After resigning herself to start planning her own funeral, Amy was given a second chance at life with a lung transplant– only to face a new challenge – keeping herself safe and alive during COVID-19.
In 2006, Amy was diagnosed with Scleroderma - a rare, chronic autoimmune disease that scars the skin and internal organs. Her condition worsened over time and she was placed on the active lung transplant list.
In September 2018, while having dinner with her family, Amy got the life-saving phone call from the transplant service that a suitable donor had been found.
The news couldn’t have come soon enough for Amy who by then was relying on oxygen 24/7 and describes small things like getting dressed, eating, and showering as “mammoth tasks.”
“I guard these precious lungs as they were donated when my donor family were going through a time of devastation yet had the heart to make such a selfless gesture. I do what I need to, to protect them.
“I take a lot of medications now especially ones to suppress my immune system to prevent rejection and this makes me susceptible to any infectious diseases.
“Getting COVID-19 could be so devastating for me and others like me. It’s scary because people can be asymptomatic with COVID so it’s hard to know who has it or not.”
Amy is one of our patients and also a valued staff member of 19 years. Before COVID-19, she was based at Middlemore Hospital as a Clinical Quality Specialty Nurse for the Surgery, Anaesthesia and Perioperative Services (SAPS) for Counties Manukau Health.
Being a ‘high risk vulnerable worker’, means Amy now has to work from home to protect herself.
“I am so grateful for the support of my managers to work at home. My colleagues and friends check in on me and keep in contact which is comforting to know they still think of me and care.”
“I miss going out meeting up with friends, eating out, seeing my colleagues, having a laugh and just seeing other people in general but I do what I have to do to guard my precious gift.”
Amy loves her job of caring for others and she continues to do so when she herself needs care. Her inspiring story is a reminder to care for our vulnerable, especially in these COVID-19 times.
Keen to be part of the part of a team where your mahi matters?
Check out our clinical and non-clinical roles here: https://careers.countiesmanukau.health.nz/working-here/