In this article, I recount my journey so far with COVID-19 from when my symptoms first started to now. As someone without the luxury of health insurance, it’s a journey that I’ll be paying off for a long time to come. If you can find it in your heart, it would help a ton if you donated a little change to help me cover the astronomical costs of COVID-19 treatment with no insurance.
IT ALL STARTED ON THE 13TH OF NOVEMBER.
The weather had decided that it couldn’t possibly make up its mind in only the way that weather can in the southeast during fall. I knew what that meant for me: an allergy attack.
I grew up in environments that hated me. From the pine trees of South Georgia to the ragweed bouquet of Northeast Georgia, and even to the special blend of pollens found in my current residence in Central Alabama–they all mean one thing: if the weather changes, I will get the allergic equivalent of a cold and it’s a coin flip for if it turns into an infection.
This is a pattern that caused me to miss so much school as a child that my 6th-grade teacher at Snellville Middle School once called me “school-phobic.”
BY THE 16TH OF NOVEMBER, I HAD ENOUGH.
I called the special tele-doc that I use for antidepressant and anti-anxiety medicine (it is 2020, after all) and asked if I could get something for the sinus infection I just knew I had. I’m old-hat at sinus infections, after all. A short trip to Publix and some Amoxicylin and Tessalon Perles later, I was content that this would be behind me in a few days.
When I woke up on the 18th, I sounded like I was doing a dated parody of Christian Bale’s Batman. It was not a cute look on me–especially when mixed with my semi-permanent mix of sweat from a constant cycle of breaking my fever with Tylenol. I called in the “big guns:” some Throat Coat and Kava Kava teas.
When I looked at the O2 and pulse tracker on my smartwatch on the 19th, I was a bit alarmed. The O2 was low, but not worryingly so, The pulse, however, hadn’t been below 130 in a few days. That can’t be good. That night I noticed that when I would walk anywhere from as close to the bathroom or as far-far away as my back yard, I would have to wait a while to catch my breath.
ON THE 20TH OF NOVEMBER, A SHOWER DID ME IN.
Whenever I’m sick, I’m a sucker for a luxuriously long hot shower to try and soothe my muscles and break up anything going on in my respiratory system. That did not happen this time. The simple actions of washing my body and hair left me gasping for air. For the first time in my life, I had to call 911 for myself.
The paramedics were nice, though all they had to say was that I needed to get tested for COVID-19 and to go to an urgent care after they assured me I was doing well enough to not need to go to the hospital right away. It’s grand advice for someone who, I don’t know, has insurance? Not me, though. I figured I could just tough it out.
After a few hours had passed and my step-father, who I had been quarantining with, got home from work, he convinced me that I needed to go to the ER. It was really the only option for someone who had no money and no insurance. A short discussion about the sad state of the American health-care system later, and I was in the car headed to my nearest Emergency Room.
I WAS IN WORSE SHAPE AS THE HOURS MOVED ALONG.
After waiting for 5 hours to see a doctor, I was given a breathing treatment, steroids, a COVID test, and sent on my way with instructions to quarantine and contact-trace. There was also an IV put in that didn’t get used because I was there during a shift change? I’m still mildly mad about that because I was supposed to get a jump-start on my steroid treatment.
Because I don’t have insurance I found out that it was going to cost me 900 dollars for the privilege of finding out that I’m positive for COVID-19 (although, I wouldn’t know for sure until I got my positive results the next day). Oh, that along with three prescriptions that I had to use GoodRx on to find out if I could afford them.
Spoiler Alert: I could not afford the prescriptions and was suddenly thrilled that my father is an overnight truck driver who could PayPal me just enough to get them from Publix.
I FINALLY RETURNED HOME.
I had to read the directions on the steroid pack 6 times to make sure that I was truly supposed to take the first 6 doses all at once. I was in for the “full Trump” with this one. I too felt better than I had 10 years earlier–until I left my bed to do anything, that is.
For the next 48 hours, I would vacillate between feeling fine and feeling miserable. But, then it happened, I woke up on the 24th of November and I no longer sounded like Christian Bale’s Batman. I still feel incredibly rough, but at least I’m not embarrassed whenever I speak.
So, here I am in debt for getting COVID-19 with no real way to fix that, hoping that I continue to feel marginally better as the next few days go on. And, even with all of that, I am one of the lucky ones. I didn’t continue to get worse after the steroids, I didn’t end up searching for an increasingly rare ICU bed, and I didn’t die.
IT WOULD HELP A TON IF YOU DONATED A LITTLE CHANGE TO HELP ME COVER THE ASTRONOMICAL COSTS OF COVID-19 TREATMENT WITH NO INSURANCE.
Article images from United Nations COVID-19 Response