Sheldon Richmond didn’t even feel sick when he almost lost his life to pneumonia

Sheldon Richmond poses for a photograph.It was Aug. 24, 2016 when Sheldon was an hour late coming home from his job as a pharmacist and his wife of 34 years grew worried.

"She called my cell phone and I told her I was in the driveway. I think I was sleeping," Sheldon said. "We called an ambulance and good thing we did, within two blocks of the house, my oxygen levels and blood pressure dropped. That's when they put on the sirens."

Sheldon doesn't remember much about what happened next.

"My wife told me there were seven doctors and nurses waiting for me when we arrived at the hospital."

He spent four weeks on life support in a medically induced coma, six weeks in the Intensive Care Unit and another few weeks as a rehabilitation inpatient at Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital.

"I almost died," Sheldon said. "They told my wife I had about a 70 per cent chance of dying. My son and his girlfriend flew in from Edmonton to see me."

Describing his journey, Sheldon seems almost incredulous.

"I didn't even feel sick," he said, describing the day he almost lost his life to pneumonia.

His resilience is evident when he recalls an early memory of his stay in the ICU, when he told the doctor he couldn't wait to get out of hospital and re-book the trip to Israel he and his wife had planned for Sept. 3.

"Everyone was great," he said of his lengthy stay at Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital. "Even the food was good – once I was back on solid food."

Sheldon's wife, a nurse, was particularly grateful to Dr. Carol Redstone for keeping her well-informed.

To meet Sheldon today, it is difficult to believe he was unable to walk or write his name due to muscle atrophy during the time he spent in a coma.

Sheldon describes being nervous about going home, but found comfort when his social worker told him he wouldn't be sent home until he was ready.

With the support of the Mackenzie Health team, Sheldon was discharged to an inpatient bed at St. John's Rehab a week later, on Nov. 8, 2016.

Knowing he was close to being able to go home seems to have motivated Sheldon in his rehabilitative process.

"By the time I got to St. John's Rehab, I didn't need the help."

He was already walking with a cane and could handle the 14 steps at his home.

Today, Sheldon is eager to return to work in a few weeks.

"I'm not cut out to be at home. I need to be busy," Sheldon said, with a glimmer in his eye.