My wife has always been a strong person. But I never realized just how strong until this past year: She was called into the hospital three separate times, being told I wouldn’t make it through the night.
In 2022, I contracted pneumonia, and afterwards, COVID-19. After a visit to my doctor, it was suggested I go to outpatients, where I was quickly admitted to the Cape Breton Regional Hospital. My third night there, I went to sleep, and I woke up seven weeks later in the intensive care unit (ICU).
I now know that I spent 55 days in the ICU, and I was in and out of a coma for 42 of them.
My name is Dan MacDonald. I’m originally from Creighnish, but now live in Westmount. I’m proud to be here today to share my story with you, in support of Radio Day and health care in Cape Breton. This year, Radio Day is supporting the new Vital Patient-Care Fund, which has a goal of eliminating barriers to care for those experiencing financial burdens.
During my time in a coma, as you might imagine, I lost my strength. I was down substantially in weight. In fact, I lost more than 75 pounds. The only thing that fit me were my socks and my shoes.
Health care complications can cause radical changes to a person, and it can be quite expensive to purchase things as simple as new clothing to fit. The Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation’s new Vital Patient-Care Fund will help support patients in need of such items, as well as accessibility equipment, emergency travel, and more. Will you consider giving to Radio Day, supporting the more than 30 patients who will rely on this new and innovative Fund each month?
After my time in the ICU, incredibly, I started to recover. I entered the general population in the hospital, and afterwards, rehabilitation. It’s hard to express just how good the care I received was. There isn’t anything the nurses, physicians and health care staff wouldn’t do to make me comfortable and help in my healing. When I made it to rehabilitation, I knew that not only was I going to be alright, but that I was going to ‘come back’ from this.
However, because I now have what’s considered Long COVID, I wasn’t able to leave the hospital until I had a CPAP machine (which helps keep your airways open as you sleep). My wife and I looked to several funding options, most of which we didn’t qualify for, or the waitlists were simply too long. Fortunately, we did qualify for funding through the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation.
My wife and I are retired, and didn’t work jobs that had pension plans. Consequently, purchasing a CPAP machine would have been quite a financial strain on us, during a time we could not afford such a strain. It’s because of generous donors, like yourself, that I was able to get this machine and be discharged from the hospital. I am so grateful for this. Will you consider giving to Radio Day, and supporting other patients like me, when they need it most?
I’m now doing much better, living at home, and feeling much stronger. People tell me I’m sounding and looking more like ‘myself’. I am still trying to figure out some things, but I think little things like being able to stand on my own to take a shower are accomplishments on their own.
Every step might be small, but it’s a step, nonetheless.
A ‘fun’ fact I’d like to share with you is that, in the early 80’s, I worked with Jack Yazer to get what’s now known as the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation up and running. At the time, I wanted to give back because that’s the way I was raised. Simply put, you help people when you can.
Now, having received help from the Foundation and our community, I truly realize the impact. You don’t realize how important it is, until you need it.
I hope you will join me in supporting Radio Day, the Vital Patient-Care Fund, and our friends, families and neighbours, right here, at home. Together, we can eliminate barriers to care for those in need in our community.
Husband, father, (new) grandfather
Former Radio Host, Cape Breton Post Columnist
Fellow Cape Bretoner