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  • Writer's pictureItsik Romano

My grandfather went into the hospital a week ago and that's about all I know

image courtesy of, hospital, bed, elderly, COVID, health crisis

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of West Island News.

Before I go any further, I want to express my deep, pure, and honest gratitude for Quebec’s healthcare workers. At the end of November, I was taken to the hospital myself and were it not for the doctors, nurses, pharmacists, PABs, and other healthcare professionals, I would not have been set on a trajectory towards recovery.

I saw first-hand the health crisis Premier François Legault refers to in each of his press conferences despite unveiling a plan of complete deconfinement last week. Our nurses and doctors are tired, they are understaffed, and they are reaching their wit's end. Know that I am aware of, and empathetic towards that.


Over the summer of 2021, my grandfather was rushed to the hospital, where we later discovered that he has a malignant tumor on his kidney. Thankfully, the doctors felt confident about his prognosis, and at the ripe age of 88, reassured us that cancer progresses slowly. Since then, and until now, he has thankfully remained relatively comfortable at home with minimal medical intervention.

That is, until last Wednesday when he was unexpectedly rushed back to the hospital due to severe abdominal pain. Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, and a possible outbreak in the hospital he was brought to, he has not been allowed any visitors.

Luckily, when I went into the hospital at the end of November, the number of COVID cases was being kept at bay, so my partner was able to come into the emergency room with me. Beyond that, both he and I were able to communicate with my loved ones thanks to the power of our cell phones.

My elderly grandfather on the other hand, does not have a cell phone and has no other way of communicating with his wife, his children, or his grandchildren. For a week, we have called, and even shown up at the hospital’s front desk only to be turned away or given minimal – and often incorrect – information.

My grandfather, who can sometimes be confused at the best of times, gets even more confused when his routine is disrupted. It is not unlikely that he is in his hospital bed, asking himself why not a single member of his family has come to visit. During the summer, either myself, my mom, my grandmother, or my aunt visited every day. For him, it is likely unclear what’s different this time around.

The tragic part is that our doctors and nurses simply don’t have the time or energy to give patients and families of patients proper education. Healthcare professionals are bombarded with patients and as such cannot be patient. Riddle me that one.


According to François Legault, our healthcare system needs a facelift and quite frankly, I don't think he's said anything truer in more than two years. Our nurses' faces are long, our doctors' faces are sunken in, and our patients' faces are lonely and lost.

If you are working on the front lines, I don't envy you. If you have a sick family member or loved one, I don't envy you. And if you are sick yourself, I don't envy you.

I know West Islanders are tired of lockdowns, restrictions, business closures, and other COVID-related measures, but as these last 7 days have unfolded, I can't say honestly that I am not worried for our already fragile healthcare system.

As the province opens up and we head into what Premier François Legault has dubbed "normal life" I invite you to think of my grandfather. As you begin to share air with friends and loved ones, it is my hope that you remain considerate of those who are still fighting an uphill battle.


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