‘Each day I’m thinking 911, hospital time’: Resident marks five days without power

Thousands of Ottawa residents are marking five days of no power and the circumstances are challenging for many. 

For one Ottawa man, who is reliant on an oxygen tank, the outage is taking a toll.

Perry Handleman says as the outage continues, he isn’t ruling out getting help from the hospital.

“As soon as the power comes on, I’ll be as good as to be expected, but each day I’m thinking 911, hospital time,” he said.

On Saturday, the 66-year-old was having a coffee with a friend at home when the storm hit his Bell Corners neighbourhood in Ottawa.

“I said can you fill up these oxygen portables in case the power goes off and as soon as he filled one up, the power went off,” he said.

The portable tanks help because his usual set-up requires electricity. 

“A generator would be great, but power would be better,” he said.

Neighbours also stepped in to assist with another back-up plan.

“He uses an oxygen machine which is his life line basically,” said Hugh McNeil, Handleman’s neighbour.

“My husband went over there on the weekend to help him and change the different tanks and did a lot of work with that,” said Suzie McNeil, who lives nearby.

Handleman said his next-door neighbour came over and untangled the emergency line for the tank, which holds 38 litres of liquid oxygen.

Once that was hooked up, he said he had a supply for four days.

“I was getting down to two to three, like almost getting down to the empty,” he said.

Handleman said the tank will be filled up again this week, but it is not clear when the power will come back on and when he will have hot water again.

“It’s been terrifying for me ever since this happened because I’m unhealthy, I’m on oxygen, I’m not eating properly and my phone doesn’t work.”

As he waits for the hydro to be restored, he is focused on staying calm and leaning on the support of his neighbours.

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