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Ray Ching – Black Pond, PEI

Annual Report photos 017-2It was a phone call Black Pond resident Sharon Ching will never forget.

She and members of her family had just sat down for a meal after enjoying the Gold Cup and Saucer Parade in Charlottetown in August of 2010.

Sharon received an urgent call from her son-in-law, indicating that her 74 year old husband, Ray Ching, was being rushed to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital by ambulance.

“All I remember was that they were heading directly to Charlottetown,” recalls Sharon. “I knew it must be very serious.”

Ray had suffered a massive stroke while working on the farm.

Married for 46 years and semi-retired, Ray considered himself reasonably healthy. “He took one baby aspirin every second day, and hadn’t seen a doctor in years,” says Sharon. “He had no prior health issues or concerns, whatsoever.”

“He really shouldn’t be here with us today,” says Dr. Ed Harrison, Physiatrist and Director of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the QEH who has been following Ray’s progress since he first became a patient. “With the severity of his stroke, it’s a miracle that Ray survived, and we are astonished how he continues to improve each time we see him.”

A CT scan one of the battery of tests performed by the fast-acting staff in the QEH Emergency Department, indicated a blood clot in Ray’s brain had caused his stroke. Fortunately, he reached the QEH within those crucial four “golden hours” of the first sign of a stroke and received the clot busting shot (tPA), which helped reduce its severity.

Once stabilized, Ray was moved to the QEH Intensive Care Unit for two weeks. Following that, he was transferred to Unit 1 (Orthopedic) and then to the Acute Stroke Care Unit where he began his rehabilitation. Having made enough progress during his five month stay in hospital, Ray was permitted to return home just in time for Christmas.

“The care my husband received at the QEH was phenomenal,” says Sharon “It began the minute we pulled up to the front door of the hospital and we have nothing but positive things to say.”

This past February, the Chings were approached by Dr. Harrison and his interdisciplinary team to see if Ray would participate in the new Provincial Ambulatory Stroke Rehabilitation Program. This new service for stroke survivors, such as Ray, is now being delivered on an out-patient basis at the QEH.

Despite the need to repeatedly drive the 86 kilometers each way from their home to the QEH in order to participate, there was zero hesitation from Sharon.

Ray, unable to move his left arm before the program, is now able to perform light duties such as folding clothes, vacuuming, and driving his golf cart to get the mail each morning. The unwavering support from his family and his own never-ending determination, is credited for his recent improvements.

“We have seen amazing progress in Ray since he began the program a few short months ago,” adds Dr. Harrison. “He has far exceeded anything we had expected, which tells us this program is working and really helping to improve the lives of Island stroke patients such as Mr. Ching.”

Dr. Harrison is thankful to the generosity of donors to the QEH Foundation for funding the medical equipment that was required to offer the stroke rehabilitation program at the QEH.

“We’re just so glad to have him with us,” concludes Sharon, “We can’t thank everyone enough who helped Ray. We are forever grateful.”