Getting my life back on track
With her caring personality, Michelle was always destined to work in nursing. After completing her training and qualifying as a nurse in 2004, she worked on the neonatal cardiac ward at Birmingham Children’s Hospital caring for new born babies suffering heart problems. She enjoyed supporting and building relationships with families over the weeks and months their child was in the care of the hospital.
Then in 2010 Michelle’s life changed. Being a nurse she had occasionally suffered from back pain but now the discomfort was getting worse. A minor, low speed traffic accident may have also added to the problem, but it was becoming clear that there was an issue with her back. One day she was rushed from work to A&E as she could barely walk and was in significant pain. Later, scans revealed bad news – she had two ruptured discs in her back. After two operations it became clear that Michelle would be a wheelchair user for the rest of her life.
“I was devastated, the idea that I wouldn’t walk again and be unable to return to work was horrible. I couldn’t imagine my life without nursing”
Michelle’s determination and resolve was strong and after five months in hospital and a further six months rehabilitation, against all the odds she was able to return to work in May 2011. After being assessed it was recommended that she needed a Smart Drive power unit for her manual wheelchair as well as a system that enables her to convert the manual chair to a power-assisted wheelchair to enable her to work effectively. All this would cost more than £9,800. She was able to get funding from the Government and her employers, but there was a shortfall of £1,500 which Michelle had to find herself.
“I just didn’t have the money to hand and I started to worry about how I could find the cash to pay for the chair.”
After contacting Cavell Nurses’ Trust, the Welfare Services team were able to grant Michelle £1,000 within 10 days of her application and they worked with another charitable fund to secure the rest of the shortfall. In the end it took just one month for Cavell Nurses’ Trust to get all the money to Michelle and ensure that she got her wheelchair.
Going back to work was physically and emotionally difficult and Michelle had to learn to cope with the constant pain she suffers. Although she desperately misses the “hands on” nursing she did for so many years, as a Cardiac Education Nurse, she now gets huge satisfaction from supporting and mentoring newly qualified nurses and seeing them blossom into confident and compassionate team members.
“The help I’ve received from Cavell Nurses’ Trust has been life changing, giving me the ability to live and work in the best way I can. I will be forever grateful to them.”
Sometimes it's difficult to ask for help but if you need help, or know a nurse, midwife or healthcare assistant who does, please get in touch.
Watch Michelle's story here...Michelle's story