66 years and still together, thanks to the lifesavers at Guelph General and within our community.

For the last year, Nola Pestill had a ticking time bomb inside her: an abdominal aortic aneurysm. When it burst, Nola received life-saving care made possible by our generous community.

Undergoing major abdominal surgery isn’t easy, especially in your 80s. So when Nola’s specialist first detected the aneurysm, he referred her for a minimally invasive operation in Toronto.

While they were waiting to hear back, she noticed a pain in her lower back — one of the danger signs that her physician at Guelph General Hospital, Dr. Hobson, had warned her about.

She and her husband, Nick, rushed to the Emergency Department at Guelph General. A CT scan confirmed the aneurysm had begun to leak. Nola needed surgery right away, and her odds of survival were just 50/50.

That’s not the news Nick wanted to hear.

The couple have been married for 66 years. “We wouldn’t know what to do without each other,” he says. As Nola was wheeled into the operating room, she could see his distress.

Fortunately, they had a great healthcare team on their side, from the skilled surgeons who repaired Nola’s aneurysm to the nurses and PSWs she relied on for every drink of water and trip to the bathroom as she recovered.

“It was just wonderful how they looked after me,” she says. “I couldn’t have got through without them.”

The community supporters who funded everything from the CT scan before Nola’s surgery to the bedside vital signs monitor used during her two weeks of recovery were just as important.

After Nola got discharged, she and Nick made their own donation to Guelph General. “We felt good about providing the gift,” he says. “We are very appreciative of all the help she got.”

Today Nola is on the mend and determined to get out and walking. And Nick — who has been cooking and cleaning and looking after her for the past three months — can see she’s getting better. “She’s starting to tell me how I should be doing things,” he says, laughing.

After 66 years, they’re grateful to still be together. And they’re grateful for the lifesaving team and caring donors who made that possible.