From nurse to pa­tient

Rhonda Lewis shares her story dur­ing the an­nual Friends for Life cam­paign fundrais­ing launch at the QEH

Journal Pioneer - - THE ISLAND - BY KATIE SMITH

Rhonda Lewis spent 23 years as a reg­is­tered nurse at the Queen Eliz­a­beth Hospi­tal pro­vid­ing care to her pa­tients up un­til the day her life changed.

At the age of 46, the P.E.I. wo­man had a stroke, and all of a sud­den, she went from pro­vid­ing the care to be­ing the pa­tient. “I re­mem­ber be­ing taken by the am­bu­lance to the QEH, and the next thing I re­mem­ber is wak­ing up in Hal­i­fax,” she said dur­ing the an­nual Friends for Life cam­paign fundrais­ing launch at the QEH on Thurs­day.

While Lewis has no mem­ory of what hap­pened dur­ing that time, her fam­ily mem­bers were all too aware of what was go­ing on and were told she might not make it through the night.

“It was touch and go for a num­ber of days,” she said, adding she was re­lieved when she was able to re­turn to the QEH to con­tinue with her care.

“I knew I’d be in very good hands with our in­cred­i­ble team of health-care providers.”

Lewis spent three-and-a-half months ac­cess­ing a num­ber of QEH ser­vices, in­clud­ing in­ter­nal medicine, gen­eral medicine, surgery, gas­troen­terol­ogy, stroke re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ser­vices, neu­rol­ogy, der­ma­tol­ogy, di­ag­nos­tic imag­ing, nu­mer­ous CT scans and spir­i­tual care.

Lewis said she was grate­ful her fam­ily was able to visit her dur­ing her re­cov­ery by only hav­ing to cross the Hills­bor­ough Bridge, rather than the Con­fed­er­a­tion Bridge.

“You just never know what can hap­pen. I went from walk­ing these halls ev­ery day to not be­ing able to walk at all.” Thanks to the med­i­cal equip­ment and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ser­vices at the QEH, Lewis was able to make many im­prove­ments in her re­cov­ery.

Pur­chas­ing vi­tal equip­ment is made pos­si­ble through do­na­tions and fundrais­ing ef­forts like the an­nual Friends for Life cam­paign.

The fo­cus for this year’s cam­paign is to sup­port the pur­chase of a 128-slice CT Scan­ner and

post-pro­cess­ing tech­nol­ogy at a cost of $1.5 mil­lion.

The ma­chine takes 3D cross­sec­tional images of a pa­tient’s anatomy, al­low­ing health-care pro­fes­sion­als to ac­cu­rately iden­tify in­ter­nal struc­tures and see their shape, size, den­sity and tex­ture.

This equip­ment is used in most ev­ery as­pect of medicine, par­tic­u­larly as it re­lates to stroke care, can­cer and ma­jor trauma. Cam­paign chair­woman Julie Ham­bly said each year the Is­land com­mu­nity makes giv­ing to the QEH a pri­or­ity that helps keep Is­land fam­i­lies on P.E.I. for their care.

“Gifts of all sizes truly add up,” she said dur­ing the launch.

To kick-start this year’s cam­paign, the Evan­ge­line-Cen­tral Credit Union pre­sented a gift of $2,000, raised through their iCare pro­gram; the QEH Aux­il­iary pre­sented a dona­tion of $25,000 and Dr. Rob Kel­ley, pres­i­dent of the QEH Med­i­cal Staff As­so­ci­a­tion, pre­sented a com­bined gift from QEH physi­cians and staff of $68,122.

Ham­bly said she be­lieves the sup­port shown at the launch will in­spire all Is­lan­ders to join in on the cam­paign.

“It is only with the un­wa­ver­ing sup­port of foun­da­tion donors that we achieve suc­cess,” she said.

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