“I have nothing but praise for the NHS, as an employee, and for the care I have received, it has done nothing but its best for me.” 

John Nelson is a Senior Buyer for the NHS across Lancashire and South Cumbria. When a routine eye appointment alerted ‘a problem’ he suddenly switched from being a colleague of the NHS to a patient. He underwent neurosurgery and received care and support from ELHT Occupational Support and Therapy Team to help aid his recovery.  

He said:

A routine eye appointment in 2008 changed my life.

Happy and healthy (or so I thought) I was referred to a Specialist who discovered that the nerves anchoring my eye with my head were weakening and breaking.

I had botox injections for nine years that acted as elastic but even then I would still see my eye droop daily and it would flick 1,000 times a day - so fast that no one could see it except myself and the Specialists. It would not switch off and in 2015/16 I was offered neurosurgery to repair the broken hemi facial spasms.

John NelsonAfter consideration, advice and risk discussions I put my life in my surgeon’s hands. If we can put man on the moon, we can return from this one, I thought.

The surgery went well but there was a brain fluid leak so additional brain surgery was undertaken less than a week later.

Three weeks later I was discharged home when my brain started to feel like a volcano and I felt unwell. My wife took me back to hospital and it configured that a small strain of meningitis had embedded itself in my brain between surgeries and I spent several weeks in hospital getting it out with drugs and extractions.

Once home, while my wife went to work and my son was at university, I slept for England. It was a difficult period. My brain had taken a battering, but my mental trauma was just beginning again as on top of everything I’d been through I faced fresh personal tragedies. My mother-in-law died after a stroke and my own mother’s health started to decline and she died when I turned 50. My neurosurgeon told me that if this had happened a year before, my brain would not have coped and I would be dead.

I then put my faith in the hands of some brilliant people at ELHT Occupational Support Team and Therapy who really helped me and aid my recovery.

Once they learnt of the problem, I was immediately sent home and support was put in place. They took a huge amount of pressure off me by being the ones to inform my line manager and anyone else who needed to know of my absence. They then arranged a course of counselling which was pivotal in my recovery.

This was the NHS working, listening and it enabled me to get into a better place and thankfully I am back at work and living life to the best I can, all thanks to the NHS.