Hot Cares Christmas - Noku
Hot Cares Christmas – Noku’s Pain Eased this Christmas, Thanks to ECOMED and Hot Cares

Single mother Noku really has been through the ringer, and it’s stories like hers that really pull at the heartstrings.

Fortunately, it reached us via her occupational therapist, Catherine, who told us that Noku’s troubles started when she fell off a ladder and broke an arm at work last year. The fracture was minor and healed well, but she developed a rare complication, called Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome. This causes severe swelling and excessive amounts of pain, meaning that her arm has been unusable.

“Because she was injured on duty, she receives treatment under the Workmen Compensation Fund,” said Catherine. “However, after more than a year of therapy and management, she is still not responding. She is in incessant pain, is now depressed, and has severe high blood pressure. She is on very strong nerve pain medication, but she is still unable to use her arm.”

In August, Catherine managed to organise for Noku to consult with an anaesthetist who specializes in pain management. He suggested she undergo a ‘dorsal stellate ganglion block’. This means injecting a local anaesthetic into the nerves in the neck to relieve the pain for six months. This would give her a “pain holiday” with the aim of breaking the neurological pain cycle and allowing recovery.

But, the Compensation Fund as denied the procedure and despite motivations from doctors, it has still not been approved. It involves a half-day hospital admission, theatre time, radiologist, and the procedure performed by an anaesthetist.

“The procedure, though, would quite literally change her life,” said Catherine.

However, further compounding Noku’s horrible situation is the fact that, tragically, she recently lost her brother in a shooting and one of her sisters in a car accident, resulting in her mother now having to look after six children. From this trauma, her mother too has developed high blood pressure, so the knock-on effects have been huge.

It’s ultimately Noku’s responsibility now to support her mother and the six kids and help out her younger sister, who is looking after Noku, helping her with bathing, dressing, washing, cooking etc.

Noku is on temporary disability through her work, but they pay only a portion of her salary and it’s not much.

“Noku has put so much effort into her recovery,” said Catherine. “She attends therapy every week without fail, takes all advice to heart, and tries her best despite how painful and hard it is for her. She desperately needs this procedure.”

Fortunately, Hot Cares has amazing partners like Ecomed and when we reached out to them with Noku’s story they jumped at the chance to help. They’ve agreed to pay for the procedure to be done at a private hospital, covering the hospital, surgeon, anaesthetist and radiology, to the tune of R42 000!

On top of that, Hot Cares will also be giving Noku a R5000 voucher to help with all the additional costs over Christmas for herself and her family.

We hope this will go a little way to easing the pain of the past few months and get Noku back on track and with a better chance of making a life for herself.

Merry Christmas, Noku!