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Elder grateful to still be alive

Yose Cormier
Northern News Services

Tuktoyaktuk (Nov 14/05) - When Eddie Kikoak flew to Tuktoyaktuk for a relative's funeral last month, he was not expecting to get that close to death.

During his stay, the Gjoa Haven elder's ulcers started bleeding.

NNSL Photo/graphic

Eddie Kikoak of Gjoa Haven was hospitalized after his ulcers started bleeding while he was in Tuktoyaktuk for a funeral. - Yose Cormier/NNSL photo

"I almost died," he said from the medicine ward at Stanton Territorial Hospital last week, where he had his grandson Edward on hand to help him out.

Kikoak was medevaced from Tuk to Inuvik, then on to Yellowknife on Nov. 3. During the flight and his stay in hospital, he was given seven pints of blood.

He left Tuktoyaktuk at 11 p.m. and didn't arrive in Yellowknife until 6 a.m., he said.

"They couldn't stop the bleeding," he said. "It's a good thing I had my blood card with me. When I arrived in Inuvik, they had blood waiting for me."

"The emergency crew at Inuvik hospital couldn't find any veins to give me blood for a long time. They saved my life."

Kikoak, who flew back to Gjoa Haven over the weekend, said his grandson, Kiefer Steve Kikoak, 13, who was with him in Tuktoyaktuk, was very helpful.

"He was so brave being with me," said Kikoak, who has about 25 great-grandchildren, 15 grandchildren, six daughters and two sons spread out across the North. Kikoak was driven to the Tuk airport thanks to some help from the mayor, Marven Jacobson.

"He provided a truck to transport me to the airport," he said.

Kikoak, who lost his wife of 48 years to cancer in August, is grateful to be alive.

He credits a number of people, in Tuktoyaktuk, Inuvik, Yellowknife and Gjoa Haven.

In Tuk, the four nurses, among them Larry, John and Lee, were very helpful, he said.

He also thanked Calvin and Lucille Pokiak, Charles Pokiak, Ida Thrasher and Pete and Melanie Kikoak and their children, along with Bogie and Katie Pokiak, Ernest and Anita Pokiak and Mabel Lindstrom.

Over in Inuvik, he credits his nephew Leonard Kikoak, his niece Brenda Kikoak, his sister Elizabeth Kimiksana and his niece Levarna Kikoak for helping him

"I thank Helen Pepper for her friendship," he added.

In Yellowknife, he mentioned the emergency crew at Stanton Territorial Hospital, Dr. Ingfield, the ICU crew - Leslie, Pete Susan, Sue, Sheibi - and the nursing staff, including Bovina and Kevin in the medicine ward.

Kikoak had high praise for the medevac pilot and Christopher, the medevac nurse with Kenn Borek Air.