I Need More Than 255 Characters to Express My Gratitude

Mike Leipe, Queensway Carleton Hospital Donor & Patient

When Mike Leipe went on the Queensway Carleton Hospital (QCH) Foundation website to donate, he ran into a little problem. There just wasn’t enough room on the form to convey his thanks and admiration.  “I wanted to make three donations in honour of three of the nurses who cared for me at QCH,” Mike remembers. “But the wonder of what they do – I just couldn’t express my gratitude in 255 characters. It’s not a Tweet, it’s a tribute. There was so much more I wanted to say!”

So, Mike reached out to the Foundation to ensure his messages were conveyed. And they were. Here is one of them:

“During my six-night stay on D4 (Surgical Unit) in late February/early March, you showed an “above and beyond” level of personal interest in my care and in my well-being. You were very responsive to my needs and good company when I needed someone to talk to. Under your care I always felt that I was in good hands and that I was safe. What could be more important than that during a hospital stay? And I was moved that you stopped by to wish me luck and shake my hand before I left on discharge day – a wonderful personal touch. Thank you.”

Mike says those sentiments sum up his entire health journey at QCH. In February 2019, six weeks shy of his 58th birthday, Mike woke up from a routine colonoscopy to find his wife in tears. The news was not good. Mike underwent a week of daily radiation, major bowel surgery, six months of chemotherapy, ileostomy reversal surgery, plus many tests and appointments – over the span of just one year. And there were several setbacks along the way.

“I’m an adventurous guy,” jokes Mike, who loves to ski, skate, windsurf, hike and run. “But I’m fairly selective about my adventures and this one wasn’t a lot of fun.” Throughout his treatment, Mike had to return to QCH three different times for small bowel obstructions. In all, he spent 18 nights in the hospital as the team monitored and treated each episode.

Every time he went to QCH, Mike says the care was exceptional.

“Whenever I went back, I felt this incredible feeling of safety. This is going to be OK. I’m going to be OK. I’m safe here. This is the best place for me to be with the best people. I mean, how many people smile when going into the hospital for a follow-up colonoscopy? Well, I did!”

Recently, a routine check-up discovered more cancer spots in Mike’s lungs. He has already had one surgery, with more planned. No matter what lies ahead, Mike says he knows he is in good hands at QCH.

“I support the QCH Foundation because I want the QCH team to know that what they do really matters. It makes a difference. It’s not about cleaning a bedpan. It’s about remembering someone’s name or taking the time to talk to someone. For someone having the worst experience of their life, this team takes it from a 10 down to a 6 on the horrible scale. That’s a big deal.”

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.