Hello and Goodbye

Hello and welcome to my first blog... my name is Jess and I’ve been a member of James' care team for over 4 years. However, this isn’t just a hello, it’s also a goodbye. This month I said my goodbyes to James and his family. As you may know from Christine’s blogs, I am a third-year medical student; unfortunately, the increasing demands of my course mean I simply won’t be around much anymore. But my oh my, what an incredible four years it’s been; four years of endless playing, infectious laughter, hours of head scratches, a whole lot of tears (and yet I still wonder why I’m nicknamed Weepy?) and more recently a whole lot of PPE induced sweating.... And on that note, to everyone who complains of getting too hot wearing a mask (and to any fellow Game of Thrones fans), I have five words for you... “You know nothing Jon Snow”.

I’ll be completely honest with you here, it hasn’t sunk in that I’m not going to be working with James anymore. Will it ever sink in? I’m not so sure. What I am sure of, however, is that Christine will be reading this and rolling her eyes with a smirk on her face; she knew I hadn’t mentally or emotionally prepared myself for leaving. But truth be told I haven’t even tried to, because in my eyes I won’t ever leave... James is the most incredible young man that I have ever had the pleasure of being able to call my friend. His family are equally incredible. They have all helped to shape me into the person I am today; no I’m not perfect... I’m weepy for one and I still put oxygen in the wrong place four years later. Note to self: if someone has a tracheostomy the oxygen goes over their tracheostomy- not over their mouth. Nevertheless, they have shaped me into a better person. They, as a family, helped me to discover parts of me that I never knew existed. I can be strong. I can be tough. I do have a silly side. So I ask you... how, if someone has shaped such a big part of you, can they ever not be a part of you? How can you ever leave if they are with you every day in the person that you’ve become? Personally, I don’t think any of the carers ever leave. I think we just come to a point... a point where it’s our time to leave centre stage and take our place in the stalls; we are still there- watching, enjoying, feeling- but we are no longer in the midst of it all.

There is one part about leaving that I find incredibly difficult... it breaks my heart that there will come a time when I don’t know what James' favourite things are: I won’t know what his favourite therapy room activity is; I won’t know what his favourite songs are; I won’t know what to do to ease his pain. I find myself going over and over these details on a regular basis; his favourite song is X, he likes Y when he’s in pain etc... I think it hurts so much to think about not knowing these small details because the day I don’t know them is the day I’ve officially taken my seat in the stalls.

At the young age of 17, braces and teenage spots intact, I joined James' care team. At the grand old age of 22, brace-free yet still spotty (but this time from wearing a mask), I leave James' care team. I leave thankful for all that James and his family have taught me and hopeful that someday it will make me a better doctor.

Jess x

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