Critical care, HDU, Hospital, Nurse, Uncategorized

Dear patient…

I’ve thought a lot recently after work about what I wish I could tell my patients that they don’t know or show them things that they don’t see. I work in a HDU were each nurse looks after 2 patients. It doesn’t seem like a lot to most people considering ward nurses usually nurse around 6-8 patients on a good day and even more when they are short staffed, but our patients need a more intensive level of care, although not quite to the level of ITU patients. 

I can have a patient in one room who needs IV antibiotics making up, has infusions keeping their blood pressure up and others stabilising their blood glucose level, running blood transfusions, needing high levels of oxygen, hourly blood pressure monitoring, having specialised lines put in their artery or getting central access so we can give them the stronger medications to stabilise their condition. In the next room I can have a patient who has just been admitted to the unit following major life saving surgery who needs assessing by the doctor, has drains and wound dressings that need seeing to and monitoring, they need to be observed for signs of bleeding, we need to start carrying out the post op instructions outlined in their notes at the same time as filling out admission paperwork, checking skin, catching up on medication, updating the patient, updating relatives, trying to keep the patient orientated after having a general anaesthetic and medications that can so easily lead them to being confused after such major surgery. The patient in room one does not know about the patient in room two. The relatives of both patients don’t know what is happening in the next room. And yet somehow we prioritise our time to make sure the most important tasks are carried out as quickly as possible. Nobody ever knows what happens in the other room. I can walk out of a room that was filled with sadness and stress, pause to put on my gloves and apron, smile and then walk into the other room and never let you realise what sort of day the patient next door is having. 

Even on my busiest or most stressful days when I feel like giving up I can have a good cry or a staffroom moan, get it out of my system and get back to straight thinking and realise at the end of the day I love this job. 

Something else that helps me keep going through the difficult days is my understanding of how it feels to be on the other side of the healthcare system. I get it, being on the receiving side is difficult, and in the most vulnerable times of your life you feel like nothing can be more important than a doctor coming to see you straight away, or the nurse being at your side 100% of the time to help you on the road to recovery.

I understand how it feels to be in both sets of shoes, and so I started putting together 2 lists of things I wish the other person knew. A list of things I wish as a nurse that my patient could understand, and a list that as a patient I hope that the nurse can understand. It originally was just for my eyes only, a way to get out what I was feeling after what feels like a rough patch. But then I wondered what other peoples’ thoughts would be on the lists, I know a lot of nurses and I know a lot of patients. I only know a few nurse patients. What do you wish the nurse knew when you were in hospital? 

 

 

For my patients:

Waiting is not a terrible thing, waiting means there is time, your problem is not life threatening. It may feel like a major inconvenience but trust me, if your issue can’t wait we won’t make you wait. 

If I ask if you mind if my student can carry out the task it is because I am confident they can do it, if I have any doubt I would let them observe me do it.

Nurses are people too, I have a life outside of work, a family, commitments, stresses and troubles. If I am working a holiday or a weekend or a night, I am probably missing my family or a party or delaying my own holiday plans so I can help you. It’s a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week, 365 (and a quarter!) days a year job.

I am always trying my best for you, the day I stop giving 100% to my patients is the day I will stop nursing..

I often get attached to my patients. Especially if they stay with us for more than the usual length of time. 

I treat you as I would want my family to be treated, please treat me how you would want your family member treated if they were a nurse. 

I may look young, but I have experienced a lot in life and work, I am definitely old enough to be a nurse. I don’t think HR would have let me have an interview if I wasn’t! 

Sometimes we may have just finished a stretch of night shifts one morning and then come to work the next day for a long day shift.

There are so many times we come across patients or situations when we could probably do with some counselling afterwards, but once the bed space is cleaned theres usually the next patient already on their way and we have to be ready to carry on. Sometimes we get a debrief days or weeks later, but mostly we don’t have an allocated slot of time to try to process what we have witnessed, we are ready to face the next challenge that comes our way.

Don’t lie to me, it won’t help you or us in any way….and I’m also not stupid, a lot of the time I know the answer before I ask the question. And similarly I will probably add at least 10 to whatever number you tell me you smoke or drink in a week.

Paperwork is the worst part of my job. By the end of a shift I have signed my name so many times it looks like I’ve spelled it wrong. I can’t just complete a task and be done with it. We explain procedures to patients to ask for their permission to complete it so that they are involved and aware of their care, we carry out the task, write what we have done on a paper chart, then write it up on the computer in our daily writing, then fill out a form related to the task we have done and then finally at the end of our shift we verbally hand over what we did in the task. 

Please, please, PLEASE do not “help” us by getting yourself off a bedpan, it usually makes matters worse for you and us! As I’ve already said I’ve seen a lot in the years I’ve been nursing. I forget what your bum looks like before I’ve even make it to the staffroom to eat my lunch. 

And while we are on the topic, don’t ever put your tissues/wipes in the bed pan. They can’t go down the drain and they can’t go in the macerator….they have to be taken out somehow!

When you ask for medication that we don’t keep stocked in the locked drawer with your other medications at the bedside and I say I will go and get it, I don’t mean I will be back within 10 seconds. I will make sure somebody can cover my room so you are still safe and looked after, then I will go to every nurse on the ward asking for a specific set of keys to access the medication you are after, for some medications I also need to find an available nurse or student to be able to sign the medication out of the cupboard and then come back with me into the room to witness you taking the medication. Even worse is if it’s not prescribed, I have to find a doctor, explain the need and hopefully get something prescribed for you. Don’t wait until you have 10/10 pain or nausea before you ask if you can help it. If it gets to 4/10, tell me, I’ll offer you something and you will have it before you even get near a 6/10 if I can help it! 

Please think before you act or react, we don’t do these things for the good of our health, we do them for the good of yours. And if you want to leave the hospital and not come back then tell me, it’s a much easier process to sign a form and leave happily (we usually even try to rush a prescription through so you can take meds home with you!) going out “for a smoke” or “for fresh air” and not returning within an appropriate amount of time (or ever) means I’m taken away from my other patient trying to find you and make sure you are ok, or calling police and filling out tonnes of paperwork if you can’t be found.. It takes lots of people lots of time to sort out that sort of problem. 

I really do wish there was a magic wand I could wave to make you better and fix everything, just as much as you do.

I am your advocate, we are a team, trust me.

When you achieve goals it makes my day as much as it makes yours or your family’s. 

Sometimes when we leave the room we cry. A lot of times we wait until we get into our car.

Don’t believe everything you see on Casualty or in films, it is nothing like that in real life.

Nursing is demanding. Some jobs are physically demanding. Some jobs are mentally demanding. Some jobs are emotionally demanding, Nursing is all three. And I do feel that pressure every single day.

I hate having to wake you up to check your obs even more than you hate being woken up. But you are ill, I wouldn’t be doing something if it wasn’t necessary to get you better.

If you want or need something then just ask me. Don’t wait until your relatives or visitors arrive and tell them you haven’t had or done something. I can’t help you if I don’t know. Even if I look busy, please tell me.

I wasn’t allowed to use wikipedia or google to get my degree, don’t use it to diagnose yourself.

Sometimes we lose sleep worrying about you, worrying if we did the best thing, worrying about what you still have to go through. I think about you after my shift is done. I want you to recover and do well. I care about you.

It really makes my day when you say thank you or show gratitude.

Everything within me screams to run away from danger in every circumstance and yet every time the emergency buzzer goes off I will always run to help.

You are not a bother, you do not need to apologise, you are a priority for me, I want to help and I am there to help, just sometimes I need you to wait a little while until I can give you my full attention. 

 

 

 

For nurses:

It doesn’t matter how much I know about my health or hospitals etc. please explain things to me in a simple way. When I’m sick enough to be in hospital I don’t always follow what is happening. 

No matter what you say Fragmin or Inhixa injections are not a “sharp scratch”, and they don’t “sting a little”, sometimes using the phrase “burns like hell” is a lot more appropriate. 

If you wake me up in the middle of the night to check my obs or give me medication and I’m moody, I’m sorry, it’s nothing personal, I probably haven’t slept for nights before I even came in to hospital. 

When I need help to wash or use the toilet etc I will feel even more vulnerable than I already did, reassurance and a kind word goes a long way in making me feel settled and less nervous.

I may be just one of many patients you see in a day or a week, but for me, I will remember your face, I will remember how you made me feel, I will remember you.

I don’t want to bother you for the simple things because I know you have so much to deal with already. 

If I have to wait then be honest with me, tell me I will have to wait, I just like to know what is going on.

Give me a chance to answer your questions…I may not be able to speak in full sentences but I can tell you what I need to, it just takes a few extra breaths between words to get it out. If you asked me a question and I started to answer, let me finish. If it was important enough for you to ask, then it is important enough for me to answer. 

I’m more than my illness, I may be in hospital for one illness, but it is impacting a lot of things in my life and causing more and more stress with each admission or day. 

Please don’t stereotype me.

My sats may be ok but I still can’t breathe. Sometimes saying things that are meant to reassure me doesn’t help. Offer reassurance, tell me I am safe, you are there to help, don’t try to tell me my numbers say I am fine, because right at that moment I’m not fine, no matter what my numbers say. 

I’m stubborn, I will try to get by on my own and I will try to get by without help. I’m sorry if it makes things more difficult in the long run, I like my independence and I hate to give up control.

 

 

 

My “for nurses” list seems way shorter, probably because I know how it feels to be the nurse or the patient and so even as a patient, and even when I am really unwell I keep in my mind that I need to treat everyone who is helping me with a grateful attitude, and in a way I would want to be treated in work too. I guess trying to see things from the other persons perspective is always helpful. I haven’t really had many bad experiences with healthcare as a patient and I know I’m pretty lucky with that. I’ve heard about people who have had a bad experience and it makes them less likely to seek help in the future for fear of repeating that same problem. On the flip side, I have had my fair share of difficult shifts in work. The vast majority of those have been through no fault of the patient, when you become critically unwell you cannot always control how you behave, you cannot always this rationally and clearly, and I know that comes as part of the job when you work in critical care nursing. 

I do love my job, and some days I just have to have thick skin and a smile on my face throughout whatever gets thrown in my direction. I always try to remember that it is a privilege to be a nurse. Sometimes I have to try extra hard to remember that! Most days my life is changed for the better by the people I look after and their family members. And as I said in my “for patients” list, the day I stop giving 100% and stop caring, or lose sight of why I first decided to be a nurse, then that is the day I will need to take a step back and reevaluate life.

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Update…

I fall out of the habit of blogging far too often. It is something I love to do, a way for me to talk about things that are important to me, a way to remember things I go through, a way to find my place in the world. The name of my blog is Asthma Adventures and Anything Else, but I always seem to think that unless I’m sick or have something health wise to update about, then I have nothing to say. I’ve fallen into the trap of not thinking that my “adventures”, or “anything else” are important.

One of my best friends has started writing a blog, and whenever I see her or talk about her blog with her you can just sense the pride and the happiness that blogging gives her. I love reading her posts, some of the things she has blogged about have taken her a great deal of courage and I’m so proud to say she’s my best friend. She had a hard time very recently because of a comment she received about her blog, and she seriously thought about stopping, deleting everything she had worked so hard to do, just wiping the entire thing and not doing it anymore even though it brings her so much joy. And obviously as friends we did our best to stop her from making that big mistake. Her blog makes her happy. She writes about her family, her love and her life, and she is proud of her work.

Trying to persuade her to stick at blogging made me check back on my own and read over the tonnes of unpublished posts that I just couldn’t word quite right, or the posts that are saved and I’ll never finish because they were tied to so many emotions at the time I wrote them, I couldn’t bring myself to share my feelings at that time, and now things are different and so they’ll just sit in my saved section and never be read by anyone else. I can never think of the right thing to write about to get back in to the swing of things again, but seeing my friend almost give up something she loves made me realise that the longer I put off updating my blog, the longer I’m not doing something I love too.

Oh and if you want to read all about one of my fabulous best friends and her adorable little family then heres the link:

https://mywinningatparenting.wordpress.com

There’s always a cute baby picture

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As if I’m 30?!

Time to have my yearly reflection on life?! It’s part way between my birthday and my “getting sick anniversary” and I can never remember what day I use to recap the year but now seems as good a time as any!

I have been back in work for over a year now, I’m part time, I seem to have my shifts sorted, and I am doing great! I love being back, I love being surrounded by my friends, I love being back in the place I am most comfortable. I love being able to be myself. I love being able to do a job I consider a huge privilege (most days!) and on the odd day I love being able to moan about the stresses that come with my job. Everyone has bad days, and I love being in work to get them.

I haven’t quite hit my last years record of 10 months hospital free, but I did make it 7 months, so thats a win in my book! I look back at every time I say “this time will be my last” and I sigh at my optimism…I know one admission will eventually be my last and I will get through all of this, but hey, lets be realistic! I’m going to aim to beat my 7 month streak this year. It can be done, I’m not jinxing myself, but I’ll see where I am this time next year!

I was a little disappointed this last month that I wasn’t able to go for treatment I was referred for. I was hoping I would be able to get botox in my vocal cords in June, but things weren’t meant to be and my referral didn’t go through in time for that plan to go ahead. I do have a follow up appointment in August at Preston and then another appointment in Liverpool not long after that so I will see what will come of those and what my treatment plan and goals are for the coming months.

The last 12 months have been great fun. I haven’t had quite the amount of adventures as I did the year I was off work, but I’ve made sure I’ve enjoyed myself! I travelled to the south of France recently with friends and burnt myself to a crisp in one day! I laughed so much in 3 days. Roll on the next holiday! I finally went back to the caravan to relax! I won my first game of Catan against the mother and brother. I went to Harry Potter studios twice! Once with my nephew Oliver and then with my niece Charlotte. I’ve taken tonnes of photos and know I’ll be taking a tonne more in the next 12 months! I turned 30! I have been to the theatre, I had afternoon tea! I baked cakes, and smashed cakes. I experienced single parenthood of 4 children for 4 days while my sister and brother in law went to Jamaica! I’m not cut out for 4 kids! I bought my first new car! I tried my hand at making churros…I’m not so good at it!

We’ve had hard times too as a family, we lost my Nan last year and also Adam. It’s been hard on us as a family, but it has brought us closer together, and strengthened our love and support for each other. We have learned who we can rely on, and learned not to take anything for granted. I’m more willing to live in the moment in life now, to take chances and not have regrets, to make memories with my family, to take more pictures of people I love. Every year has its good times and bad, the last year was probably one of the hardest I’ve faced, and I know that there will be more hard times in the future. But one thing is for sure, I am loved, I have friends and family around me who I love more than anything, and I will keep making memories and having adventures with them.

Here’s to the next 12 months of life. I hope it is full of love, family and friends. Because at the end of the day, that’s what matters most.

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Lesson learned…

Result for whether or not I learned that it is possible for me to survive two weeks of night shifts: Inconclusive

So I didn’t actually have to do the second week of nights! The ward was really short staffed on days so when I went in to work for my one day shift before my nights started they asked could I swap to days to try and even out the playing field. Of course I jumped at the chance! Who wouldn’t?! So no, I didn’t find out if it is possible for me to survive two weeks of nights.

I did learn that my VCD won’t play fair if I’m stressed though. I’ve definitely had a jam packed, crazy couple of weeks. There’s been plenty of fun had, but a fair amount of stress too. The result of that lesson was a 5 day stay in hospital following a MET call on my ward when I was in work and a 24 hour stay in ITU. Completely unexpected. I normally start feeling run down, or having little mini episodes for a while leading up to a bad spell. This time 0 symptoms to 100% sick 10 times faster than normal. And once I felt like I’d had enough it didn’t slow down. Thought I was pretty much aware of what was going on, but I’m finding out that the 20 minutes I am aware of is only a small part of the 2 hour drama that unravelled at work. Feeling extra grateful for the people that were on shift and helped me out or helped out others so they could help me. They’ll probably never forgive me, I’m gonna have to start baking cakes to take to work regularly to keep people sweet!!

I think it may have finally sunk in though that I need to stop and sort out my VCD whenever it starts to flare up, even just the little ones that I can sort “on the go”. I should probably take 2 minutes to stop and sort myself out, rather than risk carrying on and taking 2 weeks to recover instead. A hard pill to swallow when you’re as stubborn as I am. But I’m working on listening to people, especially if they know me as well as I think I know my VCD. They can see and hear what is going on, they pretend I can fool them, but I know that they’re just as clued up about things as I am. Time to stop being a control freak?! Maybe…

I thought I had gotten the hang of it all, and that I knew my limits of how far I can go, but then life throws in a curve ball, things happen way faster than normal and sometimes you land yourself on ITU wondering what on earth happened and how it got so far so fast.

So I’m gonna draw a line under that admission, lessons learned, I’ll be more weary now but hopefully never need to use the lessons because this is the time that it never happens again!!!….?

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What a week!

It has been a long week!

I started off the week packing up my car and travelling to Waddecar Scout Camp for 4 days with the youth from Church. I spent 4 sleep deprived days handing out plasters, taking photos, singing songs, reading Scriptures, volunteering for devotionals (Sorry Becca!), flossing, eating way more than I should have, teaching alternative ideas for first aid, laughing so much I almost couldn’t breathe, and just really enjoying being surrounded by like minded people, making new friendships and strengthening old ones.

The second half of the week was straight back to work…nights! Enough said! And when I wasn’t working I was trying to cram in all the sleep I could.

 

I’ve learned the best lessons this week though.

1/ Fluke or not, I had a killer aim when we got to shoot rifles. Became a really persuasive tool when I wanted people to go to sleep because I was tired.

2/ No matter how many times I try to climb 60 steep steps in one go, I’m never gonna be able to do it. My legs will still feel like they’re on fire by the 30th step, my lungs will feel like they’re about to explode and my ears will be ringing before I get to the top.

3/ Having to climb 60 steps every morning (and sometimes a whole lot more times through the day) makes it easier to be able to walk up 28 normal steps on my way out of work.

4/ No matter what, even when you think your car is completely full to the brim, and there won’t be any room to breathe, never mind drive, you’ll always be able to squeeze in a forgotten suitcase, sleeping bag and pair of trainers!

5/ When your car is that full, as you start to decant people and belongings out of the car, it will still look so full you couldn’t possibly have fit all that in there.

6/ When a wasp flies into a packed car, I will leave everyone else behind while I run to safety and leave them trapped, then sit back and laugh so hard I would never be useful to them anyway.

7/ Not all Americans can make American pancakes 😉 It’s probably because they’re really just scotch pancakes, and we probably had them first, they just stole the idea.

8/ If I stay up til 3.30am, I will not be nice the following day, even to children.

9/ It is possible to work a night shift after so little sleep.

10/ It is possible to feel completely undervalued and overwhelming loved at one time. And the feeling loved part wins. You’ll move on from being mad and forget about it, but you won’t ever forget when people go the extra 10,000 miles for you.

11/ I’ve been back at work 11 full weeks, and every time I think I might have made a mistake and that going back to work full time wasn’t all I had it cracked up to be, someone will always do something that makes me think “Nope, I’m good here. This is why I came back”.

12/ The people you love and who love you in return should always be your top priority. Friends and family are everything in life, don’t miss an opportunity to tell them that.

 

I’m back on nights next week, hoping the only lesson I learn is that it is possible for me to survive two weeks of night shifts!!

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5 years…

5 years, 35 admissions, 3 hospitals, 7 NIV unit stays, 6 HDU admissions and 4 stints on ITU since my first admission with my asthma/VCD. What a rollercoaster!

Last years big change was that I quit my job to see if it would have a dramatic improvement on my health. It kind of worked, I still got sick, but I stayed home in bed and avoided hospital a lot more than I usually did!

This years big change??? I got my job back 😀 I have never been so happy to go to work in my life. Being back and seeing people more regularly has brought it back how much I hated leaving, and I remember how great I had life getting my dream job on HDU straight out of uni. I work with some of the best people. I absolutely love being back, and I certainly won’t be taking it for granted.

I guess the best change this past year has been how long I managed to stay hospital free. It was about 10 months with no asthma/VCD hospital admissions. As soon as I quit my job last May, my treatment plans changed really quickly, and the change in my health was noticeable pretty early on. I do think working bank shifts had an effect on my health too, as I said earlier, if I was sick I just didn’t work. I took time off, and even though I was still really unwell at times, I guess staying in bed is a much better way to get better than dragging myself out of bed to carry on with life.

That said, in the weirdest way, work has helped me stay healthy the last few weeks for sure! This crazy hot weather, the really high pollen counts, and the fires that have been going on around the area haven’t effected me as much as they should have. Getting up and being in work early away from the fires, the heat, the pollen, and staying there until the day starts to cool off, and then heading home and staying indoors has really helped me. I notice on the drive home from work, with the windows down (UDiv doesn’t have air con) that I start sneezing as I get closer to home. I notice on my days off if I stay out in the sun, or I’m driving around near home, that it definitely has an effect on how I feel.

So being 4 weeks back into work and being admitted for 3 days isn’t going to knock me, I don’t blame working for this bump in the road, and I’m pretty happy that I will beat my winning streak of 10 months this time. I can’t believe last year I was saying 8 weeks hospital free was a major achievement, and 12 months later it is 10 months! Crazy. Now imagine how exciting it would be if I get to 4th July 2019 and have no more admissions?! It can be done…watch this space!

In the last 12 months I have been to Rome, went camping, a weekend in Haven, took so many photos, British pageant take 2, FSY Health counsellor, caravan trips, Jessica’s pool party, Clay shooting, Baked cakes, threw a Dr Seuss baby shower, Friends Bridal shower, saw one of my best friends get engaged, was Maid of Honour at her wedding, became an Aunty to 4 and have loved seeing Arthur grow and the other kiddies love him more and more, Scotland trip, Stonehenge, London Temple, Harry Potter weekend, Charlotte’s baptism, got my job back, was at a solemn assembly when we sustained our new Prophet, got a new car, got a crazy new puppy and so much more!

It’s been a great 12 months, and I’ve not taken them for granted. It was difficult at times, and the best of fun at others. I feel like I’ve had some massive highs this past year mixed in with some major stress, some life changing decisions, and some wonderful memories. Life is never plain sailing but I am so grateful for the life I have, for the experiences I get to have, for the wonderful friends and family I am blessed with. And I’m so grateful for improved health and a second shot at my dream job.

2018/2019 will be no different I’m sure!

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Everything changes!

My life has been change after change after change lately. I am not the biggest fan of change, but some things have been pretty exciting, others not so good. We will see where all of these changes take me!

I can’t believe I have one week left until I go back to full time employment. It has been over a year since I have had regular permanent employment, and even longer than that since my employment has been full time. Getting my new (old) job is one of the changes I am probably most looking forward to. This time last year I was facing what I thought was one of my biggest challenges. I had made the decision to leave full time employment and work around my own availability. Pretty quickly I not only settled into the challenge, but I had convinced myself that I was more than just surviving, I had taken on the challenge and was winning. I loved the idea that I wouldn’t ever have to miss anything I wanted to do ever again. If I had something on, I didn’t go to work. If I wasn’t well, I cancelled my shifts, I took some time for me and I recovered and got back to work. It was definitely the right decision for me in the end.

It wasn’t all rosey, it did come with it’s fair share of challenges. The weeks when I knew I really needed work, and there was just none available, were not the easiest to endure. The times I took off to stay well meant I wasn’t paid for that time off, I had my savings to fall back on but it was still stressful willing myself to get better fast enough to return to work and make sure I got some pay every single month. I also knew that this wasn’t a permanent fix. I always knew I would either have to make the jump and join an agency or try and get myself back to work. Believe it or not but I absolutely hate meeting new people. Sometimes I can do it, but I know I am a little stand offish, I don’t like not knowing people, and asking for help because I don’t know the surroundings, the way things run, or the people is hard work! Agency work might have been a great opportunity, but I wanted to have some security trying out full time work again.

Thankfully at the time I realised I needed to start thinking about returning to work, things started to “fall into place”. My health was improving, my sickness record had almost reset, my medical teams agreed things were more manageable, and my old job just happened to go back up on NHS jobs. Far too many coincidences all at once to believe that it was not all perfectly timed for a reason.

I’m looking forward to being the new girl again! I am going to use the phrase “sorry I’m new here” wayyyyyy more than people can imagine is possible, and I’m going to enjoy being surrounded by friends and familiarity whist I try to find my feet in the working world again. I honestly think it will work out, as I said, too many “coincidences” happened at once for me to not follow this path. It’s not my own making that has got me here. Im anxious about going back to work, I’d be a fool not to be. So if I turn into a recluse for a few weeks it’s because I’m saving every last drop of energy to try and get this part of my life back on track, and to make this work. If everything timed out perfect just to prove to me that I can’t do this, then I know it will be time to move on. But lets hope it worked out so that I can get on with what I love.

I’m half looking forward to missing out on a couple of things again because “sorry I have to work”. It has been so long since I have said that! And I bet the novelty will wear off real fast. I’ve thrown myself into some things the last 12 months because I knew I could, I could be there 100% of the time, I could keep up with what was going on, and it was good for me. But I’m very-nearly-almost-soon-to-be 29 and getting pieces of my life back on track in time for a new year of life makes almost being 30 seem way better!

I definitely couldn’t have survived the last 12/13 months without my family, friends, leaders, people who I have turned to for support. Thanks for remembering me, for including me and for letting me know that even though my life had changed, my friends hadn’t. I’ve enjoyed some great times in the last year because of the amazing people I have in my life. I know that the changes I’m facing now that aren’t so good, that don’t seem like they are for my benefit or for my good, the changes I know will be sad for myself and for others, I know I can face them with the love and support of the most amazing family and the best of friends.

Hopefully I’ll still have time to carry on with hobbies I have grown to love recently. I have loved the opportunity to pursue new things, to take some photos, to bake a few cakes again, and to try my hand at some other things to pass my time. I guess after my initial reclusive months starting back at work, I will eventually find a balance that keeps me sane, helps me keep up all the things I love, and helps me stay healthy and happy with wherever life decides to take me.