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‘Up to us now to keep him safe’: Family readies for scrapping of COVID restrictions

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SAINT JOHN • Not being able to have family by her side while she drove from hospital to hospital for appointments with her young son, who is a cancer survivor, was an isolating experience for Courtney Glazier during the pandemic.

Her six-year-old Jaxon was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a type of cancer, at age two.

While he became cancer-free in 2019, Jaxon must attend regular appointments, tests and scans at the pediatric oncology unit at the Saint John Regional Hospital and the IWK in Halifax.

The pandemic only added to the isolation of having a child who is seriously ill.

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That’s why when the province lifts all COVID-19 restrictions at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, even though her son is immunocompromised –Jaxon doesn’t have a kidney or adrenal glands – the Saint John mother will breathe a sigh of relief.

“It’s up to us now to keep him safe and not the government,” she said. “It’s going to be a huge burden lifted off parents with sick children now that they can have the support that they need when they are going through difficult times.”

The COVID-19 restrictions on hospitals meant that Glazier couldn’t rely on family support during those visits where the spectre of bad news about her son’s condition haunted her each time.

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“Our last trip wasn’t so good, and I had to deal with the news by myself,” she said. “You need somebody there to listen to the bad news with you.”

Pharmacist Margaret McQuinn, who owns Sharp’s Corner Drug Store in Sussex, said even in the best of times, those who have weakened immune systems must exercise greater caution than everyone else as they are susceptible to an array of illnesses.

She said what she’s hearing from those with weakened immune systems about the province going green is they are excited but also concerned about all the unknowns zero COVID restrictions will bring.

“I’ve heard many (saying) they’re so excited but also nervous, and many of them saying, ‘I’ll be having my mask on for a while and in going into large crowds,’” she said.

Being extra cautious is not new to Glazier or her son.

Before the pandemic, the whole time Jaxon was fighting cancer, they were self-isolating from whichever potentially life-threatening disease or infection could overrun his immune system.

“I think the pros definitely outweigh the cons,” Glazier said. “There is still going to be some panic about it, and he is high risk for developing all sorts of weird things, so we’re still extra cautious.

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“We’ll still bring hand sanitizer, we practice our social distancing but as for being able to travel and be able to do things again, it will be nice.”

She added hospitals should have allowed a support person in with every parent of a child having to undergo regular hospital checkups during the pandemic.

“I think it’s very heartless that they didn’t.”

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