An Ottawa woman’s remarkable recovery has begun with a few steps at the Ottawa Hospital Rehabilitation Centre. Christine Caron was walking on artificial legs today; barely two months after an infection from a dog bite ravaged her body and cost her 3 of her limbs.
At 49, Christine Caron must now re-learn everything she once took for granted: how to stand, how to walk. With only one hand, even feeding herself is a challenge. But she has embraced her new life with incredible dignity, thankful to be alive.
“I want to walk,” says Christine Caron, as she takes a break during a physiotherapy session, “I want to live, I want to dance if possible, I think I will.”
Caron’s life changed May 18th. She was playing tug of war two of her four dogs when one of them accidentally nipped her.
“Later on the other dogs licked me, including the dog that nipped me. It was a little nick, just broke the skin. I didn’t think anything of it.”
A dog’s saliva can contain bacteria called Capnocytophaga canimorsus that rarely affects humans. In this case, though, it raged through Caron’s bloodstream. Within just days, the single mother of four was in a medically-induced coma and woke up a month and a half later to this news.
“They said they thought they’d have to amputate all four of my limbs,” recalls Caron.
They managed to save her right arm but her left arm, and two legs were gone.
“It seemed to me when the disease stopped eating her up,” says Monique Bondar, Caron’s mother, “and she started healing, the healing just went crazy.”
Even her physiotherapist is impressed.
“She’s an inspiration,” says Alison Davis, a physiotherapist with the Rehab Centre, “having a tragedy like that happens to you. I think a lot of us wonder how we’d be in that situation and she’s really someone who is inspiring
Her kids take turns feeding her at the Rehabilitation Centre. The War Amps of Canada has stepped in to help.
“Artificial limbs are where war amps can help,” says Karen Valley, with War Amps and an amputee herself, “but she is going to have other things like modifying her house just to do daily tasks.”
Friends are trying to raise $100-thousand to help with those costs at under the heading “Caring for Chris”. So far, they’ve pulled in more than $68-thousand dollars. Christine can’t believe it.
“We’re overwhelmed with people’s generosity. It’s going to make a huge difference in my home and getting the proper prosthetics and a chair.”