The coronavirus pandemic can cause anxiety for anyone, but for a Langley woman awaiting an organ transplant, it is causing even more stress than usual.
Murrayville’s Shelagh Brennan had been hoping for a kidney transplant this year, after a sudden diagnosis late last fall has left her dependent on dialysis.
This spring, she ran through a gauntlet of medical tests to determine she was healthy enough to have and recover from the transplant, and she was about to be scheduled for a possible procedure as early as this summer.
But the COVID-19 outbreak has put plans for transplants like hers on hold for now, she says, leaving her in limbo.
“Everything is on hold until further notice,” Brennan said.
It’s also leaving her nervous, as to stay alive and healthy, she must visit a hospital twice a week for dialysis treatments.
“I am absolutely paranoid,” she said.
The first time she went in for dialysis after requirements around physical distancing were announced, Brennan was worried.
There was just a small notice on the door to the dialysis centre in English only, asking people to wait and not to bunch up.
There was little guidance and staff weren’t on scene to tell people where to go or what to do, she said.
By the next time she went in, things were better.
Now people wait against numbers on the wall spaced six feet apart and mobile patients enter a different door.
“It has improved,” she said.
But Brennan is still nervous about going to the hospital.
People with compromised immune systems and serious health problems are at greater risk if they contract COVID-19, and that includes Brennan.
Her kidneys abruptly failed for unknown reasons last fall. She went from leading a healthy and active life, going skydiving in the summer of 2019 to celebrate her 65th birthday, to requiring dialysis twice a week after he kidneys shut down by mid-December.
Her husband, Bryan Frazer, is also at risk with his own health issues.
The family has tried to stick close to home other than their medical appointments and socially-distant walks.
Friends and neighbours have been a big help, including picking up food for the couple.
A call for masks on social media led to several people dropping off a few, so that Brennan can wear them when she goes in for her dialysis days.
“One person made a mask for me,” she said.
Now she’s just waiting for the outbreak to be over, and hopefully her surgery will get back on track, she said.
“Of course I wouldn’t want a surgery during the COVID,” she said. “But it’s disappointing.”