Roger Wilson’s incredible healing journey at St. Francis Memorial Hospital

Submitted by SFVHF

BARRY’S BAY – Roger Wilson never thought his health would fail so rapidly.

He and his wife Dorothy operated the Freshmart grocery store in Whitney for 24 years. When they retired to Carson Lake, they pictured enjoying every minute of retirement doing the things they love. Roger particularly enjoyed hunting and enjoyed being out in nature.

Roger kept healthy and didn’t have many reasons to visit the hospital. But that all changed in late 2019. Roger was diagnosed with, and began treatment for, multiple myeloma, a cancer that forms in a type of white blood cell called a plasma cell. He then experienced gout issues in his ankles, knees and hands.

“That progressed and got worse and worse,” he said. “I was losing muscle mass and strength.”

He was rushed to St. Francis Memorial Hospital, where he was quickly assessed and transferred to Ottawa. Roger was having a heart attack. He immediately underwent open heart surgery where doctors performed a triple bypass.

Afterwards, he was transferred back to St. Francis Memorial Hospital where he could heal closer to home. His health improved and he was eventually discharged.

But things took a turn for the worse. He developed sepsis and came back to the hospital. His prognosis took such a turn that he was admitted to hospice for six weeks.

“I should have died,” he said.

But he didn’t. Thanks to the specialized pieces of equipment to assist his healing journey at the hospital and the diverse staff along every step of his journey, Roger was able to return home once again.

He was bedridden for several weeks and had to relearn how to walk. Day-by-day, his health progressed and one year later, his health has improved considerably. Still, the experience of having his health take such a turn so rapidly makes him incredibly grateful to have St. Francis Memorial Hospital so close to home.

“You never know when your health will fail,” Roger reflected. “You can be in the perfect health like I was for years then all of a sudden…your life changes and you rely on local healthcare to heal.”

His wife, Dorothy, was especially grateful that she could visit Roger any time she’d like.

“St. Francis is close to home, so there wasn’t a lot of travel involved. I could be here every day. We are so lucky to have St. Francis Memorial Hospital here. It is just a gift to the whole community. We need to continue supporting our local hospital,” she said. “The big hospitals in the city are wonderful, but you have to get there from somewhere and our hospital was the best place to start.”

During his time at St. Francis, Roger relied on some specialized pieces of equipment to help with his healing journey. This included a wound-healing device called VAC Therapy.

Pick up a copy of the December 2 Valley Gazette for the complete story.