As Dr. Donald Chow lay on a hospital bed clinging to life, he was paged for his own surgery.
His face, covered in blood, wasn’t recognizable to his colleagues at the Civic hospital’s trauma unit.
“I guess when I got to the hospital, I must’ve looked like a Sens fan, with my face all painted red,” joked Chow, the Senators team doctor.
One of Canada’s top orthopedic surgeons, Chow spoke at the Ottawa Hospital Foundation’s Hope and Heroes event at the Westin hotel on Tuesday that drew a crowd of 550.
The night raised more than $45,000 for the hospital’s rehabilitation centre.
Chow talked about his recovery from a devastating motorcycle accident in August 2010 on Fisher Ave. that sent him to the Civic.
He was on his way there to perform surgery, filling in for a colleague who had asked for the shift off to watch his child play soccer.
“From that day, I went from being an orthopedic spinal surgeon, trauma surgeon, to being a trauma patient,” said Chow.
He had more injuries than his fingers could count.
Along with head trauma and a dislocated right hand, “I had (a) badly bruised heart and lung on the left side with approximately 10 broken ribs, I believe, on the left side, and five broken ribs on the right side,” said Chow.
There’s more: A collarbone fracture, separated shoulder, and bruised leg and hip, all on the left side of his body.
Initially, he lost his memory.
“But it did come back after a couple of weeks that I could start to remember again,” he said.
Chow hasn’t fully returned to work.
Chow’s wife, Angela, is “extremely happy” with the acute and rehabilitative care her husband has received.
“We’re very fortunate to have those facilities in the community. You know, it’s been that, and prayer, have gotten us through,” she said.
His son, Andrei, 28, vividly recalls the day of the crash.
“It just so happened that en route to the hospital was the scene of the accident,” he said.
“I was stopped by police, and I said ‘I’m the son.’ And I sort of just fell to my knees seeing the pool of blood, and I just asked, ‘is he alive?’ and they said ‘yes, he’s alive, but it’s rough.’ And then I met my family at the hospital, and the rest is history.”
Chow bought his first motorbike when he was 15 and rode to relieve stress.
“I’ll probably get back on, more than anything else, to see if my balance is still there. But whether I ride or not will depend on whether or not I enjoy it and I’m not nervous,” he said.