Universal City – A Universal City woman on dialysis is hoping to encourage others in the vulnerable community to keep fighting, while encouraging those most fortunate to be more kind to each other. This comes after the coronavirus pandemic has impacted patients in her clinic fearfully and emotionally.
“Their immune system is less likely to fight off COVID-19 than normal individuals without chronic health problems,” said Dr. Fred Campbell with UT Health San Antonio.
Candice Allen has been on dialysis for more than four years due to her kidneys failing. She said when the pandemic began, her heart broke for those on dialysis with her.
“The first thing I thought of was the elderly,” Allen said. “There are some with other illnesses so that worried me. The one thing we have is each other but we can’t hug or comfort each other right now.”
She said the morale has decreased due to fear in her clinic.
“They have the fear of not knowing what will happen during the treatment or how their body is going to react while on the machine,” Allen said. “They are just fearful because they don’t know as far as what they are going to eat because they don’t have much at home as far as stuff they need. The virus has you so paranoid and so scared because you are feeling alone and that you don’t have anyone because everyone is hysterical and all over the place right now.”
She said the doctors in her clinic have been fantastic protecting the patients and keeping their worries at bay.
“They check us one at a time and there are no visitors,” Allen said. “They are constantly wiping down the machines, like they usually do, and they are wearing and changing masks and gloves all the time.”
Allen has made adjustments as well since the pandemic.
“I take Lysol in there with me,” Allen said. “When I see or hear anyone coughing, my head is turnt,” she laughed. “I wear two or three masks at one time sometimes. I try to stay away from people. I am constantly washing my hands with anti bacterial soap.”
Allen said her biggest concern is knowing her fellow dialysis patients are struggling to get the essentials they need due to the growing fear in the community.
“They are very afraid of getting the virus,” Allen said. “It’s easy for everybody to be like ‘Let me get this toilet paper! Let me get this and that,' but you are not thinking about those who are sick. The elderly or special needs children or special needs adults. How do they feel dealing with all of this? They don’t know how to feel. My brother is autistic and he doesn’t understand what is happening, he just sees all these people panicking.”
She said it breaks her heart knowing the retail store shelves empty due to people hoarding supplies.
“When you go to the store and people are rushing for this and that to get toilet paper or the last bottle of Lysol, it is sad,” Allen said. “What is the point? I have seen that a lot and I just don’t understand. I was raised to do things good for people and to see this is crazy.”
Allen said her faith is what motivates her.
“I believe in God of course, but I think people have forgotten that God is in control,” Allen said. “I think people have forgotten about faith. They forgot to trust God. It is going to be fine. I known I am not the perfect Christian but at this time, everybody needs to come together.”
She said she hopes people will be more kind to each other.
“If you know elderly in the neighborhood, make sure they are ok,” Allen said. “I would go without to make sure someone had what they needed,” She said as she got emotional. “I have been homeless, I know how it goes. You would be surprised at how much a smile can go and can impact someone. It baffles me that when you go into a store, you used to feel the welcoming people and how nice they are. Now when something like this hit, you see the ugly and the greed come out.”
Allen said she hopes this encourages others to be considerate of others’ possible situations.
“When it is all said and done, you can go on with your life,” Allen said. “You are probably not fighting to stay alive. You may not be hooked to a machine. You may not have cancer. You just never know what people are going through. There are people who are actually hurting. Everybody is going through something so instead of bumping into somebody to get something, you need to think twice before you do anything.”
She said it is a struggle sometimes to stay positive for others because she gets down about her situation, but she knows she is here for a reason.
“I have said this every day since I started my treatment,” Allen said. “‘Be a blessing and encouragement to someone else.’ I feel like everyone had that mindset, this world will be a better place. I do get down but I know you can’t stay down. Someone else needs you.”
She had this message of encouragement for others in her same shoes.
“Everyday, we fight a battle,” Allen said. “We don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring. We have already gotten this far. God is not going to leave us nor forsake us. So you have to keep going. If it is for nothing else, you have to live to fight another day and be encouraged.”
COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.
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