"It could happen to anyone."

Jan 12, 2021 | Patient Stories

Khalid and Asmaa Eldali

At 29 years old, Khalid Eldali almost died from COVID-19.

“His doctor called me one night, telling me to come in and spend some time with my husband – because they didn’t think he’d make it through the night,” says Asmaa Addi, his wife. She spent the entire night holding his hand by his side, doing something no wife ever wants to do: say goodbye to her husband.

Back in October, Asmaa and Khalid never thought they’d be facing this – they’d spent the entire pandemic being as safe as possible: masking, distancing, washing their hands, and staying within their own household.

“My husband really wasn’t feeling well,” begins Asmaa Addi, “He couldn’t breathe. When I suggested he call an ambulance to go to the hospital and he said yes, I knew right then that he wasn’t okay.”

A few days before, after a visit to the COVID-19 Care and Testing Centre on Moodie, Khalid Eldali tested positive for COVID-19.

That November ambulance call resulted in him being brought into our ICU for care. “He was put on a ventilator almost immediately and placed on life supportive measures,” says Dr. Akshai Iyengar, Chief of ICU. His kidneys, liver and lungs were in such bad shape, the care team did everything they could to keep him alive. “There were many days when there was a lot of uncertainty.”

“I don’t remember much. I remember being brought into the ambulance, then nothing. Until I woke up and saw Asmaa,” says Khalid.

Khalid was in our ICU for over two months. For most of his stay, the ICU team wasn’t sure if he would make it. That’s when Asmaa got the call.

But the next day, something happened. “He squeezed my hands, and he opened his eyes. I will never forget that moment. Ever.”

The ICU team calls Khalid their Christmas miracle. After a month on a ventilator, dialysis, a tracheotomy, and many days of ups and downs, Khalid got better. “The team here is amazing,” says Khalid. “I know every single one of them by name – and I should: they all saved my life. I cannot thank them enough.”

“There were so many medical professionals involved in Khalid’s care,” says Dr. Iyengar. Between all of the ICU physicians and the many physician consultants, the large number of allied health providers: Nurses, Respiratory Therapists, Registered Dieticians, Physiotherapy, Speech-Language Pathology, and Social Work, to the Ward Aides, Khalid’s care team was huge. “These folks put their heart and soul into caring for our patients – and each and every one of them are so, so appreciated for what they do for our patients.”

For Khalid, the hardest thing about his experience has been not being able to see his six month old daughter for over two months. “The first thing I’m going to do when I get home is hug my daughter for as long as possible.”

COVID is very real for Khalid and Asmaa. They’re urging everyone to be as cautious as possible.

“COVID isn’t a joke – it’s real, and it can happen to anyone. I got it at 29 and almost died from it. How do older people deal with it, if I got that sick?” Khalid says. “Everyone should take it seriously.”