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Energy assistance helps nurse recover from career-ending accident

15 May. 2017

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Energy assistance helps nurse recover from career-ending accident

Denver woman suffered knee injuries in fall

Wendy’s 16-year nursing career came to an abrupt halt the day she slipped on a wet floor in a supermarket. In just a few seconds, she was slammed front-first onto the ground and suffered dislocations to both her knee caps. She also lost her means of supporting herself and her four school-aged kids.

Fortunately, Energy Outreach Colorado helped relieve her of the stress of having her home energy disconnected by providing energy bill payment assistance.

“I’ve worked my whole life and it’s been really hard to ask for help,” said the 47-year-old Denver resident, a licensed practical nurse (LPN) who also has three grown children. “All I’ve ever wanted to be is a nurse and help people get better.”

Prior to the accident, Wendy was enrolled in a registered nurse (RN) program and planning to enter into a “rent to own” contract for the home she had rented for 20 years. Those career and home ownership dreams were left on a supermarket floor two years ago.

Today, she is living on disability income and continuing to rent her home with help from a Section 8 housing voucher that requires she maintain home utility service. “My social security check only covers so much,” she said. “Between utilities, rent and food, we usually have to compromise on food.”

Wendy is continuing with medical treatments and therapies to strengthen her ability to stand, bear weight, manage pain and maintain her balance. With nursing no longer an option, she is pursuing online training to become certified in medical billing and coding.

“I went from working five, 12-hour-days a week to being home all the time,” she said. “I couldn’t do what I’ve been doing my whole life. I’ve always been a provider and independent woman who can do it all. I struggled when I couldn’t be that person anymore.”

Wendy is “so very thankful” for the energy assistance she received after having her home energy shut off. “It was traumatic, and I I honestly don’t know where else we would have gone to get help,” she added. “When you’re suddenly down and out it shames you, and you don’t know about these services.”

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