Mid February , 2019 .  Our volunteer team from Willowdale was planning a celebration touting the success of Stanley Cho, our MPP – an outstanding community leader who had received over 17,000 votes in the recent provincial election – the first time in 20 years that a Conservative had won Willowdale.  We were quite proud of our success.

And then, for me, disaster.  Unexpected – and without warming.  I collapsed for no apparent reason – luckily my son called an ambulance – and I was soon in the ICU at North York General.  The prediction was “she isn’t going to make it”.

I had Cellulitis caused by a Group A Streptococcus. The doctors were:

Dr. Ron Somogyi: Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Brian Minnema: Infectious Disease

Dr. Herman Dhotar: Orthopaedic Surgeon

This is what I had – and how it was treated and by whom – gory details as outlined by my son Stuart that might help some of you avoid what happened to me.

When you got to the ER on the first day you were put on Antibiotics right away. Your blood pressure was in the 40s and 50s. Your temperature was off the charts hot. They didn’t know what you had at the time so they started trying things. They immediately realized that IV was not enough so they put a direct line into your jugular to try and get more antibiotics into you. 

Soon after they decided this was also not working so they needed to cut in and see what was going on under the skin. They wanted to make sure you didn’t have any sort of necrotizing fasciitis which would very likely mean amputation and more than likely death. So you went into surgery where they cut into your leg and your foot (your current wounds). They also dove into your elbow because it was also showing signs of infection.

No fasciitis was found so it was back to the antibiotics. On the third day it seemed that you were responding well. However the next morning the infection has spread to your entire left leg, part of the right, and your right arm. Got 100 times worse. And thus began the weeks of antibiotics that eventually led you to recovery. The team above was mainly responsible for discovering the right treatment. But ultimately it was your bloodwork that finally came back to show clearly you had Group A Strep so they could more accurately target the infection with drugs. Dr. Lee was the ICU resident at the time.”

Six weeks later I was in the Rehab at Baycrest  Hospital.  Outstanding care provided for the three weeks I was there.  Now I have been released – facing weeks of treatment on the infection and damage done to my leg. Not sure if I will play golf again.

Luckily Dr. Somogyi is managing future treatments. But, despite whatever discomfort is still to come, I am alive – despite all the predictions – and I will survive.

 And that will let me still fool around politically.

Now the facts – and something you should think about. I was too fat – that adds to the risk of these infections – I had gained 40 pounds in the last 3 years – not enough exercise – especially walking.  I rationalized – sore back – swollen ankles – any excuse for never taking real rehabilitative action.

 Any of you out there also keeping your heads in the sand?

I am an elderly grandmother – lucky to have needed no pills and believing that I was really only sixteen years old.  It was a delusion that added to the magnitude of the injury.

Our family doctor, the wonderful Stan Lofsky, lived next door for 40 years – and then he retired.  And you all know that the reality of today’s medical care is a game of referrals and ten minute appointments.  That didn’t help to diagnose or even suspect the horror of my infection.

So be smarter than me.  Be realistic.  Don’t fool yourself.  I have hard work for the rest of my life – bye bye Bagels, Chalah, Beef ribs, and all those other goodies – hello crackers, occasional toast, baked potatoes, grilled veggies, salads.  And my husband Jerry, as you all know, is a gourmet cook.  Oh well.

And now it’s time to move on.  Are you enjoying the insane world of politics all around us?   My next blog will be back in the “political game”.  Take care everyone.