I remember my car crossing the centre line and seeing a school bus coming towards me. It was about 50 feet away and coming fast. Before I know it I had cleared the ditch and my car had come to rest in a farmer’s field. Thankfully, the bus passed with no damage done.
Fortunately, an O.P.P. cruiser was right behind me. The last thing I remember is telling the officer I needed to sit down. It was my last conscious thought for weeks.
I was just 48 years old and I was having a massive stroke.
That’s how my story starts, with a horrendous event and a near catastrophe. Later, I came to believe that at the very moment it appeared my luck had run out, my guardian angel had stepped in to save me. And he did it again when I was taken to BGH where the stroke team was waiting for me in the Emergency Department.
I’ve been on a long journey since the evening of February 9, 2016. After being in a coma for four weeks my family was told to make final arrangements. After five weeks I was stable enough to be brought out of the coma, but my family was told I’d never be able to walk, talk or eat on my own, and a long-term care facility should be considered.
In a way that’s hard to imagine, my 12-year-old daughter was a little trooper during this ordeal. She visited regularly, always following the rules by putting on her yellow smock and rubber gloves. She saw me looking like a science experiment gone wrong with IVs, monitors, feeding tubes, and a tracheotomy to top it off.
bless her, she would come in quietly and, not saying a word, she’d wipe my face and rub my feet in hopes of a miracle. Watching over me with an angel, she would read my facial expressions and tell the nurse, “My dad is uncomfortable,” or “He’s not happy right now.”
Despite the poor prognosis, the care team never stopped working to save me. Not when I arrived at BGH, and not in the weeks that followed. And when they knew that I would live they never stopped- they haven’t stopped- helping me to recover.
Today I do walk, talk, and eat on my own. In fact, I talk a lot about the care I received at BGH. I talk about the wonderful people who saved my life, and the amazing people in the stroke program who gave me back my life. They are true angels to me. I’ve tried to repay them by volunteering to run a stroke victim support group every week at the hospital. I also try to show my gratitude by doing things like this, telling my story and helping the BGH Foundation raise funds to buy medical equipment.
I thought my guardian angel (my wingman) was only working through the BGH care team. I didn’t know donors pay for medical equipment. I didn’t understand that they were actively involved in saving my life and making me whole again. I know now that donors are true angels.
My story is a pretty dramatic example of how gifts to BGH keep the promise of keeping care better, but this letter is really about how you and I can help ensure the next person through the doors at BGH will receive the same quality care I did.
This Christmas we’re asking you to help make care better throughout the hospital because every department has equipment needs. In total, BGH needs over $2 million of new medical equipment this year.
Priorities include paediatric colonoscope, defibrillators, vital signs monitors, Labour and Delivery Room procedure lights, and a bone density machine. There are smart pumps to precisely deliver medications, ventilators to breathe for those who can’t and a tourniquet to stop bleeding during surgery.
The only way we can meet these needs is for good people like you to become BGH Christmas Angels this year. When you donate to BGH you ensure our hospital has the best equipment, the best doctors, and the best care possible to fight illness right here at home. I’m proud to say I’ve made my gift and I’d like to invite you to join me by making a gift, in any amount you can, to help buy medical equipment. The government doesn’t pay for it, so it’s up to us.
Thank you for letting me share my story. Against all odds, and thanks to donors, I had Christmas with my family last year. And I’m looking forward to an even better one this year. I’m living proof that donors (angels) save lives and make lives better. I just wish you could know how grateful I am.
P.S. I suffered a massive stroke in 2016. BGH and donors saved my life and made me whole again. The hospital needs over $2 million of new medical equipment this year so other will receive the same quality of care I did. Please become a Christmas Angel this year by making a gift today.