Recently, she went to her cardiologist to find that no patients or staff were masking.
“I really realize now I have to be my own advocate,” she says.
She has to constantly think ahead. So, she now calls beforehand to see if the appointment can be done remotely or if the staff can mask. She’s also decided to start carrying around a laminated sheet that explains her medical condition as it is often something she needs to repeat at each appointment or in the emergency room.
Like many others, she’s found ways to navigate her way around a harrowing array of risks. And yet, even with all these precautions, she can not control the actions of others which can directly affect her health.
Holly (Ed: not her real name), is retired and lives in a small community just outside Edmonton. She’s currently thinking about her next visit to her doctor, who hasn’t been taking precautions from the beginning.
“It’s exhausting always trying to get around how there is no protection for us anymore,” she says. “I’m thinking why am I made to feel crazy when my own doctor won’t wear a mask? Won’t acknowledge that it’s airborne?”
But the worst part, she claims, was that he minimized the effects of COVID, saying it was rarely an issue and only affects a certain demographic. Holly does not believe that is true, but regardless it is of little comfort when her husband, who’s in his 70s, has chronic health complications.
“I think patients are rightfully concerned, particularly when they go in for health care,” says physician Neeja Bakshi. “I think the medical community should be doing whatever we can to protect those who are coming in.”