IT was hugs and handshakes all round yesterday morning when Ron Upton paid a visit to Orange hospital.
It was here for eight weeks that Mr Upton fought for his life with the help of, he says, some of the best people he has ever met in his life.
Yesterday he had the opportunity to personally thank the staff who had bought him back from the brink of death.
After being admitted to hospital with pneumonia, a clot in the lung and heart problems, the prognosis wasn’t good for the 83-year-old who, up until then, had enjoyed relatively good health.
“Things were looking so grim, I called the family members who came from all over Australia,” Mr Upton’s daughter Suzy Glasby said.
“It was time to say our goodbyes.”
Mr Upton doesn’t remember much of his first three weeks in intensive care before he was moved to medical ward B, where he continued to improve before another two weeks in rehabilitation.
“These people are absolutely unreal in what they do here,” he said.
“I just wanted to come back and thank them because they are an amazing group of people.”
Ms Glasby said the hospital virtually became her home for two months.
“Everyone from the doctors right down to the kitchen staff ... there was just this wonderful feeling that they wanted to do their best for him,” she said.
“They deserve a huge pat on the back.”
Dr Peter Simmons, who helped with Mr Upton’s rehabilitation said his patient was determined to improve.
“He is a very independent man who just fought hard to get his independence back,” he said.
After yesterday’s reunion, Mr Upton headed out on to the bowling green for his first game since he became ill.
Mr Upton has returned to living independently in the community.