Grand send-off: Nova Scotia man goes home after winning 101-day battle with COVID-19
KENTVILLE, N.S. -- Doctors, nurses and hospital staff lined the hallway of the Valley Regional Hospital in Kentville, N.S., on Tuesday morning. It wasn't your typical discharge, but Al Poirier isn't your typical patient.
Poirier was released 101 days after being taken by ambulance to the hospital.
"I was one of the lucky ones," said Poirier.
Al Poirier and his wife Deborah Poirier both tested positive for COVID-19 after returning from a cruise earlier this year.
While Deborah recovered from the virus at home, Al spent nearly seven weeks in a coma.
"It was really, it was the hardest time of my life," said Deborah Poirier. "I was quarantined for 14 days when we got back and then we tested positive and I had to go in for another 14 days and he's in the hospital and they didn't think he was going to live."
Doctors, too, were concerned about his outcome.
"He was very severe," said Dr. Marion Cornish. "He was on a ventilator for almost seven weeks. He required tracheostomy quite early on and a very high level of care for many, many weeks. So he's probably the most severe of what we call, respiratory illness that we've seen here for sure."
While Al was leaving the hospital, family and friends were waiting to surprise him.
Community members stood outside their own homes, along the road with signs, hoping to catch a glimpse.
"It's a very big day. I haven't seen him since Dec. 31, when I dropped him off at the airport, so it's gonna be exciting," said Jenifer Poirier, Al and Deborah's daughter.
He has lost 27 pounds since his family and friends last saw him. It's been a long and difficult few months, but the Poiriers are grateful for Al's recovery.
"It was a huge roller-coaster because there was one point where he didn't have any hope. The doctors didn't have any hope for him, so it's unbelievable that he has made his way home to us," said Jenifer Poirier.
"We're blessed," added Deborah Poirier. "We had hundreds of people praying for him and we're just very blessed."
"What Deb and everybody set up for me is just amazing and, the nurses at the hospital and all the doctors, they were lined up right from hall to hall. I couldn't believe it," said Al Poirier.
Now that Al's back at home, the couple is already looking forward to the future.
"I'm planning our next trip. When everything calms down, you know. We're going," said Deborah Poirier.