We sat down with a Nashville resident who faced tough times with COVID-19. Their story is full of challenges, resilience, and a call for change. This interview shares their personal experiences dealing with the virus, giving an honest account that many can relate to.
Where are you from?
If experiencing Long-COVID symptoms, how is COVID-19 still currently affecting you?
I’m experiencing vertigo now when I was not before. I was on monoclonal IV for COVID. I had a fever that got to 106 at one point.
Do you have health insurance? If yes, how has this helped you gain access to care when experiencing COVID-19/Long-COVID symptoms in the past or present?
The drip I had was through Meharry and it was covered. I went to the emergency room about 6 times. I was taking Nyquil at night Dayquil during the day and taking Tylenol, but I was feeling miserable. I could not taste or smell anything and it was hard. I had such a hard time sleeping. I felt like the devil was trying to get me out of here. This coronavirus is nothing like I have ever felt, it is different than the flu or the cold, felt demonic.
Do you have family members who have experienced COVID-19/Long-COVID-19? If yes, what has their experience been like and how has this affected your family’s quality of life as a whole?
I got COVID because six people in my family have been sick and two were in the hospital. Thankfully it has not affected us long-term financially.
Have you ever felt discriminated against based on your race or ethnicity while you were getting healthcare? If yes, please tell us about your experience.
No. I feel it could have had better care during COVID because they did not know what to do for me with the corona but that’s it.
Have you ever had any issues with transportation to get to your healthcare appointments?
No, not now because I do have a car. I had a few issues when corona hit because, at that time, I did not have a car.
What would you like your elected officials to know about your experience with COVID-19/Long-COVID-19?
I want to make sure everyone gets the best care they can. I wish they were more aware of COVID-19 before like they are now, even in the medical field they didn’t know. Anyone who is Black or whatever needs to be able to get the treatment they need. I know many who could not go to the emergency room because they did not have the money or healthcare. I know a lot of people who are struggling financially.
If more people had access to Medicaid/healthcare coverage, do you think the overall health of members in your community would look different? Why or why not?
Yes, no doubt. People would not have to worry about not being able to go. A lot of people would be more willing to go. We have people who must pay their family, not pay $300 or $400 in medical bills. If you have kids, you must make sure they have food. So, 100% it would help. I am a type II diabetic; I must go to my annual appointments. A lot of other Black folks are diabetics and don’t get the care they need.
Do you think that there are enough healthcare providers that accept your insurance in your community? Please explain.
I know Meharry does, but I don’t know. Normally I call my PCP to see who accepts what. I wasted a trip with the ear doctor because they did not accept TennCare. Meharry has issues like everyone else, lots of people who don’t have insurance go to Meharry. They don’t have everything and sometimes I have to go to other places, like Tennessee Oncology or St. Thomas. I’m not sure where else I would go besides Meharry. When I had my cancer diagnosis, I was able to get on Tenncare in March of 2021, but if it was not for that I probably would not be on Tenncare. More people need to be on TennCare. It has helped me so much. Younger folks who don’t have insurance need it. If they have a health issue or if they have needs, they don’t need to lose their life because they can’t afford it. The elderly people are taken care of but people my age are having trouble. It was so hard to walk away from my job due to my disabilities, I felt hopeless. People need the means to go to the doctor.