This is what I drank in training, and the Ironman. Now it's the Goofy Challenge

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Life After TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury)

It has been a hard couple of months. I am now working at a shoe store called Foot Solutions. It is owned by very good family friends. They are very understanding of my injury and my disability.

I tried to work again at the Running Room. I like the atmosphere of the Running Room. I love the customers and majority of the staff. There is one great Area Manager named Amanda who is awesome.

The issue with working a retail job with my short term memory loss is that people lose patience. They think because they told me twice, or that they wrote it down, or that I wrote it down that I should remember it.

The new manager looked like a good fit for me when I went back to the Running Room after leaving BCIT's carpentry program. She used to be a nurse at a mental hospital, she understood the psychiatric, mental, and physical limitation I had. She was a clean freak, she was an organization master.

The problem; however, she was a bitch. She is a nice bitch. I would love to have her working for my company if I owned one. The problem with her is almost like that of a doctor with no "bed side manner". She had very little patience or wiggle room in her demands.

It was do it her way, the right way, or get out. She lost her temper. She had a way of asking questions that made me feel like a kid who the teacher was making an example of in class.
"David did you put the shoes in the right box?"
"Do you want to make sure?"
"We have had allot of shoes go in the wrong box."
"Why don't you check it again."
"Oh good for you, you got the shoes in the right box."
"We need to always make sure that the shoes go in the right box David."
"I am really glad that you had the shoes in the right box."

Another co-worker admitted later to her that he has problems putting the shoes in the right box when it's busy. She never apologized for accusing me, or for making me question myself.For using this as reason to cut my hours. Causing me to question my ability to feel certain of my actions.

You see I know I am disabled. Have you ever opened the door for someone in a wheelchair, or someone using a cain, and have that person get mad at you? It's not you they are mad at.The act of opening the door in your point of view is

"hey let me give me you hand."

However, to the person in the wheelchair, or using the cain, you are not only reminding them they are disabled, but you are assuming they can't open the door on thier own. It's a double wammy.

Now to add a twist to it, sometimes we need your help. Sometimes that person gets mad you didn't open the door.

"Can't you see I am in a wheelchair"?

Other times you run the risk of

"I don't need you to help me, I can do this myself!"

It depends on how accepting that person is of their own disability. How their day has gone. We have bad days to, somedays are so hard. Somedays I need help opening the door. Have ever needed help opening a door?

I think my biggest frustration besides the "helpfullness" of people like my ex boss at the Running Room. The ones who come across as helpful and understandin. Is that they are supportive as long as it makes them look good.

These are people that want to feel better about themselves. The ones that help out the less fortunate because that makes them feel they are better than the less fortunate. So if they help out, they are good people. Maybe it helps them deal with their own demons. I don't know.

There is a hidden anger in these people, those that have a bitterness inside. Some people have made statements to me like "I wish I was disabled so I got money from the government" Or "I wish my bad memory could be blamed on a head injury." I have talked about them before.

The other kind of person is one that feigns interest. To either help themselves feel better, or make themselves look better to other people. Think of the retirement home nurse that saves lives, and cares for the elderly, but steals their jewelry. The social worker that makes an "error" in sending out a check to a disabled person she mistakes as a drug addict or who she thinks is "faking it" or the care worker that abuses the people that can't fight back.

I am not saying that happens all the time. I am showing extreme examples of it. There are varying degrees of these kinds of situations. Like a boss who cuts your hours down to 4 hours once a week, to "help not overwhelm you" so she can hire someone who she thinks will put the shoe in the right box.

I mean at the end of the day I get it. I make them work harder. People don't want to work harder. They want there routine to go on. People don't like change. You add change and suddenly they have to come back to a work environment that is different. You have made some errors in the learning curve, and people freak. You have brokend the bubble. Everyone has a learningg curve, My curve is longer than other people's.

Add the fact they have to change, you break there routine, you make them work harder. That is hard for anyone in the best of times, add the current economic situation and this equals: get rid of the guy that makes you work harder.It's simple.

On the one hand I get it. I mean I wasn't always disabled. I get that it's a dog eat dog world. I know I am the low dog on the totem pole. I understand. Doesn't mean I like it. Doesn't mean I will give up.

It does mean that it sucks. It does mean that I get depressed. It does mean I get that I have to work so hard every day just to be slightly above passing. I will never be #1, #2, or #3. I just want to have a #. I don't want to be expendable.

On bad days, I just want to be normal again. I just want to be able to do what I did before. I want things to be easy again. At least all the things I took for granted.

On most days however, I don't want it to be different. I am not glad of my injury. I am glad of what I have done since my injury. I am glad of what I am still capable of doing. That and I going to be an Ironman!!

1 comment:

Ajlouny said...

Thank you for this. It was extremely articulate and it shows a personal sense of pride of your advancement.