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Meet Joy and Mary K

Posted Aug 20th, 2018 in Patient

Joy Dusek arrived at Hotel Dieu Shaver Rehab after a horrific automobile accident. The accident took her boyfriend's life and left Joy with some brain trauma.  Upon arriving to Hotel Dieu Shaver, Joy was greeted by Mary Kukaryshen (Mary K), Registered Practical Nurse. The brain trauma caused Joy to speak Dutch when she awoke, and ironically Mary K was also Dutch and could speak fluently. The conditions could not have been better.

“I’ll never forget that,” says Joy. “Mary K was such a comfort to me at the worst time in my life.”

After seeing Les Miserables in Toronto, Joy and her boyfriend dropped Joy’s sister off in Milton and continued driving home along the QEW to St. Catharines. Their car hit the back of a transport truck and got stuck underneath the rear carriage. The truck driver, unaware that his truck had been hit, kept driving. It wasn’t until another driver contacted him through the CB radio that he stopped.

The little blue car was destroyed. Joy’s boyfriend was killed instantly, although she wasn’t told his fate until one month into her recovery. Joy woke up in the hospital, ten days later, with no memory of the accident.

“I couldn’t walk, I could barely speak,” she remembers. “My head and brain injury meant I had to learn everything all over again.” Mary K, along with a team of nurses and therapists, worked with Joy to improve her memory, balance, walking and speaking.

Another month went by, and Joy was able to go home. She continued with physiotherapy, took swimming lessons, and attended driving school.

Years later, Joy continues to be grateful for the team that helped her recover. “I felt a connection here, to the people, and to the facility.” And she never forgot Mary K. Joy wanted to come back to Hotel Dieu Shaver, to help people like her. Mary K encouraged her to apply to Hotel Dieu Shaver. “I told her to apply, and I offered to be a reference,” says Mary K.

Joy has worked at Hotel Dieu Shaver as a PSW/porter since 2015. Her soft-spoken nature and bright smile encourages patients every day, and she loves being part of their healing process. “My experience helps me understand them, because I know what they’re going through,” she says.  “I know what it’s like to be a patient, to have your world turned upside down.”

“Everyone at Hotel Dieu Shaver is so friendly and easy to work with,” Joys says. “As a patient and now as an employee, it’s been a great experience. I love it here.”

Mary K agrees saying, “I love what I do – that’s probably why I’ve been able to do this almost 30 years. It’s an honour to work with patients and see miracles happen every day.”