Terry Reid and his wife Marilynn decided to leave their busy Toronto life behind and retire in South Georgian Bay. They now spend their days travelling the world, visiting with their 10 grandchildren, skiing in the winter and golfing in the summer. If you met them today, you would say that they are a happy and healthy couple. What you would probably never guess is that just a few months ago Terry was unexpectedly critically ill and between life and death.
At the end of January of this year, Terry had an infection. He didn’t have a family doctor in the area, so he contacted his physician in the city, who prescribed him antibiotics. On the 3rd day of his treatment, Marilynn started noticing something wasn’t right. He insisted that he was fine, and encouraged her to go about her usual day. Fast forward a few hours, Marilynn received a phone call from Terry, telling her he was feeling worse.
Thankfully she was already on her way home. As soon as she got in the door she knew something was terribly wrong. Marilynn immediately went into action taking his temperature and vitals and called 911. Terry’s infection had migrated into sepsis. “If you read Dr. Google you will see that many people with sepsis don’t live to tell the story,” said Terry. “The only reason I am still alive today is because of my amazing wife Marilynn’s quick response, along with the extremely talented staff at the Collingwood G&M Hospital (CGMH)”, he added.
“The speed and expertise with which they took care of me was incredible.” Marilynn also recalls; “It was so impressive to see how triage works. There were 6 other ambulances when we got to CGMH – a sign of the demands in our small Emergency Department. Someone had to prioritize who was the most critical patient, and at that time Terry was definitely it. His blood pressure was dropping quickly at 60/40 and his heart rate was extremely high at 140 bpm. Sepsis is very vicious on your organs.” However, both Terry and Marilynn said there was never a time when they were not confident in the skills of the CGMH staff; “Within minutes of our arrival, Terry was expertly diagnosed and medical intervention started. But it wasn’t just the physicians; it was all the staff.
The lab turned the blood work around so quickly, the x-ray technicians were remarkable, and we cannot say enough about the nurses in ICU” Marilynn fondly remembers that one ICU nurse told her to go home to try to get some sleep and gave her a direct phone number to call if she needed an update. Every time Marilynn called, the nurse picked up immediately. “Everyone was so positive, and they just wanted to do what was right for Terry,” says Marilynn. Terry and Marilynn still have many friends and family in the city. When they heard Terry had sepsis, they asked why they weren’t having him transferred to a bigger hospital. “A lot of people associate the size of the hospital with its capabilities – what they forget is that it’s all about the expertise of the people who provide care.
The fact that the hospital is old or small doesn’t mean anything. The level of expertise and compassion of every physician, nurse and staff member encountered at CGMH was incredible. I felt totally cared for by people who knew exactly what they were doing,” said Terry. Marilynn agreed; “That is why it is so important for the community to engage, to donate to this great cause, and to become aware of all of the amazing innovations that are.