Written Story by Adriana

My name is Adriana. I was an essential worker. I worked in healthcare as a medication aide and  caregiver. Something I’ve been doing since 2006. I enjoyed it. I wish I could go back. After I got  covid in late September of 2020 my whole life changed. I lost my voice cause I yanked out the  tube that I had down my throat. Couldn’t speak without taking a breath in between words. Was  hospitalized for way over a month. Lost close to 100 pounds I believe. I couldn’t stand the first  time I tried to get out of the hospital bed. I had staff on either side of me in their protective gear  assisting me with standing and I proceeded to buckle and had to sit back down. I needed to  learn to walk all over again. I was using a walker and wheelchair. I couldn’t eat either. You see,  I’m diabetic and have gastroparesis. Anytime my body goes through a trauma I end up getting  sick and unable to eat without being sick. I ate chicken noodle soup for weeks after I got home.  And Gatorade. Slowly introducing solid foods. I had many falls at home since then. Once even  busted my lip open and needed stitches when I passed out just from walking one room to  another. My body wanted me to live. My doctor was surprised to see me alive in his office. If  that’s what you could call it. I was sitting in a wheelchair with a mask on. Hunched over. My  leggings that used to fit looked like pants on me. Months later, I started losing my hair. I used to  have thick hair. Now I don’t have much. My mind used to be organized. Work was ok for me  before. Now my brain feels like it’s in a fog most of the time. I can’t work anymore. I don’t have  the strength to do basic cpr or climb up stairs. Carrying a bag of groceries is hard. Walking in the  grocery store is near impossible as I get out of breath so easily. I have gone to physical therapy.  If the vaccine was around before I had covid, I would have gotten the vaccine. I remember  thinking so many times that I can’t do this anymore, this is too hard. I don’t want to try  anymore. I had so many people checking in on me every day. I remember thinking that I wanted  them to stop that. To just let me disappear. My depression was at an all time low. I’m such a  people person. I love giving and getting hugs. And when covid arrived, that stopped. And then  being isolated with covid unable to work for months after. And when I tried to go back to work I  realized still that I had a long road ahead of me. I don’t work. It wouldn’t be safe for me. I miss  my residents. I miss the social aspect. I miss what covid stole from me. I’m not who I used to be.