Recovering from surgery together

Interview with Gaston Morin and Rita Pelletier

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Gaston Morin and Rita Pelletier celebrated 50 years of marriage on October 6. This kind of milestone usually calls for a party with family and friends. But instead of being by their side, one of their sons published the following on social media: “a very heartfelt thank you to the Montreal Heart Institute for having repaired [his parents’ hearts] so that they can continue to beat for one another for years to come.” 

Fifteen years after receiving a mechanical mitral valve, Ms. Pelletier underwent three bypasses at the Institute. A few months later, Mr. Morin was also admitted to the Institute for a procedure to replace his aortic valve with a biological valve implant. 

Their recovery called for lots of rest. The festivities for their golden wedding anniversary would therefore have to wait. 

“We didn’t think we’d be celebrating this way, but we’re happy to wake up every morning and still be together.” 

A rare opportunity to recover as a couple 

“Every person who has undergone surgery at the Montreal Heart Institute should be so lucky to recover with their life partner. It’s a blessing to have this incredible opportunity even if, like us, both spouses have problems at the same time.” — Gaston Morin 

Obviously, Gaston and Rita would have preferred to be in good health. But they are both aware that they are fortunate to have each other. Others aren’t so lucky when faced with hardships. 

“By going through this together, we knew we could count on each other. We always had someone to talk to about the surgery, about our worries. There’s always a fear that something will happen, whether it’s the pain, what comes after, etc.” – Gaston Morin 

Even after their respective procedures, the fact that they went through a similar experience has helped make the day-to-day routine of dealing with illness easier. 

“We carefully plan our medical follow-ups to ensure they don’t fall on the same day. That way, one of us can always go with the other to appointments.” — Rita Pelletier 

“We’re very careful to not forget anything. We remind each other to take our medications and to pay attention to things like dietary restrictions and recovery goals to be sure to get back to normal living.” — Gaston Morin 

A love that will burn bright for many more years 

Mirroring their son’s online post, we too wish them a speedy recovery and we hope they maintain their beautiful partnership which has been a source of strength for them both. 

“Life goes on but having someone by your side is obviously reassuring. Not everyone is so fortunate, and we take care of each other.” — Rita Pelletier 

“I’m someone who is quite anxious and I wonder how I would have overcome [this challenge]. I don’t think I could have gotten through the past 6 months in such as positive way without her.” — Gaston Morin 

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