JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. (WATE) — Keniethea Tadlock is battling the lingering effects of COVID-19 on two fronts: post-COVID syndrome and Tennessee’s Worker’s Compensation Board. Her first fight with the virus began a year ago when she was taken to the emergency room and it took weeks before she left Jefferson Memorial Hospital.

She never imagined her struggle with COVID-19 would be never-ending. Tadlock claims she came in contact with COVID at work. So, Tadlock has been fighting for worker’s compensation; still, however, she hasn’t recovered from the after-effects of the virus. She has now exhausted her insurance benefits and her medical bills are huge.

“The pain is in my hands, up in my arms and elbows,” she explains. She added that she can barely walk, and it’s even painful to wear shoes.

It was Sept. 22, 2020, when she was rushed to Jefferson Memorial Hospital, the diagnosis, COVID-19, she remained there for three weeks.

“I didn’t know if I was going to make it out or not. I was actually, in my medical record, written down to expire. My family had been contacted and told them I wasn’t going to make it. I am a post-COVID syndrome long-hauler.”

Doctors estimate one-fourth to one-third of COVID-19 patients become long-haulers.

Those diagnosed with post-COVID syndrome suffer from chronic pain, fatigue, shortness of breath, anxiety, depression and insomnia.

“Now, it’s been a year, I have been told to stay home. In order to live and to make sure I get to see my grandchildren and stuff – grow up – I stay home.”

She’s worked at an office in the Halls community for Blossman Gas, a regional propane supply company. She claims that’s where she got sick. At first, her claim for worker’s compensation was denied. The state said there was no evidence her exposure to the virus came from the office.

Tadlock’s disability income from Blossman expired in March. Yet, in her lap, last May were hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid medical bills. She has exceeded the company’s insurance quota. To help pay those charges, she appealed the state’s initial denial for worker’s compensation and was granted a hearing.

“I went to mediation like I was supposed to,” she said.

But that mediation hearing last month was postponed due to a conflict of interest. The date of a new hearing has not yet been set up.

“There is no price that you can put on my life, but all I want is to be able to pay for my bills and be compensated for what they have put me through,” Tadlock said.

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Tadlock has an attorney to help guide her through the mediation, however, the burden of proof will be on her to prove that she contracted the virus at work. During that abbreviated first hearing, she said Blossman’s attorney offered her $2,500 to settle the case, but her medical bills, she said, amounted to more than $400,000.

Blossman Gas says it does not comment on cases under litigation. A date for that second worker’s compensation hearing should be announced within weeks.