Brighter Days

Kathy and her son on his wedding day

“I’ve probably just pulled a muscle,” thought Kathy when the abdominal pain first struck while she was gardening. Her back gets sore sometimes from gardening. She also thought maybe it was something she’d eaten. But her longtime partner, Gord, had eaten the same thing.

Two days later, concerned with Kathy’s discomfort and increasingly swollen belly, the couple went to the QCH Emergency Department (ED). Kathy “didn’t see the outside again for 17 days.”

The pain wasn’t from her back, nor was it food poisoning. But instead a perforated gastric ulcer. Surgery by Dr. Chris Winckle soon followed. Kathy woke up with an eight-inch incision and a team of nurses on the General Surgery Unit (D4) cheering her on. Caitlin, Darby, Myriam, Chris, Anna and many more cared for Kathy during her 17 days in hospital.

“When you’re there for 17 days you appreciate how hard everyone works,” said Kathy. “Day and night. You have to be a special person to be a nurse.”

The team administered pain control and also tough love, as required. When Kathy asked for ice chips one afternoon she was nicely encouraged, “If you want to walk at your son’s wedding, get up and get them yourself.” It was late July and Kathy’s son’s wedding was just around the corner.

Gord visited every day and the couple walked the halls together. They felt safe with the COVID precautions. Kathy’s recovery progressed and then took a dramatic turn for the better. “She did a 180,” recounted Gord.

Kathy’s son got married in September; outdoors on a beautiful sunny day in Tremblant. Though still a little tired, Kathy was there. She got to pin the corsage on her son’s lapel, dance with him and give a speech. A few weeks later she emailed photos to the nurses who’d been so instrumental in her recovery.

“Thank you so much,” says Kathy to the QCH team that cared for her. “You’re all so wonderful. You’re so kind and caring and good at what you do.”

Tens of thousands of patients rely on Queensway Carleton Hospital’s surgical teams each year. To ensure we meet this growing need, and continue to advance surgery and patient care for our community, it is essential that we have the best and latest surgical equipment. This is why we are calling on you to help us upgrade our 11 surgical suites. 

Learn more about our Advancing Surgery Campaign.