Together, our community cared for Paula Monico

This September, with much joy and thankfulness, Paula Monico celebrated her 80th birthday! She and her husband, Benny, have called Guelph home for over sixty years. Together, they raised two kids, Jennie and Kevin, and operated a successful plumbing and heating business — Benny handling the customer calls and Paula managing the bookwork. Long retired from that life, the two live in quiet comfort in their west-end home.

On her big day, Benny filled the living room with balloons from her surprise birthday party he threw for Paula at the Italian Canadian Club. But three years ago, Paula would not have expected to reach this milestone. In 2019, Paula went to the GGH’s Emergency Department with severe stomach pain that required surgery for a perforated bowel. She then spent a long time as an inpatient — a very long time —  five months in the Intensive Care Unit and three months in the Step-Down unit, before transferring to the Freeport Campus of Grand River Hospital for ten months of rehabilitation.  

Paula still needs nursing care at home twice a week but is still so lively and engaging. Not only that, but she is also full of gratitude for the staff at GGH. Paula says, “The care I received was second to none. Over time, I built personal relationships with all the professionals who helped me: dieticians, gastroenterologists, nurses, physiotherapists, technicians in Diagnostic Imaging, and more. They were excellent, of the highest calibre. And all my needs were tended to in a timely fashion, with kindness, compassion, and much laughter.” Paula is especially grateful to Dr. Ken Reed, whom she credits with saving her life.

To Paula, her time at GGH was, in her words, a “life-affirming experience.” She says that, due to the length of her stay, she could have become depressed and anxious, but because of the caring environment, the staff gave her so much hope and courage that she couldn’t help but get better.

A month after the party, the balloons still festooning the Monico’s living room are a testament to this lovely lady’s pluck and positive nature. Many friends who attended her celebration donated to the Hospital in her honour, and she couldn’t be happier. It just so happens that Paula’s daughter, Jennie, was born in the Hospital, and is now a 25-year staff nurse, just another reason Paula is glad to support Guelph General Hospital.

We are so thankful for your support Paula Monico!