STORIES FROM THE HEART
It’s frightening to think how your life can change so drastically in just one fleeting moment. No one knows this better than Dorothy Anderson.
It was a cold winter day on January 12, 2014. Dorothy, a healthy 68 year old resident of Markdale was going about her usual morning routine. As she ascended the stairs she felt searing pain that encompassed her entire body from her head to her toes. She somehow managed to get herself to the bedroom to lie down but could not get on the bed. She was in too much pain. Dorothy knew something was horribly wrong and directed her partner Jerry to call the ambulance.
Within minutes she was at the Centre Grey Hospital where her family Dr. (Dr. Kaethler) happened to be on call that day. The staff stabilized Dorothy with pain medication and sent her to Owen Sound for an MRI which confirmed that she was experiencing a brain aneurysm. She was immediately sent back to Markdale and within 20 minutes was being airlifted to London for a 6 hour surgery where she suffered a 2nd bleed. The Dr.’s had to act quickly in order to save her life. This turned into a 3 week hospital stay for Dorothy.
At her 3 month check-up, Dorothy’s follow up MRI showed another aneurysm under the first site, probably because of the leak during the first surgery when they had to exit quickly. They also found another small aneurysm growing on the left side of her brain. This meant a second surgery for Dorothy. This time it was a terrifying 10 hour surgery where they used titanium clamps to seal the aneurysm. The saving grace is that the MRI caught this aneurysm and she was able to receive treatment before it erupted spontaneously.
“I don’t know what I would have done without the kindness of my friends over that long road to recovery” said Dorothy. Community members tended her gardens, dropped off meals, and helped Jerry with her care. The continuous outpour of community support was remarkable.
Dorothy continues to have annual follow-up visits with CT Scans. Over the past 4 ½ years, Dorothy’s recovery has been wrought with highs and lows. She is still plagued with double vision, photosensitivity, headaches and issues with balance. Not all days are good days. But knowing that most people’s lives would have ended on the steps that cold January day, she is grateful to have had trained professionals with the proper technology available to her locally. It saved her life.
I am pleased to provide you with this short letter regarding my experience this past summer in attending the Markdale Hospital on an emergency basis.
By way of background, I have been a part time resident of Markdale for the past 3 ½ years. The proximity to a hospital was a big factor in the selection of Markdale for our country retirement property. This past summer, while on my morning walk with my dogs, I began to experience difficulty breathing, dizziness, weakness and extreme fatigue. These symptoms did not dissipate upon returning home. My husband and I decided it warranted a trip to the hospital as I had never experienced anything similar in the past. Following our 5 minute drive to the ER, I was seen immediately, and taken for a chest x-ray. All of the medical staff were very professional, efficient, friendly and very reassuring to me as a patient. My husband who has somewhat of an aversion to hospitals, stayed with me and to my surprises commented that “this hospital wasn’t like other hospitals”. After speaking with the doctor and getting the results of my x-ray and diagnosis, I was sent home with the appropriate medication.
We have lived in downtown Toronto for many years and have had occasion to attend a number of the downtown hospitals within the University Health Network for both minor and serious health issues. With that comparison, I must say that I was very impressed with the quality of care provided by the Markdale Hospital ER staff. We are grateful to the hospital staff for the care I received that Sunday morning and reassured to have the hospital so close to our country home. We also eagerly anticipate the building of a new hospital in Markdale to better serve the needs of this community and to provide the staff with an updated facility they need to continue to provide quality care.