On land, Madeleine Payeur is mostly wheelchair-bound because of rheumatoid arthritis, but she can walk in water.
For the last 13 years, she’s visited Kelowna General Hospital’s therapeutic pool every Monday to exercise.
But the pool closed in December, and Payeur said her body is feeling adverse effects, including stiffness and pain.
“It’s kind of like I’m being held at ransom, because it was accessible and now it’s not,” Payeur said.
The therapeutic pool is unique because it has a floor that can be adjusted to different levels. It also has safety railings and warmer water than a typical pool.
Payeur said the pool was supposed to reopen in early January but didn’t. Now, she’s worried about how long it will remain closed.
Noelle Jefferys had a hip replacement and used the pool two to three times a week.
“I found this really helped my mobility range of movement. It decreased my pain level, so thereby I didn’t need to use my pain medication as much,” she said.
“We know that the cost of health care is increasing and everybody’s trying to find ways to decrease the costs, but this pool is such a benefit to the community. One hundred and thirty people go in there a day,” she said.
Interior Health told patients to use public pools around town instead. But Jefferys, a former nurse, said most of the pools are too cold.
“It’s very hard for somebody who’s had some joint replacement or nerve issues or spinal cord issues. It doesn’t help you move as much,” she said.
Other pools aren’t as accessible, she said, noting that some of them had long corridors and entry into the pool is much more difficult.
Interior Health said the pool is currently closed because of a mechanical issue.
“The pool lift is a complex machine that requires specialized parts,” Donna Jansons, a spokesperson for Interior Health, said in a statement. “Our facility maintenance contractor is working to complete this repair.”
The pool is expected to reopen in the coming weeks, she said.Follow @Jules_Knox
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.