Canning’s Cove woman thankful for community after fighting near-fatal infection

Published on March 20, 2017

Ang Chatman.

©Contributed photo

Angela (Ang) Chatman of Canning’s Cove had no idea a tiny blister on her foot would result in the amputation of four toes.

“I went septic. (There) was days I didn’t know anybody,” an emotional Chatman said.

Chatman was hospitalized on Dec. 10, 2016 for a serious infection.

She spent 11 weeks in hospital (in both St. John’s and Clarenville) fighting to recover. Her treatment included 14 blood transfusions. On two occasions, she said, doctors didn’t think she was going to live.

Ang has been helping people for years. If somebody needs help, she’s the first person to step up. So, we really wanted to do something for her. Lorie Parsons

Chatman’s road to recovery is far from over. She continues to travel to the hospital in Clarenville every day for treatment to fight the infection (a skin graft from her leg to her toes was unsuccessful).

Added to her physical suffering is emotional turmoil and financial stress. However, rather than dwell on what she’s going through, Chatman focuses on the positives in her life. She’s grateful to the surgeon who — rather than amputate her leg — gave her body some time fight the infection.

“They thought first they were going to have to take my leg below the knee. But, when the surgeon in St. John’s saw me, he said he would leave it for three days to see if the antibiotics would start working.”

After those three days, she said, her infection showed signs of improvement.

Chatman said she is grateful to family and friends for being there not only for her, but also for her husband, Wade, during her lengthy hospital stays.

Chatman’s grandchildren — eight-year-old Evan Terry and four-year-old Gracie Terry. Chatman said it helped to have the children visit her in hospital on Christmas Eve.
Contributed photo

“All the while I was in hospital, Wade had every supper brought to him … If he was gone (out), someone would have it left in the front entrance.”

Chatman is well known in the community. She worked, for 24 years, as co-ordinator with the Port Blandford-Winterbrook Development Association. She then took on the role of constituency assistant to former provincial MHAs Paul Oram and Sandy Collins.

A potluck supper will take place on March 25 at 5 p.m. at the Canning’s Cove Community Centre to help raise money for Chatman. There will be ticket draws on prizes including 50,000 Aeroplan miles (donated by Paul and Karen Oram) as well as items offered by other businesses.

Chatman’s sister-in-law Lorie Parsons is one of the family members organizing the fundraiser. Friends have also come onboard, she said.

“Ang has been helping people for years. If somebody needs help, she’s the first person to step up. So, we really wanted to do something for her,” Parsons said.

Chatman said there are no words to describe how she felt when she heard people wanted to host a fundraiser on her behalf.

“I didn’t know anything about (the fundraiser) at first. When they told me, I cried.”

In sharing information about the fundraiser on her Facebook page, Chatman’s niece Krista Li — who grew up in Canning’s Cove — described her aunt as “a doer.”

“Ang does, and does, and does, and does. She is the one who dresses up for Halloween and drags everyone into the house so she can shove them full of cookies and treats. She worked like a dog for our little community and so many other communities in our area when she worked for the provincial government. Everyone around the bay knows Ang. And if you don't know her, trust me when I tell you, it would only take you half-a-minute and you'd be friends for life. She's a magnet for people,” Li wrote.

Chatman was hesitant when contacted about doing an interview with The Packet. Not one for the spotlight, she agreed a story would give her an opportunity to thank the community for their support over the past few months.

“I’m a long ways from back to normal yet. I’m still very weak. But I’m overwhelmed by the kindness everyone has shown. I’m blessed with a lot of friends. I’m very thankful for that.”

Monetary donations can be made via e-transfer to Cheques, money orders or bank drafts payable to Angela Chatman, can be mailed to Lorie Parsons, PO Box 85, Bloomfield, NL A0C 1A0.