As our Covid-19 numbers in Alberta trend in the right direction thanks to our rising vaccination numbers, it is more important than ever to celebrate the team of nurses and doctors and nurses that tirelessly fight on the front lines of this pandemic.
Jan and Don Elliot experienced first-hand the difference that a professional, dedicated and compassionate medical team can make to the outcome of the fight against Covid-19. “We both received exceptional care by dedicated professionals, all staff showed compassion, understanding and provided their very best care to us,” says Jan.
Jan retired from the Royal Alexandra Hospital as the Floors Clinical Lead for Respiratory Therapy who now works casually to help with pandemic staffing. She contracted the disease in December and passed it on to her husband. Jan and Don (both in good health with no underlying medical conditions) nearly died from the disease. Jan said, “We followed the rules and this happened to us! We were healthy, no chronic conditions... this is not a fair disease, it has changed our lives…”
When they were first diagnosed, neither experienced severe symptoms, but all that changed mere days later. When Don found his wife unconscious on the floor a few days after Christmas 2020, she was rushed by ambulance to the Sturgeon Hospital. “The experience of being a COVID patient instead of someone caring for them was surreal. I remember telling the staff my husband was home and sick like me right before they told me they needed to intubate me,” says Jan. She was eventually transferred to the Mazankowski to receive ECMO treatment. She spent more than a month in hospital – much of it unconscious.
Don was admitted to the Sturgeon Hospital a day or two after Jan. He spent a little over 2 weeks in the ICU and was on the floors for a couple of days before being discharged. Because they were both so ill, they do not recall exact timing.
While a patient at the Sturgeon Don was overwhelmed by the kindness and thoughtfulness of the Nurses providing his care. He was surprised how many times the nurses and RTs would gown to come in his room in their isolation gear to check on him, have a little chat, doff the isolation gear, then come back a little while later to repeat the process and they even set up FaceTime so that he could see his wife as she received treatment.
“Not only were the ICU team outstanding in their care, compassion and knowledge, they all displayed such thoughtfulness, attentiveness and sense of humour. Having a primary nursing team gave him the comfort of seeing some of the same faces each day and knowing what to expect. They helped him through each step, which allowed him to feel safe and secure in the knowledge that he was going to get better,” said Don.
“We are extremely grateful and appreciative to the many healthcare providers that saved our lives… We will be in the Sturgeon Hospital's staff's debt for the magnificent care we received.”