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Newly Retired

Had my meeting at work today. (Was) a nurse in a nursing home, have been off sick for 2 1/2 years, diagnosed now with permanent spinal cord damage and PPMS, realise I’ll never hold down a regular job but now I’ve got home I feel a bit empty. I expected to be let go and had my “no hard feelings” talk prepared and delivered it well with dignity.

I’d decided that if this happened I would volunteer with a charity to help others in any way I can but suddenly the world seems huge. Anyone have ideas on what I could do? I’m 43, brain works most days, body’s a bit broken but self esteem could do with a lift. Thanks for reading.

Cath x

Sorry about how you feel Cath - it does demoralise you when you can’t do what you’d done for years. After all, your career/job is part of who you are. I was a supply teacher and I have really missed teaching the children. It really is an ache inside. Perhaps you could volunteer for one of the charity shops or in a hospital shop? I am not sure how able-bodied you are atm but maybe one of these would work? Hope you find something that will suit! Teresa xx

Hi Cath, Sometimes care homes or sheltered housing have befriending schemes… I would think that is quite satisfying and your nursing experience would be a great benefit.

Try googling your local area and putting ‘charity work’ in. See what comes up.

I didn’t know what to do with myself when I first left work… but now I seem to be pretty busy… not sure quite what I do but I never am bored.

I run a little film club here in my sheltered housing. I know lots of these schemes are always looking for volunteers… you could just pop into your local one and have a word with the scheme manager… see if they need someone.

Also think of something you have maybe always wanted to do… research family tree… quilting… or learn about something that has always interested you. SO much info on the internet you can really learn about anything.

Take care hon… and try not to feel down about having to leave work. You’ve done your bit and you did wonderful work… but now it’s time for a change.

Best of luck,

Pat x

Thanks to both of you for replying. I’ve already managed to fill tomorrow - I’m baking fairy cakes for a local charity for my aunt. I might go into the nearby village, a charity shop there has just opened. I can’t lift or move things but maybe an hour or so serving now and again might be needed.

I thought about contacting the local branch of the ms society (which is 45 minutes away) and seeing if I could even try to help people with the mounds of paperwork the DWP send us (after I’ve finished mine of course) there must be sufferers closer to where I live. I’ve got an enhanced CRB check. Do they do such things?

I’ve always worked so although I was expecting it, it just feels really odd as up to now I’ve still been employed. But I have to see the positives, I’ve nursed for over 21 years, done a lot of good and many people with ms don’t get that. I’ve got a wonderful support network consisting of family, friends and all of you that I’ve never met but am very grateful for. What else can a girl ask for? Another body? We can dream!

Thanks again and take care.

Cath x

Hi Cath, welcome to the world of the early retired!

Been in the club myself since 2000.

I never thought I would be able to cope with all the spare time.

But as things take a lot longer to do these days, the time soon passes.

Since retiring, some of the things I`ve enjoyed doing are;

short story writing

quilting

dressmaking

card crafting

jewellery making.

You`ll soon find summat to enjoy too.

luv Pollx

Hi Poll

I’ve been off sick for 2 1/2 years but always had the job sitting in the background waiting. Like you I’ve found that everything takes so much longer. I’ve also taken up all sorts of crafts, enjoy sewing usually making bags or cushions, knitting dog’s jumpers, altering clothes, paper crafts, decoupage, doing small bits of furniture up etc. I’m a huge believer in the saying that you don’t have to be good at something in order to enjoy it. Most of my projects take weeks instead of hours but I enjoy the process as much as finishing.

Anything to keep busy and happy. MS will not beat me!

Take care

Cath x

Cath… just a note regarding your question on CRB… in sheltered they only need a CRB if they are going to be one-to-one with a service user (so staff do but volunteers don’t normally).

But having an enhanced CRB check will stand you in good stead.

Pat x

Don’t you wonder how some people cope with everything that goes along with your diagnosis? I’m well educated, used to completing forms, speaking to people etc but I’m really struggling to keep up with my ever growing to-do list. Even if you went into a bit of a slump after diagnosis it would be even worse! And then when you’re feeling tired and stressed you always seem to get some snotty person on the phone who is rude and treats you as if you’re stupid because you’re not sure about something.

Are there people who can help with this process? Where would you turn? Every day someone tells me about something else I have to do or someone I have to notify. Isn’t there time to digest what’s happening or does this keep you going?

Thanks and I hope you all have a lovely weekend. Hopefully my hands can recover from their cramping before Monday when I continue my scribbles. Take care.

Cath x

By the way, thanks Pat. I know it helped when I used to volunteer for the local youth club but I had to give that up after I fell over a child thanks to my dodgy balance. Somebody told me ages ago that I’d need it even to help in a charity shop which I thought was odd. I’ll find something as I need to feel useful somehow.

Cath x