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As part of our Your Story Has Power project, we and our Health Care for All WV coalition partners have been reaching out to West Virginians to hear their health care stories, to collect and share them to educate the public and our representatives, to try to make positive meaningful policy change. Here is one such powerful story, shared with their full consent.
During the pandemic, Cassandra Wiley became unable to perform her call center job of two years.
“I started noticing the decline of my health at work before COVID. Nothing that I couldn’t manage with a little TLC when I got home. I remember when our managers took our groups off the floor, which wasn’t odd except every team did this at the same time, leaving the floor silent save for clustered groups of employees. They told us that they were taking actions in regards to COVID, changing some sick leave policies but not much else. Soon after that we were offered the chance to work from home and I gladly took it.”
But things got much worse. “The isolation that came after that tipped the scales on my health. I eventually found myself making the preparations and the difficult decision to resign. Around this time, I was relying on my measly savings and the occasional stimulus.”
As the primary income for her and her partner, they struggled with making the hard decisions on how best to stretch out what little money they had.
“I was without insurance, without a job, desperately trying to make what money I had managed to either put away or that I was blessed enough to receive cover things like food, medicine (when we couldn’t afford not to go to the doctor anymore) and the occasional coffee from the gas station across the street to keep our spirits up.” Eventually, after the savings and stimulus dwindled, it meant they had to choose “between much needed medications and enough food to feel fed. It also meant that when [her partner] chipped his fake tooth, we couldn’t even begin to imagine how to take care of it.”
Cassandra, at one point, went without antidepressants for two weeks, when things were at their worst.
Then, she was approved for Medicaid. “I was able to see my doctor and was given a detailed plan on how to get back on my medications (which were now paid for by Medicaid) and I was able to go home from that doctor’s visit to something warm to eat (because I was also now receiving SNAP assistance). This has made such a huge impact on my and my partner’s lives.”
After gaining assistance, seeking medical treatment, and getting back on her necessary medications, Cassandra was able to get back to work, finding new employment with not just one job, but two! And, she is even making plans on going back to college.
“Now I can save for the future and give back to my community.”
If you or a friend have a WV Health Care Story to share, please visit www.tinyurl.com/wvstories21. Use Google Chrome to visit this form, tell us your stories, and digitally sign it. Your stories will NOT be used without YOUR approval or consent. We’d greatly appreciate your help in gathering these stories. 🙂
For more information about the Health Care for All WV campaign, visit www.healthcareforallwv.com.
More from our WV Health Care Stories collection: