One Front Line Health Care Workers Story
For eight years I was a professional health care provider in Westchester County, New York. In January of 2020 I became alarmed at the news of a pandemic spreading in China. Towards the end of February I became even more alarmed as Westchester County was quickly becoming one of the hot spots for the Covid 19 infection. By mid March the infection was spreading out of control not only in Westchester, County but also in New York City. As part of my practice I visited sick patients in their homes, a risky role during a pandemic. In one home I visited the spouse of the patient had a fever. No one warned me in advance that the spouse was sick. By the time I returned home I had a fever. I contacted my employer and asked to be tested for the Covid 19 virus. My employer informed me, that in accord with the CDC guidelines I could not be tested, unless I had recently traveled to China. This requirement seemed absurd to me. At that time there were nearly 1,000 cases of Covid 19 in Westchester County. At the same time, I badly injured my back and was barely able to walk or drive. I went on short term disability.
Fast forward to October, 2020. After months of endless medical exams and doctor visits my physician was unable to find a solution to my back problems and the chronic pain. My employer laid me off. While I was stressed about the sudden loss of income I was confident, that I could drift for awhile on social security and my savings and I knew I could apply for Medicare since I was nearly 72 years old. Then to my shock my application for Medicare Part B was rejected. It seems back in 2013 there was a brief period in which I had not health insurance due to a lay off. In a panic at the idea of no health insurance during a pandemic I immediately applied for insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Then came another shock I was rejected for this health insurance as well. Suddenly I realized that I would not have any health care insurance for quite some time.
I remember during the height of the Covid 19 crisis as we walked away from the hospital the Blue Angels flew over in salute to our efforts. Fire trucks blew their horns and people clapped from their balconies. There were many speeches that were made by state, local and federal politicians about the brave heroes of the Covid 19 pandemic. I was one of those “heroes”
I had to face the bitter reality, that despite all the speeches and fly overs, as a front line health care worker, I was on my own, a senior citizen with no health insurance. Because of my age and health history a Covid 19 infection, without medical care, would be a death sentence.
The Covid 19 pandemic and the Trump presidency has, for all of us, stripped away the pretense of support for front line health care workers like myself. As Trump himself has so vividly shown those with wealth receive a level of medical care far different then the rest of us. We are a culture separated by a huge gap between the average Joe and a small handful of billionaires. It has always been that way the only difference is that now we see it.
Having grown up in the south I am very familiar with the race baiting done by southern politicians and how they pit one worker against another using the language of hate. It is a time honored tradition in the south to use racist remarks and fear mongering to stay in power, posing as champions of the little guy and raking in the dough at the same time.
Despite my situation, I feel no bitterness, because I know a secret that Trump does not. No matter how many millions of dollars the government spends to keep him alive, no matter how much spray on tan he uses, no matter how much praise he demands to keep his inflated ego up…a day will come, when his time is up. A day will come when the headline in the New York Time reads “Trump dead” and this time, it will not be fake news.