The Unheard Voices of Puerto Rico: Esther Cordova Perez’s Hurricane Maria Story
My name is Esther Córdova Pérez. I’m from Arecibo, Puerto Rico. I am an idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) patient, phase 4. During Hurricane Maria, many things caused the symptoms of my condition to be seriously affected.
In my residence, the roof was damaged, and the interior was flooded with water. From September 19 to November 23, I had no electricity, so I could not use my oxygen concentrator or bilevel positive airway pressure device regularly during this time. At one point, the portable hub battery was damaged, and, thanks to a $300 donation from my support group leader, I was able to buy another one. Not being able to get the insulin I needed, I had a recurrent lack of control of my sugar level. Thanks to volunteers and donations, I received food. Two coworkers also donated two boxes of water to me per week. It was very difficult to spend $20 a day to buy gas. The lines in the supermarkets and gas stations to get food and gas were two to three hours long, many times under a hot sun or in the rain.
As a result of all these events, my companion, who had helped me greatly, got tired and abandoned me. He could not accept and understand how complicated PAH is. He left me at the time I most needed him to help me face the challenges of my daily life.
There is still a problem with electricity in the area where I live from time to time. I am grateful to be receiving a solar charger from Team PHenomenal Hope, as my cell phone is the only means of communication available that I have in case of an emergency.
Thanks to the $500 grant from Team PHenomenal Hope Unmet Needs Patient Impact Fund, I was able to survive. I was not be able to attend the meeting on Saturday, June 9, in San Juan, but I wanted Team PH to know how great of a help their grant has been to me.
God bless them for their great help.