Read their story
Nick Davis, Grenadier Guards, served for 11 years, attended the 2014 SWV Skihabilitation week and SWV Pain Management Programme 2.
Nick was injured in 2007 on an operational tour in Afghanistan, when out on a foot patrol clearing an enemy compound. The enemy had booby-trapped the area with a daisy chained I.E.D. The device exploded killing the point man instantly and causing multiple injuries to the rest of the section, Nick was hit badly by the explosion with extensive tissue loss and damage resulting in a right leg above knee amputation, in addition he also had extremely damaged hamstrings on the right stump and lost the majority of his gluteas-maximus muscle (right hip and buttock virtually gone). After 18 months rehab at Headley Court, he then returned to full-time service in 2009 before being medically discharged on 13th December 2011.
Nick secured employment as a Candidate Manager at “Soldier On!”, and in 2014 attended the SWV Skihabilitation week, after this, he went on to work as a driver with “Capstar Chauffeurs” but the ongoing effects of his injuries were catching up with him, and he started living with chronic pain. Employment became impossible and from walking with a prosthetic leg he was spending more and more time in a wheelchair, unable to manage the simplest of tasks.
Things got bad. He spent a year laid up in bed in pain unable to do very much and relying on his wife for everything. He spent the better part of a year in a dark place believing that his pain levels couldn’t improve, he became very negative about doing anything as he believed any actions would make the pain get worse.
Nick turned to the NHS for treatment, it soon became clear that this was going to a lengthy process. That’s when Supporting Wounded Veterans told him about the SWV Pain Management Pathway (PMP) which they had just started running at King Edward VII Hospital, initially he had huge reservations about attending the PMP but as was pointed out to him, what had he got to lose. He completed the 2nd SWV PMP which consists of 5 days residential and 5 follow up days spread over the following year, towards the end of 2017.
Nick advised SWV that he was so pleased to have attended, there are a few factors that have helped him get back to “normal”, not least, the support of his family through some very challenging times, the continued support from Supporting Wounded Veterans and the key is the support and education provided by the PMP. During the first week of the PMP he decided things had to change when, during a lesson on pain killers, it became apparent to him, that the medication he had been taking for 8 years was not working, when the Psychologists advised that “they lose their effectiveness after 1 year to 18 months”. It was at that point he thought “Why the hell am I taking these when they are not working? “
He came off his medication and the realisation that the addiction associated with the opioids he was taking were causing the pain spikes at certain times of the day, on ceasing to take the medication the pain spikes ceased also! Although he still has constant pain, he is much more able to cope with it on a day to day basis, which has, in turn, led to him feeling much more positive about life and ready to go back into some form of meaningful occupation.
As of May 2018, Nick successfully applied for a part-time role (he also learnt at the SWV PMP to realistically manage the hours he works) as a driver with a local firm that specialises in working with schools and young people with learning difficulties. He is also a part-time coach for his son's Football Team, has started to play golf again and most importantly is back to being a proactive busy family man enjoying time with his wife and children.
“If you want to change, there are great people at SWV and the PMP to help you do it. But you have to want it for yourself. A massive thank you to all at Supporting Wounded Veterans and the PMP Team for all the help and support, it has helped me in ways I couldn’t have thought. Thank you”