There are not too many helmeted patients, especially females, so I guess I am going down in history. I like that unit because in a way it helps me. I get to see what I was “like” Not that I was exactly the way the patients are, we are all different, but I can get glimpses. Stories my friends have told me, make sense now. And I like being totally understanding of the patients. I think I can help them more than the people that work the unit. I mean hell, been there done that!! I can explain to the workers to slow down, to not bombard with too much information, to break shit down, to turn off the TV when talking to a patient. ETC. I ROCK!!!!
Working is good, it is helping me for sure. Makes me realize I can handle change. I can handle not knowing what I am getting into every day. There is no pattern to the job, never do the same thing and I can handle it. I don’t even think about it. I just go in and do it. I never know where I am being placed until I sign in, so I could be anywhere in the hospital, and I just go balls to the wall and do it. Its hard, but it has helped me. I am emotionally and mentally and physically exhausted but I do it.
They do use my strengths which is good. I get placed in TBI rehab unit, detox, neuro trauma CCU, and with mental health patients A LOT! I get asked if I am a doctor, counselor, therapist or a nurse. I am none of the above, I am just mother fucking awesome and don’t you forget that!! And I get that question from doctors, nurses, and therapists! So that is awesome!! I do more than I am supposed to, but I can’t just sit there for 8 hours and stare at patients.
I get to know patients I take the time to get information about them to make them more comfortable. I mean I have been a patient enough, I know how much it sucks, so I like to keep it real with the patients and just shoot the shit with them and make it feel “normal”
I like the job, wish there was more I can do. Seriously thinking about nursing. Hell, UPMC would pay for me. Gotta figure out if I can handle working first. Then try to figure out how to get do school and work. And then BAM Hello Kara RN and CBIS (certified brain injury specialist) I am going to try to get certified in October for that! Why?? Because I am mother fucking awesome!!! Just sayin'