A bunch of crazy things have happened during these past 14+ months: COVID-19 spread, people lost their jobs, and lives have even been lost. Although many prickly things have happened, I appreciate all the essential workers who risked their lives during this pandemic. Essential workers like my dad Richard Esquibel, Uncle Jose Espinoza, and Aunt Patricia Caldera are three essential workers who have worked through this Covid-19 virus. Esquibel and Espinoza work in a warehouse called Owens and Minor that ships out medical supplies to hospitals. Caldera works at RadNet Imaging Victor Valley Women’s Center. The company is an imaging company that does mammograms (x-rays that help early detection of breast cancer), ultrasounds, and bone density exams for women. She is a patient service representative (PSR) focusing on preprocessing, checking in, and registering patients.
Esquibel, an employee at Owens and Minor for the past six years, thinks being an essential worker feels the same as before because he ships medical supplies out to hospitals every day – even before the pandemic started. It may feel normal to him, but it has also been very stressful for him during the past fourteen months in some ways. Every day is a matter of life and death when it comes to shipping out medical supplies; sometimes it is stressful helping save people’s lives. He is helping keep himself and others around him from getting sick by wearing a mask, washing his hands, sanitizing everything around him in his work space, and social distancing. It has worked for all of us so far and I think he’s doing a pretty good job at it.
Espinoza feels good to be a part of something that is helping people who are in the hospital. It has been stressful for him too because he wants to stay safe and keep supporting his family. When other people at work were getting sick, he would be stressed and scared that he would get it too.
“I was scared that I would die from it and leave my family behind,” he said.
Every morning before work he exercises to stay healthy and strong because the job is very physical. To keep himself and others from getting sick, he keeps his mask and gloves on all day at work, even if it’s hard to work with gloves, because it makes him feel safe. He still works hard to make sure they get the supplies to the hospitals on time.
“Everyone should do their part and get vaccinated to end this pandemic,” said Espinoza.
Caldera, a patient service representative at Radnet Imaging Victor Valley Women’s Center, feels great to be able to help others. She thinks working during this time is a blessing, especially because many people are struggling to pay rent and put food on their tables. A typical workday for her is helping patients get through their registration process, making appointments, and making patients feel that their clinic is a safe place.
As an essential worker, it does put some stress on her because she has to be more careful to stay healthy and safe. She needs to make sure to follow the CDC guidelines. The pandemic had affected her work because, in the beginning, many people were postponing their yearly mammograms and ultrasounds, so the clinic was seeing fewer patients. But that did not stop the staff from working their full time.
“Ignoring signs of cancer and delaying diagnosis because of the pandemic costs thousands of lives,” said Caldera.
I appreciate all the essential workers out there and I am especially thankful for the essential workers in my family. Without people like my uncle and dad, the hospitals wouldn’t have all the supplies they need, especially during this time when they need them. Without people like my aunt, women wouldn’t find out if they have breast cancer earlier and be able to control it or possibly get rid of it, get ultrasounds, or bone density exams. Without people like this, I don’t know what we would do. I thank all of them for doing their job, working through this pandemic, and pushing through even the toughest times.