Chris Weylie has endured a lifetime of medical challenges, but the teams at St. Peter’s Hospital have worked to enhance his quality of life for nearly 14 years.
Chris was born with hypophosphatasia (HPP), a rare progressive disorder that affects the development of bones, teeth and joints. In 2001, Chris required an operation to remove a calcium deposit on his vertebrae. Unfortunately, a post-surgical complication created further challenges.
“The area that had undergone surgery swelled up and put pressure on my spinal cord, which forced me into a wheelchair,” explains Chris. “I was a quadriplegic for four months. I could walk with forearm crutches after some rehabilitation, but HPP caused stress fractures in my lower back that prevented me from walking.”
Chris moved in with his mother, who took care of him for two years. When his mother could no longer care for him on her own, Chris was eventually admitted to the Medically Complex Unit at St. Peter’s Hospital.
“I was nervous when I first arrived as I didn’t know what to expect,” says Chris. “After a few days, I realized this is an incredible place. It feels more like a home than a hospital.”
Chris undergoes physiotherapy and massage therapy a few times a week. He is particularly thankful for Green Shield Canada’s donation to the Dr. James Morreale Dental Clinic at St. Peter’s Hospital, which enabled bedside dental care for patients with mobility issues.
“My mom used to floss my teeth three times a week, but she passed away recently,” says Chris. “Thanks to Green Shield, my hygienist Rita now flosses my teeth. I had three cavities six months ago, but Rita thinks I don’t have any cavities now.”
Proper oral hygiene can enhance patients’ quality of life and self-esteem, and promotes healthier eating habits.
“Inadequate dental care can lead to significant oral health challenges for this patient population,” explains Rita. “Being able to treat patients like Chris with dignity and respect has been a very humbling and rewarding experience.”
Chris appreciates all donors who helped fund the essential equipment and amenities needed for his care.
“You should donate whatever you can to The Foundation,” says Chris. “If you ever have to use the Hospital, you’re really going to appreciate everything they offer.”