Wahoooo! I finally graduated! I am so so proud of myself for finishing my degree just one academic year later than I was supposed too and I still can’t believe that I graduated with a first class honours, I’m so so happy it is unreal. Graduation day was lovely, a little stressful at points but the sun shone and the vibe was fantastic. As nice as it was it was also very difficult for me, throughout the ceremony I was sat in between two girls I had never spoken too and although they were friendly it was difficult for me knowing that had I graduated last year I would have known pretty much everyone around me, It was hard not to be surrounded by my best friends in the ceremony and I HATED walking across the stage, with all thoses eyes on me I felt like my walking was awful and was desperate to get across the stage and back to my seat. My brother filmed me receiving my award and my walking was actually fine but I guess I’m just not used to being that nervous and walking! It was really lovely after the ceremony, having photos with new friends but it also made me a little sad that I hadn’t gotten to know some of them as well as I would like and now most of them are moving home I might not get the chance…welcome to the big wide world
I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned that I’m going to Thailand for 3 weeks in August with my old housemates Megan, Lis and Sarah? We are mostly island hopping and the thought of wearing my splint and trainers on the beach really was not a nice one, I can walk reasonably well bare foot around my flat and after paddling in Brighton see bare foot on pebbles my mum took me sandal shopping for my holiday, the sand is apparently far too hot too walk on in Thailand. I wasn’t that confident I would find something easy to walk in but The first pair I tried on we’re perfect and I think my walking is maybe even better with shoes on than bare foot? I’ll post some videos later. I will still need to wear my splint when walking around but to be able to wear them on chilled days on the beach will be incredible. The only problem is that once I had them on I never wanted to take them off. Still I feel one step closer to getting rid of the splint for good. Come on ankle!!
About a month or so ago I applied for a disability graduate trainee scheme for a researcher role at a television production company called objective via channel 4. It was the first role I had properly applied for and I genuinely didn’t expect to get through. Last Saturday I received an email inviting me to an assessment day at Channel 4 HQ, I was so excited, I couldn;t believe that my first post stroke interview would be at Channel 4! I had to prepare a presentation for the day about my favourite TV programme by objective and why so I chose to talk about Derren Brown Hero at 30,000 ft.
On Friday I woke up at 6am to start my exercises, get ready and catch the 7:44 train so I could get to the Channel 4 HQ for 9:30. I set 5 alarms to make sure I didn’t over sleep as its the earliest I have had to wake up for a very long time. Everything went swimmingly and I got to the reception at ten past nine and sat with some of the other candidates, we were quickly greeted by Simon the Channel 4 people development specialist who took us into a cinema to watch a promo film about Channel 4. This was followed by some icebreaker questions, introducing ourselves and telling each other what we’re reading, our favourite website or favourite app. After this we got moved to a seated area so our presentations could begin. We all started chatting whilst one person would be called to present. We soon figured out that of the 17 of us there were 4 different roles, 4 people didn’t turn up, there were 2 candidates for boom, 3 for Tiger Aspect, 3 for mentorn and 5 for objective.
Realising I had gotten to the final 5 I was instantly overwhelmed this was my first post stroke interview and my first since finishing uni and what an honour to be there! Everyone felt that their presentations went well although most of us admitted we were shaking with nerve. Once everyone had completed there presentations we were sent for lunch, It’s amazing how in a situation like that you can bond with people instantly, I felt like I had known some of the people there for years but it had only been a few hours, everyone had different levels of disabilities from dyslexia and dyspraxia, being partially sighted, deaf, diabetic, autistic to being in wheelchairs. If I’m honest I didn’t ask anyone what there disabilities were, I only overheard others conversations or listened when people told me. The truth is it makes no difference to me what disabilities people have so I don’t think to ask. I’ve started seeing past the disability and seeing the person instead and i’m very happy with that.
After lunch we had a group exercise where we were asked to come up with an idea and for a new TV program and pitch it to Channel 4, It was fun and we pitched a programme about 4 disabled people who were starting out at university, kind of like born to be different but just following the first university year. After the pitch we were taken back to the sofa area to begin interviews, again we were called one by one to be interviewed. It’s hard to tell how the interview went, with it being my first one for a professional job some of the questions threw me a bit and I found it quite hard to organise my thoughts. They asked if I felt I was still on a journey through my recovery I said Yes I am and I think I will be for a while but that starting my career was part of that journey. This was followed by ‘Do you think you can handle the long hours’ ‘I hope so’ I replied ‘I’m not going to deny that it will be difficult and i’ll have to learn to adjust and re-organise my life but oi’ve been told I couldn’t handle things before and I have so I I think so but I don’t want to lie and say definitely yes’ they said they were glad I didn’t lie as it wouldn’t help anyone and told me that there have been leniancies in the past with employees being allowed half days or working from home but that the decision was ultimately left to the production company so hopefully that won’t go against me.
If I don’t get it I think I will be devastated but there was not one person there that I thought wasn’t worthy of the position and I feel like it was a great experience anyway and I’ve met some great new friends and I will definitely be applying again in the future..
Recently I’ve been having a lot of really crazy messed up dreams and they are starting to freak me out a lot! They have coincided with me taking ferrous fumerate for an iron deficiency but have got much worse over the last week. I’ve put it down to reading the hunger games which I am absolutely hooked too as my dreams often involve living in Panem, escaping the Capitol or shooting arrows. Most memorably they have included abortion, kidnapping, shootings and friends screaming at me.
Last night my dream (or at least i think it was a dream ) wasn’t linked to the books and instead I dreamt of waking up with two dead arms, one hit me in the face as I tried to move it whilst the other hung there. I think it was a dream because if it wasn’t it didn’t keep me awake long and the 2 times I’ve definitely had a dead arm I’ve freaked out so much I’ve ended up calling paramedics and my mum. I’m pretty sure it was a dream as I didn’t seem to care and I also remember looking in a mirror to watch my arm but there was no mirror next to my bed.
It’s kind of wierd not knowing if it was real or not but I guess that’s the thing about dreams, & they often play out what’s playing on your mind…
Just thought it was worth noting I guess
Yesterday after my appointment with the consultant I was waiting for my bus back into town and on the phone to my mum when a boy, perhaps a few years younger than me came over and asked what time the next bus was. I could see he had a sight impairment as he had one of those white cains to help him find his way but I was sure he had at least some sight. He wanted to know all of the details, what number was it and where was it stopping and he said “I have to get off the bus sometimes, i have to, people don’t like me talking to them and I get agitated so I have to get off”. I quickly guessed that he was possibly autistic and asked my mum if I could call her back. When the bus came he let me on first, I thought this would be so he could sit next to me and I wasn’t wrong. He noticed my leg “are you ok?” he said “what have you done?” I told him I had hurt my leg, I didn’t want to go into the full story, “Will it get better? Will you have to wear it forever?” “I hope not” I laughed as I replied. He asked me every question he could think of, where was I going, who do i live with, do I have any pets, do I go swimming? He was going swimming and he was quite excited when he learnt I went swimming too, I told him about porkchop and he asked if I could eat him, ‘he’s not that kind of porkchop, he’s a hamster’. There was a loud noise “What was that?” he asked sounding somewhat frightened. The noise was some road works and he moaned a little that they are always ruining everything. He got off a few stops before me and as he got off he said to the bus driver “that was the best bus journey ever, normally people don’t talk to me”. Hearing him say that absolutely made my day, I couldn’t help but feel good about myself, that i’d made a little difference to his day but what I realised was he should be able to feel comfortable on his bus journeys every day, that shouldn’t have been his best bus journey ever. He was absolutely harmless and just wanted someone to have a conversation with and if society is too arrogant for him to be able to catch a bus happily then i’d say something is wrong. I’m not a really good person, I just did what everyone should do. I gave him a chance.
I have wondered if my experience with disability has lead me to be this comfortable around people with disabilities, I can’t say with all honesty that had I not had a stroke I would have spoke to the boy as happily, I might have feared him somehow because of my lack of understanding, i’m not sure, but if a willingness to understand and be less judgemental is something that the stroke has given me i’d say thats something to add to the positive list.
I am 99% sure that the NHS has gathered all of the most negative people they employ and asked them to treat me and slowly destroy my soul. I’ve talked before about the comments I’ve had to put up with. ‘You’re making yourself worse’ ‘she might never walk again’ ‘how she is at 3 months will be how she is for the rest of her life’ ‘you need to go home and live with your mum’ ‘You won’t be able to finish university without an electric wheelchair’ ‘You need to learn to cope with your arm without the use of your hand long term’ all of which I have proved or am slowly proving wrong. These statements HURT. I can’t begin to describe how it felt when I thought I would have to get an electric wheelchair, I wanted to get out of my wheelchair, not into a new one. They’ve caused me and the people close to me absolute heartbreak and i’m lucky I have a fight in me that my family also have which says ‘proove them wrong, stay in Brighton, don’t get a wheelchair, use your hand, walk, run, climb a freaking mountain, do everything you can to get better’. for someone without my determination I can only imagine how this might hinder their recovery.
Today I had a follow up appointment with my consultant, it was supposed to be in August but it got bumped forwards because of the dead arm episodes i’ve been having so that’s what we talked about first. I explained what had happened and he ummed and arred for a while ‘theres no reason why you would be having TIA’s all of your tests came back clear, but that doesn’t sound like a typical dead arm so it’s possible’ erm, i slept on my arm, i woke up, i couldn’t move it, it started moving again. Even I can see now that it was a dead arm. I know he can’t 100% rule it out incase it was and then I have more but he’s the consultant, surely he should have the answers.
After this he checked my hand and said it’s got worse, erm you’ve seen the video i posted yesterday right? and then he said my leg had no improvement. ARE YOU MENTAL? the only conclusion I can draw from this is that he’s stupid and needs to look for a new job.
The only positive thing he said was that he’s ‘sure i’ll pass uni’ cheers then, why dont you give me something to work to instead of destroying my soul.