An Alberta man who is wrapping up his 14-day quarantine at CFB Trenton said the experience has been mentally and emotionally trying.
Carter Perrier will be released from the quarantine Friday, two weeks after a charter plane brought him and other Canadians, who had been trapped in Wuhan, China after a travel lockdown due to the coronavirus, back home.
“I have a big room, microwave, good food but I can’t go and do whatever I want whenever I want. It’s messed with my head a bit,” he said.
Perrier admits he thought the 14-day quarantine would be “a walk in the park.”
“I wasn’t prepared for that. The nurses, about a week in, started asking, ‘How is your mental health?’ We have resources here available to us if we were struggling with that,” he said.
The Calgary man said it will be a relief when he is allowed to leave the base in Ontario and said he has learned a few things from the experience.
“I’ve learned how to be much more patient than I feel I am or have been in the past. I am an only child so I’ve always been good at being by myself and entertaining myself so that has certainly helped in my solitary confinement here. I’ve also learned I don’t want to do this for longer than two weeks,” he said with a smile.
Perrier said he fell into a routine pretty quickly while in quarantine.
“Wake up, breakfast around eight, shower. I’ve been calling it my prison workout – so push-ups on the floor, crunches on the floor – and then if it’s warm enough go get some fresh air, rinse, repeat for lunch and dinner,” he said.
Nurses visited his room twice a day to check his temperature and assess whether he had any symptoms.
He said the hours have both flown by and moved slowly during his time at the military base.
“There’s some days when it feels like it’s dragging on and on, and other days it feels as if 12 hours just vanish. I have no idea how I passed the time,” Perrier said.
Perrier said he kept busy watching TV shows, working remotely and playing video games.
“I got a few computers here so the classic 30-something-year-old male fantasy – nothing to do all day but play video games,” he said.
Perrier, and the other evacuees, will be able to leave CFB Trenton Friday morning. He said he was told those who are local to the area can have someone pick them up at a designated spot while those from other parts of the country will be taken to the Toronto airport.
He hopes to be back in Calgary with friends and family by Friday afternoon or evening.
“It’s going to be great. I’m sure we’ll have a few nights out, have to field a lot of questions. There’ll be some jokes. I’m just looking forward to seeing everyone again.”
Perrier said he hasn’t had a lot of time to process the ordeal he endured: being stuck in central China in the middle of a health crisis and being transported back to Canada via a charter flight.
“I mean, it makes for a great story to tell over drinks. The largest-scale human quarantine we’ve ever seen and I got to be a part of that.
“I had a lot of rather unique experiences I don’t think many people will get so that’s been interesting,” he said.
Perrier, who thanks the volunteers at CFB Trenton, said there a couple things he will do as soon as the quarantine lifts.
“I’m going to get myself a good coffee and, I’m a bit of a glutton, I’m going to find myself some Taco Bell.”