This is my story. It is not being written to assign blame or kudos. It is simply one person’s experience in this war against an unseen enemy.
I was visiting relatives in Montreal when the Pandemic raised its ugly head in mid-March, 2020. I left Montreal and Quebec closed down the next day. I fled to Ottawa and Ontario closed down. The beast was evidently chasing me. I retreated to Toronto.
This worldwide war persists, with the enemy now using even more dangerous weapons in the form of virus variants. Meanwhile, our side is struggling with supply and logistics issues.
With health services being for the provinces and territories to deliver, a variety of strategies and tactics evolved across Canada. The Province of Ontario chose to reserve its medical services system exclusively for COVID-19 cases. The exact extent of the collateral damage caused by this strategy may never be known, but certainly huge.
Cancer patients were denied surgery, radiation treatment, and chemo. Countless other scheduled surgeries and treatments were postponed.
The eye-care clinic at which I was a patient cared not at all about a sudden partial loss of vision that I experienced in the early days of the Pandemic. I was told by the clinic staff that I could try visiting the prestigious Eye Institute at the Ottawa General Hospital if I so desired. I did. A nurse there conducted a thorough triage and then told me that my concern was not an emergency and that, even if it was, they could do nothing about it!
It would be well over a year and a half before I would get to see an Ophthalmologist. My vision was, and is, important to me. However, in the bigger picture, it understandably ranked very far below the life-threating absence of service for cancer patients and others who had been put at risk.
The Pandemic has provided, and continues to provide, an abundance of topics for review and study by experts and analysts in many sectors, political official inquiries and debates, Business School case studies, and so much more.
Those of us who are mere mortals have no choice but to “go with the flow”, be extra careful, observe the protocols, cope with the restrictions, and one day, roll up a sleeve for a shot in the arm.
3201 Austen (Aus) Cambon,
Class Secretary, Class of RR’52/RMC’54