One of the First, One of the Last
By: American Nurses Association
I was one the firsts. Working as a nurse in Las Vegas, Nevada, I contracted COVID-19 during March 2020. I am also a long-hauler. In fact, I’ve never gotten to care for a COVID-19 patient because I haven’t been able to return to work.
As a nurse, we are taught to protect ourselves first at all times. I wish I could say that I did. The truth is, I was exposed because my hospital wasn’t able to provide enough proper PPE to protect us. Without protection, I was exposed, and what’s worse, I exposed my wife who was pregnant at the time.
Being a long-hauler is difficult on its own. However, my condition feels even worse because of the financial difficulties I’ve experienced since contracting COVID-19.
The workers comp benefits provided by my employer weren’t much help at all. In fact, I’m still fighting to receive care and treatments from a neurologist and a cardiologist. Not being able to return to work meant that my health benefits expired. I am now living on Medicaid and receiving food stamps. My car has been repossessed. To make matters worse, I am unable to collect unemployment benefits because I was discharged by my employer due to medical reasons. To say that COVID-19 has made life difficult is an understatement. I’m struggling.
Like everyone in my community, I wish people would take COVID-19 seriously, but more than that, I wish people would understand the struggles of those of us who do the caring. These days it doesn’t feel like anyone is supporting the nurses on the frontlines much anymore. For-profit hospital corporations are treating their employees like another number. We’re being left behind and without help.
The American Nurses Foundation has been a life saver. With this grant, I was able to pay for 6 months of my property taxes. However, I’m still worried — I have a son now, born in November of 2020. My wife is a CNA and she’s the one supporting us. I don’t know how we’re getting by, but I’m hoping that somehow we can give my son a better future than what we have presently.
I’m incredibly grateful for the help from the American Nurses Foundation and I’m looking forward to a time when this is finally past us.
Please give today to the Coronavirus Response Fund, so we can help every nurse combat the mental, emotional, physical and financial stress this pandemic has caused.