When Mario DiAntonio felt a severe pain just below his chest, his wife Dorinda immediately called 911. “I was so scared he was having a heart attack, and I knew he had to be seen quickly,” said Dorinda.
In a very short time, the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) team showed up at their Regina home, and he was rushed to the Pasqua Hospital Emergency Room. “They checked his heart and it was fine, so we were allowed to go home,” she recalled.
However, the next day, the excruciating pain came back, accompanied by a high fever. Once again, the EMS team took him to the Pasqua Hospital ER. This time, however, the news was not comforting.
An ultrasound showed that Mario had stones in his gallbladder, and one of the stones had blocked a duct causing a life-threatening infection in his pancreas. The prognosis was frightening.
“The doctor told me his chances of surviving were not good,” said Dorinda.
The dire diagnosis triggered an extensive complement of medical teams and equipment working together just to keep him alive. He was hooked to monitors, put on intravenous and a feeding tube. The pancreas has two important roles in the body: it produces digestive juices to further break down food in the small intestine and it produces insulin, regulating the body’s glucose levels. Because a pancreatic infection is so serious, patients are not allowed any food or drink, even water by mouth.
“I don’t really remember much about that time,” recalled Mario. “When I was aware, I just remember my mouth being so dry.”
Dorinda, however, remembers it vividly. “I was very scared, but what could I do? I had to trust the doctors and nurses to save his life. He was hooked up to every machine imaginable, and I knew they were keeping him alive.”
After three weeks, Mario had recovered enough to be moved from the Intensive Care Unit to a bed on a ward where he spent the next three months. He was still unable to eat or drink anything, including water, so he continued his nutrition through an IV.
Finally, after three months, his pancreatic infection healed enough that a surgeon was able to remove his gall bladder and the stones blocking the duct. “She was such a good surgeon,” said Dorinda. “She explained everything to me and gave me hope that he would be okay.”
The day after his gallbladder was removed, Mario was able to return home.
“We are so grateful for the care he received,” said Dorinda. “We saw how important it was to have the equipment available to save his life, and how competent the medical teams were. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but I am so glad they were there. It truly is a blessing that he is still alive.”