January 17th, 2018 ~ Vol. 89 No. 3
Local family donates PCA pump to Crowsnest Pass Health Centre
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Anna Kroupina Photo
(Left to right) Becky Rinaldi, chairperson of the Crowsnest Pass Health Foundation, Liz Cook, acute care manager at the Crowsnest Pass Health Centre and Bonnie Castellarin, who spearheaded the donation of the pain pump, hold the small device on the day the hospital received it, Dec. 20.
Pass Herald Reporter
It was a Christmas gift that she held in her hand for only a few moments, but one that she fought five years to get and one that will make a difference in so many peoples’ lives in Crowsnest Pass.
Bonnie Castellarin’s father Jim Bain, a long time resident of the Crowsnest Pass, passed away on January 30, 2013 at the age of 83 at the Crowsnest Pass Health Centre.
“This month is the anniversary of my father’s death, and when he passed away from bone cancer he was in a lot of pain,” says Castellarin.
Seeing her father in a great deal of discomfort and pain in his last days inspired Castellarin to spearhead an initiative to privately donate a patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) pump, or pain pump, to the hospital.
Castellarin, her three siblings, and several other family members donated funds that went above and beyond the cost of a pain pump. One of the stipulations of the donation is that the pain pump be kept at the Crowsnest Pass Health Centre, always.
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“It was something that we felt passionate about because we saw how much relief it brought our father in his last hours once they were able to regulate things,” she says. “He wasn’t in the terrible pain that he was in prior to receiving medication through the pain pump. We didn’t want other families to have to watch a loved one in pain.”
At the time that her father was a patient, there was no pain pump at the Crowsnest Pass Health Centre. A courier from Lethbridge was scheduled to arrive in the Crowsnest Pass at 5:30 that afternoon to supply the much-needed pain pump.
“Without a pain pump, you can’t keep a person at a comfortable level as far as pain relief. Having to wait until 5:30 in the afternoon, you can imagine the pain that my father went through. My father received pain medication by injection, but you can only give so much every number of hours whereas with a pain pump, your level with the pain medication is constant. It provides more comfort for individual,” says Castellarin.
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It took five years for Alberta Health Services (AHS) to vet and approve a pain pump model they were satisfied with.
“We found out that the existing pain pumps were entering obsolescence, so AHS was going to be looking at new pain pumps throughout the province,” she says. “Over two or three years, they narrowed it down to three pumps. Then, over the next few years, they narrowed it down to one.”
For Castellarin, it was five years of phone calls, leaving voicemails and pushing for a decision to be made as soon as possible.
“At times, people didn’t like to hear that I was on the other end of the line because I never gave up. I made a lot of phone calls locally and within the Chinook Health Region,” she says. “It was all the paperwork and bureaucracy that took so long. Funding was no problem because on our end, the money was always there.”
Five years later, just days before Christmas in the middle of December 2017, Castellarin received a phone call from the Crowsnest Pass Health Centre informing her that the pain pump was on its way, and the hospital received it on December 20.
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“That call was the best Christmas present ever. And birthday present, too,” says Castellarin, whose birthday is on December 24.
A pain pump is a small electronic device that allows a family member, nurse or a patient themselves, to administer pain medication intravenously.
“It administers pain medication at a steady level so that a person’s pain level doesn’t get so high that it’s hard to manage,” says Bonnie. “Even if the computer is set up for so much medication within a certain span, if a patient's pain increases, you can give a breakthrough dose which cannot kill or overdose them.”
Bonnie Castellarin tears up when reminiscing about her late father, but remembering his selfless heart and quirky sense of humour also brings a smile to her face.
“I think it’s what our dad would have wanted. Anyone knowing our dad would know that he was a very selfless man. Both our parents would, if they could, help anybody,” she says. “We’re very pleased that the pump is finally here and that we know it’s being put to good use. I’m sure our dad’s smiling with his Toronto Maple Leafs hat on.”
January 17th, 2018 ~ Vol. 89 No. 3
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