The Financial Impact of the Pandemic: Julie Hobrath
I will never forget the day I was at the grocery store and the governor of Ohio shut down the schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I remember thinking, “This is going to get worse before it gets better.”
That order initially cost me my job of driving kids to and from school for some extra cash. I needed that desperately, as I’m on disability due to having a remodulin pump to treat my pulmonary hypertension. Soon after I lost my job, restaurants, parks, entertainment, and even most stores were forced to close and people were ordered to stay home. I was scared. I wouldn’t let anybody in my house and I refused to go anywhere. If I caught this virus it could kill me, as I have PH.
A month into quarantine, my heart began to fail and I ended up in the hospital for nine days. Five of those days I was in the Intensive Care Unit. I don’t remember much of those first few days, but I almost died. During my time in the ICU my oldest daughter moved her family of six into my basement due to her losing her job and home. I was now caring for eight people on my disability income. It was super stressful, which caused my heart to start failing again. About five weeks later I ended up back in the hospital for another five days.
I was forced to make my daughter and her family move out of my house for my health and life. My utilities almost doubled and I struggled to keep them on. My youngest daughter is 16, she was also home 24/7, so I was now feeding her seven days a week, three meals a day. My youngest went through some difficult anxiety issues during this crisis. It was very hard for her to have her whole world put on hold. No soccer, school, drama club, or friends. It was a total adjustment.
So during all this my stress levels went up, so to speak. I didn’t feel like I could catch a break. Some days I hid in the shower crying, feeling like my life and family was falling apart. At my last hospital stay, a doctor sat in front of me and said, “You’ll be back.”
I balked, of course I’ll be back, I have PH. But I knew he was talking about my weight and my inability to care for myself. I was super heavy and barely able to do a thing for myself. At that point I vowed to make myself healthier, as much as I could, to keep myself out of the hospital.
Since then I have lost 50 pounds, I have started walking on a treadmill, and I really do feel better. I’m still in a financial rut that I’m trying to crawl out of. I do not qualify for food stamps, so I frequent food banks weekly. If it wasn’t for these food banks, I don’t know what I would have done to feed my family. I was approved to receive funds from the Team PH Unmet Needs Fund, and was able to pay off my utility bills and stock up my empty refrigerator and pantry. It has relieved some stress, and has been great for my heart and lungs.
Julie 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.