A Dyslexic Nurse Walks Into A Bar One Day….

Eight days into the new month of May and I am finally sitting down to write a blog for you to consume.

As much as I would like to sit here and take credit for thinking upon a subject that is as riveting as a tennis match that I have been living lately, than I am surely set to disappoint you majorly.

The reason why I have only just started writing my monthly introduction of a new month, goes something along the lines of: I have had to present my group assignments that made me splutter, curse, splutter some more and then contemplate what the hell I was actually doing.  Before pulling myself together, my head out of my arse and a coffee simmering nicely beside me as I pulled out a perfect assignment.  Only too then state to my tutor that I would like the group to be marked individually.

Having to admit this both in front of my group, who I think did really well in our presentations and not because I was a group member but simply for the fact that our assignment was something unique.  Who can’t wrap their heads around the comparison of Indomethacin and ibuprofen in Patent Ductus Arteriousis in Prenatal infants can surely beat me.  However, I did feel horrible and somewhat guilt ridden as I felt like I was crushing a few people’s dreams and possible desire of wanting a good GPA mark, but at the end of the day; I had worked my arse off and I wanted to know where I could have gone in improvement.

Fist bump moment…

Now after presenting that and receiving my marks back for that presentation, I can happily and somewhat smugly sit here and say that I got a 6/7.  As a result, I may have screamed a little, danced in my seat and repeatedly fist pumped the air because I was excited about my mark.

I also learnt in that respects that you should communicate more with tutors even though they appear to be scary and daunting but rather are ordinary people that have a vast amount of knowledge, waiting to be unleashed.  Just because they sit there and say, “I am blah and I am going to be your tutor for the next 13 weeks” doesn’t mean you should automatically sit here and think, ‘Holy shit!  It’s the crept creeper of my freedom’.

Wrong.

College, university, high school even down to kindergarten is your crept keeper of your freedom and will continue to do so until the day you die.  Because when school is out of the question, the reality of having to be an adult, have a job, raise a family, support that family and yourself not to mention any pets will become that replacement.

Now apart from having a group assignment to write, draw up and formulate within four weeks, I had a 1600 word assignment due for my law subject.  Which I can happily say I took a photo of my assignment, books, paper and pens splayed out across my bed and my computer containing important information, before posting it to Instagram.  Because who doesn’t need a little Instagram love every now and then when you are a gen Y/X/Z and you post random shit that makes others sit there and go: “Dude, your life sucks!”

Tell me about it, bro!

I stuck it up on the context of not wanting likes, followers or little love hearts but rather stopping myself from going insane while listening to the same part of a lecture for the eighth time on repeat.  This however does not include the mariachi band that swapped Mexican music for shit that I wouldn’t even classify as music at some ungodly hour in the morning.

This was happening while I formulated my plan of attack for both sleeping and studying.  Both of which were successfully ruined and I went from being a free man walking to living on borrowed time before I either erupted like a volcano or I had to pay for someone to scream out: “Dead woman walking”.

From what I hear, Orange could be my new black.  You never know.

I can now say that my 1600 word essay on the dot thank you, including titles and in-text referencing, isn’t the only assignment that I am facing at this current presence of time.  Personally, I believe that before semester starts all of the tutors/course coordinators gather around their boiling black cauldron of doom and decide when assignments should be made due.  Since it is relatively hard for a gap of a week or a fortnight before each assignment is due to make it easy for those who are on clinicals at the moment.  No that proves to be an inconvenience for the course coordinators as that cuts into their busy lives of making their student lives hell.

Thankfully, I am not on placement this semester but rather I like sweating it out over summer in the extreme heat so I decided to post pone that section of my life.  However, at the beginning of the semester I wrote down all of my dates due for my assignments/ potential mid-term exams and I felt the world come to a somewhat holt for a few seconds.  As I stared down at my neat writing which funnily enough was colour coded to the appropriate and correct class, thanks to my OCD, my heart kicked back into gear from stopping in shock at seeing five assignments were due in the month of May.

Bitch, please…

At the beginning of the semester I went from a crawl to a walk and now I am looking at sprinting.  I believe by the time June arrives with its wonderful exams I have to sit, I shall be fully out running.  Just make sure when I stop and collapse that I have somewhere nice to collapse on, a pillow/blanket is provided and food for a couple of days shall sustain my requirements.  That was until a delightful little person on my Facebook nursing page decided to the hold world a favour and say, “examination timetable has been released”.

I believe the words that came out of my mouth as my jaw hit the deck, my eyebrows flew somewhere up into my hairline and my right eyebrow started twitching like it was break dancing was: “You have got to be fucking kidding me”.  However deep down inside we know my real opinion was something based upon the Grumpy cat and if you have never heard of the Grumpy cat, I suggest you climb out from underneath your rock or pop your head out of your textbook and Google.

Now after this delightful and incredibly nice person decided to alert the whole nursing universe that our exam timetable was listed, myself amongst many others felt our heart beats stutter.  As we clicked through our 500 tabs open to get too our study page for university, we no doubt groaned at the sight of 0830 being posted on our timetable.  Probably should mention that I feel pretty lucky that I only have three exams this semester and two are at the beginning of the exam period and my Law being in the last week of exams.  Than it is freedom for a month until university and O week resumes, with that: hello new student ID where I don’t look like a chipmunk.

But having said that, I am looking at deferring an exam for a couple of reasons.  One of them just so happens to be I am overwhelmed at the amount of information I have to retain in my already over-crammed brain.  Thirteen weeks of lecture notes, tutorial notes and 176+ medication names not to mention: mechanism of action, pharmacokinetics/codynamics, dose and generic names have me pulling out my hair.  Or I am borderline having a mental breakdown because of pharmacology.  Another reasons is because I believe that I am not physically nor mentally ready to sit down for two hours on an exam that could potentially see me either pass or fail.

The whole ‘ride or die’ motto which seems to have been in my family for, well as long as a I can remember, but in this present point of time is not cutting it.

As there are two possibilities that can occur then I sit this exam and they are: brush it off like I will never have to sit another pharmacology exam for nursing.  Or find myself, locked in a toilet cubicle breathing heavily into a paper brown bag. While I am rising an eyebrow at myself because I am plotting revenge like you would never know until it hits this person in the face, it is time to move on my hate from pharamcology and its course coordinator and it is time to brace yourself.

We should probably know by now after three years of blogging, updating and editing my life into what appears to be like 100 pages of information but rather is really nine pages, according to Microsoft word, I do not ask for help.  In any form, shape or monetary value.  So much so that I have taken my independence I have gained after relationships and failures of them into my education life.

That I have somewhat become independent woman who doesn’t stick her head up for anything unless it has a purpose, stick her hand out for anything.  Or open her mouth for help in regards to some things even when it comes to building a bookcase from instructions.

I am so bad at asking for help that I could still be sitting there the next day with bits and pieces of the book case surrounding me and I still wouldn’t ask for help.  Even after being pushed out of the way, the bookcase has been formed and is now resting against my wall holding my worldly possessions.

Hi, my name is….

As Lois would say, “she is as stubborn as a mule and as stubborn as they were bloody created”.

And yes, I agree with that statement.

I do know that I am as stubborn as a mule because in my mind, I refuse to play the helpless victim that needs to be rescued.  Therefore has to do so by asking for help from anyone/someone.  And yes, I do know that there is going to be a point in my life where I am going to have to allow a man to be the hero and rescue me, but until that day arrives, I am my own hero.

Now I believe my stubbornness on asking for help boils down to a few dozen factors which no doubt would bore you to a certain slumber or possible death, depending on your age.  And since I am not wanting to bore myself to death with continuous typing of why I am incredibly stubborn, I will tell you a few.  With that, here are my reasons as to why I refuse to ask for help.

One.)  I believe it boils down to fact that I am essentially going to appear weak.
Two.)  I am going to have to put my pride and glory to side.  Something that actually rules my life on a daily basis and actually stand there staring at someone, eye to eye.  In my case, eye to nipple level since everyone is taller them me.
Three.)  Asking for help to me is like speaking in a different language and a language that I am not known to speak.
Four.)  I feel like I am taking away someone else’s opportunity of requiring help which seems to make matters even more worse in my regards.

Right there they are my legitimate reasons as to why I refuse to ask for help.  Yes my name is now Miss Stubborn rather than Scarlett. One day a few weeks ago before I left for my mini-weekend get away to Mexico, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and take up learning a new language.  And that language was learning how to speak out about my learning difficulties and seek help.

Which lead me to speaking some words that are pretty powerful in my belief as they open a door that I personally believe shouldn’t be opened as in some lighting of other’s view, it is a weakness and shouldn’t be discussed.  Nor admitting to knowing someone who has this, suffers from it or you happen to be that person who is suffering from this.

I am talking about my Dearest Reader, Dyslexia.

 For those who don’t know what Dyslexia is, you have heard of it but never have seen it in person or know of the tell-tale signs, I am your answer.

My name is Scarlett, I am a twenty something year old and I am a suffer of dyslexia.

To me, dyslexia has been a burden for most of my life and will no doubt continue to be one.  As I find it on a daily basis, hour by hour and minute by minute difficult to pick up the most simplest thing and put it into practice.  Let alone understand something that consists of logical thoughts, emotions, feelings that any other ordinary person can understand.

First and foremost it is not a disease so you don’t have to worry about that if your child is showing signs of having dyslexia or being dyslexic.

But rather dyslexia is a mental condition that makes people have trouble with reading and spelling, despite being taught a certain way.  It has also been stated that people like myself, are often talented and gifted with productive minds but are often known to have language learning differences.  For instance, having problems with letter sounds for reading and spelling, difficulty with reading and often is done slowly with many mistakes resulting in poor spelling.

So what does Dyslexia look like?

Your answer is that Dyslexia looks like normal, everyday people such as yourself and I.  However to be politically correct, dyslexia does have many signs or symptoms that can show when someone is dyslexic.  The signs that we often present which some people such as parents or teachers can pick are any of the following.

How my Dyslexic brain works..

1.) Not doing as well with study as expected – as we seem brighter than what we are able to show.
2.) Swapping letters over when reading – like saying was instead of saw, mixing up b and dp and q
3.) Writing letters and numbers the wrong way round.  (Even as an adult, I am known to still do this).  This results in people with Dyslexia to getting letters mixed up when spelling out loud.
4.) Missing words out when reading, or reading words that are not there
5.) Losing our place while reading and finding it hard to keep our eyes on the right line.
6.) Finding it really hard to write by hand – neat writing is very difficult!
7.) Finding it difficult to copy things accurately off the board and not remembering/understanding what we have just read or heard.
8.) Having difficulty writing down what we think or feel.
9.)  Finding it hard to understand and follow instructions often resulting us getting things mixed up.
10.) Mixing up left and right.

With twelve years under my belt, I have managed to graduate high school after having been diagnosed with Dyslexia as a child and I am in my third year of college.  But as much I am sitting here and saying it was piss arse easy, who the fuck am I kidding because you only see what I write.

You don’t get to see me when I am hysterically crying because I am not able to understand something that I need to understand. The countless amount of notebooks that I have need to buy so I can understand how to properly administer a subcutaneous needle filled with Insulin.  I am even more paranoid when administering medication to a real life human and have to triple check.  Some say that is a great nurse in practice, some roll their eyes and some just aren’t bothered to understand where I am coming from.

Can I get a shout out for Sheila!

But I do have to disagree with one of these signs or symptoms which is neat writing is very difficult.  I disagree because my writing is very neat as I have been told countless times by different people.  Except when I am trying to write down lecture notes as the lecturer is speeding through them.

But I suspect that the reason behind my writing being so neat and tidy is because of the multiple writing lessons of hours and hours of practice that Lois made me do as a child.  And for that, without her or the lessons that I used to silently wonder if I was ever going to hold the pen correct has made it ever so easy for me now.

Good-bye mem…..

With everything else though, I agree a whole 100%.

Except in my regards about myself, I do have one minor flaw and that is I do suffer at some great length in exams.  It is not because of the lack of time in my day between waking up and shipping myself off to uni that I don’t study but rather I study, maybe a little too hard when it comes to exams.

In fact, I have been known in my first year to stay up 24 hours in a row studying constantly and having a half an hour nap on my way up to Toowoomba before sitting a two and a half hour exam.  I learnt from that mistake when my body crashed after 4 hours of sleep over five days and not to mention my crazy work schedule.  As a result, my body went into shock and massive cold sore from the stress broke out like a robot on my upper lip.

And you would think that with being in my third year of college that it would get somewhat a little easy for me. Hate to be the one to say it but I doubt it will ever get easy for someone like myself.

Unlike most students who don’t have any concerns and can flick through their notes before stepping into an exam, only to then breeze out like they have cured cancer or Alzheimer’s; I am the complete opposite.

Apart from my somewhat now relaxed study time of six hours a day and no studying the morning of the exam, I have been known to record myself talking up to anywhere of four hours constantly about my thirteen weeks of information that I have been given.  In the form of several large trees having been cut down and made into paper, just so then I can scribble notes on them so they can recorded at a later date.

Only to them listen to these recordings for a whole week before my exam from the moment I wake up to hell, even while I am sleeping.  I have found that chewing mint flavoured gum for one class while studying and then eating that same flavour in the exam, kick starts the brain after some ungodly time of getting up in the morning.  And with three different courses requiring exams, that means three different flavours of game I chew on a weekly basis when I am studying.

I have also done some pretty fucking crazy shit over the three years of college such as having a cold shower.  This one I wouldn’t recommend unless you wish to have your nipples drop off and run away to hide.

Smelling coffee the moment I wake up in the morning before my freezing cold shower.  Coffee, coffee, coffee and more coffee.  To which my system crashes after exams and I go from living on this constant high to being some jilted, staggering twat that has uncontrollable shakes.

 

And for the life of me, do not sit here and suggest decaffeinated coffee.

That would be like asking a monk to have sex with a pony and me to cut up my high heels.  It is uncalled for, unnecessary as hell and how dare you, you should be a ashamed of yourself!

So now during exam time, I resort myself to a strict three cup of coffee per day which is somewhat strange considering I am not normally a coffee drinker.  But rather I am someone who prefers to sip on a cup of Earl Grey tea or water.

Having said that though, I do believe I shall never become like Kaffy who requires a cup….actually a jug of coffee and a sniff or two of the expresso beans before you can even contemplate saying good morning to her.  Or possibly needs to have a constant feed of coffee being administered into her blood stream via IV.

So I need not fear going and become my former addicted self who used to live on coffee as a nineteen year old.  Those should have been the days I should have attended uni because I could have done incredible things within that coffee induced coma of power.

But before I resort myself to the third coffee, I am up to eyeballs in study notes and my eyes resemble some dead ball thing attached to dried and fried strings.  This when I pause for a few seconds and find myself sitting/lounging there thinking one thing.

This thing that I constantly ask myself on a daily basis and find myself typing as my Facebook status when I am not bitching about pharamcology coordinators and the general fucked-upness of my life.  This one thing that I sit there with my hands braced on the bathroom sink, staring into my eyes and say out loud, “why the fuck did you pick a degree that consists of numbers, math and more numbers?”

Yeap, I picked a degree where I not only struggle to formulate the correct pathway of neurons in understanding what 12 by 12 is.  But I picked a degree where I have to calculate how many pills Jimmy is going to be taking for breakfast. 

Well fucking done!

I also had to pick a degree where I find it hard to understand and follow instructions and where I still get left and right mixed up.  Even so now as an adult that I still resort to using my hands in telling which side is what and always say to myself, ‘if the hand has an L that means it is left and a backwards L means it is right’.

This seems to confuse me even more when I am standing at the end of a patient’s bed.  And I am trying to mentally figure out which side I am having to describe, administer medication or even right progress notes on.  So if you do happen to be my patient in the near future and I am staring at you like you are holding the answer to the question I have, just give me a few moments to collect myself and you will be right as rain.

One of the difficult things that I am not a fan of particularly when it comes to Dyslexia is inserting additional words into sentences that aren’t actually there.  It is even more evident when I am writing emails or this as a matter of fact because I am never someone who writes a single sentence like:

Jane sat on the mat.

Rather I tend to think outside the box and instead, I write/read: Jane was wearing a pink and black polka dotted skirt with white frilly socks.  She sat on the mat next to the little boy who had pulled her hair earlier that morning and she focused her attention on the teacher.

This is even more proving when it comes to remembering something accurately that I did today, especially when my memory is going down the hill and I have to write myself tasks as to when I last had a shower, brushed my teeth etc.  And yet, I can remember things that happened as clear as day when I was three.  Go figure on that one.

 

Now this one will make you sit there and scratch your head in wonder.

When I am incredibly tired after pulling an eight hour shift at university and then go home to do additional homework, I am notorious for writing words backwards.  I don’t know how I do it or why I do it but I just do and as a result, I believe this is why I am incredibly talented at reading upside down.  Back to front and not to mention, reading people’s mouths.  Who knew being a dyslexic and deaf child could come in handy as an adult but that story is for another day.

So now you know a little more about my background story as to why I refuse to ask for help even when I am in desperate need of it.

And like I said beforehand, you will be quite proud of me as I admitted this before midday to my pharmacology tutor, with no makeup on so I was bare faced with no protection armour, that I needed help.  Not with the pharamcology tutorials as I was understanding what was to be expected of me but basically the whole entire content of the subject its self.  So as my tutor was packing up her bag to do her pharamcology lecture, I cleared my throat and said to her, “I am actually having a tough time trying to understanding what is being taught in the lectures.  Is there any services provided by uni that you or the course co-ordinator know of?”

I learnt from my tutor that she didn’t know of any services but if I asked the librarian ladies/gentlemen, they could help me out.  So with my bag that weighed a few kilos trudging behind me as I battled my knee paining because of the weather change, I battled my way up the stairs to the library.  And because I decided to go to a university where it is built on a hill and very limited elevators, I sucked it up and braced myself on the librarians desk when I made it.  Only then to be told by the kind, grandmotherly librarian who had a apologetic look on her face, “I am sorry dear but there are no services provided for pharmacology as they have not been allowed to be created”.

After asking her to see if she could find any for me, I left the library with my bound lecture and tutorial notes feeling as if the world had not only stopped rotating but also my world had just shattered.  Because for one I had not only stepped out of my comfort zone but I had stuck up my hand, voiced out loud my need for help and my building frustration that I was experiencing, only to be essentially shot down.

Not only in flames but I resembled a burning pile of dog shit that was deposited on your stoop in front of your door.

 

All I can say in that regards if you want to bitch and moan about your life about how things have suddenly become incredibly hard for you and all you want to do is lie in bed; I have some words for you.  They are: get off your arse and suck it up princess!  And if you can’t fathom that through your head and if that is too much effort for you as you want someone to do it for you in regards to whatever mid life crisis you are suddenly experiencing, than no one is going to do for you.

In fact, if I could pay someone to do my assignments, sit my exams and as a result, become me for a day/week/month, I bloody well would.  Except I wouldn’t learn any life lessons that I have learnt through my last twenty something years of life and put them into practice on a daily basis.  And since I do not have a identical twin that looks me, sounds like me or someone who would be willing to sit my exams/assignments, than I have to get off my arse and do them myself.

Besides, like I have stated many times throughout these three years of blogging, I got myself into the mess and I am going to be the one to pull myself out of it. In basic English for those who bypassed those last two paragraphs:  You got yourself into the mess. Fix it.

So you can see/read that I am frazzled around the eyebrows and edges in assignment water but all I can say is, I am slowly but surely getting there.

Like some genius once stated upon a sapphire ring, ‘Roma wasn’t built in a day and neither were your assignments’.  This technically may be true but in my case, my law assignment was done and dusted within twelve hours of sitting down to handing it in.  Which mean that I didn’t do that mad 48 hour assignment dash like I have been doing for the last 2 years.

 

Therefore, I am slowly working my way into getting more organised for my assignments and not leaving it the night before it is due but rather I am starting it four days before it is due.  Maybe by the time I am studying medicine, if I continue down that line after what I have been reading on the GAMSAT facebook page about available positions, interviews and colleges I am slightly a little concerned.

But as I was saying originally, I might actually start my assignment three weeks before it is due.  But Dearest Reader for my law assignment and handing it in a whole 12 hours before it is due: can I get a touch down? Yes, yes  I can hear you, Lois and the Fairy Godmother in my head saying, ‘About fucking time, Scarlett!’.

With that, I have been able to somewhat beat the procrastination button because I think it boils down to a mixture of a few things.  Such as having the determination to get it out and over and done with, getting that satisfaction of heading into college on a Sunday and delivering it with a smile.

Not being stressed on the day that it is due because I have not only done it, it is edited, referencing is complete and I am somewhat happy with what has been produced.  Not to mention capping it off with great music that keeps me grooving in my seat while typing my research material up and the fundamental necessities for college studies.  Which are: coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, something to eat, coffee, water and coffee.

Oh and more coffee.

Safe to say in those 12 hours of typing nonstop, going over it again and again while drinking copious amount of coffee before closing the lid to my computer, I had the determination of a silverback.  Except in my case, I was a female silverback looking not to shack up with the newest and hottest piece of gorilla meat on the market.  But rather looking at handing in this assignment with a grin on my face.  Sure enough, when it came to handing in my Law assignment that Sunday, I steadily walked up to desk containing the poor shmuck that has to work the weekends and with a shitting eating grin, I watched his eyebrow raise at my face as I handed over my assignment.

All 1,460 words of my law assignment that stated that the teenager patient was Gillick competent and that if the nurse suspected he was being abused, she should report it as it is mandatory.  While also stating that the bruising on him could be an adverse effect (side effect) of the chemotherapy he had just stopped.  Rather than jumping to automatically assuming he was being abused.  Can I just say that I like thinking outside the box and actually take in all aspects of what could be possibly happening.

Bitch, I am fucking fabulous…

Instead of having that feeling like I wanted to rip it from his hands and check to make sure that everything was there and it was okay; I pivoted on my heel and sauntered off like I was awesome.  Because I was fucking awesome as I had handed in my second assignment for the semester and that meant, two down and four to go.

Another reason why I have just started typing my blog post, when technically right here and right now it is the 15th of May, is because I decided that my finger needed a little beauty make over.  And as a result, chopped a fair chunk out of my finger and essentially stripping off half of my fingernail in the process.  Now considering I am left handed and the only one out of my immediate, it just so happened to be on my left hand.  Yes, round of applause for the idiot who decided to have a sneeze while holding a knife in her hand and brought down the knife as she sneezed.

This is when I should be captioned with: Can cook however is deadly with sharp objectives, knives in particularly.  Should be supervised at all times while handling sharp objects.

As a result, I haven’t been able to lift a pen nor sit down in front of a computer recently without crying, sobbing or moaning in agony.

Welcome to my newest and latest blog post that is only fifteen days overdue.  But like they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder and my writing even more awesome.  Complete with grammar and spelling issues but that is how I roll these days.

With that Dearest Reader, I have a joke for you and it goes something along the lines of: A dyslexic nurse walks into a bar one day….

Until next time,

Cheers xo

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