Triple amputee goes home in time for Christmas
Published Monday, December 16, 2013 4:44PM EST Last Updated Monday, December 16, 2013 6:51PM EST
It's a day an Ottawa mother thought she would never see. Christine Caron was in hospital for months after losing three limbs to an infection from a small dog bite. Now, she has gone home, just in time for Christmas. There were tears and laughter and lots of nervousness as Christine Caron stepped outside the safety of Ottawa's Rehabilitation Centre and back into her life as a full-time mother.
She has lost both legs and one arm but she has clearly not lost her spirit.
After seven months, Christine had her final physiotherapy session as an in-patient before going home as an out-patient. And final goodbyes for the folks who helped her literally get back on her feet.
“I will see you after Christmas or possibly next week,” she called out to the physiotherapist as she made her way out of the physio room and down the hallway towards her room, stopping to hug staff and patients alike.
“You did the hard work, you did it,” said a tearful Alison Davis, who had worked as Christine’s physiotherapist for most of those months.
Since mid-May, The Ottawa Hospital and The Rehabilitation Centre have been home for the 50-year-old mother of four.
Returning to her real home is frightening, she says.
“I'm ready to go but I’m just a little scared.
When CTV Ottawa first met Christine in August, she had just been fitted with two prosthetic legs and an arm. Those first few steps were wobbly to be sure. But that Christine is even alive was a miracle in itself.
Christine's life changed May 18th when one of her dogs accidentally nipped her. Another one licked the wound. Three days later, she fell into a coma as a massive infection ravaged her body. A common bacterium in dogs' saliva caused a rare reaction in her that led to septic shock.
“They thought they would have to amputate all four of my limbs,” said Caron back in August. They managed to save her right arm but her left arm and two legs were gone.
During her months of recovery, she has amazed people with her strength and her spirit. One of her rehab “neighbors” was Dean Laponsee who had also lost two legs and the fingers on one of his hands to septic shock.
“I'm happy for her,” says Laponsee, “that she's moving on but it’s sad to see her go. She’s a good friend.”
She had a tearful farewell with Dr. Nancy Dudek who has been her rehabilitation specialist throughout her ordeal.
"Yeah, (it’s) always very emotional (saying goodbye),” says Dr. Dudek, “but it’s the best part though, makes all completely worthwhile.”
And so from the family that picked her up and helped her heal to the family that kept her going. Christine is met at the door of her bungalow by her daughter Arielle and son Tyson as she walks up the ramp. So, too, are her four puppies.
"It's so great to have her home for Christmas,” says 22-year-old Arielle. “It's a blessing and she's walking, she's doing more than we thought she could. It's the best Christmas ever.”
The Carons have had to sell their two-storey home and move to a bungalow to accommodate Christine's wheelchair. The expenses are piling up. But Christine has learned to take each day as it comes and this day is one to celebrate.
“I'm so excited to be home with them,” she says. “It's about being with your family.”
Christine is now unemployed so one of her daughter's has started a fundraiser to help with some of those expenses. It's at Fundrazr.com under “Caring for Chris.”