On June 5, my husband Dale suffered a seizure while we were fishing in Teslin.
After calling 911, the nurse on call, Hazel, and three volunteers showed up within minutes, assessed the situation, prepared him for transport to the Teslin Health Centre and began to get Dale stabilized.
Within a half hour of arriving, he suffered another violent seizure.
This was the most frightening moment of my life, watching my husband suffer and not knowing if he was going to live or die.
By the grace of God, Hazel and the volunteers maintained control of the situation throughout and, at one point, Hazel looked at me with intense conviction and said, “Karin, everything is going to be OK.”
I knew by the look in her eyes, that she was scared too, but I believed her Ã I had to Ã and she gave me the strength to go on.
The medevac was called and, luckily, a plane flying back from Vancouver landed in Teslin within the hour.
The paramedics sat with me to explain the severity of the situation and what could possibly happen on the flight. They said if Dale suffers another seizure and he cannot breathe, they may need to do a tracheotomy. It was another sobering moment.
We were taken to Whitehorse General where Dale was placed in an induced coma to stabilize the seizures while they did further testing.
In January, he had a coiling procedure for a brain aneurysm, but now it appeared to have ruptured in the same site and was bleeding significantly into his brain.
He was immediately flown to the University of Alberta Hospital and underwent emergency brain surgery.
Two days later, a routine chest X-ray was performed and another aneurysm was found hanging from the arch of his aorta. It was the size of a nectarine and extremely life threatening.
He recovered from the brain surgery, we waited four weeks and then underwent open heart surgery on August 9.
Needless to say, my husband and I have lived the past three months in fear and confusion, walking precariously on the edge of life as we knew it.
Today, on September 3, I am writing this at home in the Yukon, as we have finally returned from this intense journey and Dale is well on his way to a full recovery.
I am writing to thank all the beautiful people of Teslin for all that you did and those who work at the Teslin Health Centre how grateful we are to have you in our lives, what an incredible job you do and how, because of your courage and strength, you helped save Dale’s life.
I am writing this to the paramedics and pilots who kept him alive and well during transport, all the while keeping me informed and calm.
I am writing this to the doctors, the nurses and staff at WGH who treated him with such great care and made me feel safe knowing he was in good hands.
Please know that everyday all of you affect someone with what you do and you are heroes in the truest sense of the word.
I am writing to thank all of our friends for everything you did in our absence: moving us to our new home, unpacking our boxes and setting up the house so it was one less thing for us to do upon our return. And for always being there for me whenever I needed to talk or cry on your shoulder.
To my dear friends and co-workers at Economic Development, the donations you raised to help with our bills was the kindest most thoughtful gesture and it helped alleviate the burden of those everyday stressors.
We are so touched by your generosity.
And so, as we strive to find normalcy again, we reflect on our lives in the Yukon and the people we come to know and love.
Dale and I knew when we moved here a few years ago the Yukon would be a beautiful place to live, but we had no idea how affected we would be by its sense of community, the generosity and dedication of its people who have such a great love for this wonderfully magnificent place. Dale and I are so very proud to call ourselves Yukoners as it has literally given us our life back in more ways than one.
We are truly blessed to have found such a warm, beautiful home that fills us with hope, love and bring us peace because of all of you.
Dale and Karin Omilon