MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis trucker says he is no longer able to earn a living because he’s lost movement on one side of his body and is now temporarily visually impaired after a bout with COVID-19.
Memphis truck driver Daniel Vasquez is no longer able hit the road because COVID-19 put the brakes on his career and his life.
“I was at work driving on the road and as I was coughing nonstop, and I said ‘This not good,'” Vasquez said.
These days he and his fiancée, Kim Lam, are living in a Memphis hotel and on the verge of being homeless.
“I wanted to buy a house and that was my plan when I was working for the company and save money. Now the little savings that I have, I drain it out over here at the hotel,” Vasquez said.
“His life is ruined by this stroke and COVID is serious,” Lam said.
Vasquez remembers the day back in May when he experienced COVID symptoms. He was driving out of state and had a high fever, a cough and his lungs started to hurt. He knew he needed to return to Memphis.
“I drove to the terminal, and I told my fleet manager, ‘Hey, do you have an ambulance there because I feel like I’m dying.’ I needed to get help right now,” Vasquez said.
He says he tested positive for COVID in an ambulance. He was taken to a Memphis hospital where he says he suffered a blood clot, stroke and eventually had to have brain surgery.
“The surgeons told the family if he didn’t get surgery, there would be little chance of him surviving,” Lam said.
Months later, life as Daniel knew it has changed.
“He’s pretty much bed bound,” Lam said. “He needs help getting up. He needs help with everything, drinking, eating.”
The couple believes the company he worked for could have done more to protect its workers from COVID.
“They got drivers out there risking their lives, and they got nothing to guide their workers on what to do,” Vasquez said.
“I think workplaces, owners, they need to take responsibility and be more responsible when their own employees get sick on the job,” Lam said.
Still, Vasquez does have advice for others.
“I think everyone should get vaccinated,” Vasquez said. “I think it’s the right thing to do.”
Vasquez says he needs a second brain surgery. He was approved for Medicaid, but it won’t pay for all of his procedure.