She was comforted, knowing she was in good hands. “Even if it’s your first time here or you’ve been around the block here like I have, you’re nervous coming in. But coming into Hotel Dieu Shaver was not stressful. I felt welcomed.”
Anne’s first stay at Hotel Dieu Shaver was several years ago after she suffered a stroke during heart surgery at another hospital. Then, the amputation of her left leg. Her third, and hopefully last time, the amputation of her right leg.
Anne was joined in her room by three roommates, and describes herself as the leader of the troublemakers. Through it all, Anne never lost her sense of humour. She liked to practice wheelies in her motorized wheelchair, and tease the nurses and therapists.
“A big part of the healing process starts in your very own room, with your roommates and nurses.” She says that even though the nurses are busy, they were a big part of her recovery. “From the first ‘hello’ when you arrive, to the first ‘good morning’ of the day - the day starts with you. They go above their duty, and they start to feel like a member of your family. They take as good care of you as your mother would.”
The mother of two, and grandmother of two, had to learn how to live a new life without her legs. “It’s difficult to imagine. I’ve always played baseball, I was very active in the community, and I love dancing!”
Anne and her husband Len will be celebrating their 38th wedding anniversary in June, and the couple love to ballroom dance together. When Anne was feeling down about her prognosis, she said to him, “We will never dance as a team again.” Len took her arms in his and danced with Anne, spinning her in her wheelchair.
“I realized I’m only limited if I place limits on myself. I never thought this would happen to me, but I’m still a wife, still a grandma, still a friend. The only thing stopping me is me.”
Anne is so grateful to the nurses and therapists for the care she received every time she has been at Hotel Dieu Shaver. Her physiotherapist, Joy, made the sessions fun. “On the hardest days when you just want to give up, she’s your cheerleader.” She liked to tease her occupational therapist, Nancy, “but she didn’t fall for it,” Anne says laughing. “The therapists have taught me new ways of doing things around my house. Everything happened in steps to prepare you to go home and do it on your own.”
She is also grateful to have met Sister Louise. “Everyone needs spiritual health. Sister Louise is a combination of a lot of things that come together to help you on your path. Her compassion, knowledge and fortitude give you that healing energy.”
Anne returned home and she plans on catering lunch for the nurses to thank them for everything they’ve done. She saves the most thanks to her favourite nurse, Mary. “She is just super duper. She made it feel easy. She would come into the room singing, which I hate,” she says laughing. “But it got you ready for the day.”
“Of course hospitals are not always sunshine and daisies. There is a lot of sweat and there are a lot of tears, but you’re always treated with respect. Everyone I’ve met has been professional, compassionate and patient. If I have to be in a hospital, there’s no better place I’d rather be than here at Hotel Dieu Shaver.”