Today I learnt how important it is to take what people say about others lightly, and always form your own opinions.
I am currently working in a residential unit in NZ for people with brain injury. On my first day in my new placement I was warned about one particular 'clients' aggressive/inappropriate behaviour. Over the past week & a bit I have been told by staff all the stories of incidents that have occured with this person & even shown how techniques of how to 'breakaway' if im ever caught in a dangerous/vulnerable situation.
Anyway...obviously hearing all this stuff made me feel uneasy about being left alone with this person or being in close proximity.. Today I was asked if I would go & spend some time with him, and help with some exercises. I felt a bit nervous but thought I would go in open minded and just be myself...and see how it went. Turns out he is such loveliest man & we spent 2 hours talking about allsorts - family, life, hobbies, his accident. He showed absolutely no sign of being this "aggressive" man everyone had made him out to be, and I can only assume his aggression is because he is frustrated at times & maybe people just don't listen or understand him.
It wasn't until I walked away that I realised how wrong I was to judge someone, simply on other peoples opinions and stories. I know its easily done, and I'm sure we all do it...but it just got me thinking...
Looking after people with brain injury is one of the most rewarding jobs/placements I have ever worked in. Its heartbreaking hearing peoples stories but at the same time it just fascinates me how a head injury (for a number of different reasons - a knock to the head or a serious car accident) can completely change your personality, your mood, your ability to walk, talk, eat....
Sorry to be morbid but.....it really makes me realise how precious life is, and scares me how it can happen to anyone... at any moment in time. How fragile life can be, and how it can be turned upside down in the blink of an eye. We all moan about trivial things & get stressed about this & that... when really we have perfect lives where we can do what we want, when we want to...while being surrounded by people we love & care for every day. Its easy to take things for granted and think we're hard done by, but in comparison to the people I have had the pleasure of working with...we all have it easy!!!!
The people I have spent my time with in NZ (and the people I have worked with at home with a brain injury) have all had to adjust to a completely different way of life & are just expected to deal with it. Everything in their life and about their person changes & they are all of a sudden institutionalised & living a life they're just not used to. While coping with all this, they are still kind, caring, lovely individuals who want to laugh with their friends & be surrounded by their families. It really is a shame that not all staff I've come across & worked with have the right attitudes in looking after people with brain injuries. Sorry if this offends anyone but I strongly feel bad attitude and lack of CARE in staff are big parts in the 'clients/residents' frustrations..mostly cos they feel nobody is listening to them or understanding them & their situation.
Its so sad to see BUT the time I have spent here so far has made me convinced this is the line of work I want to go in to when I qualify. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to have my own neurological rehabilitation centre.......omg it would be a dream, but until then I will definiately stick to this line of work as its fascinates me & is definately the most rewarding setting I've ever been involved in.
Sorry to go on....but...
Its really made me realise how amazing my life really is. I truely am lucky to have such wonderful family, friends & fiancee!! I have been able to disappear to the other side of the world for part of my studies & I have had nothing but support & encouragement from everyone the whole way. My lovely Nan & Grandad passed away a while ago now (miss them lots), and they left some money behind for me which I have used to finance this trip - thank you, without you it wouldn't be possible. Every day I think how lucky I am to have such great people in my life & without you all I wouldn't be the person I am today. So thank you ...especially to my Mum, for leading me down the right path & making me appreciate life, and to Dave for supporting me every step of the way. Love you xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
P.S SORRY FOR THE ESSAY PPL i got carried away OOPS