Patient Stories

One Step at a Time

One Step at at Time

Chronic pain, reduced mobility and the reliance on crutches and a walker led to a full knee replacement for Susan MacArthur. She was supposed to be discharged three days after her surgery at Lakeridge Health in Oshawa but after suffering complications, her stay was extended.

"The nursing staff told me I would be starting rehab. I said 'what's rehab?' I had never been to rehab in my life," said Susan.

For nearly six weeks, the Whitby resident regularly worked on strengthening her leg and upper body while temporarily using a wheelchair. Her training was slow and steady- Physiotherapist, Lisa Henry and Occupational Therapist, Eunice Yoshiki helped improve Susan's strength and flexibility, along with her mood and confidence.

"They were amazing, helping me deal with any anxiety I had throughout this process. They praised me for every milestone I hit, big or small," adds Susan.

During her time in the rehabilitation unit in Oshawa, Susan had the chance to speak with others who were experiencing similar challenges and felt a sense of family among other patients and staff. Their positivity and determination gave her an extra push to work even harder to re-learn how to stand and walk. She's now looking forward to running errands and walking her dog on her own.

"The care was amazing. If I ever need to return for treatment, I'd come back to rehab in a minute!" 

Vivian Arana's Story

Vivian Arana's StoryVivian Arana learned early that her pregnancy was going to be challenging.

"I was diagnosed with Deep Vein Thrombosis, preeclampsia and was borderline eclamptic," says Vivian.

She was admitted to Mount Sinai toward the end of her pregnancy and required an emergency C-section giving birth to her daughter Emma at just 30 weeks. Vivian was discharged from Mount Sinai shortly after, but Emma still required care in their Neonatal Intensive Care unit (NICU).

"It was important for me to be there for Emma, but I didn't live close to Mount Sinai," says Vivian. "I was still recovering myself from having a C-section and wasn't feeling 100% yet. Relying on other people to take me from Ajax to Toronto was an absolute nightmare." 

After looking into preemie care options close to home, Vivian advocated to have Emma transferred to Lakeridge Health's Ajax-Pickering Hospital as soon as it was safe to do so. 

Emma was in the NICU at Ajax-Pickering Hospital for nearly a month as the hospital team there worked to get her to a healthy body weight. It meant Vivian could stay overnight at the hospital as often as she liked and her 11-year-old daughter Bella could visit too. 

"Watching her baby sister in the hospital was especially hard for Bella, but the nurses cared for her too," remembers Vivian. "One nurse even gave Bella a special journal to help her cope with her feelings." 

Emma was recently discharged from Ajax-Pickering hospital and has just passed her original due date. "She's still tiny, but she is growing well," says Vivian. 

Alan Ely's Story

Alan Ely's StoryTwice a week, Alan Ely and his wife Marsha depart from their home in Beaverton for Oshawa where Alan spends the better part of his afternoon in physiotherapy after having knee replacement surgery six weeks ago.

"We pack a lunch and we make a kind of picnic out of it. It's become a nice time for us together," says Alan.

With the temporary closure of Port Perry Hospital, Alan's physiotherapy now takes place at Lakeridge Health's Ambulatory Rehabilitation Centre at 58 Rossland Road. It's added another 30 minutes to his commute but Alan says he doesn't mind at all because he still gets to see Danielle Perrault, the same physiotherapist he has been working closely with in Port Perry.

"Being able to still see Danielle is critical for me," he explains. "Danielle understands what I'm going through and she's someone whom I trust to tell me what I need to do to get better."

In fact, it was Danielle who called him the morning after the rooftop fire at Port Perry Hospital to reassure him his physiotherapy could continue uninterrupted at another Lakeridge Health location. Danielle says, like Alan, the majority of her patients have chosen to resume their physiotherapy in Oshawa even with the extra travel.

"We have a good rapport with our patients," she adds. "We get a lot of returning people and many of them come from the more rural areas like Beaverton, Cannington and Sunderland. Patients are often referred to us following post-surgery to continue therapy, critical to ensuring a successful recovery."

One of two physiotherapists at Port Perry Hospital, Danielle has worked at every Lakeridge Health location except Rossland Road, until now. Being able to bring her Port Perry patients with her to Oshawa has helped Danielle adapt to different surroundings too.

"I don't feel like I'm so displaced," she adds. "I'm able to tell my patients, 'This is even new for me too.'"

Help For Hunter

Help for HunterA persistent cough, vomiting and ongoing respiratory issues lingered for weeks for six month-old Hunter. After two different hospital visits and little improvement, Hunter's mother, Kora Kozai decided to drive from their Scarborough home to the Emergency Department at Lakeridge Health in Oshawa.

"The doctor ordered blood work and a chest X-ray and the results were given to us almost immediately," said Kozai. "It was a seamless, easy procedure. My son was diagnosed with pneumonia, given a prescription for antibiotics and a follow-up appointment with a paediatrician in Oshawa the next day."

The stay-at-home mom of two young boys says she made the decision to make the 45-minute late-night drive to the Oshawa Hospital after hearing positive reviews about its Emergency Department and in particular, the Paediatric Acute Referral Clinic, which gives families quick access to a paediatrician.

"I would choose Lakeridge Health in Oshawa in a heartbeat, every time because of the nurses and doctors who work there. Even at three in the morning, they're happy, crisp, and ready to help," says Kozai. "I don't feel like I'm

just a number there. I feel like I'm a real person who people care about."

The Port Perry Experience

The Port Perry ExperienceDelivering close to home was something Alissa Reid had hoped for. She was nearing the end of her first pregnancy and the short drive from her house to Port Perry Hospital allowed for better peace of mind. But on August 25th, the temporary closure of Port Perry Hospital quickly changed her birth plan.

"I was about 37 weeks along and I was completely shocked when I heard about the fire at Port Perry Hospital," says Reid. "I didn't plan on going anywhere else."

Nearly three weeks later, Baby Violet was born around 3:30 a.m. at Lakeridge Health in Oshawa by a Port Perry physician, one of many new processes that have been developed for patients and families affected by the Port Perry Hospital fire.

All services at Port Perry Hospital are now being delivered at other locations within our hospital system while Lakeridge Health works to restore and reopen the Port Perry Hospital.

"We understand that some of our new moms from Port Perry are disappointed that they have to change their birth plans," says Julie Rojas, Patient Care Manager of the Birthing Suite in Port Perry and Oshawa. "We've worked with our physician partners at Medical Associates in Port Perry to ensure that a Port Perry physician is on-call 24 hours a day to care for labouring Port Perry moms in Oshawa."

"We want patients and families from Port Perry to receive the best experience possible," she adds.

Approximately 30 babies are delivered each month at Port Perry Hospital. With the on-call rotation, Port Perry moms may not be paired with the same Port Perry physician who provided their prenatal care.

"You're still getting the Port Perry experience and other than relocating, it's been wonderful," says Alissa.

 Home in Time for Easter

Laverne HarveyIf Laverne Harvey looks happy, it's becuase he's going home tomorrow - just in time to spend Easter Sunday with his family.

Laverne has been in hospital since Oct. 15 being treated for a severe infection to his artificial hip. He and his wife Lois joke that they've come to know every corner of Lakeridge Health, with him having been treated in Emergency, Critical Care, Surgery, Dialysis and Rehabilitation.

"The care we've received has just been great. We've been very well looked after," said Laverne. He Credits his care team with helping him "learn how to do everything again" especially his physiotherapist Lisa Henry, Rehabilitation Assistants Denise McMillan and Michelle Theriault and Occupational Therapist Eunice Yoshiki.