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My Experience Working As A Traumatic Brain Injury and Diffuse Axonal Survivor

This is my experience. My own personal preference, determination and not allowing this brain and any doctors say I can’t work. How do I know until I try? It has been the hardest thing I have ever done, especially since I don’t remember my resume and applying in itself has been a challenge. Being educated […]

Updated below, scroll to the date 9/15/20

This is my experience. My own personal preference, determination and not allowing this brain and any doctors say I can’t work. How do I know until I try? It has been the hardest thing I have ever done, especially since I don’t remember my resume and applying in itself has been a challenge. Being educated and with years of experience yet trying to find entry level jobs is almost impossible. But submit a cover letter and hope they read it and respond.

Sadly I got my NeuroPsych report that I had awhile back. Although I don’t understand a lot of it, it shows that based on my education and experience that my IQ and ability is significantly behind where it once was. That was definitely a hard 💊 pill to swallow.

But despite how I feel and being shown on a report that my IQ is significantly lower and despite all my memory loss that won’t stop me.

I first got a job December 2019. I got an entry level position for a local trauma program at a trauma hospital. Entry level, I check people in for court ordered classes and we do bike helmet clinics which I have not done yet due to Covid. I have graduate level education, I have 15 years of experience in the medical field and have done hard jobs. I check people in and take cash. Basic. Yet so hard and challenging. But I work for an amazing boss and staff who fully understand that I have a TBI, one nurse I work with has a brother with one. So she gets it. They gave me a chance and I am so thankful. I pick when i work based off their needs, so it works perfect for me. But with Covid we have no classes or events. So I got another job…

My new job is actually no guarantee of hours either, when my other job comes back I can easily manage both and work just one day a week at either one, maybe 2 depending on my ability physically and mentally. I don’t have to work. I want to work. But I have to make sure I am not overdoing it. My new job is going into different businesses who are doing a worksite wellness day for their health insurance. So I go in and do their biometrics. I check their waist measurement, get their height & weight, finger poke them to run blood tests for glucose and cholesterol, take their blood pressure. I learned lesson 1 day 1, not to sit at the table where my left hand is in the dominant position. My left arm and leg are still numb, not to mention i was never good before injury with my left hand, I was sitting next to my coworker and doing the finger poke, but being to his right it left me to use my left hand, the side that had the stroke like symptoms. So note to self, always sit to where my dominant hand, my right hand is available. I then enter the data and explain the results and do an emergency referral if needed if they have any concerning results. This is not entry level. This is aligned with what I went to college for, aligned with my years of education and trainings. I have done all this pre brain injury in different settings. I felt so overwhelmed after day 1. So much self doubt too. But I have an amazing boss and one who understands me and is willing to work with me. It’s pretty amazing.

So as I have been learning, be patient, give yourself grace and try hard for what you want. Maybe my latest job won’t work out, but I am willing to try, learn and study to make sure I do the best possible and to get back so much of my memory that was lost. It’s still in there, I just have to dig deep.

I’m not one for excuses. Funny the day I got my TBI I wanted to quit my job, it’s not because I didn’t want to work, it wasn’t the right place for me. I have found two amazing places and opportunities and although they are both extremely hard work with a brain injury, they are so worth it. It makes me feel good to have a purpose and it feel amazing to be able to look for a job, get a job and work. I know that wasn’t something that was thought I could be or would be doing but here I am. Every day I am exhausted, every day I hurt, every day I struggle but I do all I can do to push through and have some sense of normalcy in my life.

I ordered lancets and my own waist measurements to practice with at home.

I just want to say don’t let anyone tell you that you cannot do something if it’s not harmful to you. Sure working like I am may be frowned upon for recovery, but I’m not harming anyone and I don’t know what I am capable of until I try. Do what you need to do for you and what’s best for you. I need a purpose in life, these positions give me purpose and so does volunteering and I can do all 3 without overdoing it.

Update 9/15/20

I didn’t sleep much last night. Maybe 3 hours, I normally sleep solid 8+ a night. I went to bed frustrated because I could not log on to my sons back to school orientation and missed it. I finally fell asleep after midnight and I woke up at 330am, an hour before my alarm. I had a horrible night, so many negative thoughts, wondering why I lived through this to be here and not able to parent and not feeling like I could work. I studied my ass off since my last shift on 9/2 and had been practicing blood pressures, finger pokes and explaining results to my husband. I was beyond stressed and losing it last night. I got up and went to work today. I observed the first couple patients, then did my own 3 patients. It was a mess. I was making a mess with the blood during the blood poke, unable to milk the finger, unable to explain the results and unable to have a conversation as I did anything. It broke me.

I told my trainer I didn’t want to do anymore. I then text my husband to pick me up. I talked to my trainer, he’s so nice and was so encouraging. But the bottom line is that it was too much for me. I did not feel I could confidently and competently do the job. I tried. And yes with time he kept encouraging me I would be fine. But I won’t. I had a severe brain injury, tests have proved I have a significant lower IQ, I have major memory issues and more. We have sold so much of what we own so that I don’t have to work. But I want to work. But this job is not it sadly. I so wish it could be, but right now is not the right time. I’m not there yet.

I emailed my boss who is amazing and was understanding and I thanked her so much expressing how grateful I am for the opportunity. She fully understands and appreciated me being honest. The company is merging with another company and they may have opportunities in the future that will be perfect for me, more entry level and close to what I do at Emanuel. Working worksite wellness events but checking people in and directing them where to go. I know I can do that, I am doing that now and I know I can and am confident in doing so.

So after leaving work twice in tears, today leaving in tears and not understanding why I lived to live like this and with these struggles, I am being honest and sadly what I want and what I hope for, my years of education and experience are not the same as they were pre TBI, I need to acknowledge and accept that and step away because literally it’s making me lose my mind slowly, negatively impacting my wellbeing and my mindset, how I feel and what I do is vital for myself, my recovery and how I am in general. Not to mention I’m still wiped out from 9/2 working. I like to learn the hard way and I don’t like to be told what I can and cannot do, but I can learn and learn it’s ok to walk away and that I’m not where I once was.

So hopefully they will have opportunities in the future that will work for me, and hopefully soon my job at Emanuel will come back.

I signed up for texts from Trent Shelton and this is the one I got this morning. Couldn’t be more perfect for my day, thoughts and feelings. Just what I needed.

By jessymunch826

I am a TBI Survivor and woman who has been through a lot of good and bad. My goal by this blog is to share what I have learned and how life has happened for me and not to me. I have found purpose in it all and am here to share it. I am also sober and quitting drinking was the best choice for me. I will post about TBI, Brain Injury, life, travel, lessons learned and more. I am not a doctor or a nurse, I am a traumatic brain injury survivor who has lived 40 years of life and have an amazing mindset from it all. None of this is medical advice, that is what your doctor is for or 911 if you are having an true emergency and need help right away. I am here for community and am a certified health educator who knows how to navigate the healthcare system and Insurance. Always willing to help. Find me on Instagram jessymunch82617 or email me at Click on the white title of the blog post to read, just saying in case you might be confused like I am with all this 🤣

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