Saskatchewan man hospitalized for a year with COVID grateful to be home

Click to play video: 'Man spends year in hospital with COVID-19'
Man spends year in hospital with COVID-19
WATCH: A La Loche man spent the last year in the hospital after getting COVID-19 in July 2021. In early August 2022, he got to go home. – Aug 24, 2022

A 67-year-old man from La Loche, Sask., who spent one year in the hospital after getting COVID-19, is finally home.

In July 2021, Ken Roth was on his way to Saskatoon with his family to get his first dose of the vaccine, when they decided to go have fun at Calaway Park in Alberta instead.

“It’s kind of my fault. When we took off, we were supposed to – that weekend – get our vaccine shots and we decided to just go on holiday,” Roth said.

Roth says he first began feeling sick on the way to Calaway Park, but thought nothing of it. It was only when he got there that it hit him hard.

Roth’s daughter called an ambulance. They took him to the hospital and put him in an induced coma for two and a half months.

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When he woke up, the nurses wanted to pull the plug.

“The doctors told my wife and my daughter that they’re going to put me in a room and they’re going to unplug me because I was dying and they had two hours left to say goodbye to me,” said Roth.

Read more: COVID-19: HKPR reports death, 4 new hospitalized cases in Northumberland County

Roth’s wife and daughter begged them to let them take him to a hospital in Saskatoon instead. Blue Cross helped fly him from Calgary to Saskatoon the next day, switching from Royal University Hospital to St. Paul’s Hospital, where he spent another month in the ICU.

“I couldn’t do anything for myself, and I was still on a breathing tube. So that was another couple of months and then they shipped me to Ottawa. I went to Ottawa for a week because Saskatchewan had an overcrowded ICU and not enough staff,” said Roth.

After being in Ottawa for a week, he came back to St. Paul’s Hospital.

“When I got back to Saskatchewan, I ended up with pneumonia and shut down for quite a while, and they put a lot of antibiotics in me. Then I was OK for about a month and I got pneumonia again,” said Roth.

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Roth spent 373 days in the hospital.

After that, he spent a week in physical therapy.

Read more: Interior Health not ruling out COVID-19 restrictions this fall and winter

Roth got home to La Loche on Aug. 16, where close to 100 of his neighbours treated him to a surprise welcome.

“Well, I’m really glad to be home. I had a nice welcome home from the people of La Loche, who I thank very dearly. They lifted my spirits up,” said Roth.

Roth credits his family for getting him through the ordeal, and helping him make it home again.

“I think if they weren’t there, I don’t think I would have made it. It was really hard mentally too and you gotta remember, I couldn’t feed myself, I was like a newborn baby starting to try to learn and I’m still learning,” said Roth.

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