Like Family

Pat FlaxmanPat Flaxman has always loved adventure and never shied away from trying new things. Throughout her life, she spent her free time riding horses, swimming, golfing and skiing, loving the thrill of staying active with sports. When she moved from Etobicoke to Caledon with her husband and two children in 1975, she discovered a stable nearby and soon after was riding horses several times per week. For 85 years, Pat zipped down steep snowy hills on skis, fell off horses, and walked and swam for miles with nothing so much as a scratch here or a bruise there. Then in April 2022, Pat went to get up off the love seat in her living room when her leg buckled and she came crashing down, breaking her left hip.

Amazingly, Pat felt no pain but knew something was wrong. She called 911 and was transported by EMS from her home in Port Credit to Mississauga Hospital, where she received surgery to repair her hip within 24 hours. Her orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Harith Abbas, assured Pat she’d be walking the very next day and he was right.

“I’d never been in a hospital before,” she says. “But I had a very pleasant experience and hated to leave; even the food wasn’t that bad,” she adds with a laugh. Pat got to know many of the nurses and physiotherapists on the floor, describing them all as terrific and fun to be around. The supportive environment helped keep her motivated during recovery, ensuring she was regularly walking around the fifth floor and keeping up with her rehabilitation exercises.

When it was time to be discharged four weeks later, Pat found herself feeling a little sad. “I thought, ‘I have to go home to my apartment all by myself now?’ It was like having a family, really.”

Once home, a physiotherapist came to her house once a week for eight weeks. After that, she attended classes at the Clarkson Community Centre’s therapeutic pool on the advice of Dr. Abbas. Just 12 weeks later, she went to a follow-up appointment with Dr. Abbas where he was astounded to see she had completely healed. “He said, ‘I’m so proud of you!’ but I didn’t do anything to be proud of, I just followed the rules.”

Today, Pat walks with a cane as a precaution, which she’s more than happy to do. “I’ve reached the stage where I’ve accepted I’m an older lady now,” she says, amused. Pat remains active by walking and swimming and while she’s still a devoted sports fan, these days she keeps the more intense physical activities to the professionals, cheering on her favourite teams from the comfort of her couch.

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