VIDEO: B.C. dentist gets grand welcome home after two months in hospital fighting COVID-19

Pitt Meadows dentist Michael Chow shares an embrace with his wife, Dana, May 15 after months of fighting COVID-19 in hospital. (Special to The Maple Ridge News)

A 57-year-old Pitt Meadows dentist has a new lease on life after surviving a two-month battle with the novel coronavirus.

Dr. Michael Chow told Black Press Media that he’s lost 40 pounds, has swollen calves and ankles, and damaged vocal cords – “but I’m really happy to be here.”

Chow attended the Pacific Dental Conference the weekend of March 6, which was declared a site of outbreak that resulted in 87 people with COVID-19, provincial health officer Bonnie Henry reported June 4.

RELATED: March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Others who attended weren’t as fortunate.

Vancouver dentist Dr. Denis Vincent died from suspected coronavirus complications just weeks after attending.

“Everyone thinks COVID-19 is like the flu, that seniors are the only ones in danger. It’s just not true.”

“I was fit and healthy,” he said, making mention of his once-active lifestyle.

“And the coronavirus still hit me hard.”

A few days after the event, in early March, Chow fell ill.

When Chow’s condition significantly worsened, his younger brother – who works as a doctor at Surrey Memorial Hospital – took him to the hospital.

On March 19, his family was given the opportunity to say a few last words over FaceTime to Chow, before he was intubated.

“Doctors told them they couldn’t guarantee what was going to happen to me,” he explained. He needed to be put on a ventilator to get more oxygen delivered to his lungs.

Chow said that his next 19 days were spent in oblivion, heavily sedated, on a ventilator.

When he was finally well enough to be weaned off the machine, it took him time to return to reality.

“I wasn’t able to recognize my brother, I wasn’t able to speak,” Chow said, as told by his brother.

From there, the survivor underwent a slow journey of relearning how to walk, talk, and eat.

“There’s still some stuff to sort out,” Chow said following a Thursday afternoon visit to LifeLabs for blood tests.

READ MORE: Maple Ridge Hospital outbreaks declared over

Chow wiped happy tears from his eyes on May 15 when he was discharged from the Surrey Memorial Hospital COVID-19 unit.

Surrey Memorial staff and fellow patients surprised the survivor with a COVID-19 ward full of applause.

Chow rang the COVID-19 recovery bell and said “thank you everyone” to the staff, for helping him recover from the worst of the disease.

The 57-year-old dentist had to relearn how to walk, talk, and eat after battling the coronavirus after attending a dental conference in early March. (Special to The Maple Ridge News)

“I was happy to be alive and happy for everyone’s hard work that got me through… For every person I encountered: the physiotherapists, dietitians, doctors, speech language pathologists… all of them,” he said.

“They would see me try to exercise and cheer me on,” Chow said, recalling it took him a week to take more than just a few steps.

Now, Chow is recovering at home with his family in Port Coquitlam.

Neighbours even surprised him with a socially-distant “welcome” celebration, of signs and cheers, the moment he returned home.

The dentist said he now has to “focus on recovering” before he’s able to treat patients again at Meadows Family Dental.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Former Kelowna cop faces fourth lawsuit alleging sexual assault

Ex-Mountie Brian Mathew Burkett is also separately facing seven charges of breach of trust

QUIZ: A celebration of apples

September is the start of the apple harvest

Smoky skies clearing throughout B.C. Interior

Environment Canada expects “widespread” improvement for all affected areas by Sunday

Penticton wildfire crew goes from Christie Mountain to Cold Springs

The team at Eagle Ridge Consulting is helping fight fires across the border

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

Squabble over mask policy at LUSH in Kelowna mall

The woman filmed the encounter at LUSH Cosmetics, where wearing a mask in-store is company policy

Province opens ‘middle income’ housing in Kelowna

Prices on the units are $1300 for a one-bedroom and $1780 for a two-bedroom, nearing area-average prices

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Reward offered for return of Okanagan puppy

An 11-week-old boxer-mastiff cross pup was allegedly taken from its Kelowna Friday, Sept. 18

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Okanagan company backs Orange Shirt Day contest

Vernon-based Tolko Industries sponsors art contest open to kids from kindergarten to Grade 12

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Most Read