Monday, April 14, 2014

Credibility....

The ways in which I affect patients is what determines a good ambassador. I have a level of credibility in that I realize what it is to have had my life changed; yet continue on in life in a manner which is extremely conducive to my well being. A patient who I visit weekly in a rehab facility has told me a countless number of times of the enjoyment that I have added to her stay in the facility. The positive reinforcement that I receive from patients lets me know that I am adding benefit to the experience of those who reside in our facilities. I love hearing that by my presence and by providing comfort and encouragement has made a difference to people. To think that somebody looks forward to my presence weekly is hugely motivating for me. I am hopeful that there will always be a role to be filled. To consistently be referred to as an integral part of the healthcare team that is the organization that I work for, allows me to truly feel a part of something. I know that one of the most attractive traits of a healthcare organization is the interpersonal appeal of those who have contact with the patients and residents.

I hope that I continue to make a contribution to every person that I visit with weekly. Each and every patient that I know I am making a difference for makes a huge difference in how encouraged I feel regarding my position. It is amazing how incredible I feel knowing that someone has gone out of his/her way to make sure that I am recognized for the efforts that I put forth to always make sure that no resident or patient is left feeling as though no one cares. I check in with the head administrator at each facility to see if there is a particular patient who exceptionally would benefit from a visit with me.  I typically am given a sheet with room numbers on it; that way I know which rooms to visit.

~Noelle

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Kindness


I think that after brain injury, survivors tend to lack the feeling of unison in many groups in society. It has been imperative for me to really strengthen my role as an integral member of my family. I have always felt as though family should love you through thick and thin. This weekend I am going to assist my father in sitting my niece and nephew. I know that my niece and nephew are familiar with me. Perhaps I can aid to help the children feel more comfortable. I think that the constant factor that must hold true in both my career and the role in assistance of care for young people is the role of kindness. I have recognized that there is no value that can be assigned to its intrinsic value in the care of people.

I witness daily the importance of that element in my healthcare organization. A healthcare organization must function similar to that of a family. The employees are conditioned that each and every person in our hospitals is somebody’s father, mother, sister or brother. The hope is that the quality of care is as one would hope for his/her loved ones. As a support member to the healthcare team, I witness some of the interactions amongst the hospital staff and can honestly say that the culture of kindness is of the utmost importance. The culture is one that makes you proud to be a part of. We are members of a greater cause. There needs to be an overwhelming desire of the team to help. Simple smiles and handshakes are simple tangible gestures that are encouraged. The hope is that even though it is never ideal to be in a hospital setting; hopefully we can differentiate ourselves by being an organization that cares. I have seen that this culture has passed on into other areas of my life. I am pleased that I have witnessed myself go out of my way to reach out to help others. I have lent a hand, a smile or a warm salutation to those who I have never met that look as though they are in need. In my experience through this recovery, warmth and kindness is invaluable especially in times of need.
I thank you for reading.

~Noelle

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Dancing In the Rain....


I was at a friend’s condo and I noticed a sign she had in her living room: “It’s not about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s learning how to dance in the rain”. As soon as I saw that quotation I immediately felt it spoke to me. Recovery from a brain injury requires that many things need to be learned in different methods than they had previously. The ability to learn new approaches and methods allows for a person to be able to recover and assume a different life. As I always reiterate, “attitude is everything”. Things regarding a Traumatic Brain Injury may not be for the short term. I am 6.5 years out and I know that there are some things about me that will likely always be hindered by my TBI. As a result, I have not thrown in the towel; rather I have learned how to put my contacts in with my left hand. I now know that I am far more dexterous with my none dominate hand than most people ever will be. I wear eyeliner every day (I did pre-injury as well); except now I apply it with my left hand. I wear contacts everyday as well; I have learned to do them seamlessly with my left hand. I feel that this adaptation of learning to use my non dominate hand is very similar to somebody deciding that they will no longer wait until it is no longer raining before they return to dancing.

As soon as I saw this quote I immediately made the association with life. People who have sustained a TBI need to be open to learning new ways to do things. I would never have been sure that I could do this; until I had to. An uncle of mine had a shoulder surgery and as a result he will be unable to use his dominate right hand for 3 to 6 months. He told my parents that he is miserable and he feels bad for me that I always use my left hand. My response, was “no it is definitely not easy, but my left hand has learned to assume dominance”. Basically my body has realized that rather than “waiting for the storm to pass”, I have learned new and different ways to “dance in the rain”. Waiting I feel does nothing for us as we are attempting to get our lives back.

Developing new ways to accomplish everyday tasks despite what our injuries may have left us with is a prime example of learning to dance in the rain. Once again using our adaptation will help us as we go on through life. A popular song line is, “life’s about changing nothing ever stays the same”. Recovery from a TBI often does result in a very different life. The task at hand has to be to encourage those who are in recovery and allow them to never feel alone. I would love it if I could gain some feedback regarding that previous statement.

~Noelle

Monday, February 10, 2014

Open to Interpretations.......


            Every element in our daily lives has at least two interpretations. After a life altering event; an individual has to look at the positive side. I encourage a person to always try and be open to the uplifting interpretation of any situation. It is far too easy to fall into the negative. Forward motion is the only way to progress. We cannot change the beginning of our story; but we can always change how we would like it to progress. This moment in time is the first moment of the rest of your life. I repeat this notion to myself quite often as I realize that indeed certain things are different now then they were prior to my injury. I have far more emotional depth than I did prior to my injury. I also realize that I am indeed resilient. I feel that not many individuals are fearful of tackling the grief that comes with a brain injury. Certainly there are moments of grief that accompany a life altering event. There also has to be an effort to move forward. I hope that I am helpful to people because I do not try and pretend that all is sunny all the time. I always press on and I have been successful in my recovery; yet I am not afraid to be honest and I believe that it is my duty. I am on the Brain Injury Association for my state and we have meetings where we discuss the legislation that is being proposed and what the next objective should be. I don’t think I ever would have been on a state advisory council if I had not had first hand experience with this injury and the adjusting to life process after one has sustained such. I hope that every person and family who has endured an injury can attempt to focus on the positive light and be so thankful for what they have. I do my best to remain in contact with many people who are attempting to carry on in their lives despite whatever injury they have endured. I want to do my part to help and support others because I know that an injury does not just happen to one person. It is family wide. I thank you for reading and I would love to read any comments that you may have.

~Noelle

Monday, January 27, 2014

Importance in Collaboration



I am so thrilled to see that posts that I have written have been useful for others pushing through on their recovery. It is an incredible gift to be able to help “connect the dots” for individuals who are facing a recovery. The unification that comes is invaluable for those who feel that they do not see a clearly laid out path set for themselves. For myself there were many instance of “trial and error”. A beautiful thing about this day in age is that there is the resource of interactive networks. There are various support variables that are in place to help.

People sharing first hand experience with others who are enduring a similar circumstance; allow for possible ideas to be shared. A medical doctor must always be consulted when learning of a possible treatment option. I myself utilized an idea that was suggested as a possibility by a medical doctor who I work alongside. I approached my neurologist with the idea; he conquered that it indeed may be a possibility.

I am hopeful that people can use this blog as a vehicle to share ideas with each other. Please always know that your doctor has final say; knowing what has worked for others is always useful. Thank you very much for reading and please know that I love when I come into the office and see that there have been responses and comments to my posts!

~Noelle

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

“It is in our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light”....

I recently had an incredible interaction with a former patient. He/she was feeling very down regarding the seemingly sluggish nature of the progression of the recovery. I was able to remind just how far he/she is from their original state. I am hopeful that I was able to help cast a ray of light towards the former patient. As Aristotle Onassis reminds us, “It is in our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light”. I love this quote because a large portion of my position is to help cast a ray of light towards the path of recovery. My position allows me to feel very important in the lives of those patients that benefit from my encouragement. I know that for some, my position allows for a sharper focus onto what works as a support to the therapists that are helping to improve the lives of their patients. I feel that having gone through a brain injury; I am very familiar with the difficulties that a patient may encounter as they venture forwarding in his/her recovery process.

As Aristotle Onassis implies, it is very easy to lose sight of the path towards the goal during dark times. In the daily rehab grind it is very easy and tempting to lose sight of the path towards recovery. Obviously every patient is different and there are three that turn me away for every one patient who truly benefits and looks forward to meeting with me. Typically the ones who benefit, do so with such enthusiasm that it makes me feel as though I am doing the right thing. I would love to hear any feedback that you may have and as always I thank you for reading!

~Noelle

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Moving Forward.....


As another year and another holiday season gets further in the distance; individuals have to keep their victories fresh on their minds. As a culture, Americans are excessively rushed and stressed. Individuals who are recovering from brain injury need to make a conscious effort to not lose sight over the strides that have been made. My quality of life has greatly improved after successfully getting my headaches under control. I have shared that I am in contact with a network of brain injury survivors. Constant headaches are something that plagues nearly all survivors. By being in contact with both fellow survivors and several doctors who are familiar with the recovery process from a Traumatic Brain Injury; I was able to approach my neurologist with what had been suggested as a possible approach to lessening my headaches.

The specialists have final say always, but in my case the suggestion regarding the botox injections were well received and after eight years of my injury, were decided upon as a possible method to lesson my headaches. I am very grateful that I am in contact with numerous individuals who have been willing to share their expertise with me regarding a brain injury recovery process. I am hopeful that this blog will provide a forum where survivors and families of survivors can get in touch with one another to share ideas and experiences to compare notes.

Part of my desire in this position is to help by providing a resource to survivors. I know that families desire for their loved one to be understood. I found that there is no better way to be understood than by creating a network with others who have gone through a similar experience as you. Once this network is discovered, experiences can be compared and the mutually beneficial arena takes form. As always I thank you for reading and I thank you for your responses.

~Noelle