COVID has arguably defined 2020 as this pandemic took over our lives domestically in March and is still as prevalent today as it was many months ago.
We’ve seen and heard stories from several angles on how this has affected millions of people across the world. Some have suffered through lengthy diagnoses, others lives were turned upside down when they lost a loved one due to COVID and then there are the hospital workers who have been upfront and honest about what this has done to them from a mental & emotional point of view.
Manny Lopez, an openly gay Family Nurse Practitioner who resides in New York City (pictured above), is someone who has been inside all of this and sees COVID from a much different way compared others who have simply been keeping up with it through the news and word of mouth.
He may look familiar to some due to his previous profession. Manny was once known as a popular gay porn star who took over the industry after the millennium hit and appeared in a bunch of movies from well-known studios like Raging Stallion, Falcon & Latino Fan Club.
We’ve profiled him and many other men over the years who have become successful in another medium since they decided move on with something else in their lives.
“I work with a wide range of patients,” Manny told us exclusively regarding what he does in his line of work. “I’m a Certified Family Nurse Practitioner so I’m licensed to see children as well as adults whereas if you’re not a FNP you can only see one or the other. I’m bilingual too. I went from primary care and working with pediatric patients to seeing adults as well in a private clinic for the underserved. This has been a great learning opportunity even though it’s been a difficult time.”
“I conduct COVID-19 tests and also follow-up calls to deliver results, which include patient education and teaching,” he continued about his job. “There are four other testers with me at Highbridge, Harlem and Dyckman (Washington Heights). Together we administer up to 500 tests a day.”
Manny then chatted about said tests and the difficulties that come with doing so. “Everyone wants a test, and we have long lines. We swab them and send the sample to the lab. We’re seeing a number of positives from people who are asymptomatic. It’s an eye opener, because some of them feel fine.”
And yes, doing this type of job has been rough for him at times. “The hardest thing to do isn’t administering the test – that takes only 30 seconds,” he said. “Listening to patients’ stories is tough. Every time someone is in front of you, there is so much pain. Someone they love or know is sick. I’ve seen even a widow who came in for a test after her husband died from Coronavirus as well as a family of six ranging in ages from 2 months to 49 years old. After listening and giving the test, them like the others, are left waiting for results while still wondering, ‘Do I have it?’ or ‘What do I do now?’. Then I get the results and yes they are all positive! Now I have to make the calls with the results.”
Manny admitted that regardless of the stress this pandemic has caused that ultimately he’s fine in where he’s at today. “I’m conscious of the virus and how serious it is, but that doesn’t stress me. I’m not afraid. Fear is what limits us and puts us in a dangerous position. We have to be concerned, aware and smart. For now, this is our new normal. So, I do the best I can and educate my patients to the best of my ability.
“I also speak their native tongue (Spanish) and identify as an open gay male which brings a level of comfort at this very stressful time in their lives.”
For more information on how you can get a COVID test please click here.