VIDEO: B.C. dentist gets grand welcome home after two months in hospital fighting COVID-19

Pitt Meadows dentist Michael Chow shares an embrace with his wife, Dana, May 15 after months of fighting COVID-19 in hospital. (Special to The Maple Ridge News)

A 57-year-old Pitt Meadows dentist has a new lease on life after surviving a two-month battle with the novel coronavirus.

Dr. Michael Chow told Black Press Media that he’s lost 40 pounds, has swollen calves and ankles, and damaged vocal cords – “but I’m really happy to be here.”

Chow attended the Pacific Dental Conference the weekend of March 6, which was declared a site of outbreak that resulted in 87 people with COVID-19, provincial health officer Bonnie Henry reported June 4.

RELATED: March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Others who attended weren’t as fortunate.

Vancouver dentist Dr. Denis Vincent died from suspected coronavirus complications just weeks after attending.

“Everyone thinks COVID-19 is like the flu, that seniors are the only ones in danger. It’s just not true.”

“I was fit and healthy,” he said, making mention of his once-active lifestyle.

“And the coronavirus still hit me hard.”

A few days after the event, in early March, Chow fell ill.

When Chow’s condition significantly worsened, his younger brother – who works as a doctor at Surrey Memorial Hospital – took him to the hospital.

On March 19, his family was given the opportunity to say a few last words over FaceTime to Chow, before he was intubated.

“Doctors told them they couldn’t guarantee what was going to happen to me,” he explained. He needed to be put on a ventilator to get more oxygen delivered to his lungs.

Chow said that his next 19 days were spent in oblivion, heavily sedated, on a ventilator.

When he was finally well enough to be weaned off the machine, it took him time to return to reality.

“I wasn’t able to recognize my brother, I wasn’t able to speak,” Chow said, as told by his brother.

From there, the survivor underwent a slow journey of relearning how to walk, talk, and eat.

“There’s still some stuff to sort out,” Chow said following a Thursday afternoon visit to LifeLabs for blood tests.

READ MORE: Maple Ridge Hospital outbreaks declared over

Chow wiped happy tears from his eyes on May 15 when he was discharged from the Surrey Memorial Hospital COVID-19 unit.

Surrey Memorial staff and fellow patients surprised the survivor with a COVID-19 ward full of applause.

Chow rang the COVID-19 recovery bell and said “thank you everyone” to the staff, for helping him recover from the worst of the disease.

The 57-year-old dentist had to relearn how to walk, talk, and eat after battling the coronavirus after attending a dental conference in early March. (Special to The Maple Ridge News)

“I was happy to be alive and happy for everyone’s hard work that got me through… For every person I encountered: the physiotherapists, dietitians, doctors, speech language pathologists… all of them,” he said.

“They would see me try to exercise and cheer me on,” Chow said, recalling it took him a week to take more than just a few steps.

Now, Chow is recovering at home with his family in Port Coquitlam.

Neighbours even surprised him with a socially-distant “welcome” celebration, of signs and cheers, the moment he returned home.

The dentist said he now has to “focus on recovering” before he’s able to treat patients again at Meadows Family Dental.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ucluelet’s Terrace Beach Resort is for sale

The commercial offering of 21 suites and cabins was recently listed for $4,495,000

Young tourist caught untying boats from Ucluelet dock

“He was just untying the boats and watching them float away,” said Harbour Master Kevin Cortes.

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Ghost gear accounts for up to 70 per cent of all macro-plastics in the ocean by weight

Ucluelet RCMP warns of scammers impersonating police

“Police will never demand payment of any kind to get rid of an arrest warrant.”

B.C. identifies 20 new COVID-19 cases, travellers specified in count

Pandemic total 3,028 cases, 51 people from outside Canada

Campaign aims to raise $50K for young family of deceased Vancouver Island skydiver

James Smith, 34, died July 5 following incident in Nanoose Bay

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

B.C. ports part of data integration project to protect marine ecosystems

The $1.2 M federally funded program will draw crucial baseline data from Canada’s three coastlines

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

RCMP disarm man experiencing mental health crisis

The male pulled a knife on officers and then held it to his own throat expressing a desire to die

Most Read