…This pandemic has heightened the inequities, especially among people of color and women like myself. It has been long and isolating, and has made me see how fragile life can be. I don’t take for granted the privilege that I have to be able to call my parents, family or friends at the drop of a hat, thanks to FaceTime, WhatsApp and high-speed internet. I believe being an educated patient is key to getting the care you need.
I also know that as a person who speaks English, I am privileged. I have had to translate Spanish for a few people in waiting rooms as I saw them struggling to communicate with the nurses and staff.
I am very grateful that I am here today and some days I feel the survivor’s guilt. I think of the thousands of individuals who don’t have access to affordable health insurance, and of those who didn’t survive. I also feel for those who have lost their loved ones.
I’ve learned not to take no for an answer, and to say no when I need to rest. One of my doctors joked, “You take more notes than any other patient I’ve had before.”
These days, my oxygen is 96/97 on most days, and I am able to go up and down the stairs without being winded. I’m still going for tests to resolve some of the symptoms. I can hold interviews and not lose my voice until late in the day. And I can write and share my story.