Could it have been at work? The local store? Lorne Palmer isn’t sure where he contracted the COVID-19 virus that landed him a 16-day stay in Regina’s General Hospital, but at age 77 he is thankful to have survived it thanks to the quality care and treatment he received once he was there.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Lorne and his wife Betty had reduced their outings to a minimum, always wore their masks and took all suggested precautions for their health and the health of others around them. So when Lorne started experiencing chills that would come and go, he thought it couldn’t possibly be COVID-19. Still, he exercised caution by getting tested, and was relieved when his test came back negative.
While at home on a few days off following his negative COVID-19 test, Lorne realized he still felt “off”. He had no appetite and felt lethargic and weak, which was very much out of character for him. He was not displaying a lot of the traditional symptoms of COVID-19, but the thought of it still lingered in his mind. Under Betty’s insistence, they drove to the Emergency Room at the Regina General Hospital. Within minutes of arriving at the hospital, Lorne was admitted and placed in a room in the emergency department. He immediately underwent a vital signs check which revealed his blood pressure to be dangerously low. This was followed by a full slate of tests including blood work, an x-ray scan, CT scan, and a COVID-19 test. These tests quickly ended up confirming Lorne and Betty’s worry - that he was COVID-19 positive.
For the next 20 hours, Lorne was cared for in the emergency department and eventually admitted to a medicine unit where he was isolated and confined to his room for the next 15 days. Over the next two weeks, Lorne was treated at intervals with oxygen in order to keep up his lung capacity, and required daily blood samples. Despite being hospitalized for two weeks, Lorne considers himself quite lucky to not have suffered more severe symptoms.
“Thankfully I was able to move freely about my room, but not leave it. It was mentally challenging at times,” Lorne notes. “I was in the hospital over the Christmas holidays and unable to see any family, which was tough. But, I truly can’t say enough about the incredible doctors and nurses on the unit. Though I can’t remember all of their names, they treated me with the utmost care and compassion during my two weeks’ stay. What an amazing group of professionals in such a challenging environment.”
On January 4 2021, Lorne was deemed COVID-19 free and was discharged from the Regina General Hospital. He was able to return home and so far has not experienced any additional complications. He is now working on building up his lung capacity and overall health while continuing to exercise caution during his ongoing recovery.
“COVD-19 is an unpredictable virus that presents many challenges to our healthcare system. Stories like Lorne’s highlight the importance of exercising caution, to try and protect ourselves and those around us.” says Dino Sophocleous, president and CEO, Hospitals of Regina Foundation.