‘This is a nightmare’: Calgary woman feels pandemic is derailing her medical care

The past few months have been all-consuming torture for 22-year-old Calgarian Sarah Hargreaves.

“It’s just not fair. This is a nightmare.”

Hargreaves lives with endometriosis and is in constant paralyzing pain, trembling nearly all day long. Her pain is so intense she said it triggers multiple seizures a day.

“My stomach pain was crucifying, it was sharp pain, and I couldn’t work. Finally, when I went to hospital, I was having seizures,” Hargreaves said. “It’s difficult because I just feel like I’m not getting the help I need anywhere.”

Hargreaves has been rushed by ambulance to the ER numerous times. She said she is in a perpetual cycle of being discharged and given pain medications but little else.

Sarah’s multiple prescriptions. Jill Croteau/Global News

“They are not prioritizing people who don’t have COVID — at all,” Hargreaves said.

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She can’t be left alone. Her mother and her fiancé, Drake Rendle, have both taken leave from work to care for Hargreaves at home. Rendle is desperate to get her admitted to hospital for treatment.

Sarah Hargreaves and Drake Rendle.
Sarah Hargreaves and Drake Rendle. Courtesy/Sarah Hargreaves

“I’m begging them to keep her in for a night. I would do anything for this girl,” Rendle said. “It’s heartbreaking, and I feel helpless. There’s only so much I can do.”

“Even my doctor said I can’t be discharged from hospital, yet I was discharged because there’s too many COVID patients,” Hargreaves said.

She said she has been waiting months for tests and needs surgery to manage her condition.

Photo of Sarah’s torso. Courtesy: Sarah Hargreaves

“I need exploratory laparoscopic surgery to ease symptoms. It feels like everything is crashing in on me, and my head just hurts. It’s making me crazy. I don’t even know what to do anymore,” Hargreaves said.

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“There is so much going on, and we don’t want to bash the health-care system but we are scared,” Rendle said.

Hargreaves is advocating for herself and others who have chronic conditions and need treatment.

“People aren’t alone if they have a condition,” Hargreaves said.

“We need to stand up for one another.”

“You look at her going through this pain, and she’s trying to help others. That says so much about this girl,” Rendle said.

Premier Jason Kenney said he acknowledged the stress on the system but says the province is managing.

“I think we are doing relatively well, all things considered, in managing both the imperative of COVID care but also non-COVID-related health care,” he said.

“That’s not to say that people haven’t been affected, but the data we have is that we’ve largely caught up where we’re following that very closely.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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