Alison King is a very grateful patient of the Brandon Outreach Clinic near Tampa, Florida. She relies on the free health services of volunteer medical staff at Brandon to help her manage her many health issues.
Alison sat down at the Brandon Outreach Clinic in September 2014 to share her story with community members and clinic staff. Although thankful for the ability to get some help at the clinic, Alison understand there are limits to the specialty care the clinic can provide and wished the elected officials in Florida would act to expand health care to all by closing the coverage gap.
Alison wants nothing more than to be able to get healthy and to work hard making a productive living with her pool cleaning business.
Watch this video and hear Alison tell her story in her own words.
“I’m Alison King, I’m a patient at the Brandon Outreach Clinic, which I’m extremely grateful for–for everybody who has donated their time and their efforts, because without them, I’m about one step away from being one of those people on the streets who is panhandling, one emergency away. I have high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic sleep apnea, and this is the only care that I receive. I’ve been to the emergency room several times and still have outstanding bills that I pay every month. But there has to be something in between. I over qualify for county aid, but I’m under qualified for the health care I really need. Everything that I’ve received has been donated. I have a bipap machine that keeps me breathing, but my oxygen dips to 70% every night, so I’m, literally, my brain is dying-every day. My organs do not regenerate and I cannot afford the oxygen I need to survive.”
“I run my own business. I do 65 swimming pool accounts a week. I’m up every day and out working. It is not a factor of being lazy, it is a factory of functionality, perhaps. Stress, anxiety, and people who do not have these issues, do not understand these issues. And it is a very real (thing). It is something I have to deal with every day. To get up out of bed. Last week I felt like I was carrying two cinder blocks around in my arms.”
“I am very fortunate; I can get up and function, but as far as a level of achieving things that other people don’t struggle with; until you’ve been through something like that, there is no way to explain it really.” (2:09)
“There are some days, you know, I mean, honestly, depression is a big factor. It’s not a mental state of mind, it’s a physiological chemical imbalance that I deal with everyday. Until you’ve been through it, you don’t understand it. My organs do not regenerate at night, so I’m basically chronically fatigued every night. To get up and actually, have to…, and there are some days that I feel like I’m just going to give up, collapse, literally. And I don’t know what the answer is. For me, I’m a fortunate one. I’m a lucky person I feel. There are so many other people out there that I feel are, you know….Like I said, I’m grateful. I sometimes feel guilty for receiving some of the benefits when theres other people that might be out there that might be even more needy. But I’m one face in a million. I could be more productive.”
“I could see being more functional, making better decisions. Being a more productive member of society. Everything would improve. Just the basic well being in life. Nobody should be excluded. Why should one person deserve one thing more than somebody else? We are all born into this world equally. So why should one person benefit more greatly that another person of the community?”
3:45 End of interview