54yo Shane back at work on the Alvey Reel production line after 11 years of unemployment.
Riverview local Shane worked 27 years as a brick layer. One day while working on site, Shane collapsed. What ensued was eleven years of suffering and rehabilitation.
Shane's Story -
I knew I had arthritis but I didn’t know it was that bad. Apparently, I had a piece of bone loose in my hip and every time I moved that bone would hit a nerve and I’d just fall over. For six years I was falling over every 10 ft. It took six years to get surgery. When I finally had the surgery, my leg was realigned causing arthritis in my lumbar.
I’ve spent the last seven months at the hospital in physio and was also referred to the spinal unit. They wanted to put in a spinal block, but I said no as there was a 50% chance I’d never walk again. Since then, the physio has given me heavy drugs – I’ve got pain management for the rest of my life.
[There was a 50% chance I'd never walk again]
I had the option of which medication to take and I picked the type that enabled me to still work. The medication wears off at 5:30 every night and I’m in hell. I’m in a lot of pain every night.
With the help of MAX Goodna Placement Consultant Tusi Tulemau, Shane was able to secure a job manufacturing fishing rods at Alvey Reels Australia in August.
I jumped at this chance here, I didn’t know if I was going to like it or not. This was plunging into the deep end, something I had no idea of how it worked. But I picked it up pretty quick. I continue to ask them questions. Until you learn everything and where everything comes from and everything goes, you don’t know.
The first few days, the pain was incredible, but physio and going to bed early, getting as much sleep as what I could, helped. I’m on a constant five all day for pain. I’ve had it for so long. By concentrating on what you’re doing, the pain will feel like a two. Even though you’ve still got the pain, you’re not thinking about it. It’s good to take your mind off the pain.
The adrenaline has kept me going here even though the first couple of weeks were pretty hard. I had 11 years of doing nothing with my body.
[I had 11 years of doing nothing with my body]
Without the support from Tusi and the MAX Goodna team, Shane doesn’t know how he would have kept going.
“MAX has been fantastic. MAX has been good support. You get to a point where you can only stay positive for so long. And you can only be so get up and go. I had been just over ten years unemployed. And I went from 6-7 days per week to nothing. That hurt.
The first few years I was driving around to jobs, I was dropping in cards everywhere to get a job. After four years of that, just before I had the surgery, I was getting depressed, I was getting frustrated. I had no money, no nothing. They’ve helped me a couple of other times, I had to get work boots, and they supplied those. They supplied two shirts and two pairs of pants from here.”
[I was getting depressed, I was getting frustrated. I had no money, no nothing]
Although it was difficult for Shane coming from 11 years of unemployment to leaping into full-time work, he has persevered.
“I’m loving it. This is the best thing since sliced bread. For someone like me, I’m a bit of old school, and working is like - I want to do it. I’ve got on with everyone, this is a different sort of team oriented job than I’ve ever had previously. I’ve fitted in pretty well.
The biggest thing, the one thing that really blew me away the other day. I went to the shopping centre and I thought, I might have a snack. If I go to the shop normally I go in, get what I need and get out. Now I can actually relax a bit at the shops and know that I’ve got a couple of dollars in my pocket.”
[Now I can actually relax a bit at the shops and know that I've got a couple of dollars in my pocket]
Shane hopes to inspire others through his journey.
Don’t give up, because it gets depressing, it gets awfully depressing. But you’ve got to keep going, you’ve got to think it’s greener on the other side, that something’s got to give. You can’t get to the point where you’re completely negative and you just don’t care anymore.
"If you don’t want to do it, it’ll never happen."