The Queensway-Carleton Hospital saved my life last month

This post is going to be a tad personal. I spent the beginning of 2017 in hospital following a serious medical incident. Ottawa Paramedics Services and the Queensway Carleton Hospital literally saved my life. This post is my way of paying it forward by trying to raise awareness of the importance of this facility to our community.

This was not your typical drive down Cedarview Road. Like many other Barrhaven residents, I’ve traveled the road many times, either to bring my dog to Bruce Pit for some social time and exercise, or for a quick jaunt to Bayshore. But this was different. It was 3 am. I was strapped to a stretcher, inside an ambulance that was rushing me to the Queensway Carleton hospital. A paramedic worked to stabilize me as my wife looked on. The paramedics quickly determined that given my condition, the Queensway Carleton Hospital was my only option. Going to either the Civic or General campuses of the Ottawa Hospital would be too risky. In this specific incident, proximity mattered. A lot.

Queensway-Carleton-Hospital Barrhaven
Queensway-Carleton Hospital

I started the new year in perfect health. I dined out with my wife, then headed home to sleep. It could not have been a more typical New Year’s day. January 2nd was another story altogether. I woke up feeling awful. By 10 am, I was throwing up violently. I had contracted a serious form of food poisoning. I’m still taken aback at how quickly and violently it struck. I experienced significant dehydration and what little food I managed to consume was quickly thrown up. This continued for almost 36 hours until I reached a point where it began to affect my motor skills. My wife did not hesitate; she immediately called 911.

The paramedics arrived within minutes and I was rushed to the Queensway-Carleton hospital drifting in and out of consciousness. My memory of what happened next is almost non-existent. My wife tells me that a team of specialists worked frantically to stabilize my condition and prepare me for admission to the intensive care unit.

I came to about 18 hours later, lying in a hospital bed surrounded by my wife and family members. I initially had no idea where I was. I had numerous sensors and IV’s attached to my body. I had survived my ordeal but wasn’t yet out of the woods. But the worst was behind me.

The following morning I woke up in the ICU feeling much better. I was able to talk and have conversations with both family and staff. I was also able to get my first good look at a medical facility not many of us will ever get to see. It was truly impressive.

The Intensive Care Unit at the Queensway Carleton Hospital is a state of the art facility. It is impeccably clean, modern and equipped with state of the art technology. When I was well enough to leave my bed for a short walk, I got my first look at the impressive array of medical devices that had monitored my vital signs over the last few days. It was reassuring to see that staff of the ICU have what seems to be state of the art equipment to help them provide the best care possible for their patients. Which brings me to the best part of the ICU – the staff.

Advanced medical equipment matters, but it is only as good as the staff who operate it. The Intensive Care Unit of the Queensway Carleton Hospital is staffed by what can only be described as a medical dream team. The doctors, nurses, and volunteers demonstrated a level of professionalism that is truly remarkable. I hope you never need to be admitted to the ICU unit, but if ever you need their services, rest assured you will receive amazing care from world-class medical providers.

But the Queensway-Carleton is a story of two hospitals. While the ICU is modern and located in a newer section of the hospital, older wards are showing a significant amount of wear and tear. No doubt, the scars of having helped so many, over so many years. Like the ICU, the real heroes are the staff and volunteers who manage to deliver such amazing services within the context of an aging infrastructure. But now it’s the Queensway-Carleton hospital that needs our help and support.

Most of us will lead happy, healthy lives. But accidents and unfortunate incidents happen. Heart attacks, strokes, and broken bones, among many other ailments, will sooner or later affect your family, friends or neighbors. As I learned from personal experience, living in close proximity to a hospital can make all the difference. Minutes matter. Sooner or later, you or someone you know will need the Queensway-Carleton Hospital. This is why community support for this facility is so important.

This year, councilor Jan Harder will celebrate 20 years of service to Barrhaven and its residents. Like so many others, she and her family have also been helped by the Queensway-Carleton hospital, in both good times and sad times. Jan understands how important this facility is to her constituents, which is why she has launched a campaign to raise $100,000 over the next year for the Queensway-Carleton Hospital. I can’t think of a more fitting way to celebrate her 20 years of service to the community.

So let’s all do this together. Let’s invest in our own future, in our own health care. For ourselves, our parents and our children and our neighbors.

Sometime over the next few days, I hope you can spare a few minutes to visit the following website and make a donation.

Jan Harder 20 Year Celebration Queensway Carleton Hospital Foundation

We’re a big community – many small donations can make a big difference. Let’s show the Queensway-Carleton Hospital that Barrhaven values their services. After all, they’ll be there when you need them.

Wishing everyone a happy (and healthy) 2017!