For those that don't know what those initials mean: traumatic brain injury It's been almost a year since I graduated nursing school. I still have not taken my test. Family junk has gotten in the way, health, teeth........But that is not all of it, that isn't even a big part of it although it didn't make things any easier. This is not easy for me to do, so bare with me. I'm not afraid to take the state board. I may or may not be able to pass. That isn't the point. It has never been the point. And for the past year I've felt pressure to take this test and pass it and work in the profession by people with only the best intentions who love and care about me and I understand that. I do. I get it. But deep down inside it also makes me angry. Seven years post Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) I'm having to face certain truths. I mean really take them out and face them, forcing myself to be honest with those around me and most of all with myself. It's not easy to do. Because to do that I have to swallow a big gulp of pride.....and it seems I don't do that well. Nor do I handle weakness or vulnerability in myself well. (childhood issue I've never managed to throw off) husband and I just had a long honest discussion. We're down to the wire. He's losing his unemployment, there will be no more extensions. He's been counting on me passing the state board and working while he draws his social security. He says he hasn't but I'm not stupid. It was time to be honest with him, really honest. Right after the accident I was a mess. I couldn't do a thing with numbers. I couldn't write anything down and have it come out coherent. I couldn't remember anything longer than a few mins at best. Heck for the first year or more I didn't even have my own personality.....much of that time by the way is a very vague haze......the other 80 percent I don't even remember. I spent the two years following the accident watching darrin......yet I don't recall the first two years of his life. Sometimes I can with a photo prompt. easy child's graduation ceremony from nursing school where I pinned her........gone. I didn't even know I pinned her until she told me. It made her cry. It made ME cry. School started as a form of mental therapy. Sort of like physical therapy for the brain. The hope was that via the demands of school I would regain skills I'd lost. And it did help a LOT. It did not fix the issues......it merely improved them somewhat. Nursing school. I started it to finish something I walked away from as a young difficult child. I'd spent my whole life wondering if I'd quite because I didn't want to do the job or if I'd quit because I was scared I couldn't do the job. My family spent all that time making me feel that it was the latter....and making me feel like crud for it. I can honestly say I didn't enter the program ever believing that I could work as a nurse, whether I graduated or not. I can be fairly honest with myself about my own capabilities. I figured if it worked out that I could.....great. If not......well I did what I set out to do. And if I didn't graduate, I gave it my best shot. So. Now I've graduated with honors. I'm proud of that. I worked my tail off for that. I'd probably enjoy it more.......if well meaning people would back off. Yeah. I'm aware that sounds sort of mean. I guess I've just done too good a job of hiding most of the issues I'm having/have been having since the accident. Numbers. Me and numbers just don't get along. For about 18 months post accident math was nearly impossible. Now? It's just hard.......and the whole I *think* I'm doing it right when I'm not even close. I have issues more often than not just trying to give a cashier the right amount of money. I try to cover for that by paying way over so they have to give me change. Why? Because it's embarrassing. I transpose numbers terribly.......and memory for numbers is almost non existent. Language. I am much better at writing/spelling 7 yrs post accident. There are still big issues though. All papers for school had to be proof read by easy child to make sure they made sense and things were in the right order. Believe it or not, just to post on here can take me a while. And sometimes I can read something.......that isn't there. (ok this one I haven't' figured out yet ugh) I couldn't even read for pleasure up to 2 yrs post accident it was that hard to follow the written word. It's better now thankfully.......but I still don't read as much as I used to. And in all honesty......I can't tell you how many times I've read a book 2 or 3 times and still couldn't tell you the story. It has to really be something that grabs me to stick even now. Or I may only keep bits and pieces, which may or may not make sense. This one is weird......but forms, I have issues with them. I have trouble filling them out and I have to fight the urge to push them away while I'm trying to do it. Bills that come in the mail.......still can't make heads nor tails of them. I don't know if it's a case of too much information to wade through or how they're laid out or what. Vision. Either the eye doctor is nuts/doesn't know how to do his job.........or something. Because he keeps telling me he's seen very little change in my vision when I'm walking around reading things with a magnifying glass and my glasses. I don't know if the insomnia is due to the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) or not. I just know it's been an issue every since the accident.......a BiG issue. Anxiety. This one is fun. Every time I think I've got it licked it shows up to bite me in the fanny out of the blue. I can talk myself through it, which is a good thing as taking medications for it basically shuts down my brain for any real thought. So. Yeah. I come clean with husband. Basically I share many of the same cognitive issues as Travis......and am as adept as he is for flying under the radar under most circumstances. Back to that state exam. I might or might not be able to pass it. This also may or may not depend on knowledge. As it as much depends on how it's structured as well as what they're asking me. I discovered this issue with taking the entrance exam into the RN program repeatedly......I mean they have 2 exams, the questions don't change. I took them both enough that I knew the questions as to what they asked.......did I pass? No. Did I have the knowledge to pass? Yup. Format can be my enemy, it can also shut my brain down without warning. Ok. So let's say I pass it. Do you want a nurse who transposes numbers giving you medication? How do you feel about a nurse who can do a math problem (simple or complicated) and not realize there is a mistake? Yes, easy child's common response is that nurses use calculators. Yup. They do. They're not much help when you transpose numbers. And yes, if I try very hard and go very slow.......I don't do it nearly as often. In school, not much of a problem. On the job......impossible. In clinical with an instructor hovering......it was very hard, and still I had to go very slow and check and recheck and check again because I often don't see a mistake even when I check it! There are also test results and order forms ad nauseum on a patient's chart and I can't make head nor tails out of the information. If by some slim chance I can.....it takes forever for me to find what I need. And for me the clincher? That last week in clinical when my brain shut down and I couldn't function? I blamed it on the medication. It wasn't the medication. I took 3 extra strength tylenol before leaving for clinical that morning. The same dose I take for any major headache. I didn't take the ibuprofen. I lied to everyone for 2 reasons. 1. it embarrassed the pure hades out of me and 2. it scared the pure hades out of me. Post accident I can't do that type of stress. It's not a whether or not I want to sort of deal. It's NOT anxiety. The only way I can explain it is that if I'm placed into a new situation and expected to perform my brain tends to shut off. I mean that literally. There are no though processes going on. That day I went in expecting a certain situation. Instead I was thrown into a completely different situation with the added stress of being the only one to do the job and one I'd not done before.......brain shut down. Certain types of stress and new situations bring it on. And there isn't one dang thing I can do to stop it....once it happens I can't even begin to describe it. I'm just not there. It's not anxiety. It's like brain overload. When that day happened is when I began to face the reality that while I managed to do the academics.........I could not do the job. Nursing is all about stress and ever changing situations. So while the number issue is bad......and the other issues too.......the brain shut down was the bottom line. There is no way to cope with something like that, most especially when you've no clue when it's going to happen. With husband losing unemployment (it's run out) money is an even bigger issue than before. Thinking of spending money on the background check and exam knowing that I can't work in the profession seems a total waste......stupid. Yet I'm getting pressure to take it anyway......both from easy child and my mom. I *think* after our talk husband gets it now, well to some degree anyway. How do I know? He's going to file for both food stamps and medicaid. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is extremely frustrating.....often infuriating. Before the accident I thought I "got it" with Travis' issues for the most part. When now I realize I didn't really have a clue for much of it. Maybe for him it's not as frustrating because it's always been that way. Me? I know that I once had a thing with numbers......I could remember any number easily.....any long stream of numbers easily. I used to have somewhat of a photographic memory. Now......in order to pass the tests in school I had to "prepare" my brain by going over the material to put it in the right mode. I could never take a test cold and pass. Like for an exam in chemistry I had to go over the notes to put my brain into chemistry mode in order to have any hope of recalling the information in my memory. It's hard to explain. For the household I used to handle all the bills and the budget. Now I can't tell you how much the phone bill is if they don't put the amount in bold separated off by itself with amount due clearly evident. ughhh I know it's the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and still it manages to make me feel stupid, which in turn makes me mad, and that I used to be able to do the things I can no longer do....can make me furious under the right circumstances. I'm not quite sure what this was exactly, now that I've bascially written a book here. A vent......a confession.....an admission......whatever. Me? I'm ok with not being able to do nursing. (ok except for the money it would've brought in) I knew that was very likely before I ever started. I'm still proud I finished and did well. It would feel better if family could feel the same way.