For what was a regular medical phone consult, Elwyn Cumner could have never predicted he would be fighting for his life in a Coma at Sunshine Coast University Private Hospital for 11 days.
Lorraine, his 74-year-old wife, took him to the cardiologist and was required to have an angiogram to assess his concerns over being short of breath.
“It was advised Elwyn would need urgent open-heart surgery on April 14. Elwyn’s heart began bleeding just 12 hours after the procedure and was rushed into theatre,” Ms Cumner said.
“Everything that could go wrong did. Elwyn was placed into an induced coma for 11 days. His lungs and kidneys were failing. It was chilling to comprehend how quick your loved one can be taken from you.”
Lorraine frantically surfed the net to book a unit within walking distance to SCUPH. It was a volunteer at Gympie Coffee House who told Lorraine’s daughter about Wishlist.
“The lovely volunteer at the Coffee House teed me up with Wishlist House. Wishlist House was exactly what I was looking for – I didn’t have to hop in the car to visit Elwyn and the ladies in the house were so welcoming,” she said.
“Even though I didn’t spend much time at Wishlist House it was my safe haven. I always made sure I walked back to the house just before dark. I also met other guests who were going through a similar situation which made me feel like I wasn’t alone.
“At my age, there was no way I could have driven from Gympie every day for three weeks to SCUPH.
“A few nights were pretty distressing when all I wanted to do was talk to Elwyn. I knew marching forward with strength was the only option for both of us.”
Wishlist CEO Lisa Rowe said the charity’s affordable ‘home away from home’ accommodation benefits hundreds of Gympie locals each year.
“74% of guests who stay at Reed House at Nambour Hospital, and Wishlist House near the Sunshine Coast University Hospital are from the Gympie region,” Ms Rowe said.
The increasing demand for accommodation has led the charity to embarking on its most ambitious project to date – Wishlist Centre – thanks largely to a $12 million grant from Federal Member for Fisher Andrew Wallace.
“Wishlist Centre will provide more affordable accommodation for patients receiving treatment at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital and provide a circle-of-care for patients, families and carers,” she said.
Site works have commenced this month with Stage One opening mid next year.
To make the Centre all it must be for patients of the hospital, their families and carers, and our hospital staff, Wishlist are actively fundraising for an additional $2 million by 2022.
Lorraine concedes “we finally got there” after staying at Wishlist House for a month and is now back home recovering – a step at a time towards normal life.
Help Wishlist for Wishlist Centre by donating a Virtual Brick and be remembered forever on an Honour Wall in the centre. Learn more at wishlistfundraising.org.au