Friday, April 11, 2014

A whole lot of thanking going on!

Dorothy Drinnan, at Tomahawk Restaurant in North Vancouver.  
If you didn’t already know, the hockey world truly is full of incredible people.
My wife, Dorothy, and I want to thank all of you who have inquired about her health, passed along hugs, or just said “Hi” over the last few months. Your caring and your responses to our personal situation really has blown us away, and you have no idea how much it helps to have so much support through times like these.
We also would like to thank the many, many fine people we have encountered in the healthcare industry. You all worked so hard to provide such wonderful care.
As you may be aware, Dorothy had a kidney transplant on Sept. 23. She was born with one kidney and, over time, it deteriorated to the point where she needed help cleaning the toxins from her system.
The short-term answer was peritoneal dialysis, or PD as it’s known in the renal world, for the better part of four years.
Then, early in August, we got the call. The operating room was booked; the transplant would take place on Sept. 23.
Which is just what happened.
The new kidney was a bit sluggish at first, but soon kicked into gear and has continued to perform well despite some non-related speed bumps.
We spent two months in Vancouver -- miss you, Robson Street! -- before returning home late in November.
But somewhere along the way, one of those anti-biotic-resistant infections that you sometimes read about but really don’t comprehend, took up residence in Dorothy’s system. As a result, she spent most of December in Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, where she was found also to have pneumonia.
She was admitted on Dec. 5 and discharged on New Year’s Eve. Thankfully, she was allowed out on day passes over Christmas, so our family was able to spend some time together.
In January, there was another week in St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver as doctors continued to work to drive the infection from her system.
I won’t bore you with all the particulars; let’s just say that Dorothy has been through a lot to get to where she is today.
While the healthcare system is the target of much criticism these days, neither of us is able to find one thing about which to complain. (Well, there is the parking situation!)
The good people who work on 6A and 6B, the renal wards at St. Paul’s, are wonderful -- from the surgeons to the doctors to the nurses to a terrific pharmacist to our favourite social worker. The work they do there is beyond description.
The same holds true for the caregivers we dealt with at RIH in Kamloops -- from those we encountered on half-a-dozen visits to the emergency ward to the staff on 3W.
Before surgery, Dorothy visited regularly with the staff in RIH’s renal clinic. Now we regularly interact with the gang at the post-transplant clinic. Through it all, she has been looked after by four or five nephrologists. The care has been out of this world.
Through necessity, we were led to an ambulatory care clinic in Kamloops where Dorothy went for numerous dressing changes. The receptionists and nurses there are ultra-efficient and caring. This clinic is located underneath a strip mall, well off the beaten track, and takes a whole lot of pressure off the RIH emergency ward.
Anyway . . . to all of you, thank you so much. You all are special!
Dorothy was back at the post-transplant clinic in Kamloops on Friday. It was her first appointment in three weeks, which is a long time when you are used to weekly sessions. Things are going well enough now that the doctor said her next appointment could be in six weeks.
Yes, she was walking on air when she left the clinic.
Going into this process, we were told that the first six months would be crucial. Well, we drove past that milestone and celebrated last weekend.
More than a year ago, we watched an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives in which host Guy Fieri visited the Tomahawk Restaurant in North Vancouver. For whatever reason, it appealed to us and we decided that we would pay it a visit after Dorothy had surgery and was on the road to recovery.
Unfortunately, while we were living in a hotel on Robson Street during her initial recovery period, she was never well enough, thanks to that infection, to venture that far.
Things are different now, though.
Last weekend, we went to Burnaby to spend some time with our son, Todd, and his girlfriend, Joanna. It was a few days before Dorothy’s birthday, and Todd surprised his mother by taking us to the Tomahawk for dinner.
That was after about three hours of walking around Metrotown, the mega-mall in Burnaby.
All of this was just one more sign that Dorothy is headed in the right direction.
You all should know that we feel you played a role in her recovery. It really meant a lot to know that so many people, many of whom she has never met, really cared and showed it by walking with us.

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