Rossland’s Patrice Gordon is finally home from over two months of training

Media craze follows Rossland nurse home from Africa

There wasn’t much fanfare when Patrice Gordon boarded a plane for Africa last month

Sheri Regnier

 

West Kootenay Advertiser

 

With files from Liz Bevan

There wasn’t much fanfare when Patrice Gordon boarded a plane for Africa last month – but there sure was a national hullabaloo when she returned home.

That’s because for four weeks, the Rossland native had worked the front lines of the deadly Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa.

Upon her return to Canada, the nurse practitioner developed flu-like symptoms, with fever and achy muscles, while she was staying in Kelowna over the holidays.

Gordon’s subsequent admission to the Kelowna General Hospital sparked a media frenzy across the country, forever linking her name to the contagious disease.

“I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I was shielded by a lot of it by a media person for the Red Cross. She was fabulous, and told me I didn’t have to talk to anyone, but I wanted to talk to people.”

The story has since quietened and has a happy ending, because after being tested for Ebola three times over 21 days, all tests were negative and she is back in the comfort of her Chilcotin home.

And even though she is a long way from Sierra Leone, her mind remains with those at the treatment centre.

“I am all the way over here in Canada, but I feel so close to those people and feel their pain,” she told Trail Times reporter Liz Bevan, on Jan. 19.

The message she wants to get to the media is how relatable the victims of Ebola are to Canadians at home.

“I wanted to be able to put some faces on the story instead of talking about a virus on the other side of the planet,” she said. “I want people to understand that these are happy little children being stricken. There is the 22-year-old university student or the 18-year old who is working with his father fixing shoes – they are dying.”

Just before speaking with Bevan, Gordon had received news that the disease had also killed one of the health care providers she had worked with in Kenema district of Sierra Leone.

“He was the first Red Cross person that has been affected since the mission started in April 2014,” she explained. “I am just stunned. It is like one big family there. I am just waiting to hear more and send my deep sadness and love over to them. He committed the last four months of his life to working six days a week looking after his fellow countrymen and now he has died.”

There is still suffering going on in the Ebola-stricken country, but for Gordon, it is time to heal herself after the emotional roller coast of the last few months.

“I know that I haven’t processed it year,” she said. “But, I came home to my partner and two furry, warm puppies that are happy to see me and that has been the greatest therapy a person can have.”

 

According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, about 22,000 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have been infected with Ebola, leading to more than 8,600 deaths.

 

 

Just Posted

Senior curling provincials setting up for exciting finish

Standings tight as Senior curling teams push for provincial playoffs

Rescued snowmobilers ill-prepared for emergency, Castlegar RCMP say

Two men rescued Wednesday night were not ready for overnight in back country

Police share more details on occupants and suspicious van in Fruitvale

Vehicle in question offered young girl a ride to school on Feb. 19

B.C. Interior free from measles

Vancouver measles outbreak hasn’t spread to the B.C. Interior

Parity prevails at BC Senior Curling championship

Teams go toe-to-toe in second Draw at the BC Senior Curling Championship

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

Galchenyuk scores in OT as Coyotes edge Canucks 3-2

Vancouver manages single point as NHL playoff chase continues

B.C. legislature moving suspended staff controversy to outside review

Whale watching, Seattle Mariners trips billed as emergency preparedness, Speaker Darryl Plecas says

More people signing up for compulsory vaccines

Maple Ridge mom says public tired of hearing about measles

UPDATE: Man charged in stabbing of woman, off-duty cop outside B.C. elementary school

Manoj George, 49, is facing two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of assault with a weapon after the incident on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

HBC shuttering Home Outfitters across Canada

North America’s oldest retailer is revamping its various stores to improve profitability

BC SPCA investigates Okanagan woman with prior animal abuse convictions

BC SPCA is investigating a property near Vernon

Most Read