Gordon Viberg was the fifth person to be diagnosed with COVID-19 at the Royal Jubilee Hospital. (Provided by the Victoria Hospitals Foundation)

Gordon Viberg was the fifth person to be diagnosed with COVID-19 at the Royal Jubilee Hospital. (Provided by the Victoria Hospitals Foundation)

Royal Jubilee COVID-19 patient recalls being so weak he ‘couldn’t get out of bed’

Gordon Viberg was the fifth person to be diagnosed with coronavirus at RJH

After spending 12 days in a hospital intensive care unit battling COVID-19, doctors and nurses lined the hallway to applaud the discharge of Gordon Viberg.

“They were so happy and relieved,” said the 75-year-old Victoria resident.

“It was a powerful moment.”

Viberg was the fifth person to be diagnosed with the coronavirus at the Royal Jubilee Hospital back in March. He had returned from a birthday ski trip and was isolating for 10 days when he started to notice “what felt like a sinus cold,” followed by a “brutal” headache.

“I kept getting worse – my temperature was climbing and I was delirious.”

When Viberg’s temperature spiked to over 40 degrees, his wife, a retired registered nurse, called their family doctor who recommended calling 911 immediately.

The next thing Viberg remembers is waking up in the ICU, finding out he had been diagnosed with COVID-19.

READ ALSO: Foundation funds High Acuity Unit for Royal Jubilee Hospital to support COVID-19 patients

His breathing was getting worse, and his blood oxygen absorption levels had dropped to 72 per cent. The situation became even bleaker when an X-ray showed Viberg also had pneumonia.

Dr. Grant McIntyre, medical lead and division head for ICUs in the South Island region for Island Health, said the medical equipment in the High Acuity Unit has made a big difference during the pandemic. (Provided by the Victoria Hospitals Foundation)

“I met Gordon in March when he was admitted to an isolated room,” said Dr. Grant McIntyre, medicallead and division head for ICUs in the South Island region for Island Health.

“Our care teams quickly made a connection between his recent travel history and severe flu-like symptoms. Less than 24 hours after being admitted, lab results confirmed our suspicions.”

Over the next several days, antibiotics helped lower his temperature but his oxygen absorption levels were still low. Viberg was so weak he couldn’t’ get out of bed.

READ ALSO: Significant donation boosts Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s most ambitious fundraising campaign

“Despite the discomfort, I was determined to think positively and get home to my family. Being in the ICU for 12 days was incredibly lonely and isolating. My wife and son couldn’t visit; I could only talk to them by phone,” he said.

But even through their masks, the hospital staff’s positivity helped him keep calm through his stay at RJH.

After spending a total of 16 days in hospital, Viberg was walked out of the front doors by the same nurse who admitted him more than two weeks earlier.

“That was an amazing feeling.”

According to McIntyre, the equipment for the interim High Acuity Unit funded by the Victoria Hospitals Foundation in April, has greatly increased patient safety.

“Not only do we have more capacity, we have a new safe place where patients can be monitored and receive more intensive nursing,” he said.

For more information on the Victoria Hospitals Foundation, or to make a donation, visit victoriahf.ca.


 

Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

Victoria Hospitals Foundation

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

Just Posted

Sipili Molia, regional kettle manager, shows off the Salvation Army’s new contactless donation system for the 2020 Christmas Kettle Campaign outside municipal hall on Dec. 1. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: Tech offers hope as Salvation Army sees need skyrocket across B.C.

Charity is equipping hundreds of kettles across B.C. with ‘touchless giving technology’

Kathy MacNeil, president and chief executive officer of Island Health, Dawn Thomas, acting deputy health minister and Island Health’s vice president, Indigenous health and diversity and Chief Don Tom of Tsartlip First Nation, stand out Saanich Peninsula Hospital Tuesday morning, when they also answered questions about a new report that “widespread systemic racism against Indigenous people” in the provincial health care system. (Island Health/Submitted)
Head of Island Health says Saanich Peninsula Hospital not part of racist guessing game

Tsartlip First Nations Chief Don Tom welcomes changes following report but promises future scrutiny

The Capital Regional District and the Habitat Acquisition Fund have agreed to partner on the purchase of the $3.4-million Mountain View Forest in Saanich to establish a new regional park. (Photo courtesy the Habitat Acquisition Trust)
CRD, Habitat Acquisition Trust to spend $3.4M on 20-hectare forest park in Saanich

Mountian Road Forest property to be conserved as regional park

Caroline Sousa, Bela Spick and her son Mateo marched along Prospect Lake Road in November 2019 to bring attention to the unsafe conditions on the road. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich reduces Prospect Lake Road speed limit to 30 km/h

New speed limit in effect as of Dec. 1 from Goward Road to Estelline Road

Royal Bay Secondary’s leadership class, comprised of Grade 9 through 12 students, is part of the student team organizing this year’s 10,000 Tonight event that shifts entirely online for 2020. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
West Shore student food drive shifts entirely online

Drive-thru option removed from 10,000 Tonight in light of COVID-19 restrictions

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

Dave Wallace coached the Parksville Royals for 23 years. (PQB News file photo)
B.C. baseball community mourns death of legendary Vancouver Island coach Dave Wallace

‘All who knew Dave and his passion for the game will miss him greatly’

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Tabor Home in Abbotsford. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
B.C.’s largest COVID-19 care-home outbreak records 19 deaths, 147 cases

Tabor Home in Abbotsford has been battling outbreak since Nov. 4

Most Read