From: Anonymous

I was a healthy 58-year-old woman, or so I thought. I found a lump in my breast and things went downhill. After waiting for a mammogram and ultrasound and then for a biopsy, diagnosis, and surgery scheduling, I finally received my mastectomy at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. The weeks of waiting had resulted in a tumour that had now grown significantly in size because of its extremely aggressive nature and had spread to a lymph node. Then I had to travel to Victoria to meet with an Oncologist as we have NONE north of the Malahat. There was a question as to whether I would be able to get my dose-dense chemotherapy done in Nanaimo, and I spent countless hours worrying about how I would manage commuting back and forth to Victoria given the aggressive chemotherapy I was to be given and the horrid side effects. I was fortunate I could receive my chemo in Nanaimo, and for that, I am incredibly thankful. However, I had to go and stay in Victoria for the 16 rounds of radiation I was to receive over 3 weeks. The new cancer care centre in Nanaimo can not come soon enough.
A couple of years later, I found myself back at NRGH for major abdominal surgery for a 4-pound growth with concerns of cancer. I recovered from surgery in a dismal and cramped 4 bedroom with a shared bathroom, which was also used by an unknown person with either mental health or addiction issues who wandered in. I did not feel safe. The washroom had to be cleaned upon request after this incident. Then because of space issues, I was moved out of my room to a temporary overflow area to continue recovering. This caused me undue stress. I would try to walk in the hallway to help my recovery and was weaving my way between carts, piles of equipment, laundry, bedding, etc. Nothing felt very sanitary or sterile. The wards are old and dingy and there are too many cracks and crevices for things like MRSA to thrive and spread. The cleaning is inadequate at best.
Recently I found myself back in the ER for apparent kidney issues and waited several hours each time. The staff were overworked and doing their best. The washrooms were less than adequate and I feared coming home with more problems than I came in with.
This is Canada. We are not a third-world country. Why can’t we prioritize health care – it affects us ALL at one time or another in our lives. Living in Nanoose Bay shouldn’t mean that I have to drive hours to get the best care. We can do better north of the Malahat. We MUST do better.