“It started with a searing pain in my head,” says Bob Nedelko of Vineland, who owns a No Frills store in downtown Burlington. “In June 2016, I had gone to open my store and I was having a conversation with the gentleman who was delivering bread. The pain came out of nowhere and I blacked out.”
At age 49, Bob had suffered a brain aneurysm. His heart stopped and the delivery man performed CPR until the ambulance arrived and rushed him to Hamilton General Hospital.
“I underwent an emergency surgical procedure for my aneurysm,” Bob explains. “The first thing I remember is waking up at the hospital and being told what happened. I was lucky that someone who knew CPR was there to help me and I was lucky that it didn’t happen while I was driving.”
Bob spent more than two months recovering at Hamilton General Hospital’s Regional Rehabilitation Centre, where he received care through the Acquired Brain Injury Program.
“My short-term memory wasn’t very good at first, but it improved quickly. Things that I used to take for granted, like being able to get out of bed and stand up, were much more difficult. I underwent a lot of physiotherapy to help regain my strength and balance.”
Even though Bob was eager to return home, he has many good memories of his time at the Regional Rehabilitation Centre.
“The care I received was second-to-none,” he says. “Not only was the quality of care amazing, but so was the level of compassion. I can’t say enough good things about everyone who helped me through this.”
Bob continued recovering at home, slowly regaining physical strength and function. He returned to work on modified duty in January 2017 and he began working full-time again in March.
“My life is back to normal. The only residual effect is fatigue from time to time if I push myself too far. I see every day as a blessing and I don’t take anything for granted anymore.”
Grateful for the level of care he received, Bob decided to give back and fundraise in support of Hamilton General Hospital Foundation as a 2017 Strides for The General Patient Ambassador. He will be attending the event on September 16 to speak about his patient journey. Bob has also been engaging customers at his store to support The Foundation through the Save It Forward program.
“I turned 50 in January and we had quite the party because I had a lot to celebrate! I want to support The Foundation and help those who helped me. Hamilton Health Sciences saved my life, so it’s the least I can do!”