BY KATE WINQUIST
I had been feeling under-the-weather for most of last week. I developed a cough that was progressively getting worse as the days wore on. By Thursday evening it was becoming apparent that I should probably see the doctor, as I have had a run-in with pneumonia in the past.
After contacting the office and cancelling all of my appointments that I had set up for the day, I called the Gull Lake Medical Clinic preparing for them to tell me that they were booked solid and that I couldn’t see my physician for three weeks. I was pleasantly surprised when Denise, the receptionist said, “Oh, you sound horrible. I’ll try and squeeze you in.” It was all set – my appointment was booked, and I was crawling back under the warmth of my covers. Not even five minutes had passed when the phone rang. It was the friendly voice of Denise telling me that Dr. Clare wanted me up at the Care Centre at 11:30 so they could do a chest x-ray and see what was up.
You need to give the small community clinics and hospitals credit. They are more than welcoming. As soon as I stepped through the doors, my nurse, Daphne, got all the paperwork in order and whisked me in and proceeded to do all my vitals. My visit to the Gull Lake Care Centre was about two hours in length while I awaited my doctor to arrive, but it was far from uncomfortable. I wish I had someone at home that would bring me ice water and offer me soup, as well as wrapping me up in a heated blanket.
When Dr. Kozroski arrived, she checked my x-ray and listened to me breathe, told me I sounded “like crap” (that is a quote) and said that my diagnosis was bang on – I did indeed have pneumonia. Some antibiotics, a puffer and a note telling my employer that I needed to rest for at least eight days (LOL, I work in newspaper, that doesn’t happen).
I used my note to gain some sympathy from my children and my husband, which worked to some degree. For the most part, they left me alone, occasionally checking on me to see if I was still alive and if I needed a drink of water.
As I lay propped up in my bed, I decided that I better check to see if I had received any critical emails. In the news business, we receive countless emails a day – mostly junk to be honest. We get RCMP news releases from all over the province, but we pretty much ignore ones that are out of our area as it doesn’t pertain to us. Friday night was different.
At 6:00 PM, a release came in about a serious motor vehicle collision at Nipawin and that traffic would be restricted for several hours. No more details were provided.
At 7:20 PM, Nipawin RCMP, along with multiple emergency personnel, are continuing rescue efforts after a semi-trailer unit collided with a passenger bus carrying members of a hockey team. Fatalities have been confirmed, as have a number of injuries. We are unable to confirm numbers at this time. Our next update will be provided at 7:45 or sooner if further information becomes available before then.
By the time that I had received another RCMP update, I had learned through television and Facebook channels about the accident involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey club. I immediately flashed back to 1986, to the eerily similar accident that claimed the lives of four members of the Swift Current Broncos. I was 17-years-old and still living on the family farm south of Kindersley. For those of us in the Kindersley area, we lost a local hockey hero that day. Trent Kresse was among the four players that were killed. I have never forgotten that day, and I’m certain that I never will.
By now, we all know that the accident that happened Friday evening north of Tisdale has claimed the lived of 15 individuals of the Humboldt Broncos organization. Another 14 that were on the bus sustained serious injuries. The driver of the semi-trailer unit wasn’t hurt in the accident, but I can not even begin to imagine the pain and suffering that man is going through right now. I hope he gets all of the support that he needs to cope with such an unimaginable thing.
The outpouring of love and support from other communities and individuals across the province, Canada and even internationally has been remarkable. The GoFund me page has surpassed 4.5 million and that number is sure to rise. It will be a long healing process for everyone involved and it is a tragedy that will never be forgotten.
As for me, I am healing from my bout of pneumonia. It seems pretty insignificant to me now. My thoughts and prayers are with the Broncos organization, especially to the families of Adam Herold, Connor Lukan, Evan Thomas, Jacob Leicht, Jaxon Joseph, Logan Boulet, Logan Hunter, Logan Schatz, Stephen Wack, Parker Tobin, Brody Hinz, Darcy Haugan, Glen Doerksen, Mark Cross, and Tyler Bieber who all took their last breath on April 6, 2018.
Kate Winquist is the Managing Editor of the Maple Creek News-Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.