Do you want to keep fighting? “Yes”

Meet Paul Ralph — he spent 192 days at Queensway Carleton Hospital (QCH), mostly in our Intensive Care Unit (ICU), fighting to recover his health and return home to his wife, Ria.

It’s November 11, 2019: Paul had spent the day working in the bush by his cottage with his kids, stopping to get fries on the way home — a normal day. That evening, Paul was rushed to the hospital for intense stomach pains.

Paul was diagnosed with acute pancreatitis.

After a week on our medicine unit he was sent to ICU, where the doctors explained to his family just how sick he was. “The sensitivity and empathy of the doctors, nurses, and support staff throughout Paul’s illness was remarkable,” Ria says. She spent every single day with Paul in the ICU, with their children often staying during the evenings. “When his team did their rounds, we were always invited to join the discussion about his treatment.”

In late January, after three months in the ICU, Paul’s condition became more critical. Dr. Askshai Iyengar sat down with Ria and Paul to discuss the severity of his condition with them. Although Paul couldn’t speak, he could write. It was a moment Ria will never forget. “I asked him “do you want to keep fighting?” and Paul wrote ‘yes’.

Ria and Paul Ralph, Ralph with his grandchildren 

The doctors and the excellent ICU staff were behind him all the way.” Ria says. “The cooperation, positive atmosphere, and feeling of family made a huge difference to his recovery.”

Paul was moved to our surgical unit (D4) in March, right as the visitor restrictions changed due to COVID-19.

“Paul would call me 3 times a day, every day. I never had to worry about his care — I knew he was in good hands.” — Ria Ralph

Paul stressed how excellent the care on D4 was, and how supportive they were when he started to eat, walk and speak again on many of these calls, always having a positive comment about the skilled care of the staff.

On May 20 — 192 days after he was first admitted — Paul went home.

As Paul and Ria left the hospital, he noticed something peculiar: a big bunch of people lined up outside the main entrance, two metres apart. Every single one of his kids and grandkids showed up to cheer and clap as he walked out of the hospital for the first time in months. “I didn’t have my glasses on.” Paul admitted, laughing. “It was all my family; it was really something. A very big moment, very touching.”

At the end of the interview, Paul and Ria wanted to say how grateful they were for the excellent care and positive experience at QCH.

Paul Ralph in Intensive Care Unit, A great milestone – finally up to walk!