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Follow the COVID-19 distancing rules, people with underlying health issues plead
VANCOUVER -- Nick Kanaan was born with cystic fibrosis, a disease that would have taken his life were it not for a double-lung transplant.
“These are some of the immune suppressants that I am currently on,” Kanaan said as he stacked bottle and after bottle of pills on his kitchen counter Monday.
The medication is designed to stop Kanaan’s body from attacking and destroying his new organs. While the young father, who is in his 30s, looks and feels healthy, his body has little defence against a virus like COVID-19.
“The at-risk community isn’t obvious to the human eye. it doesn’t assume a form,” Kanaan said.
Cancer survivor Candy Woodworth hasn’t left her West Vancouver home for a month.
For her, the hardest part of isolation is not being able to visit her family, especially her 95-year-old mother at the Lynn Valley Care Centre.
The long-term care facility has been hit hard by COVID-19, and is not taking visitors in an effort to manage the spread.
“Because of the cancer, the drugs that I’m on lower all my blood counts,” Woodworth said. “So for me picking up infections is easier than a normal person.”
Those with underlying illnesses require regular visits to their doctors, which is why many clinics in B.C. are moving to online service to keep their vulnerable patients safe.
“We can absolutely understand why they would be afraid to come in,” said Dr. Semion Strovski.
Strovski’s practice in Surrey is operated by WELL Health. At the beginning of the outbreak, the company moved fast to launch a program to helps its clinics connect doctors and patients virtually.
“I think we were able to adjust in a couple days and over the last couple of weeks almost every doctor in our clinic has made this a large part of their practice,” Strovski said.
Kanaan only leaves his doors for mandatory blood tests and said he and his wife have been meticulous around the house while the pandemic persists.
That includes using Lysol to wipe down everything that comes into their home and quarantining their groceries for four days before use.
“The slightest slip up can potential lead to me ending up where I was prior to or even worse,” Kanaan said.
He spent months in the ICU and explains it as some of the most difficult times in his medical journey.
“The ICU is an extremely intense and exhausting place at best of times for patients, but for health care providers too,” according to Kanaan.
He’s pleading people stay home and respect physical distancing because he doesn’t want to go back.
“I experienced the ICU for months during a time that things weren’t a pandemic and I can only imagine what the ICU is like at a time like this.”