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Clean bill of health for Councillor Eddie Rice

Charlottetown councillor Eddie Rice.  ©THE GUARDIAN
Charlottetown councillor Eddie Rice. ©THE GUARDIAN - Dave Stewart

Charlottetown politician returning to council duties following leave of absence

Eddie Rice is returning to his duties as a Charlottetown councillor after suffering what he says was a serious head injury a couple of months ago.

Rice said Friday he spent a considerable amount of time at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, especially in the hospital’s rehabilitation unit, recovering from what Rice said was a subdural hematoma.

“I had a brain bleed. I tipped backwards and smashed my head. I didn’t know what was happening until it happened. I am lucky, (and) the recovery has been miraculous.’’

Coun. Eddie Rice

Rice said he required both physiotherapy and occupational therapy.

The injury happened after Rice took a medical leave of absence from council on Sept. 22 to deal with family and personal issues. His leave of absence came one week after Holland College issued a statement saying Rice was involved in an altercation in July with an employee at the school that resulted in a stay-away order.

Rice didn’t want to comment on any of that, preferring to focus only on his recovery from the head injury and his return to council.

Deputy Mayor Mike Duffy, vice-chairman of the Water and Sewer Utility committee, stepped in to fill Rice’s shoes as chairman in the interim. Mayor Clifford Lee said Rice isn't officially back until the city receives a doctor's note stating he's clear for duty but Rice said that is currently being taken care of.

Rice acknowledged his recovery was quick and gave all the credit to doctors and nurses at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s rehabilitation unit.

“The rehab unit has been absolutely fabulous. I’m beyond pleased. I mean, they are your touchstone to reality and getting yourself back (on track). Everything they advise, as odd as it might seem at the time, is to take you back (to being normal), and if you follow the advice, you can end up 100 per cent. If anything, I’m better.’’

Rice said that after the head injury happened, he was delirious. He didn’t recognize family, friends or fellow councillors.

“I didn’t know (anyone). The family was told I might need to go into a home. I didn’t know the difference. I didn’t even know my own family. I was out of everything.’’

Rice wants to thank everyone from family, friends and City Hall staff who reached out to him when he was in hospital.

“There has been a great deal of (outpouring). I mean, all the city council staff, all the City Hall staff have made contact. I’ve had 190 get-well cards, and it’s been great.’’

Rice said he’s returning to his duties just in time to take part in the 2018 budget process, and things are looking good in his own department.

Rice said the city is currently extracting water from the Winter River-Tracadie Bay Watershed equal to what it was drawing in 2000, an impressive number considering the growth the city has experienced over the past 17 years.

The Ward 1 councillor said people have more than bought into the city’s water conservation efforts and the metering system.

“The news is really good. We’re able to produce what we said we would, and that’s what I feel really good about. We’ve been able to look after the water and sewer and have everything for another generation.’’

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