I feel so lucky that I never got into nursing school.
I feel so lucky I became a health educator.
Yes it sucks I had a horrible accident that changed me and my life forever but I am still here and have found ways to keep doing things that were a big part of my life like health education and prevention. I would not be able to be a registered nurse.
For years I taught comprehensive sexual health education. This was important to me as my own mom was a teen mom, I did not learn enough through school and I loved being able to go into schools and educate on an important topic, not only teen pregnancy but also health around sex, saying no and more.
I also volunteered in a harm reduction program and needle exchange for IV drug users. Sadly I know lots, it’s an epidemic, and I don’t believe someone should be left to use dirty needles and leave them on the sidewalk. That’s harmful for them and anyone in contact with them or just walking down the road. We didn’t just exchange used needles, we provided education and resources as well.
Then I got this severe TBI. And I came out of it pretty ok. I can never work full time again and have lost so much, but I can still provide education and do prevention. I just had to seek out things that interested me and related to my life and I did just that and have been so lucky to have found some great matches that make me feel so good and make me feel like my years of education and experience weren’t a waste. It’s just different. I absolutely love working with Thinkfirst at OHSU telling my story and volunteering my time. The program is so aligned with my education and experiences, so it’s nice to find something that makes me feel so good.
Covid has taught us to be adaptable, Covid has changed so much. Thinkfirst presentations have been online, the last two nights I spoke for new volunteers to see the side of what a VIP does and shared my story, that is what the picture is on this blog post at the start of my presentation online due to Covid for future Thinkfirst Volunteers.
I have been able to volunteer with Covid immunization clinics, it may not be what I thought I would be doing but it’s Public Health and it’s challenging my brain and keeping me involved. That’s what matters to me.