“The system has failed my family, the government has failed my family,” said Craig Conoley in an interview with Global News.
Conoley is the primary caregiver for her parents, both of whom have been diagnosed with life-threatening illness.
Her father, Rodney, suffered from nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, while her mother was diagnosed with a type of aggressive cancer called glioblastoma.
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Conoley said it was a month or two before going under the knife to give his father his liver. Then the pandemic struck, unbalancing everything.
“When the pandemic hit, this mountain … it turned into Everest,” said Conoley. “And I’m like,” oh my god, how am I going to climb this thing now? “”
In addition to this, Conoley began to experience flu-like symptoms and did not want to spend time with his parents or commit to giving his father his liver until he was certain he could not have it. new coronavirus.
So he went for a test at the Brewer Park arena in Ottawa and was shocked to find that he didn’t meet the criteria.
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“They also said that other people in this same situation would continue to be refused, and I said to myself,” Why is there a vulnerable part of the community, like me and others who do not receive maybe not these tests? »»
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After championing his cause online and contacting local politicians and Ottawa Public Health, Conoley said that he finally received the green light for the test more than a week later in “special circumstances”.
But during this week-long waiting period, his father suffered a life-threatening medical complication and had to be operated on immediately.
Conoley could not go to his father because he had not retrieved his test results and had to remain isolated.
“It was extremely difficult and heartbreaking,” said Conoley.
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Then, after taking the COVID-19 test and waiting a week for the results to come back, Conoley’s mother’s cancer quickly progressed.
She was given an hour with her at her bedside for “compassionate reasons”.
“I kissed her on the forehead and said, ‘Mom, I’ll see you, I love you,'” said Conoley, crying.
“She said,” Why are you crying? “And I said,” It’s okay, mom, it’s okay “and I said” I love you “, then she said” I love you “and came back down. “
Conoley’s mother died on March 26.
He received his test results five days later, which returned negative.
By the time Conoley was first rejected for the COVID-19 test and when he finally got negative, he had lost a mother and almost lost his father.
He said he felt like he had been deprived of his last days with his mother.
“I feel like not only have those days been stolen, but I also feel like I have lost the ability to say goodbye to my mom,” said Conoley.
“It’s a trauma, I don’t know if I can ever get over it,” he said. “It was incredibly stressful and psychologically trying.”
Conoley joins the choir of voices who have criticized the federal government for its lack of test kits and rigorous criteria for being tested for COVID-19.
He hopes the application process will soften so that no one else is deprived of time with loved ones.
Meanwhile, Conoley’s father Rodney remains in hospital while waiting for a liver donor.
“Nothing has been easy,” said Rodney. “These are obstacles and challenge after challenge, but we have been very resilient and very strong. “
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