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

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

VIA Rail lays off 1,000 unionized workers across the country

Northern B.C. route Jasper to Prince George to Prince Rupert is not affected by VIA Rail layoffs

Sunflower Highway, art initiative to connect Fraser Valley, Thompson-Nicola and Okanagan

Sunflowers made out of reclaimed materials will be installed on public art trails

Residents warned to stay away from flooded Cache Creek park

Water might look shallow, but is several feet deep in places

Ashcroft receives grants to get new hot tub and lift station

‘The hot tub is a major benefit for many residents’

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

COVID-19 cases identified in Kelowna, after public gatherings

Those who were downtown or at the waterfront from June 25 to July 6 maybe have been exposed to COVID-19.

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Most Read