An elated, emotional and exhausted David Molnar says his wife Donna — rescued after being trapped in the snow for three days in a field in Ancaster, Ont. — is improving in a Hamilton hospital.
"I've told people that I think God reached down and cradled her, till they could find her," Molnar said in an interview on CBC Morning. "There's not many other logical explanations for that."
Molnar, who has been with his 55-year-old wife since high school, said he has been by her side in the hospital, and has whispered in her ear, even though she can't respond.
The first thing he told her when he saw her following the rescue is, "'Welcome back, I love you.'"
The condition of Donna Molnar, who suffered from hypothermia, has improved from critical to serious, her husband said, and she is slowly being weaned from heavy sedatives.
"[Doctors] had some concerns about organs and damage and things,' said Molnar. "She's still sedated, but they say pretty soon they're going to take her off her sedatives and we're looking forward to that."
Molnar said it is encouraging that her body temperature has returned to normal, though doctors warn she has a long way to go before she is out of danger.
For 72 hours, the mother from the southern Ontario community of Ancaster was in the snow unable to move, slowly freezing.
She had left home on Friday afternoon to pick up some baking supplies, just as a snowstorm was hitting the region.
When she didn't return home by suppertime, her husband called police.
'We learned the meaning of despair'
Molnar said he wasn't too concerned at first, but as time went on, he and his 20-year-old son Matthew became more and more anxious.
"We learned the meaning of despair," he said.
An officer on patrol spotted Donna's SUV at Lindley's Farm and Market on Fiddler's Green Road and called it in, more than 24 hours after she left home.
Hamilton police began a search, but what the search teams didn't know was that Donna was just a few hundred metres away, buried under 60 centimetres of snow and unable to help herself. The nighttime temperatures dropped to around —15 C.
Then on Monday afternoon, a volunteer and his inexperienced search dog, Ace, found Donna.
It's not clear how she came to be in the field covered in snow. But police say a possible explanation is she became disoriented in an area known for whiteout conditions.
David Molnar said both he and his son are having trouble coping with the events of the past five days.
"He's suffering, you know, emotionally — as am I."
Family spending holiday in hospital
But, in spite of the emotional roller-coaster they've been riding, Molnar said he's thankful things turned out the way they did.
"We're eternally grateful to the police. They did a wonderful job. And for us it is a great Christmas present. We have to be happy about what we've got so far."
The Molnar family will spend Christmas Eve at the hospital, in Donna's room.
As for Christmas Day, David Molnar said, "it's not going to be ideal," but it will be "better than we thought it was going to be a day or two ago."
With a broad smile and tears in his eyes, he said, "We're going to try to have as normal a Christmas as is possible, under the circumstances."