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Lakeridge Health does it again

Thursday, July 4th, 2019

Jonathan van Bilsen – You’ve got to be kidding

First off, I wanted to thank everyone for their comments, emails and telephone calls regarding my recent article, Get off the Pot. It was so well received, the Standard Newspaper decided to run this column weekly. Starting with this issue, you will now get a glimpse inside my head every week, Wow, does it get any better? A couple of years ago I stayed in Port Perry Hospital, while a very capable staff tried to figure out what infectious disease I was riddled with (travel has its drawbacks). I praised everyone associated with my stay and found the entire experience to be quite palatable. Last week I had another opportunity to visit Lakeridge Health, but this time in Oshawa. I am amazed at how friendly people can be in the wake of sadness, pain and uncertainty. From the moment I checked in I was well looked after. My wait time was only a few minutes, and I was whisked to the inner bowels of the institution. I had upgraded to a private room, without bonus points for a change, and was impressed with the peacefulness surrounding me. The hospital is equipped with Wi-Fi, so my iPad ran Netflix non-stop. Best of all, there was no charge. The kind nurse responsible for me (that in itself is close to martyrdom), even offered to plug in my iPhone charger. I was offered a liquid lunch, but was told dinner would be solid food. About three in the afternoon, I was hungry, and when my cheery nurse came for her hourly visit, I asked about snacks and was offered an egg salad sandwich. Unlike most of my travels, there was no charge and tipping was included. The hospital has a massive Tim Horton’s, as well as other restaurants, and I wondered if they still had Candy Stripers, who could do a runner for some Tim Bits and a Cruller. To my surprise, only one person I offered my suggestion to, knew what a Candy Striper was. Dinner was amazing. It was the best lasagna I have had in a while, and was complimented by all the healthy stuff; broccoli, corn, cheese and a muffin. I was still hungry so a second muffin found its way to my room. An hour, or so later, someone brought me cookies and around 11 p.m., they offered me fruit and yogurt. I witnessed a shift change in nursing staff and grew concerned my new nurse would not be as friendly as my first. Nothing was further from the truth, and again, I was well looked after. A very filling breakfast was followed by a clean bill of health, and I was told I could leave. I wanted to wait until after lunch, but decided to shower and check out. I felt somewhat guilty at the pleasantness of my adventure, as I know many people suffer greatly from various illnesses. I am very grateful we have such well-managed institutions, as Lakeridge Health. Jonathan van Bilsen is a published author, award winning photographer, columnist and keynote speaker. Follow his adventures at

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