WARNING: Some of the images contained in this post may be disturbing for some. The images are blurred out but once you hover over or click them, they will show.
I have been contemplating writing this blog now for awhile as I was unsure if I should, but after seeing a number of stories over the past months regarding Legionnaires Disease, I decided to proceed to publish it. This is the progress/process of the last three months.
- 2020 Olympician, Sara Groenewegen, had Legionnaires in 2018 - Video at the bottom - Worth the watch.
- Legionnaires from potting mix - Video at the bottom
- Moncton, New Brunswick - Outbreak of Legionnaires - August 10, 2021 - Video at the bottom
Legionnaires is something I'm not even sure I heard about prior to mid-April this year and soon wont forget about now.
At the beginning of April I was winding down some work duties as I was going on full time French training starting May 3rd. As of April 12th, I was taking a week of holidays, then back to work for the week of April 19th before one final week before the year long French training.
Vacation for a week had just begun on Saturday, April 10th. It was a beautiful sunny day in Greely and the plan for the day, cut down / remove a large tree from the front yard, then to have a couple of cold ones with the neighbours who helped with the job of the day. All smooth and well from what I remember.
Monday, April 12th
- This was the last full day I remember and now looking back, it was when I noticed symptoms first. That day was spent collecting all of the left over tree limbs from the tree removal from Saturday. From here on out, its bits and pieces of what I remember, what I have been told and what I have read.
Tuesday, April 13th
- I don't recall much on this day except for calling Appletree for a Doctors visit as I was unable to get in with my own Doctor.
- After the call with Appletree, I headed to Shoppers Drug Mart to pick up some Advil and Robaxacet.
Wednesday - Friday, April 14th - 16th
- I am completely blank for this day, at this point I should mention that my symptoms were a sore back, coughing a lot and unable to eat. I didn't think it was anything major, I just thought at this point that I had pulled a muscle in my back from cutting down the tree on Saturday.
- Called my Doctor on Thursday. He gave me some recommendations and asked to call him back or go to the hospital on Saturday if I was still not feeling well.
- All the week I was unable to eat. I kept sending Jodi out getting me different take out food thinking I would be able to eat it but time and time again I could not.
- Friday came and I was unable to bring my garbage to the curb, my neighbour came by and I was lid on the couch unable to get up with how bad my back felt.
- Friday evening, we were watching some shows as we usually do and when I got up, I was sweating so much with a fever that the couch was wet. This should have been a sign here for me.
Saturday - Sunday, April 17th & 18th
- Woke up this morning not feeling good at all.
- Tried calling my family doctor while in bed, but he was not in the office.
- Got up and asked Jodi to take me to the hospital. Laid on the couch for a few minuets, though I felt better, Jodi made me go to the hospital. Not sure what would have happened if she didn't insist on me going here.
- Check into the hospital, had a COVID test done and xRays taken.
- Doctor right away confirmed it was not COVID and it was a Pneumonia. I was then admitted.
- The rest of the day Saturday, all day Sunday and into Monday. I do not recall. Based on conversations and logs on my phone, I spoke to a lot of people. I don't remember any of this. The lack of oxygen at this point seems it was messing with me.
Just admitted to the Winchester Hospital.
Monday, April 19th
- Got a notification from the Nest camera of movement and was convinced the below video was some large flying object and posted it to Facebook, clearly now it is a spider but it shows how bat shit crazy I was starting to go with the lack of oxygen to the brain at 4:06am.
- This day I was still in Winchester Hospital. I don't recall a whole lot about this day except for looking back through emails and found a gem of an email where I transferred ~$2000 to our work lotto account and set up reoccurring purchases and done it 5am in the morning.
- Later in the evening I recall being told I was to be transferred to the Ottawa Hospital Civic Campus.
Tuesday, April 20th
- Early am (1:30am-ish) I was transferred to the Civic Hospital
- I recall being placed in a isolation room with at least 3 doctors looking in at me and about 5-7 nurses around me.
- The nurses were setting up tubes, needles, ect. I remember some of this but don't recall it all.
- At some point I called Jodi and told her all was going to be ok. Right after this call the Doctor called Jodi back and told her I was basically lying and told her they were incubating me.
From here on out I was in an induced coma and on life support.
Warning: You will notice some whited out areas, these are images. If you rollover these areas (PC) or select (Phone/Tablet) the hidden image will be exposed. This is your last disturbing image warning you will receive.
Rollover above to view the first image of my lungs, showing the left lung completely filled up and the right one starting to. In xRay terms - White is bad, black is good
Rollover the above image: Just the beginning of the tubes, needles and countless tests to determine what was the cause.
For the next section of the timeline, here are the daily updates my sister was sending out. Its unreal for me to read, knowing its about me....
Wednesday, April 21st
- Brief call with the nurse, waiting for the dr to call still. Only update is that his 2nd Covid test came back negative.
- They've proned him to help him breathe better. His oxygen went to 100% when they proned him, but it is down to 80%.
- His fever has dropped to 38.8, so that's an improvement. No results on the CT scan or swabs yet.
I was placed in the Prone position. This allows better air flow in the lungs.
- Dr Po (ICU dr) called, we still don't know the CT results. He is on "elephant tranquilizers" and the heaviest antibiotics they have (Pip taz, Vanco,).
- His left lung is full (Dr said it looks like he has a liver in his lung, it's so full). He's operating on half of his right lung. His airway is clear, so that's confusing them too.
- Back to wait-and-see. We just know he's critical and on life support. I can't get that phrase out of my mind....life support.
- Jodi just called the hospital again to see how he's doing. His temp has gone down slightly to 38.3, and that's the only change.
- He's still lying prone, and that's helping. We'll call back again after shift change tonight, hopefully they'll have the CT results by then.
- Last update for tonight - we had a Skype call so they showed us Adam in the ICU bed. He's still in ICU, but out of isolation. No improvement, but he's not worse either.
- I asked the nurse what to tell the family and she said all they can do right now is send thoughts and prayers. So please, thoughts and prayers.
Thursday, April 22nd
- No news throughout the night, we'll be calling the hospital around 9 to see where he's at this morning.
- Spoke to his nurse on rounds today, he hasn't changed much since last night, but his oxygen is better (down to 50% from 90%).
- His temp is still at 38.3, but hasn't gone up, so that's good too. He's still lying prone, and they plan to move him in a few hours.
- They'll know more about how stable he is once they try to move him. We'll call back after lunch for another update.
- We just spoke with the infectious disease dr (Dr. Chowdhury?). They called to get some background history to narrow down the focus.
- They are also looking at Histoplasmosis and Blastomycosis. They said Hantavirus is rare in Ontario, but are checking that too.
- We're waiting for his nurse to call back now. They have flipped him over on his back so he isn't prone anymore, and he has stayed stable.
- His oxygen saturation is at 95% (that's good), so he's moving in the right direction. Fever is staying at 38.3, also good.
- They have put him on anti-fungal meds now as well. We'll see if there's more when we talk to the hospital again.
- So far, this is the best news we've had though 🙂
- It's still not the out-of-the-woods message we're waiting for, but it's definitely going in the right direction ❤
- His Dr just called, they've identified the bacteria, it's Legionella Pneumonia. So now they know where to focus.
- He's still on life support, and not out of the woods. But at least they know what to target. This is the best news so far.
- Just had another call from the hospital, it was Dr Millington, his ICU doctor. It was a good call, not really an update but he did say all of his organs are in good condition, kidneys are better.
- His heart rate and BP are good, and they say he's in stable condition. Still on life support, but the dr said he's better today than he was yesterday, and he is "cautiously optimistic" (cautious because you really don't know what can happen).
- He's expecting tomorrow will be better, and the hope is they will be able to consider removing the breathing tube if he continues to improve after the next 2 or 3 days.
- Had a zoom call, he's doing OK, still stable and still on his back.
- Just got the last xray back and there's a big improvement!
Huge improvement. Lots more black than white and the left lung is coming back to life.
Friday, April 23rd
- We'll be calling again soon to see if there's anything new.
- Haven't heard anything since last night so no news is good news right now.
- Nurse just called, said he seems to be doing a little better and they've started to wean him off the paralyzing drugs (very slowly).
- Still on the breathing tube and ventilator but they are preparing to take the steps to remove the life support and hoping to be able to take the breathing tubes out in the next day or two.
- Dr will call later this evening with another update. But every update we get now is a little better and more positive than the last 🙂
- The girls just went out with the neighbor for a bike ride so Jodi and I are both going to try to have a nap and see if we can get a little sleep!
- Just had a zoom call, it's the best he's looked and the nurse was very positive. He's making more positive progress.
- His temp is down to 36.4 and he's tolerating being turned and moved (his oxygen is staying stable when they turn and move him.
- He has even coughed on his own when they turned him, which she said was a good sign that the weaning was working without putting him in distress.
- Had our nightly call with the nurse, slow improvements still. He is being weaned off the paralytics, but his oxygen does drop when they move him.
- Temp is up slightly to 37.5, but the nurse said it tends to go up at night. He's not ready to be taken off the ventilator yet, and if he is still the same tomorrow, they won't take him off either.
- But he is recovering faster than he was yesterday. Not much of an update, mostly the same as what we were told today, but he is inching in the right direction.
- Every call has a little more good news 🙂
Saturday, April 24th
- This morning's update: He had a comfortable night, and no changes. His nurse said the plan is to start slowly waking him up later today, that's still the plan.
- His sedation continues to be lightened, and he is responding well to that too. We'll call back later this afternoon for another update.
This afternoon’s update from his day nurse, Amy:
- He was off sedation for about 4 hrs today before he went back on because he was getting a little distressed. That may be why his temp is back up again to 39.5, but they have a cooling blanket on him right now to help.
- He is now on spontaneous mode on the ventilator (that means he is doing more or the work of breathing and triggering the vent rather than needing the vent do all of the work for him). That is how they start to wean from the vent.
- That is really good progress towards removing the breathing tube. He is maintaining his o2 sat level, so they won’t need to prone him anymore.
- And the last bit of good news – he finally pooped (1st BM he’s had since he went in – Nurse said he looked 3 mths pregnant last night!) 😊
- Every call and update is a little better than the last.
Tonight’s update from his nurse Heather:
- His temp is still high, but it has gone down to 38.4 He is only on one medication now for sedation. It’s just mild sedation to keep him comfortable with the breathing tube that he still has in.
- He’s is still on the strong antibiotics but they are working. He is starting to bring up secretions to clear his lungs, a great step forward.
- He is now taking spontaneous breaths on his own – even better news. No timeline on when they’ll remove the breathing tube, but sooner rather than later, with this improvement.
- He moved his head and coughed when we were on the Zoom call tonight too.
- Heather finished by saying that he is showing improvement with every shift, and that’s the most positive news we’ve heard yet 😊
Sunday, April 25th
This morning’s update from his nurse, Terry-Lynn (she happens to be a Newfie from Conche 😊) It’s another positive update!
- He’s is still showing small signs of improvement. Still technically on life support, but continuing to wean him off sedation.
- His white blood cell count is down, even though his fever is still tending to spike. It was at 38.2 when we called this morning, but it’s a residual fever and they are keeping it controlled with Tylenol.
- His is off all paralyzing meds, and is now only on a calming sedation because of the breathing tube.
- He is opening his eyes and responding when they ask him to, and making spontaneous movements with his arms and feet.
- He isn’t awake, but based on how he’s starting to respond, he is becoming more and more aware of where he is and the nurse can see him reacting when they speak to him.
- The hope (plan) is to remove the breathing tube tomorrow.
Tonight’s update from Nurse Amy 😊
- He has been having a lot more wakeful moments, keeping his eyes open longer and responding to requests (squeezing hands, moving feet, etc)
- Fever down a little to 37.5, may continue to stay a little high while his body fights off the sedatives.
- Vital signs are all great and he is much more alert, even with eyes closed.
- Plan is to extubate him tomorrow. With extubation and being taken off the ventilator, we’ll be able to say he’s off life support!
Monday, April 26th
- Best update yet! Just got off the phone with Nurse Jen: Adam is OFF LIFE SUPPORT!!!
- He was extubated this morning – breathing tube has been removed and no more ventilator.
- He is very awake and responding appropriately.
- The only medication he is on right now (aside from the antibiotics and anti-fungal) is a mild sedation. His throat is irritated and he is coughing lots, so they have him on a low dosage of “calming” medication. He isn’t agitated, but this will prevent him from becoming more uncomfortable. They are hoping to wean him off that within the next 24 hrs.
- He is still on oxygen, and his fever is still up slightly (37.5), but being managed.
- He should only have to stay in ICU for another day or two before he’s moved to a normal room. He will still have a lengthy hospital stay, but hopefully will be moved back to Winchester (hospital closer to home). That all depends on the availability of beds.
- The call ended with Jen saying he is making great progress…he’s bouncing back as fast as he went downhill.
- He is out of the woods ❤ He has a long, long road to recovery, but he is out of the woods ❤
- We just had a zoom call with Adam, we were able to talk to him for a little bit. He's doing a 1000x better and says he's coming home in 3 days.
- He's not, but they'll probably kick him out by then anyway, he's already got ants in his pants to get moving 🤣👍
- Mom and Dad just got here
Tonight’s update comes from Nurse Amy 😊
**First, Mom and Dad have arrived and are here at Adam & Jodi’s**
- He was able sit at the end of his bed for a while this evening, and stood up for a few minutes. (Adam doesn’t remember doing that, when we asked him tonight if he stood up, he said no, but that’s because of the lingering sedation in his system. That’s also why his temp keeps hovering around 37.5.
- He still has his feeding tube in, but has been taking sips of water and is able to swallow.
- Mom and Dad just spoke with him on a Zoom call, which made everyone’s night.
- He should move out to a regular ward bed tomorrow, and hopefully be transferred back to him local hospital in a few days.
- I’ll send the next update once he’s been moved out of ICU and transferred to the regular ward at Civic, and then back to Winchester.
Tuesday, April 27th
Today’s update comes from Nurse Crystal: I am happy to say that I don’t have a lot to update 😊
- The only new note is that his liver #s are up and he’s a little anemic, but that should even itself out as he improves. Same with his temp that is slightly elevated, still hovering around 37.5.
- He will be moving out of ICU and to a bed on the regular ward once a bed is available. This will probably be at the Civic first, and then move to Winchester. That depends on what his requirements will be for physiotherapy. The more he requires; he’ll get at the Civic. Still, depends on bed availability as well.
- He’ll be in the hospital until he’s able to be fully off oxygen and is able to walk a certain length on his own. Knowing Adam, he’ll discharge himself and walk home on his own by the end of the week 😊
- I don’t have much more to update daily now, so I won’t keep inundating everyone with updates. Right now he’s doing much better and continues to improve hourly. Mom and Dad have been able to see and talk to him via Zoom, so that’s been reassuring for everyone. He is on the road to recovery, so I won’t be sending out a lot more updates unless there’s something pressing or unexpected that needs to be passed along 😊
Wednesday, April 28th
- Now that Mom & Dad are here, Adam is out of the woods, off life support and in a regular room, I'll be heading back to Bowmanville this morning. He is doing soooo much better, and has been able to face-time with us for short calls.
- He is already cranky and ready to come home, so he's obviously on the mend 🙂👍
- I'm happy to say I don't need to send any more updates ❤ Now Adam just needs to fully mend and come home to recuperate.
- He has a long, tough road to recovery, but at least we know he's on that road.
- Thanks again to everyone for their support and prayers, they obviously worked xox
Saturday, May 1st
- He’s going home today!!
Over the last number of months, I have been recovering and as each weeks goes by, it's been getting better.
At first was getting the strength to walk more than 50 feet without being out of breath and not needing Oxygen. Over the first few weeks this was the goal and slowly each day got better.
Over the next month, I didn't need oxygen anymore and had it sent back and by the second week of June I had done my first 10km walk. In hindsight this was a mistake to try. It hurt me for days.
Since this time, my energy, strength and stamina has improved. I am just having some issues with my left arm not wanting to work, though each week I gain a bit more back. Additionally to this, weird flashback dreams, ect of those weeks, but they are going away as well and don't flashback as much now as they did first.
I am happy to be home, happy to be with family, friends and co-workers.
Its been four months since the Saturday of when the tree was cutdown, four months smoke free and a four months of sickness and recovery that I do not want to experience again, anytime, for anyone.
You often hear of people complaining about the Canadian medical system, but I had no wait, excellent doctors and nurses and I'm here to tell the story and joke about it now. Saying that, I cannot help but wonder what the cost or the difficult decisions that would face me and my family now if I were in another country. Speaking of which I received a bill last week from the hospital, this was only because I ordered extra nude sponge baths from the nurses during the recovery week.
I kid, I kid. Jodi requested a private room for me while I recovered, this was the cost for that week. Not too shabby if I say so myself
Now the million dollar question you may have at this point is: Where the hell did you pick up the bacteria to? Well unfortunately, we are not 100% sure, though we have some suspicion's.
Thank you all for the messages, cards, and support during that time. It will not be forgotten!
Below are a couple of Legionnaire disease recent news stories.
CBC News story about the 2020 Olympic Softball player Sara Groenewegen who had Legionnaires disease in 2018:
Australia news of catching legionnaires from potting soil:
CTV News of recent Legionnaires disease outbreak in Moncton, NB: