Lisa Marble: Employment Concerns During COVID-19
My name is Lisa Marble. I live in a small town right in the middle of “The Heart of The Rockies,” Salida, Colorado. We are surrounded by 14ners and the Arkansas River runs right through town.
I am a native, and have always enjoyed how friendly the people here are. I have worked as a cashier for 30 years at our local grocery store. I started working there when I was 17 years old and have worked in several different departments throughout the store. My job allows me to meet people from so many different places from around the community and even the country. I really enjoy working with the public, and have a special bond with many of my customers.
When I am not working I enjoy crafting, needle work, traveling, and spending time with my family and friends. One of my favorite trips was visiting Europe. I took my niece to Ireland, London, and Paris! Ireland resembled being in a fairytale. I would love to go there again. I enjoy spending time with my nieces, nephews, siblings, and extended family.
In December of 2018 my entire family shared a cold. Everyone else recovered in a short time, but I continued to feel bad. I was very tired and had pain in my chest. The local physician’s assistant (PA) thought I had bronchitis, and gave me an inhaler and sent me home. The inhaler actually made me feel worse. I made an appointment with my doctor and when I got to his office my oxygen level was below 70! He admitted me to the hospital.
After many tests, he said I had pulmonary arterial hypertension. He then sent me to National Jewish Health in Denver. This is where I met Dr. Patricia George and her PA, Vera, and the wonderful staff there.
My world was turned upside down. I was off work for ten months. I had to adjust to the idea of having this disease and using oxygen daily. I live with and am caretaker for my 87 year old mother who is also on oxygen. Sometimes this can be quite a challenge. Returning to work, standing for eight hours, and juggling oxygen is very hard. My coworkers and the community are very supportive, but the management doesn’t understand how hard it is to live with this disease and my daily struggles.
I thought things were bad and then the COVID-19 pandemic came! My family physician Dr. Joel Scahler and Dr. George did not want me working in my very public high traffic job, as I am at high risk. I have been off work since March 15, and my employer denied my short term disability. They claim everyone is at risk. My constant worry is going back to work and losing my life if I were to get sick. My employer doesn’t understand my lung disease and thinks I should be working.
This has been causing so much stress that it is affecting my health and my mental wellness. The unknown outcome of COVID-19 saddens me, and I feel like my life will never get back to my normal again. Because of this, I have to pay my health insurance out of pocket. Missing so much work has caused my savings to be depleted.
Being in quarantine has been hard for me to adjust to. I am a social person and miss spending time with my family. I miss going to dinner and with my friends from work, and going out of town with my sister. Thank God I have a loving family who is helping with groceries and utilities. My brother is an angel and has been shopping and running all errands.
I am so thankful for Dr. George and Team Phenomenal Hope’s Unmet Needs program. This is a true blessing.
Lisa received COVID-19 relief funds from the Team PHenomenal Hope Unmet Needs Patient Impact Fund. Learn more about how this fund supports PH patients at teamph.org/unmetneeds.