Patient Story – Lynn + Bill
CKHA Celebrates Life and Love with Lynn + Bill
For some of our patients, life can change in an instant with one test, one diagnosis or one trip to the hospital. Making the most out of a hospital stay can provide comfort and compassion to these patients and their families in a time of need. That’s what Chatham-Kent Health Alliance’s (CKHA) caring staff did for Lynn, a patient diagnosed with an aggressive and fast-acting cancer in July 2016.
Lynn, 66, had just returned from a trip out West with her partner Bill when she began to feel pains in her stomach. “It all started in July … we’d only been home a week from our trip out to the West coast and she started feeling pain and sick to her stomach,” said Bill. “It all came so fast,” Lynn added. After a trip to CKHA’s Emergency Department, diagnostic tests and a scope, Lynn received the devastating news that she had been diagnosed with stage IV cancer. She made the decision to forgo chemotherapy treatment and receive palliative care after speaking with her Oncologist in London.
Lynn and Bill, friends for close to 40 years, reconnected a couple of years ago and made the decision to get married. With an original wedding date set for September 23, 2016, ending up in the hospital was the last thing Lynn expected. The team on the Medicine unit eventually learned of the couple’s situation and approached the family with an idea to celebrate their wedding in hospital. “One day it was all over this floor and we had no idea. I don’t know who started that rumour” laughed Lynn. “Or somebody may have saw her ring and asked ‘You are going to get married?’” said Bill.
In the days leading up to the wedding, staff members from the Medicine and Housekeeping teams along with Dr. Sharngoe raised over $300 for decorations and gifts – personal donations and keepsake gifts from staff were also given. Generous community donations for flowers and decorations were provided by One Stop Party Shop, Lasting Memories, The Purple Pansy, Syd Kemsley Florist, Stan’s Flowers, The Glasshouse Nursery and Sarah’s Farm Market. The Nutrition Services team prepared a cake and punch bowl for the ceremony, and Rich Barry, CKHA’s Webmaster, kindly donated his photography skills to capture Lynn and Bill’s precious moment.
When speaking about her patient experience at CKHA Lynn said, “They have all been special and they don’t treat me like a patient… they treat me like a person,” she continued, “The patient care is phenomenal, they are dedicated and bright.” Bill added “Everyone has been great, right down from the charge nurses to the aides.”
All teams involved went far beyond daily expectations and provided generous donations and gifts of time to make the day memorable. Nicki Vanderveeken, Kaylee Pynenbrouck, Erin Zimmer and Sharron Blackburn were given special thanks for organizing the event, decorating the room and coming in on their day off to ensure Lynn was glamoured and ready for her big moment. The commitment to providing compassionate quality care at CKHA made a difficult time in this family’s life a little bit brighter. With family and friends in attendance, Lynn and Bill were married on September 10, 2016 on CKHA’s Medicine unit.
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