After Waking Up in the ICU, Tony Thanks the Team that Saved His Life
“I was having a perfect day,” remembers Tony. “My family spent the day in the backyard making tomato sauce together, and I even saw some friends for a safe backyard visit. Waking up in the Intensive Care Unit was like a terrible dream.”
Tony doesn’t remember much before waking up in the ICU.
At the end of a beautiful day outside with people he cared about, Tony started experiencing shortness of breath. He made his way to his oxygen tank, put it on, and called 9-11.
Fabio, a nurse in Humber’s Apotex Emergency Department was working in ambulance triage that day, when he received a call from dispatch that a patient was coming in with difficulty breathing.
“When he was brought through those doors, he was semi-conscious,” says Fabio, “We immediately transferred him into a resuscitation room, and that’s when I recognized him – Tony was a Humber dialysis patient and had come into the Emergency Department the week before with fluid in his lungs.”
Fabio’s team, including his nursing colleagues Preet and Julianna, and Dr. Wendy Lai worked to stabilize Tony as he started to lose consciousness and stopped breathing. They assisted his breathing with a bag-valve mask and then quickly performed an intubation and put him on a ventilator. He was moved to the ICU where his care team started dialysis right away.
“Waking up in the ICU was the biggest trauma of my life,” says Tony. “It was so scary and upsetting. But during my three days in the ICU, I realized the gift I had been given.”
When Tony saw the Gifts of Gratitude posters around the Hospital, he knew he wanted to thank the people who had saved his life.
“I learned that one of them was Fabio and it really hit me that he had remembered me from before,” says Tony. “That level of compassionate care… All I wanted was to say thank you.”
A few weeks later on his birthday, Tony got his wish. He had the special opportunity to personally present Fabio with his Gifts of Gratitude card and pin, outside the Emergency Department.
“I am forever grateful for the team that saved my life,” says Tony. “This Hospital gave me another birthday, and it was my gift to give back.”
For Fabio, meeting Tony again and receiving his Gift of Gratitude was emotional.
“I work with a great group of people and we care for our patients tremendously,” says Fabio. “We rarely get to hear what happens after someone leaves our care, and receiving a Gift of Gratitude from Tony really made me feel honoured to be part of this institution. We were just doing our job that day, and it is inspiring to know our patients feel our impact. Things like this reaffirm why I got into nursing.”
Tony is now at home, and visits Humber River Hospital for dialysis every day. He is on the waitlist for a kidney transplant.
“My next Gift of Gratitude will be for the Dialysis staff,” he says. “They are just incredible. Everyone recognizes me and they always know how to cheer me up. The care I have received at Humber has left me speechless.”