thumbnailLife can change in an instant. April Cullen knows that all too well.

It started with the loss of her eyesight. “I was driving down the road and I couldn’t see the signs and I couldn’t see the cars in front of me.” April, whose husband Tim works at Warrior Coal, learned she had a condition called retinopathy, which is irreversible.

Not long after, while waiting on her front porch for her sister to pick her up for work, April suddenly felt an intense pain. She thought she had been accidentally shot by a hunter, but realized it was something just as deadly: heart attack. “All of a sudden, my shoulder felt like somebody was inside just twisting my shoulder, and it ran down my right arm,” April recalled. Her sister rushed her to the hospital, where the doctors put stents in her heart.

April had struggled with diabetes since she was a teenager. Now, her cardiologist said the condition had taken its toll – and that another attack could come anytime.

Because of her health setbacks, April had to quit the job she loved. With her eyesight almost gone, April found herself confined to her home. And now her physical illness started affecting her mental health. “I guess I was getting depressed,” says April. “Nobody told me that a heart attack could cause that.”

April was ready to give up. Then one day, Melissa called.

Melissa Gobin, RN, is a Care Coordination nurse who provides in-home services to Alliance Coal employees and their dependents who have complex illnesses or chronic health conditions. The Care Coordination team follows up to make sure the patient’s treatment is on target and to help them stay on the road to recovery. For April, Care Coordination was just what she needed. “They’re just wonderful, wonderful caretakers,” April said. “I got better care at home than if I was in the hospital.”

Although she still has a long road ahead of her, April now knows she’s not alone. She has learned how to monitor her health. And with help from Care Coordination and her family, she has more freedom and mobility. “I don’t think that I would be here right now if it wasn’t for Melissa and the Care Coordination program.”

Care Coordination is a benefit available at no cost to you by the Alliance Coal Health Care Program. To request assistance, call 855.979.5193 or contact your on-site Health Center.