Memories: Bridgepoint Rehab Hospital
For my recovery from a fractured ankle, I was sent to Bridgepoint Hospital where I spent a little more than a month. There I met some interesting people and experienced different things.
Bridgepoint Hospital is a rehabilitation hospital in Toronto and affiliated with the University of Toronto. Its operation is to rehabilitate, treat complex chronic disease and manage disability. It is one of the largest rehab facilities in Toronto, Ontario providing through a range of inpatient and outpatient services. The hospital holds roughly 480 complex care and rehabilitation beds and the hospital helps the patients to recover from a major illness or surgery to regain a full recovery and to learn how to cope and manage chronic illnesses.
Bridgepoint is now in the process of rebuilding and will open its doors in 2013.
The importance of the staff and their interaction cannot be underestimated. If the patients have confidence in the staff, recovery will proceed much more quickly and easier. When the patient has no problem, they will have less stress and recovery will be smoother.
My doctor was Dr. S. Berger and his staff of Nurses, the Physio Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Food Preparation and Cleaning Staff. I was surprised to see so many male nurses and the nurses come from different parts of the globe. Some are friendly, some are efficient while others who do not have the Florence Nightingale touch. There are three shifts, morning, day and night shifts. Some work 8 hour shift while others do 12 hours. Nursing can be a very demanding job for some patients demand a lot of attention. Can be difficult if one does not really love the job of helping the needy. The majority of the staff is Philippino and secondly, the personnel are the Chinese from China.
1. Mildred Williamson (Millie)
Millie (89 years) was my first roomate. She has 2 sons, Scott (electrician) who lives near Newmarket and another son who lives in Ottawa. Her grand daughter is an aspiring actress on commercial ads.
Inspite of her age, Millie was very alert, spoke her mind and told me she lost 3 inches in height from 5'8 to 5'5. During her youth, she loved sun bathing and now she had lots of black spots on her back, and suffered from blood disorder which was due to her sunbathng she claimed. She lived by herself until she was hospitalized. Very independent and caring, she looked after her brother until he died and left her his house. Millie was generous for she shared the proceeds of selling her brother's house by giving a third to each son and kept the third for herself.
Millie used to moan and groan often when she felt uncomfortable. I told her nobody would reply to her groans. I was her roomate and I could not help her. However, I taught her to say, "Hallelujah" and God would reply when she said that. From that time onwards, she would say "Hallelujah". No more moaning and groaning for Millie!
One night she cried in anguish when she could not get her right leg up on the bed. I reminded her to believe in the tremendous mighty power of God and cry out to God saying, "Hallelujah". Believe with all her heart. When she cried, "Hallelujah!" praising the Lord, she managed to put her leg up on the bed. Praise and thank God for the miracle.
When told she had to be transferred to a room with 4 beds, she cried and cried that she would not have me for a roomate. She was transferred from the 3rd floor to the 6th floor. A male nurse who served both of us told me of the floor.
2. Catherine Cooper (Brantford)
Catherine also suffered from ankle injury. 9 months after her recovery, she underwent her fourth operation.and blamed her surgeon for being incompetent. She worked for the Land Planner, Brantford Municipality. She stayed only a few days.
3.. Mrs. Holla
Mrs. Holla was Czechoslovakian and a chef. She had pain on her hips and constantly needed pain relief. At first she was hesitant, but evenutally joined me in singing hymns. Her sister came often to see her, but unfortunately, she was a gambling addict and gambled away her mother's inheritance of $70,000. Once they quarrelled and she was so upset that she cried into the night.
Lois Gerard (next room - 303)
Lois Gerard (59), a strawberry blonde from Windsor was assigned to Room (303) next door to mine (304). She heard me teaching Millie how to sing the chorus of two hymns, (1) Hallelujah, Thine The Glory and Breathe on Me". She was curious who were singing and came.
Lois, an elderly care person (Windsor) was born with physical issues, had multiple operations on her hips. She was a Pentecostal Christian, divorced with two children and accepted Jesus Christ as a teenager but her dad, a disillusioned Catholic turned to cult worship.
She professed in seeing visions from the Lord, and had three boyfriends after her divorce, and not finding peace and fulfilment in life turned to the Lord. She became fervent in the Lord. We discussed various subjects such as Sabbath, Old and New Testaments, Baptism, First Resurrection, etc..
Lois and I continued singing hymns together after Carmela Oliverio left Bridgepoint. We used to sing after the visitors left the hospital at night in the end of the hallway beside the staircase. We sang from a hymn book brought by my sister and sang until about 9:30 pm. Sometimes, other patients came to join in and once, there were 7 patients including a night nurse.
Carmela Oliviero (83 years)
When Millie, my 1st roommate was moved to a different room with 4 beds, I visited her and Carmela was one of the other roomates. Carmela straight away sang with Millie, "Hallelujah Thine the Glory and Breathe on Me." The other two ladies were not interested in the hymn singing, but Carmela was very strong in the Lord. She believed in one true God and prayed together with Millie and me.
Carmela had two sons and her elder son was in the front line combat in Afghanistan and she had 3 grand children. She came from Italy after the 2nd WW and sang in the choir when young.
We kept on meeting each other often in the wash room for our bladders seemed to work at the same time. We must have weak bladders! She had some stomach ailment, but when Millie was moved up to the 6th floor, I still went to see Carmela because of her love for singing and prayer. I was warned by a male nurse that I must not touch anything because Carmela was in quarantine. I did not even notice the sign.
Before the quarantine, Carmela used to visit me to sing and pray together in my room. I told her about the Sabbath, the Old and New Covenants. I dissuaded her from using the rosary and saying lots of Hail Marys. She agreed that saying prayers using the rosary was like the Buddhist prayers using beads. She laughed and agreed. My first visit to Rome was going to the Vatican and looking around, I saw the statue of St. Peter with no toes. I enquired and was told that fervent Catholics had kissed the feet of St. Peter so much that Peter's toes had dropped off. St. Peter had no toes!
Carmela Saw a Vision
Carmela was a firm believer in Jesus Christ. I taught her how to pray in Jesus' name. We started our prayer in the name of Jesus, and said a lot of Hallelujahs. We praise God first, then we prayed for ourselves, our family, our church and those in need of our help. I asked her to concentrate on saying Hallelujah first. We must truly concentrate on God. One night at the end of the prayer, Carmela was crying and I asked her why she was crying. She replied that in her prayer, she concentrated on saying, "Hallelujah" and she saw herself being lifted up to heaven in her wheelchair and she could not believe that God loved her so much as to show her His love. She had never seen such vision before and she kept crying and talking at the same time. I advised her to continue praying in the same way, praising God and not any human being for no human being can save us. She believed and God rewarded her His love for her by showing her the vision of her wheelchair being lifted up to heaven. She repeated to me several times that it was never too late to change. I have never met anyone so humble and sincere before and that was why God showed her the vision.
Carmela met with me, Lois and sometimes a night nurse would join in the singing at the end corridor of the 3rd floor of the hospital. Once, there were 7 of us singing in the night after all visitors were gone. Some time later, Carmela was taken away from Bridgepoint and that was the last we heard from her. The hospital would not reveal which hospital she went to unless we were her relatives.
The Activities I participated
Physiotherapy was carried out from Monday to Friday. There were 6 beds in the lab and the physiotherapist gave each patient his/her appropriate exercise to practise according to his/her injury. Each exercise was to be done 20 times.. For me learning to walk with the walker on one leg was extremely tiring for I had to concentrate on hopping with the bad leg and using my shoulders for support took a lot of energy. Just walking from the room to the door was a great effort. I had to take a rest the next day.
Sunday Church Services held in the Auditorium
I did not participate because I kept the Sabbath.
Hymn Singing in the Auditorium
I participated. Quite enjoyable. Quite a crowd joining in the singing.
Held outdoors on the patio. We were seated according to the floors we were in and we were on the 3rd floor. 4 tables were reserved for the Orthopedic Rehab Unit (3rd Floor). Some patients had invited guests.
It was different from eating at your own bed. We were served hamburgers, drinks and dessert. Eating a bar of chocolate wrapped icecream was very delicious and the blood count also rose up. It was a special occasion.
You could use the computer in the TV section if you had a registered card by applying. It was convenient for patients who did not posses their own computer. Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo were accessible. In the library, there were 3 computers where you did not have to use your access card. To be hospitalized for a month without a computer was very inconvenient. I used the computer every day after I received my card, but when I learnt that the library was open from 1:30-4:30 pm, I made use of the library computers as well. I was able to read my Yahoo mail which had over 600 emails and Bro. Eric had kindly taught me how to erase multiple emails with one stroke. I was grateful for the information.
Therapy dogs come in all sizes and breeds. The dogs were chosen for their temperament. A good therapy dog must be friendly, patient, gentle, and at ease in all situations. Therapy dogs must enjoy human contact and be content to be petted.
One afternoon two very pleasant ladies came with a very huge dog weighing 75 lbs on a leash. The dog did not bark at all and it had a coat of wool like hair as that of sheep. Even the colour was the same as that of sheep, and its eyes were large and appealing. It was a mixture of golden retriever and poodle. I was sure the dog therapy appealed to many people who love dogs.
Visiting Fellow Patients
I visited Millie (my first roomate) after I learnt how to use my wheelchair in the elevator. Through visiting Millie who was waiting to be transferred to a home, I had met two other patients, a Polish lady and a Chinese lady called Mrs. Moon, on the 6th floor also waiting to be transferred to a home for the aged.
At first, the Polish lady refused to sing with Millie and me, but she clapped her hands after we finished singing "Jesus Loves Me". Eventually, she began to learn how to sing the chorus of "Hallelujah Thine the Glory and Breathe on Me." This white haired Polish lady sang so softly and sweetly that God must be pleased with her.
When I went to say goodbye to Mrs. Moon, she begged me to stay on in the hospital as the place was roomy. She did not know her own age and she had no family here. She told me that both she and her husband were Chinese teachers from Hong Kong. I was puzzled why she was alone here in Toronto when her family was elsewhere. She admitted she was a Christian, but where were her family? $64 question!
A Bit of Advice
One patient gave me a bit of advice to write down particulars regarding day, time, name of nurse for there were three different nurses in a day and they might not be assigned to you again. I wanted my toenails cut and told a nurse. She said that the doctor had to okay it. But the nurse did not record it and after I repeated it to other nurses. Still no result! Eventually, I spoke to a night nurse and the reply was, "Speak to the day nurse." I could not recall whether I first reported to a male nurse or a female nurse, nor the name of the nurse. Eventually I spoke to Kevin and got him to look into the record book and it was blank. I had spoken to 3 or 4 nurses but none of them reported my request. I was glad that I had my toenails cut the day before I left the hospital and credit must be given to Kevin. He was also reported by my first roomate as being efficient. Thanks Kevin!
Two young nurses, Kate and Paula had babies and their husbands took care of the babies while their wives work. I remember these two ladies because of Kate's name and Paula was my last nurse and she looked after me four times. Another nurse, Marguerite, a tall blonde was working for her RN degree. Jay, a Chinese male nurse also was my nurse. He does not communicate much but just did his job. He did ask me whether I taught music at all because I
taught my roomates how to sing. Amanda, another blonde was very pleasant and told me I was the perfect patient who did not create problems. Am I glad to be told this? I love Megan for she joined my Facebook.
May God bless those who prayed for me and visited me at the hospital.
Thanks also to the hospital staff, Dr. Stan Berger, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Nurses, Food Preparation and Cleaning Staff. Three of my nurses were male, Jay, Jerry and Kevin among numerous female nurses, Megan, Amanda, Marguerite, Kate, Quin, Paula and many others whose names I could not recall because some worked only once or twice with me..
Tuck, Winnie, Charles (family)
Pr. Luke Hsieh, Andy Hsieh, Jessica Hsieh, Peter Chiu and Nina Chiu were my first visitors. Pr. Hsieh sang while the others played the violin, flute and trombone to the hymns of Amazing Grace, Beulah Land and other hymns to cheer me. Thank and praise God for the love of brothers and sisters in the Lord.
Lois came into the room, joined in the hymn singing and took photos of the group and even posed with Pr. Luke.
Dn.K.C.Tsai,Sis.Jennifer Tsai,Dn.Fritz Chen, Bro. Eric,Sis.Daphne,Yvonne, Isabel,Eunice,Mrs.Fu,Bro.S.S.Chang,Bro.John Chang,Bro.Kit, and Sis.Wendy Leong.
Thank God also for those who prayed for my speedy recovery in their homes.
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