Receiving a cancer diagnosis is not easy, particularly when it comes out of the blue. This is exactly what happened with Don Reid, who was having a procedure done for a completely different reason, and was told that he had bladder cancer. This was in July of 2019, and his diagnosis was the start of his cancer treatment journey. But there is a silver lining to almost everything, and in Don’s case, the discovery of a malignant tumor by chance turned out to be lucky. The tumor was not advanced, and he avoided chemotherapy and radiation.

Don did, however, require a couple of surgeries. As a grateful patient, he is thankful for the care he received all the way through his journey, starting with his family GP, Dr. Pretorius, and his surgeon, Dr. Ottem. “I am thankful that I live close to the hospital and that I received excellent service. I think that many people do not realize what I great hospital we have here”, Don stated.

His hospital experience, starting with his admission before surgery, time spent in recovery, and recuperating on 6 South, was so positive that he decided to share his experience as a grateful patient. “I was not treated like a number, but rather people, even in the Operating Room, took the time to introduce themselves and to acknowledge me as a person with feelings and fears,” he recounted.

Although he cannot remember the names of all the people with whom he interacted, he is particularly appreciative for the care that he received from nurse Stephanie on 6 South. “Stephanie and I had a connection as she did her training at the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology (NVIT), where I had worked before.” Don explained, “She was always extremely helpful and nothing was too much trouble. I had a bad night one night and she was there for me, which meant a lot to me.”

Don’s gratitude to all of the staff meant that when it came time to educate student nurses, he was more than willing to participate and to give a patient’s point of view. “I think that it is really important for the student nurses to know what a patient is going through and to see it from the patient’s perspective”, he said.

His recovery was progressing well until he had a setback in December, when he developed an E. coli infection in his bladder. He ended up in the Emergency Department and spend time on 4 North, where again the entire staff was excellent. He was given all sorts of tests in order to determine the best antibiotic to fight his infection, and instructions on how to use the IV drip at home. By mid-December, Don had successfully fought the infection, and was given a clean bill of health by Dr. Gupta, Internist and Infectious Disease Specialist.

Don summarized his experience by saying, “I realize that the doctors and nurses have a very tough job and cannot please everyone all the time. But my experience, particularly with everyone on 6 South was so positive and I cannot express how grateful I am for the care that I received!”

Living with constant, debilitating pain makes even the simplest daily tasks a challenge. This is what Robin Ten Heggeler was facing due to severe arthritis in both her hips. But she kept putting off hip replacement thinking “it was going to get better”. Robin does admit that had she taken more preventative measures, such as daily doses of Omega 3 and Glucosamine, she might not have been in such a bad state. But her condition was hereditary (her father also suffered from arthritis), and when it got to the point that, even with pain killers, the agony was so great that she wanted “God to take her”, she decided on surgery.

In October of 2018, Robin saw Dr. Jan Navratil, Rheumatologist and Arthritis Specialist, who had been taking care of her for the past 10 years. He ordered x-rays and the results were not good, so in March of 2019 he convinced her that surgery was the only option. As a result, Robin saw Dr. Tyler MacGregor, Orthopedic Surgeon, later that year and underwent surgery in November 2019. For the surgery, she chose not to have a spinal, which is the recommended choice, but instead went for general anaesthesia. She tolerated the surgery well and was very happy with her choice.

“I felt fantastic right after surgery,” Robin exclaimed. She did develop a hematoma on the surgery site that required a trip to the Emergency Department eight days after surgery. But the hematoma cleared up on its own and all was well. “I was really impressed with the entire ER staff and all that was done for me,” Robin praised.

Today, Robin lives with 3 screws in her hip, but has much less pain and is able to get around with a walker. She takes Tramacet for pain in her other hip, and also an anti-inflammatory. During the surgery, Dr. MacGregor noticed that there were holes in her bones, so Robin is scheduled for an osteoporosis test. She goes for physiotherapy at Royal Inland Hospital and her flexibility and mobility after only 3 months of recovery is that of the average patient after 6 months. Due to the chronic and intense pain in her other hip, she is hoping to have a hip replacement on that side by summer of 2020.

“I think that a lot of pain tolerance and recovery has to do with one’s emotions and mental health. I stay positive and that makes a huge difference. I am still able to walk with assistance and so I am very blessed. Life is good!” Robin explained. She is very thankful to the healthcare providers at RIH and for the wonderful care she has received, not only for her hip replacement but also for earlier trips to the hospital for various incidents. She praises the staff and emphasizes that even though the system is not perfect, those involved in making it run as efficiently as possible are doing their best – the result is still very good. In particular, she is grateful to her doctors, Jthe entire nursing staff on 6N, her LPN, Meagan, her nursing student, Nathan, and her physiotherapists, Eric and Linsey. “One must remember that it is not all about you. We need to take our eyes off ourselves and look at the bigger picture. How you are able to deal with a situation really depends on how you look at it!” she summarized.

If you are a patient or family member and would like to share your story, we would love to hear from you! You can either fill in the form or contact our office at 250-314-2325.