MacKinnon has closed down her business in order to seek treatment in her home country of China for the chronic pain she’s been experiencing since she was rear-ended in a traffic collision in 2017.
“I’m young. I still want to work but I can’t work,” she said. In closing the bar, MacKinnon has had to lay off six employees and say goodbye to dozens of regular customers.
“I love this small town. Our bar is just like a family. Ninety per cent of our customers come here every day. I feel like I’ve just lost my family,” MacKinnon said
MacKinnon has seen her family doctor, been to the emergency room for an X-ray, had an MRI scan and has been treated by three chiropractors, but no one has been able to properly diagnose her pain, she said. Her family doctor ordered a second MRI scan but MacKinnion has become frustrated with the waiting time and the lack of progress in treating her pain.
‘I’m done. I need to go back to China,'” she said. “When I go to China and see a doctor, the next day I can get an MRI.”
Wait times for an MRI scan in the South Okanagan range from three to six months according to Tim Rode, program director for medical imaging with the Interior Health Authority.
“It is somewhat on the high side and this can be quite a frustrating experience for someone waiting for an MRI,” Rode says.
Last year the provincial government increased funding for MRIs to allow for more scans to be conducted each year. The South Okanagan region is expected to get a new MRI machine and be up and running by this spring.
Murphy’s has pool tables, widescreen TVs playing sports highlights, a weekly special for chicken wings and a cast of regular customers who all know the staff and each other by name.
For bar manager Gabby Campbell, who has worked for MacKinnon for the past four years, the sadness she feels about Murphy’s closing is less about losing a regular paycheque, and more about the loss of community.
“I’m really down about it,” Campbell said. “I’m going to miss my customers, I’m going to miss my boss. We are all a big family here.”The sentiment is shared among a group of regulars sitting at a table in the corner of the pub.
MacKinnon feels the weight of what closing Murphy’s will mean for her customers’ and employees’ lives — but she aims to return to the community with a new venture.
“I am not sure I can come back to open the pub, but I want to open another business,” she said. “I want all my employees back to work for me.”
Photo one: ODN
Photo two: CBC
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