Quesnel resident chronicles the last five years of his wife’s battle with chronic infection

Quesnel resident chronicles the last five years of his wife’s battle with chronic infection

Keith Hill is looking to a bright future for his family

The past five years have been difficult for the Hill family, but recently they seem to have turned an important corner.

Keith, a trucker by trade, his wife, Nadine, who hasn’t been able to work for the past five years or so and their two teenage sons have struggled as a family due to Nadine’s ongoing battle with a damaged knee and chronic infection.

However, the family members have carried on with their lives as best they could and nine of the past 11 years Keith and the boys have raised funds for Relay for Life and allowed their heads to be shaved.

Nadine was always in the background encouraging her boys and supporting them so, five years ago, when she had her first surgery to correct an old knee injury, which had rendered her unable to walk, all three of the men in her life stepped up to help her.

The family was now on a different trajectory. Nadine was determined to conquer her knee issues and have a better, more active life with her family. Replacement of the entire knee assembly was recommended and surgery took place Feb. 13, 2013.

“We were all optimistic the surgery had fixed the problem,” Keith says.

“However a month after surgery Nadine contracted a bacterial infection.”

She battled that infection for the next five years. In the first 10 months, she had five operations (three of which were complete knee replacements) trying to eradicate the infection.

Her family was by her side providing home care transportation to Kamloops (Keith had to take time off work) for the various operations and treatments, moral support, love and abiding optimism.

However, it was hard for Nadine who suffered chronic pain.

In 2018, she learned the infection had entered the bone in her thigh and her only option was amputation. The one bright spot was the hope they could leave enough bone to fit her with a prosthesis.

During these stressful times, Keith and the boys continued to have their head shaved for Relay for Life.

“It was more than just a worthy cause. I wanted to instill a sense of giving in my sons,” Keith says.

If they can, Mackenzie hopes to donate his hair for a wig and Keith would like to just do the shave one last time.

At times, it was a rough go for the family, but they feel blessed to have great neighbours and a supportive community.

After Nadine’s first operation in 2013, Colleen and Autry Coombs organized a benefit dance for the family and it was a huge success. Neighbours continued to help out with prepared meals, anonymous donors and any other way they could.

“We are so grateful for everything people have done to help us out. Their generosity is amazing.”

Nadine is at home recovering from the amputation and, hopefully, she can be fitted with a prosthesis and the family is happy she’s not battling the persistent infection. They’re all looking to a bright future.

“Nadine’s positivity is infectious and her strength and will are inspiring.

“The best moment of the last five years was the day after her amputation, when I entered her hospital room to find her smiling with a healthy glow – my girl’s back!”