As hospitals brace for the impact of COVID-19, it’s having an effect on some people with chronic illnesses. One New Brunswick teen living with a rare condition isn’t being admitted to the hospital for treatment because of the risk posed by the virus.
Mackenzie Walsh’s sweet 16 is on Friday and all she wants as a gift is to be admitted to the hospital. But with the threat of COVID-19, it’s an impossible ask which is breaking her mother’s heart.
“I don’t want to hear the crutches anymore,” said Catherine McNeill of Quispamsis.
She said five months ago her daughter was diagnosed with a rare disease known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.
McNeill said the neurological disorder is causing excruciating, 24-hour pain and atrophy in her leg and foot, and the slightest movement of her limb is almost unbearable
“It feels like someone is drilling into your bone,” said Mackenzie.
Her mother said that early intervention treatment at the Saint John Regional Hospital could help save her daughter’s leg, but they are running out of time.
She said that this week those crucial in-hospital treatments were canceled because Mackenzie’s immune system is so compromised the threat of her contracting COVID-19 is just too great
“It is painful because she is incredible. She is an incredible young woman who has everything going for her,” McNeill said.
Yet through it all the teen remains a true cheerleader at heart. She is choosing to focus on the positive and said that even her crutch pads are called happy trails.
“I got this for some reason. There must be something good that comes out of it”
Mackenzie said she was hoping to raise enough funds to seek treatment for her CRSP at a specialized centre in the US. But all of that is on hold now while she and the waits for the pandemic to pass.
Faced with the possibility of never walking again, she said that she still finds hope and wants to be a doctor one day.
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