Arts and Humanities
Anyssa Rodriguez, Liliana Sanchez
--Anyssa Rodriguez 00:00
Hello, today is November 12th, 2020. My name is Anyssa Rodriguez, and I'm interviewing Liliana Sanchez for the University Library Special Collections and Archives at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, hereafter abbreviated as UTRGV. This project is in partnership with the Voces Oral History Center at the University of Texas at Austin. Please know, Ms. Liliana Sanchez, that the interview will be placed in the University Library Special Collections and Archives at UTRGV and shared with the Voces Oral History Center at the University of Texas at Austin. If there is anything that you do not wish to answer or talk about, I will honor your wishes. Also, if there is something that you want to talk about, please bring it up and we'll talk about it. The University Library Special Collections and Archives will archive your interview along with any other photographs or other documentation that you are willing to share. UTRGV University Library will retain copyright or non-exclusive right to the interview, and any other materials you donate to Special Collections and Archives at UTRGV. Because we are not conducting this interview in person, I need to record your consenting to making sure that you agree with our interview procedures before we continue. So, I'll ask you a series of six questions. Please say “Yes, I agree,” or “No, I do not agree” after each question. Number one, do you give University Library Special Collections and Archives at UTRGV consent to archive your interview and your materials at UTRGV University Library?
--Liliana Sanchez 01:34
Yes, I agree.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 01:36
Number two, do you grant UTRGV University Library Special Collections and Archives right, title, and interest in copyright over the interview and any materials that you provide?
--Liliana Sanchez 01:48
Yes, I agree.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 01:50
Do you agree to allow UTRGV University Library Special Collections and Archives to post his interview on the internet where it may be viewed by people around the world?
--Liliana Sanchez 02:00
Yes, I agree.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 02:02
Do you grant the University Library Special Collections and Archives consent to share your Zoom interview with the Voces Oral History Center at the University of Texas at Austin for inclusion in the Voces of a Pandemic Oral History mini project, which will include posting the interview on the internet?
Yes, I agree.
As you recall, we previously filled out a pre-interview form. We use information from the pre-interview form to help in research. The entire form is kept in a secure Voces server at the University of Texas at Austin. Before Voces sends it to UTRGV University Library Special Collections and Archives, we would have stripped out any contact information for yourself or family members, so that will not be part of your public file. Your public file will only be accessible at UTRGV University Library. The final two questions ask for your consent on now what I just described. Do you wish for us to share the rest of your interview with your public file, available to researchers at UTRGV University Library Special Collections and Archives?
--Liliana Sanchez 03:06
Yes, I agree.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 03:08
On occasion, UTRGV Special Collections and Archives and Voces receive requests from journalists who wish to contact the interview subjects. We only deal with legitimate news outlets. Do you consent for us to share your phone number or your email with a journalist?
--Liliana Sanchez 03:22
Yes, I agree.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 03:24
Thank you for your consent. Your experience and stories mean a lot to us at UTRGV Special Collections and Archives. I look forward to what you say in your interview. Questions I will now ask. Liliana, thank you for your time. Your stories and experience are very important to us at UTRGV Special Collections and Archives and the Voces Project. Particularly for us at UTRGV Special Collections, we are committed to preserving the stories of Mexican Americans and Latinos from South Texas and the Rio Grande Valley, and those who work closely with these populations during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Because you will have first-hand experience of caring for and losing someone who has contracted the Coronavirus, COVID-19, and because you were a daughter, a sister, a mother, and a friend who is knowledgeable of the ways COVID-19 has affected yourself and others in your inner circle, I know that you have many meaningful stories and experiences to share on how COVID-19 has impacted those roles you carry out in your life. So, before I ask you to share stories about your life in this pandemic, tell us, who is Liliana Sanchez?
--Liliana Sanchez 04:34
My name is Liliana Sanchez. I'm a 52-year-old stay at home mother of three, two boys, one girl. I am a homemaker. We have a ranch, which keeps us very busy and occupied, especially right now with the spreading of the COVID virus. It keeps us active and learning in everything in everyday life.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 05:01
Okay, so the first question I want to ask you is, how did you first hear about COVID-19? How did you learn about it?
--Liliana Sanchez 05:11
We learned about, or I learned about it through the television. It was everywhere in the news.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 05:19
Any particular channel that you look at?
--Liliana Sanchez 05:22
--Anyssa Rodriguez 05:24
What was your first reaction to the information about COVID-19?
--Liliana Sanchez 05:29
My first reaction was…being afraid, wanting to know if they could control it. Hopefully it would came up in China first, but hopefully it would have not come here to the United States.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 05:48
Okay, at what point did you realize this pandemic was a serious life altering event? Or did you not think it was serious?
--Liliana Sanchez 05:57
Yes, I thought it was very serious because a lot of people there was a lot of fatalities in China, starting in China, and then spreading to other countries, which eventually came to the United States.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 06:10
Over the last few months, what news media, social media or other sources do you rely on to keep you informed about the Coronavirus, COVID-19?
--Liliana Sanchez 06:21
ABC World News is what I usually pay attention to.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 06:28
Can you share with me what you understand about COVID-19 as an infectious disease? Likewise, can you share with me what you don't understand about this new Coronavirus COVID-19?
--Liliana Sanchez 06:41
It is an infectious disease, because everybody is…it's spreading everywhere. What I don't understand is how some people get infected with it, and others I see really don't have any side effects. Everybody's immune system is very different.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 06:58
Okay, would you take the first COVID-19 vaccine available on the market? Why or why not?
--Liliana Sanchez 07:06
I personally wouldn't, I would want to get more research on it done first to see how other people react to it.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 07:14
Okay. Does your family hold the same beliefs as you about COVID-19? Or are there some members who take it more seriously or lightly?
--Liliana Sanchez 07:24
We're about in the same situation. We all take it seriously. And we're trying to do our best to be cautious in our, in everyday life.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 07:36
In the early months of the Pandemic, when you were on lockdown, was your family practicing the recommendations to stay home and only leave for the essential functions like groceries, the doctor, et cetera?
--Liliana Sanchez 07:49
Yes, we were following all those orders. We were just staying at home, just going out for essentials, just for groceries and essential needs. That's the only thing we would go out for.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 08:05
How proactive was the family regarding personal protective equipment and social distancing?
--Liliana Sanchez 08:10
We were practicing everything. We were using all necessary items like Clorox wipes, hand sanitizer, washing our hands, frequently trying to abide by all that.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 08:24
Would you all wear masks every day, every time you went out?
--Liliana Sanchez 08:28
If when we went out, yes. At home we would not.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 08:33
Did you visit any family members during the recommended stay at home order?
--Liliana Sanchez 08:38
Not by our choice, only when necessary that we needed to abide by helping our families. That's the only time we would go out.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 08:48
Was anyone that you knew sick from the virus? If so whom?
--Liliana Sanchez 08:53
My family members. My in-laws were all diagnosed with the virus.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 09:03
Were you and your family members around them when they were ill? If so, what functions did the family attend together? If you didn't know they were sick, when did you find out?
--Liliana Sanchez 09:14
We…we found out a little later when we were with them. We had gone to my in-laws to help my father-in-law because he's bed bound. He needs a necessary help to help him change him. And that's when we were there for location of that manner. That's when we, I think we all got infected.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 09:41
Once you found out they were ill, what course of action did you take to monitor for symptoms?
--Liliana Sanchez 09:48
We got tested. We were just relying on if we had any symptoms like fevers, coughs, colds or diarrhea, and once we started noticing that some of us had some of those symptoms, we immediately went to check ourselves. And a week later, they told us all that we were infected.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 10:13
In our pre-interview, you shared that your husband died from COVID-19. Can you tell me, when he was sick, and when he passed, before we talk more about his story and yours, as he fought the virus?
--Liliana Sanchez 10:27
He fell ill around the 27th, 28th of July of 2020. That's when we noticed, noticed he was with a fever for a couple of days, which would never go away. He went to check himself and they diagnosed him with the virus. And they quarantined us for two weeks, then shortly after my kids became ill from that also. So, we stayed home, they gave him medication. Immediately, he took all the medication. And…but at a certain level, he started getting worse. That's when we had to take him to the urgent care.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 11:11
Okay. But when did you begin noticing he was sick? How do you think he contracted it?
--Liliana Sanchez 11:17
I think he contracted it with his family members, because other than that, we would never go out anywhere. We were very limited in going out. We were trying to social distance everything.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 11:29
Did your husband get tested immediately? If so, where did he go to get tested, and did he have to pay?
--Liliana Sanchez 11:37
He went to his primary doctor, to The Valley Medical Arts Association. After that, he had to pay…his insurance helped pay most of the costs. I think we just had to co-pay a small amount.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 11:57
How much time passed before your husband, Albert, saw the doctor, and what made him go?
--Liliana Sanchez 12:02
It was around five days prior, because of the fever. It was just a fever at first. But he kept taking Tylenol to control it, but it never went away. It just controlled it.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 12:15
What precautions were taken at home to prevent the spread?
--Liliana Sanchez 12:19
Not much. We never thought he was seriously ill, so we really didn't take much precautions.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 12:27
When you say you didn't take any like much precautions, what kind of things were happening that you feel that you maybe you should have?
--Liliana Sanchez 12:34
I think we should have…he should have been isolated in another room, which he did not do. And used the more hand sanitizers around the house, and masks and wipes to clean out all the germs.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 12:51
Were other family members affected? And if so, who?
--Liliana Sanchez 12:54
Yes, my three kids were also impacted by it, affected by it.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 13:02
And so, you didn't get sick?
--Liliana Sanchez 13:05
I went to get tested, but they never said that I was or was not. They never even replied to me. I think I was too.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 13:14
Okay, so you never got your results?
And where had you gone to go get tested? At the same place?
--Liliana Sanchez 13:21
At the Isaac Rodriguez, Isaac Garza, or something, Park in Weslaco.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 13:28
So, you had never received the results then.
--Liliana Sanchez 13:30
No, I never received them. The National Guard, I think, was the one doing the testing. And they never… they got my email, they got my phone number, but I never got a response back.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 13:42
What was Albert's mindset toward COVID-19, before and after he contracted the virus?
--Liliana Sanchez 13:48
He was actually very careful about it. He did not want to go out. We used to go out quite a bit before. When we started seeing that they weren't, or we were in lockdown, we really wouldn't go anywhere, just to our family members. Other than that, we tried to avoid the stores, restaurants, and everywhere.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 14:14
When he was sick, what was the course of treatment that was offered to him?
--Liliana Sanchez 14:18
Medication. They gave him five medications.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 14:23
Do you know the name of the medications that they may have given them?
--Liliana Sanchez 14:25
Yes. One was a syrup, called Brom PSE DM syrup. The other one was Laura Kayden. Then the next person IV medicine as this Tourism missing[lt1] . They gave him five medications.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 14:56
Was this treatment for COVID-19 costly, or did he have insurance coverage to help offset the costs?
--Liliana Sanchez 15:03
He had the insurance coverage, which we had just a small portion to pay in the medications and the treatments, everything.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 15:11
Was he taking all his medications just as the doctor prescribed?
--Liliana Sanchez 15:15
Yes, he was. He was very, he wanted to get better. He was fighting it as much as he could.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 15:23
Did Albert use any home remedies given to alleviate the symptoms, like herbs or folk remedies, like teas?
--Liliana Sanchez 15:29
Yes, he was also taking eucalyptus leaves with honey, and lemon peel with honey. He was taking those two teas.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 15:40
Did they seem to work?
--Liliana Sanchez 15:42
Yes, they did. It may…he would tell me it would help him feel better when he would drink them.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 15:49
When did you all decide, or who decided to go either to the standalone emergency clinic, or to the hospital? What were the reasons that the decision was made?
--Liliana Sanchez 15:59
The last time we were with him, he was starting to feel a little better. But then, at the last point, he started running out of breath, so much like if he was running. Every time he would get up, he was out of breath, and that's when we were knowing it was more serious. So, we called this doctor immediately, and they told us to go directly to the urgent care.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 16:26
What hospital did he go to? And did they allow you to stay with him or go to the hospital with him?
--Liliana Sanchez 16:31
We went first to the urgent care. After the urgent care, the ambulance took him to McAllen Medical Center.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 16:39
Were there beds available to accommodate him, or did he have to…or did he require ICU, or special accommodations? If so, did you have to wait for a bed, or a unit bed to open up? And if so, for how long?
--Liliana Sanchez 16:52
There were beds available. He was in ICU at first? And yes, there there were beds available for him.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 17:01
How long was he in ICU?
--Liliana Sanchez 17:04
For about five days.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 17:08
And how long was he in the hospital for?
--Liliana Sanchez 17:11
--Anyssa Rodriguez 17:13
When Albert was in the hospital, did you all communicate by cell phone? If you did, would you like to share some of your final conversations?
--Liliana Sanchez 17:21
Yes, we could only communicate by cell phone or texting also. And he, he didn't like it there at the hospital. He was very lonely. Nobody could visit him. He was very depressed there. But I know he was trying to fight it. They were giving him oxygen. That's where he had to be, at the hospital. And plus, they told me he already had pneumonia when he arrived at the hospital, so that was why he was so out of breath and couldn't breathe then. Go ahead.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 18:02
In the conversations that you had, he was able to talk freely, or it was more texting?
--Liliana Sanchez 18:09
It was more texting, because with a mask of the oxygen, he could not really speak.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 18:18
In the pre-interview you stated he received convalescent plasma. Was that easy to request? Or did you have to wait for a while for this treatment? Did this treatment help Albert?
--Liliana Sanchez 18:30
He had to wait till, like, probably seven days to receive the plasma. Then he received it and I think he did feel a little bit better with the plasma, because I think he did improve a little bit.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 18:48
Can you please share the story of the day that Albert passed?
--Liliana Sanchez 18:53
The day he passed…the day before, in fact, he was…he had never really called. That day, he called me twice. He could speak a little bit better. And he was telling us he missed us, he might come home. And then I told him, “You're sounding a lot better, compared to those other days. I think you're going to be able to come home soon.”
Then the next day, he just…was worse. He, they called me in the morning that he went into cardiac arrest, and they revived him, and they asked me if that would happen again, if I chose to do that, for them to revive him again to help him or not. And I said, “Of course.”
And then shortly after that, like maybe 40 minutes, he went into cardiac arrest, and he could not make it anymore. They told me he passed away that morning.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 19:48
Okay. Sorry. After Albert's death, was his body released in a timely manner for burial?
--Liliana Sanchez 19:55
No. We had to, he had to be put in a FEMA trailer for about seven or eight days before they…because the morgues, everything was so packed, that we had to wait in line for there to be a space for him.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 20:14
So he was his body was in a mobile morgue for seven days?
--Liliana Sanchez 20:18
For seven days, yes.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 20:23
Was he cremated or buried?
--Liliana Sanchez 20:25
He was cremated.
What led to that decision?
We had always discussed that. Previously he always told me he wanted to get cremated if something were to happen to him.
Okay, so it wasn't discussed, like when he was in the hospital.
No, that was way before.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 20:44
How has Albert's death impacted your family emotionally and financially?
--Liliana Sanchez 20:50
Emotionally, we were such a close family. It was hard at first, but then I know he would want us to move on and do what he, he enjoyed, and showed his kids. [lt2] So, we kept moving on with that. And about financially, no, he always had good at good job, so he had…we were depending on all that, from Social Security that we received, it's helping a lot.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 21:23
And he had a retirement plan, or something that…?
--Liliana Sanchez 21:25
Yes, he had a retirement plan, and all he worked throughout his life also.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 21:32
How was this tragedy affected your view on COVID-19?
--Liliana Sanchez 21:37
More seriously. Before I really never thought it would happen to any of the people I knew. Once I saw that it impacted quite a bit of people that I knew that somehow other family members passed away all because of this virus.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 21:55
Is the family and yourself being more precautious? And if so, how?
--Liliana Sanchez 22:01
Yes, we are being more precautious. Not going out as much, always using hand sanitizer, mask especially, social distancing. Everything we can…or not even to try to go out as much as before.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 22:16
Is your family receiving any financial help since Albert’s passing? Or if you are, such as like, what kind of things are you receiving?
--Liliana Sanchez 22:26
Just…nothing financially, just from the Social Security. That's all we are receiving.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 22:36
Are you satisfied with the local response to COVID-19 in the Edcouch-Elsa area and Hidalgo County?
--Liliana Sanchez 22:43
I think they could do a better job in enforcing the mask, and limiting the people going out only when really necessary. I think they need to shut down again, to control it better.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 22:59
Are you satisfied with state response to COVID-19 led by Governor Abbott?
--Liliana Sanchez 23:04
I think he can be more restricted on everything also, like shutting down the bars, and other situations. Not do gatherings at all, keep the social distancing, and require the mask everywhere.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 23:22
Are you satisfied with the national response to COVID-19 led by President Trump and his administration?
--Liliana Sanchez 23:29
Not really, because I don't think he's even abiding by it. He should be the good example showing everybody that we need the mask, which he does not even use, so we can all follow.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 23:43
If you have the power to respond to COVID-19, what would you do differently, if anything?
--Liliana Sanchez 23:50
We should have banned, like all the other countries coming in, being more stricter on travel. And…so we would have kept it under control. And of course, the mask. Always use a mask everywhere.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 24:13
This is a special year in our national democracy, because it's a presidential voting year. Did you vote, and if so, did you notice or do anything different because of COVID-19 Pandemic?
--Liliana Sanchez 24:24
Yes, I voted and not really about nothing different. Just my right to vote.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 24:34
Okay. So nothing about COVID-19 led to a different choice or the choice you made?
--Liliana Sanchez 24:38
Yes, well, I think maybe yes.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 24:46
What kind of decisions made you vote differently?
--Liliana Sanchez 24:51
To be more mandating…more the virus. Be more restricted with it and everything.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 25:01
Is there anything else that you would like to share with me about your experience with COVID-19 that I have not asked you?
--Liliana Sanchez 25:07
No, we talked about everything. I think everything is covered.
--Anyssa Rodriguez 25:11
Okay. Um, actually Mrs. Sanchez, this is the end of the interview. I just want to thank you again for your time and your responses for the for the interview questions, and UTRGV thanks you for everything that you're doing for this project. Thank you. Okay, this will end the meeting. Thank you so much.
[lt1]I don’t know what medication she is referring to, so note sure how to correct Otter’s transcription here
[lt2]Not sure what she says here
MP4, 55.4 MB, duration: 00:25:32.
Sanchez, Liliana. Videotaped Interview by Anyssa Rodriguez. November 12, 2020. Voces of a Pandemic Collection, Special Collections & Archives, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, https://scholarworks.utrgv.edu/voces/4.