Vacation unexpectedly extended, London, Ont. family is racing to return home
LONDON, ONT. -- A sudden collapse on the day a London, Ont. family was set to return has kept them in the Grand Cayman Islands long past expected. And now they find themselves in the middle of a COVID-19 outbreak.
It was supposed to be a family vacation they’d never forget, but on March 10, when the Thibodeau family was scheduled to return to Ontario, it all went wrong.
“On the morning of March 10, we were getting ready to pack, my father who is 79 years old collapsed on the floor, couldn’t get up. So we called paramedics to pick him up and rush him to the hospital,” says Jodi Thibodeau, who is still in Grand Cayman waiting for her father Orval Sleeper to receive a second test for COVID-19, before he’s allowed to be medevac’d to London’s University Hospital.
“There are still a lot of things going on with him, that are underlying conditions that he needs to be rushed home to London, Ont. where doctors are waiting there to treat him, because they don’t have the equipment here to treat some of the underlying conditions,” she adds.
This has become a race against the clock for the Thibodeaus as the hospital received the testing equipment on Monday, and a planned shutdown of all airports in that country is set to begin Sunday.
They will have support from the government, according to London North Centre MP Peter Fragiskatos
“The government is providing loans of up to $5,000 for those who are in emergency need and are abroad right now.”
Jodi and her husband Wayne Thibodeau haven’t seen Sleeper since Saturday, when the hospitals were closed to visitors, but an act of kindness by one of the nurses allowed them to connect.
“She took her cellphone in and put dad on FaceTime, so we could have a chat...and it was just so good to see him,” says Thibodeau.
The couple say they won’t be leaving without Jodi’s father, instead continue to push to get Sleeper the test he needs to return home and get the treatment he needs.