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Thanks to your support, Tiffany is walking again!

September 21, 2018

Tiffany Langendoen will always be grateful to the staff at Niagara Health for the extraordinary and compassionate care that she received this past spring.
 
The Fenwick resident and mother of five fractured her back when she fell off her horse during a routine training ride.
 
Tiffany remembers the accident vividly. It was April 17, the week of an uncharacteristic ice storm in Niagara. Harlow, a young horse, was getting spooked by ice falling off the barn’s roof. At one point, Harlow bucked and Tiffany took a hard fall.
 
The 38 year old has been riding for sport for five years and says that falling is not uncommon. This fall felt different; her instincts told her that something was not quite right.
 
Her coach ran over to help and looked very worried. Although she was able to get up on her own, she noticed that her wrist was starting to swell and she had difficulty sitting. Like most people do, no matter what their age, Tiffany called her Mom and asked that she come over as soon as possible.
 
Shortly after her Mom arrived they decided to take Tiffany to the Emergency Department at Niagara Health’s Welland Site. The ER was bustling with activity, treating patients who also had accidents as a result of the storm.
 
While she waited, Tiffany remembers hospital staff trying their best to keep a positive environment. “You could tell that everyone loved what they were doing. The nurses and doctors were so busy but they kept smiling and even cracked a few jokes to help keep the mood light,” recalls Tiffany.
 
When Dr. Farrag Ahmed, an Emergency Physician at the Welland Site, examined her he did not suspect she had broken her back but sent her for X-rays to be sure. Her back was burning and she still could not sit for very long without being in pain. He wanted to get to the bottom of her discomfort.
 
As soon as Dr. Ahmed received the results he looked very concerned recalls Tiffany. “I remember Dr. Ahmed telling me to lay down right away and I started getting nervous that something might be seriously wrong.”
 
The X-rays indicated that Tiffany had fractured her wrist and that she might have seriously injured her back. A CT scan was ordered for more information which later showed a low lumbar compression fracture – a type of fracture that made sense for the hard fall Tiffany experienced.
 
Tiffany was kept overnight in emergency as she would need a MRI the next morning for an even more detailed look at the fracture in her spine.
 
Her Mom left to get some rest and she called home to check in with her husband and five kids who range in age from two to 16. Her 10 year old son was the most upset but Tiffany stayed positive and her oldest daughter helped comfort him.
 
Alone in the hospital, Tiffany’s mind started spinning. “I remember thinking: What if my injury is really serious? How am I going to be able to take care of my family?” recalls Tiffany.
 
Tiffany credits the nursing staff for constantly checking in on her. “Everyone was so positive. They treated me seriously but with such compassion, which really helped ease my mind when my worries started getting the best of me,” says Tiffany. “There was also a porter who was extremely kind and reassuring. He brought me to my scans and even spent his break with me to keep me company.”
 
The next morning Tiffany was transferred to Niagara Health’s Greater Niagara General Site in Niagara Falls for the MRI. She was impressed with how seamless the process was from site to site and was thankful that staff across Niagara Health sites were working together to provide her with the best care possible.
 
She was brought back to the Welland hospital and after the MRI results came in, Dr. Ahmed had good news. “I remember he took my hand and told me it was going to be okay,” recalls Tiffany. “The MRI showed no other injuries.”
 
In Tiffany’s case, she would only require a back brace and a few special instructions: no lifting more than five pounds and a lot of bed rest. This was welcome news to Tiffany who thought her care journey might have looked very different.
 
Thanks to a support of a mini village of family, friends and employees at Willowbrook Nurseries, where she works and lives, she was able to get that rest, sneaking in cuddles from her kids wherever she could.
 
“My youngest daughter, who was under two at the time, would get extremely upset when she saw the brace, so I covered it up with a t-shirt for the two months I had to wear it. This was one of the worst parts looking back,” laughs Tiffany.
 
Tiffany’s road to recovery was long but she slowly built up her strength. She started walking, then cycling, jogging and finally starting riding Harlow and her two other horses in August.
 
Looking back on her short time in the hospital, Tiffany has developed a great appreciation for the staff.
 
“I had full confidence in Dr. Ahmed, my nurses and everyone who cared for me,” says Tiffany. “I will always be grateful for their expert care and positive attitude.”
 
Thanks to the generous support of donors, patients like Tiffany are able to receive the timely and expert care needed to get back to their good health – and to their loved ones.
 
Donations help fund cutting-edge equipment and technology and give caring doctors like Dr. Ahmed the right tools to quickly diagnose and treat patients.
 
Last year, a number of upgrades to Medical Imaging departments across Niagara Health sites were made possible because of donor dollars. The Welland Site saw its X-ray department upgraded to digital technology and received new ultrasound equipment, ensuring that the best diagnostic tools are in place for patients when they need it.
 
The need for Medical Imaging upgrades continues with a second MRI required at the St. Catharines Site to keep up with increasing demands. With your loyal support we can ensure our care teams are able to provide extraordinary care to every person, every time well into the future.

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