TRURO – A Great Village family has received a precious Christmas gift thanks to staff at the Colchester East Hants Health Centre.
Brent Cooke, 46, suffered a massive stroke last spring and has been at the Truro hospital ever since in the intensive care unit. The generosity of the ICU nurses and other staff are making the holidays a little brighter by getting Brent home for a few hours on Dec. 20 to celebrate Christmas with family.
“We’re counting down the sleeps. It’s hard to put into words how much this means to us … the nurses are going above and beyond what’s expected and it’s made our journey easier,” said Brent’s wife Shirley.
“He’s so excited to come home, even briefly. This is way more than any gift you could buy,” Shirely said, adding the generosity of the hospital staff truly defines the concept of the spirit of holiday giving.
Getting Brent home has been a huge undertaking for the nurses. The stroke has left Brent, a forester for 25 years, with only facial movements and on a ventilator. It’s taken
“months” of planning and requires a lot of legal and logistical components that the staff have willingly taken on.
“It’s an early Christmas (and) it will be emotional. We are so thankful for them,” said Brent’s daughter Jessica Reid.
But that’s not all. The ICU staff recently threw Brent and his family a Christmas party at the hospital, supplying all the food, Christmas tree, decorations, gifts and even Santa.
“It meant so much because he’s just living a secluded life in a hospital room and to have that experience … something normal and noisy and to see the kids enjoying Christmas, it meant a lot to him,” said Shirley about the event that included about 30 people. “(Staff) have been so kind and generous and I feel like they have become a part of the family.”
Jessica added, “I don’t know if they realize how much it has meant to us. I’m amazed (and) dad’s in good hands.”
Kathleen Clark, one of the ICU nurses who was responsible for the blessings for the Cooke family, said it’s natural the staff came to the assistance of Brent and his family.
“We just wanted to ease their burden, especially this time of the year. We’ve come to know Brent so well. He’s an amazing man and his family visits every day so we spend a lot of time together,” said Clark, who has worked with the hospital for 14 years.
Clark said Brent has become an inspiration for many of the staff.
“Brent is such a kind, easy going man … and with all the hardships he goes through, he can still smile and laugh.”
Clark said it will be thrilling to see the family happy and
“having a normal experience” and she’d like to see something special done for them again in the future.
In the meantime, said Shirley, the family is “holding out hope for (Brent’s) recovery” and embracing every moment with love and gratitude.